08 June, 2006


originally uploaded by jim_sangster.
On Monday, I met up with a couple of old friends in Liverpool and their work colleague. What might have been a simple trip down memory lane turned into quite an adventure, because their work friend had procured us tickets to see 'Jerry Springer - the Opera'.

Now, I have to admit, I wasn't all that fussed when it was on in the West End, and by the time it appeared on telly, the ranting Christians had put me off the idea. What bothered me wasn't their protesting - they have every right to be upset and to defend their beliefs. No, what hacked me off was their certainty that no-one should watch something that they hadn't even seen. I'd love to know who the first Christian to watch the play and be offended actually was. How many other Christians paid to see it before a consensus was reached? Any?

Because it's NOT blasphemous. Not even remotely. It is, however, utterly stunning and with more bad language than your average Italian-American gangster flick.

It's been a number of years since the Opera first hit the London Stage. I really wasn't expecting any protestors. So I was slightly taken aback to see about a thousand people lined up over the road from the theatre, and about a hundred more distributing leaflets urging the patrons not to enter the theatre by handing out some particularly unchristian literature about how miserable our lives are.

Right at the end of the protests was one solitary woman handing out leaftets about free speech. They were well phrased (and well punctuated, from what I could see, which is more than I can say for the Christians!!), and she was very polite. Lord, bless her - she's very brave and worth your blessing, unlike the people who bullied their children (still wearing their school uniforms) into holding up placards to protest against a work of art.

I managed to capture a very low-res video of the protestors. That they're singing one of the few Christian hymns I really like was odd, as is one of my friends pointing out the name of the song as he waltzes past.

05 June, 2006

See Here!

My latest voyage of discovery has taken me to a fun place where I'm not allowed to speak. Hurrah, I hear everyone cry!

It's all Neil's fault. Or it might be Gayle, who told me we were getting a deaf co-worker, but who turned out to only be deaf in one ear (I think she's just lazy, personally). But it's mainly Neil for showing me how much fun he's been having learning sign language. On a whim, I decided to start learning myself, and checked out a couple of online resources. By the end of the weekend I'd learned a few basic signs, brushed up my spelling, learned numbers (badly, as I later found out) and colours.

Now, something horrible happened that Sunday afternoon - I got *kind of* dumped. Although you can't really be dumped after just one date, can you? But considering how smitten I was, it hurt. So I didn't go into the office that Monday, deciding instead to work in an office in the city centre, where no-one knew me, and so wouldn't think it odd that I kept diving out of the room and into the gents to sob quietly.

In-between minor breakdowns, I started to search the work's intranet site for courses on sign language. Four days later I'd still not found anything. As a last shot, I emailed See Hear, that telly show most of you flick past on weekend afternoons. Within 30 seconds they got back to me with a course and by the following day I was signed up, having missed just one lesson.

Back to Neil, who is very confident [c-sign rising up chest] and has been studying the thing for a few years [something involving a pointing left hand being pointed at by however many years it's been, represented by the same amount of fingers on the right hand]. The first sentence I learned was 'My name is J.... i.... m.' (painful!). Thanks to Neil my second was 'My manager is a miserable lesbian c***', a phrase I proceeded to share with many of my work colleagues - who concurred! Oh I like this!

I'm getting faster, I know I'm doing better than the majority of the others in the class (I seem to be one of the few attending every lesson [hands held palms down, sides rubbing together]), and the lessons have given me something to look forward to when going to work, as well as cheering me up massively. But my confidence was rocked a little when I caught BBC News 24 this lunchtime. It's signed in the 1.00 edition. Bloody HELL he was speedy. I caught the sign for 'mobile phone' [loose fist held to side of head - bit obvious that one] and got the impression that there was a report he wasn't happy about involving an exploding bus. But then, I could hear the actual narration so I'm not such a clever dick after all.

Still, I can sign the whole of 'I can sing a rainbow' now, the title to Cher's 'Do You Believe in Life After Love' and a few episode titles from Doctor Who [a rather emphatic loop and then curved hands drawing a circle = 'The Impossible Planet'; a stroke down my right cheek and then some waggling fingers = 'Girl in the Fireplace'; though 'Castrovalva' will probably end up really vulgar the way my spelling's going]. Which means I can at least keep a group of very young deaf kids or some very easily-pleased gays entertained for a few seconds.

Just have to remember not to mention my manager at any point...