Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Performance

I'm really sorry for not updating for a while but I also guess I'm not sorry because I kinda suck as a human being, I mean my life is really boring, so I guess I don't really have to apologize because you were probably glad to be shot of me. I mean my life is just so boring and dull and embarrassing that I can't imagine why anyone would ever want to read about it or like me or anything. When I watch films and the characters do stupid stuff I can't stand to watch the films so I can understand why people wouldn't want to read my blog so honestly you don't have to. I mean, I'm a total wreck of a human being, uh, see, after the party I was just so so very embarrassed I couldn't even perform, and I just ended up making masks in my basement for days, and that's really embarrassing to admit to because it seems like the more I write and the more I blog the more pathetic I seem but I just couldn't handle it all after that horrific display at the party.

I finally got around to performing again on Saturday, for some kids. And I did my act, and they were enjoying it, but the girl wasn't there and I felt a bit mopey and one of the littler kids began crying in the Punch and Judy part of the act, and it was really sad and I felt really bad even though I was talking to one of the parents afterwards and she said the little girls sister had run away and the little girl was feeling super sensitive and it wasn't my fault, but I still felt awful. The bit where I let the kids wander around the set and play with the puppets at the end was just more stressful than usual because they were really boisterous and someone broke the nose off of Danielle and I just know she blames me for it. You might say, or you might not, I don't want to put words in your mouth or anything but well, you might maybe perhaps say that puppets can't judge because they don't have brains or something but I can tell they get sad sometimes, at least I think they do. That might just be because I get sad sometimes…

And after I did strike I went and sat in the park for a bit and played with the grass alone because I'm kinda pathetic and lonely. I must have a big glowy sign on my head that says "pathetic" because this one guy from a church or cult or something about the "last" or something came over and started trying to recruit me, though I don't want to judge and say all people who are in religions or cults are gullible or anything. I just feel like they go after gullible and vulnerable people sometimes and well, uh, I guess I'm sorry again. Sorry to religious people and people who are vulnerable sometimes and everyone for wasting your time on this... Oh god I suck.

Monday, 16 May 2011

I Told You So

Well, after that last post, I figure you don't want to hear about my life. I'd probably just depress you. Unless you have a worse life than me, in which case you're probably already depressed, and if you're not, you're a much stronger person than me. Anyway, since I can't imagine why anyone would want to hear about me, here's a short story I wrote about Harvey the other day;

I Told You So 
by Andrew Gerard Pankaja 
That day, on that hill, a lot of things went wrong. 
It was supposed to have been a simple enough process. Harvey had done it a thousand times before; sneak down into the city, kidnap a virgin female, bring her back to the hill and kill her, letting her blood flow into the smooth recesses that lined the ancient altar on the hill's crest. He had been doing it for years, for decades, and it had never gone wrong before, until tonight. Harvey laughed in spite of himself. 
Nothing ever goes wrong until it does, he thought, the bitter taste in his mouth intruding into his thoughts. Harvey sighed, the unfairness of the situation clear in his sight. He hadn't chosen any of this; he'd been forced into it by circumstances outside his control. It was hard, being homeless, and if some seemingly kindly people offered you a way out, how were you to blame for taking it? Some people complained about being born and raised into a religion instead of being allowed to choose themselves. As far as Harvey was concerned, they could shove it where the sun doesn't shine. If they were given a choice between being born into a Catholic family or being forced into a sinister cult of bloodthirsty maniacs worshipping a faceless, shapeless, nameless eldritch abomination from the endless void beyond time and space whose very gaze would cause the brains of all who saw it to seep from their ears from sheer incomprehension of the entity's existence just to get off the street, Harvey was sure they'd be whistling a different tune. 
His initiation into the cult had been...interesting, for lack of a better word. He'd been retaught everything he'd forgotten in school, along with some other more...specialised topics, learning English and mathematics alongside how to properly prepare sacrificial victims. His mentor had been the cult's high priest, so he got, as he put it, a "fairly good grounding" in their belief system, by which he meant that if he couldn't remember a tenet of their holy book, his mentor would grind his face against the wall. As his thoughts wandered into memories of his years as an acolyte, he ran his fingers over the rope-like scars that ran across the right side of his face. 
It was in his acolyte years that he started to disagree with his mentor on a few major issues of their religion, the main one being the belief that by bringing the virgin sacrifices to Jesmegoth, as the beast was known in their holy texts, the cult would be spared when he eventually woke up and set the whole universe aflame. Harvey had grown skeptical that a creature known varyingly as "The Heartless", "The Merciless" and "All-Consumer of the Nethervoid" would value the cult's loyalty enough to not send their minds spiraling into oblivion. As he remembered the conversation with his mentor, his fingers moved from his facial scars to the hole where his ear used to be. 
Perhaps the most important area where he and his mentor differed was on the issue of what exactly the sacrifices were for. His mentor believed that the sacrifices would act as sustenance for Jesmegoth until he was ready to awaken and reign over all from an obsidian throne draped with the flaming corpses of all who opposed him, whereas Harvey thought that the sacrifices were keeping Jesmegoth asleep, which was the reason that, despite differing rather fundamentally with his mentor on the issue of the value of human life, Harvey had continued to make the sacrifices when his mentor and the rest of the cult had been killed in a shootout with the police, having kidnapped a member of the royal family as a special sacrifice. 
Until tonight. 
Until he'd tried to sacrifice a rape victim, who, unfortunately for both the child and Harvey, did not meet the "virgin" requirement. 
A nearby rustling shunted Harvey from his idle wanderings. As he watched in horror, tentacles of liquid darkness seeped from the undergrowth, snaking across the ground before wrapping themselves around his ankles and lifting him into the air. Harvey found himself face-to-nearest-equivalent-thereof with something that looked like a mass of slimy, black worms in the rough shape of a giant squid. Harvey shrieked in horror and, as his brains started to ooze out his ears, he heard a voice inside his head, ancient, powerful and cruel; the last thing he would ever hear. 
"At least you can say "I told you so.""

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Party

I went for a walk in the park today, not that I'm a hiker or anything, though if you are a hiker I don't mean to offend you I mean I think hikers are pretty awesome so I'm sorry if I offended you. But I go walking in this park like once a week, usually on Wednesdays. Around noonish, after breakfast. Uh, was that too much information? I know I can get a little too detailed about things and I really don't mean to I just notice details around and is that weird or something? I just like details because they help you to organize things and figure out what's important and what isn't and what you need to do and what you can do something about and what you can't do anything about and what's interesting and what's boring and what's fun and what's funny and when you do things and people and yeah… Sorry, went rambley there again for a moment. Oh, rambley isn't a word. Ramble-y maybe? Oh no, I'm wasting your time again, sorry, I didn't mean to. God this is so awful, I'm a terrible writer, I'm really sorry that you're reading this. If I was a comedian I'd have been pulled off the stage with that giant hook by now. Sorry.

Ugh, anyway, I was in the park. It's a nice park, a big wide open space, lots of grass, playground made out of tired with a big old tree in the middle. I think it's an oak, but I don't really know, I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on trees or on anything really. Ugh. Anyway, well, I was out for a walk in this big old park and I was wandering around on one of the bike paths when I ran into Darren, my manager, walking his dog, which I think was a german shepherd or maybe a labrador? I don't know anything about dogs, but that should be obvious because I don't really know anything about anything, but anyway back to Darren. He's about forty and he's lived a pretty full life, lots of exciting stuff going on, like I think he had a drag act in the early nineties (I can remember those, I feel old…) and he worked for a circus a couple of times. He's a smalltime manager of smalltime people and I think  he likes it that way because he knows a lot of more interesting people but chooses to let them go do other things and be managed by other people. I don't know very much more than that because I kinda shut down when people talk to me. But I can remember that today he was wearing jeans that had holes in them which is a bit unprofessional if you ask me though he was only walking his dog so I suppose he doesn't have to be professional.

 Anyway we exchanged greetings and smalltalk, or at least he did, and I stared awkwardly at the ground like the truly charismatic and outgoing person I am, whilst he kept giving me this look like he wanted me to answer his questions with more than a one word answer but I'm terrible at stuff like this, truly awful. But eventually he asked me what I was doing that night and I said "My recycling" because I always do recycling on Wednesday nights but I guess I was kinda rude because I think my tone implied that he should already know that which is very presumptuous and I don't mean to presume things I'm just really bad at talking to people.

But then he said "I'm having a part tonight with a bunch of people, you should get out of your house and come and hang out." And then he said that he was worried about me so I said I'd come. And he said it was a casual party so I wouldn't have to worry about fancy clothes and that it wasn't a pot luck so I wouldn't have to bring food or do anything that I don't want to do I'd just pop in and "socialize" for a bit and I nodded and said yes, and said I'd go just over and over whilst he was trying to convince me and I think he thought I wouldn't be true to my word or something.

So that night I dressed in a nice shirt and slacks because I wanted to look somewhat nice but I put converse on to make sure that I wasn't too formal because I didn't want to look too out of place or something and then I walked over to Darren's since I don't have a car. And, well, it was a total disaster. I was a total disaster, Darren's never going to invite me over again after what a totally insecure pathetic anti-social socially awkward THING I was at that party, and I didn't drink or anything, I mostly just sat there and twiddled my thumbs and felt awkward and scared and kinda gross and just wrong and I didn't quite know what to do with myself so I sat on a chair for a bit. And for a bit of the party I just kinda hovered around Darren but I'm sure I was in the way and cramping his style and stuff. But all of those failures as a human being were nothing after the final climactic failure of the evening occurred. You see… The girl was there.

The one I talked about before.

She was there and I tried to talk to here. I tried to be suave to her. Guess how well that went. I talked about puppets and girls don't like puppets no matter how much I try to convince myself that SOMEBODY, ANYBODY else in the world likes puppets and is over the age of nine. But nobody but me likes them, not properly, and so I scared her off and creeped her out and she laughed at me, she laughed at me and I apologized and said sorry and I didn't know what to do and I said that I was sorry for creeping her out and being annoying and making her laugh at me and that I was sorry that my only skill was puppetry and the only thing that I could talk about was puppetry, but now that I think about it it sounds like I was trying to guilt trip her which is not what I wanted at all, oh god I bet she thinks I'm a colossal jerk and weirdo and a kind of self-hating emo who threatens to cut himself so girls will like him not that there is anything wrong with being emo I'm sorry emos I didn't mean to offend you but I keep offending people I'm sorry...

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The Cast

So I figure I should introduce you to my cast of puppets. Not that I feel obligated to or anything, or that I'm presuming that you'd be interested but...well, my puppets are more interesting than anything I have to say about myself. They're all I have, really.

I start my act with two marionette servant girls called Clémence and Danielle, who start off doing jokes about their stingy employer before noticing that the audience is there and doing the can-can for them. A bit cliché, I know, which is why I try to liven it up by having them mess up the can-can, kick each other in the face and start arguing. It usually gets the audience's attention.

After Clémence and Danielle, I bring out two innamorati or lovers, traditional puppets which developed from the commedia dell'arte style of acting which emerged in late Renaissance Italy. My lovers are called Ortensio e Aurelia. Like many innamorati performances, Ortensio e Aurelia spend the beginning of the performance bickering and jibing each other until Ortensio has to go to work, at which point both he and Aurelia start overdramatically pining for their departed love. Once Ortensio returns home, he and Aurelia act lovey-dovey once again, for a few moments, at least, before returning to their bickering. Not unlike real-life couples in that sense, I suppose. Not that I would know.

Once Ortensio e Aurelia have done their bit, I take another leaf from the commedia dell'arte book with a traditional Punch and Judy performance. As is the case with most Punch and Judy performances, the play has a rough structure but is largely impromptu and allows for a good deal of audience participation, much like a pantomime play. At this point, I usually have the audience's attention for the grand finale.

Through combining the familiar Harlequin archetype from the commedia dell'arte tradition with the modern penchant for fusing ventriloquism with stand-up comedy, I created the character of Harvey the Tramp. My act with Harvey is based primarily on quick back-and-forth banter, as well as commenting on the misfortune of Harvey's life and the stories in the newspapers he sleeps in, which allows me to poke fun at whatever's topical at the moment, which means I can keep the routine fresh.

You know, I love the feeling of being on a stage. I love making people laugh. I love making people applaud. I love taking my bow at the end of the performance, with all my puppets, of course, and knowing that I've made people happy. The thing is, when I'm on stage, I know that people like me. I can see them liking me, I can hear them liking me, I can feel them liking me.

I just can't get that feeling off the stage. Oh, look at me whining. I'm sorry to be unloading my self-pity on you, whoever you are. There are people in the world worse off than me. There are people starving in Niger, being gunned down in Libya and dying of AIDS in South Africa, I shouldn't be complaining. Oh, that sounds arrogant and racist doesn't it? Because I used all African countries and made it sound like I can't complain because at least I'm not like those people. Oh god, I'm sorry if I've offended you and I'm sorry if I've annoyed you by complaining about my problems when there are people far worse off and I'm sorry, in general, for being me.

I hope I didn't offend you. 

Friday, 6 May 2011

The Girl

There was a girl at the gig I had last night, and I mean, that's not too unusual, there are girls at most of my gigs, but usually they don't come to more than one. Uh, I mean, not that it's bad! Honestly, I mean, I don't think it's bad, I mean some people think it's bad I'm sure because people have their own opinions and stuff, but I mean, girls don't usually like puppets do they. Wait, sorry, that's sexist isn't it, I just haven't seen a girl come to my show more than once, though that might be because it sucks, but anyway! There was this girl at the gig last night and she was there last time so I think she likes my show, or maybe it's coincidence, but I think it couldn't be, since last time it was in a mall, and this time it was in a theatre, so maybe she saw me and then went to see another show to find out more, or something. I mean, she was cute, I don't usually check out girls because I don't want to be creepy, but she was about my age, I think, and I wasn't ogling her or anything and it's not like I'm going to talk to her ever because I'm bad at talking to people and communicating, especially with girls, I mean I've never had a girlfriend or anything. Yeah, 28 and no girlfriend, and I live all alone in this tiny apartment, and even my mum thinks I'm a loser, and I guess I am really, I mean, I'm totally a loser, I can't handle it really myself. I'm good at puppetry. Really, really good.

So yeah, there was this girl. I think there was actually a guy there too. Maybe he's into the puppets? I mean, that'd be just my luck, or maybe she's married, or has a kid or something. I mean, I should probably just forget about it all, forget the whole thing, or something, because well, I guess, uh, there's no point thinking about it really, I kinda suck at this kind of thing, and stuff, and girls are confusing in the end you know? I just don't know how to react to them. I'm really sorry if you're a girl and I'm sorry I'm being sexist and such a loser but I'm just kinda awkward and confused and stuff and yeah.