It's Taken Me Until November...

It seems breaking your hands and deciding to move one’s life 10,000 miles back to the UK has resulted in my blog being severely neglected over these past few months. Four entries this year and that is frankly unacceptable. To those of you who have logged on looking for the next gripping installment of ‘The Laughing Buddha’ only to find the same old entry loading up in your browser, I apologise profusely. It must be like flicking through the TV channels only to find the only thing worth watching is a rerun of ‘Friends’ on E4. Personally, it’s quite frustrating as I try and pride myself on being disciplined enough to keep this diary of musings going. I can only blame distraction, apathy and most of all lack of inspiration due to my head being full of half baked plans that I have been urging into realisation. Kicking my life into, well, something that resembles ‘a life’ I suppose.

I find myself in a state of flux (hardly anything new I hear you cry) which is not just a mental state for me but it seems to be materialising in several other aspects of my life like my career, my home and even some of my friendships. Being back in London is unfathomably easy and way too familiar for my liking. It is the mental equivalent of slipping on an old pair of slippers, yet this time I also have my eye on a shiny pair of new shoes (the shoes in question happen to be in a swanky New York department store, on sale and put on hold behind the counter with my name on them, making them especially alluring even though I am stuck on a different continent). My life has moved on so dramatically now, that certain parts of it that once fit in quite easily with my daily routine now seem to be totally defunct or inappropriate. You’d think living out of a suitcase since April and not working properly since July would throw me into further disarray but to be perfectly honest I have never been more happy in my life than right now. Attempting to carve out a new life back in London, not knowing if this next step is the right step forward, is the thing that fills me with the most unease and doubt.

The idea of sitting behind a desk and working for someone else fills me with so much dread I’d rather vomit onto a porcupine then lick it up. I have to be creative. I cannot and will not settle for anything less. Sounds dramatic and I suppose it is. For the first time in my life the thought of permanence and routine bores me - this used to be the safety net I would seek out and hold onto desperately to in order to give my life structure. I don’t know what the antidote is but I know I need to step out and embrace my creative side again. I need to be embrace the unknown and allow creativity to flow back into my bones. It scares me as I really don’t really know how to achieve this. I feel like a priest who’s been asked to become an atheist or a dog being ordered to meow. I know what’s involved, I’ve seen other people do it, I just don’t have the tools available to make it the transition. I read the fantastic book ‘The Creative Habit’ by the choreographer Twyla Tharp which has been a great starting block for me as it’s practical and full of sound advice. No airy fairy crap most self-help books insist on preaching. I realise it’s just inexperience and fear that holds me back mostly. Practicality is also an issue, I simply don’t have the funds to suddenly be a full time writer or performer. I went to a talk given by Stephen Sondheim, a musical theatre hero mine and to many other theatre fans. He spoke about his mentor Oscar Hammerstein II and it made me think how envious I was the had someone in his life who saw enough potential in him to be something greater than he was. I’d quite like a mentor. A guiding and enthusing force of good in my life. I can lend my talents towards many things but my concentration and impatience tends to let me down. I am reminded of this constantly with the random notebooks full of ideas stuffed in various bags and boxes of mine, the half finished documents and scripts on my computer or the songs yet to be memorised and technically mastered. I do wonder if it’s cynicism, perhaps indecisiveness or even age that stops me from committing or just a life long habit I have failed to keep in check. To be great at one thing when I have the urge to do a hundred million things all at once. ‘Focus’ is the big word I need to remind myself of over the next few months.

Sorry, what was that?

Move On...

"Stop worrying where you're going - move on. If you can know where you're going, you've gone. Just keep moving on."  'Sunday in the Park with George'.

Over two years ago I moved to Australia. Two years of radical change. Two years of self-discovery. Two years of rest and recuperation. Two years of growth. Two years that needed to happen. If my life was a movie, this would be the penultimate scene right before the end, where phrases like "Well, it's certainly been an adventure!" would be uttered and people would starting hugging each other goodbye as they march off into the sunset. This isn't the kind of adventure I've had at all really. I've still not seen Uluru or been to Western Australia, I've done a few touristy things but certainly not conquered the country or anything - I doubt I ever will either. I'm quite happy for the multitudes of backpackers to continue sampling Australia's sights and sounds I've missed. My adventure here was about prioritising my life, which I admit sounds as thrilling as a tax return party organised by Accountants of Dagenham, but honestly it's probably the best thing I've done with my life.

Not many people get to dissect their life and personality under the cold light of day but "snow globing my life" as I like to call it, has allowed me to do just that. Routine, fear of insecurity and delusion cloud most people from ever having to face this head on and is usually only reserved for for teenagers or 40 year olds going through a midlife crisis. For example, I realise I will always be more comfortable knowing I am doing the exact opposite to everyone else. I loathe it when something I love becomes popular with the masses so I prefer to move on - do something different. I also know I am my most happiest when I'm performing, working within the theatre, understanding 'an audience' and this is something I intend to rectify when I get back to city life.

I get annoyed when people assume I hate Sydney because I want to leave. Why would I want to abandon such a great lifestyle to return to noisy, expensive, economically unstable city they ask? I still think Sydney is a great place to live and fulfills a purpose with it's sun-drenched, hedonistic, carefree lifestyle which the city's inhabitants relish daily. This city has given me a tremendous amount and shown me I'm capable of achieving anything, that spontaneity has it's own unique rewards. You can get drunk on culture in London and thrive off the buzz of New York and a few years ago too much of this 'city life' became overwhelming but I now sorely miss this, I really do.

So, next steps? Well, they're partly out of my control. The one thing I'm sure of is that I have to move on.

Going Home...

At the end of "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" the Pevensie children grow up to be great Kings and Queens after their adventures with Aslan, only to find themselves back in the real world after stumbling across the old lamp post that once brought them to the magical land of Narnia. Even though they have lived a lifetime, nothing has changed since Lucy first stepped through the wardrobe. Australia it seems is my Narnia. I've done a million and one things, grown personally and then some but back in London things haven't changed. I almost felt as though I was bragging unnecessarily when I told friends what I was doing with my life now, as if I was Edmund describing to a row of confused faces, how I slayed a White Witch and befriended a talking Lion.

It's only been two days and I can't quite process how I feel to be back yet, it's been ridiculously familiar but strangely divorced at the same time. Certain elements of my life here have either changed or feel redundant, whether it be my old bedroom or favourite cafe, banter between particular friends and so forth. There's certainly a small amount of personal grieving that comes with the fact nostalgia is the only thing that has kept certain experiences alive.

Thankfully, certain friends have never waivered, their faces beam like giant lighthouses guiding me back safely to what was so great about my life here. These are the people I have longed to spend even just five meager minutes with while I was in Australia. Their news - comforting, their friendship - easy.

So here I am, back in London after two and half years. Right now, and without sounding too new age, I feel as though 'my journey' isn't complete yet. I'm not ready to come home, if I can help it. New York is the definitely the next destination, I just need to secure that opportunity and it will happen. I'm ready for it. If I did have to return to the UK, it wouldn't be so terrible, it would just be harder as I'd have to make a conscious effort to move myself on and not slip back into routine. I've achieved so much since breaking away from my old life, so it would frustrating if I let it take over once more.

Like Edmund and Lucy, I'd like to ensure I have a few more trips back before I have to grow up and settle back home once more.

This Year I...

... became permanent ... created a laughing buddha ... began looking after Glinda and Elphaba ... moved to the most famous beach in the world ... broke both my hands on a date ... got osteoporosis ... had my mum fly 10,000 miles to nurse me ... caught up with some old friends of Jerry ... hit a top C ... watched John Bucchino tinkle the ivories ... got a lawyer ... had physio ... made friends with Brazil and Adelaide ... saw Patti coming up roses ... chipped a tooth on a creme brulee ... was moved to tears by a singing bipolar grieving mother ... saw old friends in the Big Apple ... celebrated my first Thanksgiving ... experienced 30 mins of New York ice hockey ... hung out at Hollywood star's home in LA ... flew with Jack Bauer ... met a boy.

Nobel Gestures...

Lest we forget, 10 months ago one man gave America and the rest of the world included, the hope it needed to convince themselves that 'hope' was possible in times of a global crisis. A global crisis we are still enduring and fighting to overcome. For a period of time, we acknowledged this significant moment in history for what it was and gave it the attention it rightly deserved, attention usually reserved for Angelina Jolie's children or Lindsay Lohan's rehab exploits. America recognised to move on. The nation needed to change its future, its attitude and President Elect Obama was to be this symbol of inspiration. In a frank and anticipated moment before Election Day, people were worried this time in their bruised and battered history would never happen, that another inept, uncharismatic Republican would be elected again and all hopes would be dashed in finally electing someone of true revolutionary value. But the totally unthinkable actually came true. Obama was finally voted into office. A "Goddam black man" as a bemused Texan plantation owner would say, became the most powerful man in the western world.

America needed this to happen. Hell, the whole world needed Obama. So we looked up too. That's right, we took noticed of American politics in a way we never had before and he engaged us with his eloquence and promised with staid humility he would do his best to make his country great again and give his nation the respect from the rest of the world once more. For the first time, cynics were subdued for a little while as we allowed ourselves to be carried by the swell.

But only for a little while.

What is interesting about this week's announcement that President Obama is to be this year's recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, is the fact he himself has been first up to the block to express his complete surprise of being nominated and recognise he has yet to fulfill such a legacy worthy of such a distinguished prize. Despite Obama's seemingly lack of credentials, I congratulate him on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. No, he has not created schools in desolate areas of a third world country or championed civil rights in a part of the world with an oppressive regime. He has yet to fulfill his legacy and like the rest of the world, I hope he lives up to his promise. Obama has done what anyone in his position would do, he has taken the accolade with humility and vowed to do his best to live up to it. Yes, we should be questioning the decisions of Nobel jury, bestowing a prize of this nature puts enormous pressure on him to succeed and is somewhat preemptive. I imagine Republicans are smacking their hands together in glee and anticipation to see "the Great Obama" being set up once again for an even greater fall from grace. It gives the opposition the opportunity to attack and pour criticism over Obama's lack of achievements since he entered the White House. To me, this makes as much sense as attacking Sean Pean for winning Best Actor last year and not the Academy who voted for him.

I worry about the danger of, dare I use the word 'mankind's pessimism'. For us to be united and overcome issues like the global recession or nuclear weapons development, we have to change our mindset and we have to work together. I realise this is an idealistic notion to demand from the cynical selfish world we live in, but past history shows us we are capable of achieving great things in times of crisis if forces work in unison. Is it necessary we have to endure another 9/11 or plunge into further economic crisis for us to be able to do this? Do we really have to perpetuate politician's skepticism so they can prove a point and live up to the reputation of being all rhetoric and no substance or do we allow ourselves to give into something greater? Unfortunately, I have no grand answers to this but I do feel it's important to at least, in some small way, stand up and say "I'm with you, I support what you're doing". I am grateful and have huge admiration for the one man who has managed to get me more politicised and more interested in government than any other politician I've known in my lifetime. I'm probably not the only one who has been influenced by President Obama in this small but important way either. We live in an apathetic world. Where more people vote for the X Factor than in their local elections. We have either been jaded by far too much rhetoric in the past or have grown up simply not caring anymore. But now we have a potential new generation who are inspired again by politics. Now to be able to do that especially for Gen Y, well, that does needs rewarding.

Who Are These People Bill?...

Watch this video for the launch of Windows 7. Actually, you won't watch all of it as you will be left dumbstruck within the first minute.

Who are these people? Are they actually suggesting I host a party to launch a Windows programme? Are they that desperate for people to use this new system they have to hire actors to pretend this is normal behaviour? I'd like to remind Microsoft of the Apple advertising campaigns. Did they honestly think these ads would surpass them somehow? As you can see by the number of question marks used in my first paragraph alone, it has baffled me completely how an ad campaign like this could ever be approved. Actually, scrub that thought, having worked in the industry for far too long, I should know better. There is probably more to write about this hilarious travesty but I will leave you to absorb its great banality for now.