Our Streets

I don’t usually get political on my blog – I don’t usually get political at all – but I feel I should point out a few things that prove that the English Defense League (scum) are just out to cause harm and violence, and why in my opinion anyone openly associating with the group should be arrested for inciting racial hatred in an instant – whether they’ve been on a demonstration or not.

The EDL website says that they are “Peacefully Protesting Against Militant Islam”. Today they came to my home town of Walsall. Why? Read here. The opening statement, “Walsall is not noted for being a centre of Islamic radicalism or militancy” shows that if they are protesting against Militant Islam, they have no need to come to Walsall.

ITV News have reported “A policeman has been injured in Walsall town centre as the EDL clash with police. Eyewitness reports of fireworks, bricks and bottles being thrown through the air.” That hardly sounds Peaceful to me.*

So far the tagline from the EDL website isn’t holding much water – the only bits they’re fulfilling are Protesting and Islam. Sounds like incitement to racial hatred to me. Arrest the lot of ‘em.

The other part I’d like to pull them up on is the common phrase of theirs “Taking back our streets.” Fuck right off – if you have travelled to Walsall to take part in this protest then they are not your streets. As a Walsall resident they are MY streets and the streets of every other resident, including these guys:

Unite Against Fascism & We Are Walsall by Walsall Art Gallery

Unite Against Fascism & We Are Walsall by Walsall Art Gallery

Showing that the English Defence League’s point of view is NOT the opinion of the masses. Also, calling Walsall “a run-down industrial town in the heartland of England” just shows you have no clue what goes on in Walsall, how prominent the creative arts are in Walsall and how fantastic the locals are around here. Walsall is a town to proud of – just look at how great the Bandstand Marathon event was three weeks ago.

Finally a HUGE thank you from the peaceful people of Walsall to West Midlands Police for keeping OUR STREETS safe.

That’s my rant for now, have fun with whatever you’re doing… unless you’re a member of the EDL kicking off in my home town, in which case I hope you enjoy your stay in jail – you deserve it.
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*Addition: Video of missiles thrown at the police here.


Chapter 10,804: In which I look like a Punk Rock Liberace.

Well I’ve finally recovered from Robin Hood and The Giant, with a bit of time to relax before rehearsals begin in October for The Alchemist and The Devil. My little brother turned up on show day and stayed to watch all three performances, afterwards he said he’d like to get involved in the next one. Earlier this week I found out that my older brother has been press-ganged into the project through some of the others in the cast and band. So if all goes well, come along and watch the three of us performing together – for the first time publicly. If you would like to get involved, check out the Bayard’s Colts’ project page – details of how to get involved should be going up soon. Some more photos from the show have appeared online here if you would like to have a look. Thanks to Smudger Stu for posting these up.

Half Pirate Jimm Yaharr! / Half Jimm Rennie

This Thursday I finally appeared at one of the most highly respected comedy nights in the West Midlands. While I have been performing stand-up over the last couple of years, almost everybody I have met have played the Hollybush in Cradley Heath. I finally got around to contacting the landlord/promoter when I saw he had free spots open over the next few months.

What can I say? The experience did not disappoint and the audience seemed to enjoy themselves. Unfortunately there was not much time after I finished my set before I had to leave to catch the last train to Birmingham and then the last bus home from there. To ensure I made the last train I took off the majority of my Pirate Jimm Yaharr! accessories, changed back out of my boots into normal shoes and threw my jacket on over my shirt. As a result I ended up looking like either a New Romantic throw-back or a trend-setter for the Nu-New Romantic genre which I’ve never heard of before, so you can probably guess it was more likely the first option. Oh well, I didn’t get as many funny looks as I thought I might so I may start this Nu-New Romantic look and see if it catches on.

In upcoming attractions news, tomorrow (Sunday 9th Sept.) I’ll be wandering around Walsall Arboretum trying to generally entertain, once again as Pirate Jimm Yaharr! as part of the Bandstand Marathon. There will be loads of great attractions on throughout the day for all the family, including an arts & crafts fair, street entertainers and the live musical acts of the marathon itself. It is also a chance for folk to have a look around the newly restored Arboretum and the Gallery Garden (where there will be loads of crafty-type events). Click on the link and click through to find out exactly what’s going on where and when. It should be a fantastic day – and weatherwise it looks like it’ll be a lovely day, bring a sun hat folks!

If you are more Birmingham based then I would suggest you check out Artsfest this weekend. Loads to do, loads going on, loads to get excited about. I would like to especially plug like crazy the band my older brother is in The Grey Goose Blues Band, who are playing the BBC WM Introducing stage from 7:30pm on Sunday.

Have fun with whatever you’re up to this weekend and I hope you enjoy the sunshine that has suddenly appeared now that Summer is drawing to a close.


“#Come gather ’round you Walsall folk, come make a mighty crowd…”

And they did.

A few hundred people came to watch the three performances of Robin Hood and the Giant on Saturday and as far as I’m aware a good time was had by all – even by the audiences that had to briefly shelter under cover when the heavens opened upon our playing space. I have already seen plenty of photos kicking around facebook from the show, hopefully these will also find themselves onto a publicly accessible site at some point (although these already are accessible to all). I noticed a fair few videos being filmed as well so hopefully they too will surface. There was a professional group of archivists taking pics and filming the shows and I will post up links to these when they have been edited and uploaded.

If you have any footage, stills or video, of our performance, please feel free to upload it somewhere and tell me or the guys at the Bayard’s Colts Project.

Although the show was tiring, it was very rewarding. During our brief processional following the first performance the Mayor of Walsall reached out to shake my hand, which I can only assume means he enjoyed my role – probably the bits where I was dead and lying in the street. My favourite critique of all time came via one of my fellow cast members, Tony Barrett – the Tat Man for those who saw the show, as he tried to get some audience feedback from one child. Apparently the conversation went something like this:

Tat Man – “Did you enjoy that?”
Child      – “Yeah.”
Tat Man – “What was your favourite part?”
Child      – “When ‘e died.”
Tat Man – “You mean the Giant?”
Child      – “Nah. Robin Hood.”
Tat Man – “Why did you like it when Robin died?”
Child      – “‘Coz he was a show-off!”

With comments like that I think it’s safe to say I did the job that was put in front of me… and I had a bloody fun time while I was doing it!

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The next play in the Bayard’s Colts cycle of mummery, The Alchemist and The Devil will be performed on Saturday 10th November. Rehearsals will begin on Wednesday 3rd October. If you would like to be involved then please get in contact with the director, Glen Buglass. His details can be found here (second set of details on that page).

I’ll leave you to enjoy your Bank Holiday Monday now. Have fun whatever you’re doing and I’ll bring you another thrilling installment of stuff I do next week.


Just a quick note to say…

Please don’t forget that I am appearing in Robin Hood & The Giant tomorrow (at time of posting). Also there is a slight update to my projects page as I found out this morning I have a part in a play. The premier performance isn’t until April next year but the company are also looking to gain funding to tour the show – possibly next year’s fringe too… Exciting times!

I’ll post a proper update either Sunday or Monday once the show’s over. Have fun with whatever you’re up to over this bank holiday weekend… well, whatever else you’re up to other than coming to see me in Robin Hood & The Giant [have I mentioned that at all?].


A plug and other stuff

First off, a MASSIVE PLUG! I’m in this next Saturday, come along – it’s free:

Saturday 25th August - 12noon, 2pm & 4pm

Robin Hood and the Giant

 

Next up: Following my rant about the spam regarding SEO I checked what search results have led people to this blog. Most of the phrases bringing people here are sensible ones related to me – Jimm Rennie, Pirate Jimm Yaharr!, Turnstyle Theatre, etc. – although there are a couple that surprised me “40+ lady” and “lady with gsoh” which I can only guess picked up this post. So I think my SEO is pretty much bang on.

Also, I’ve noticed that recently that I’ve had a couple of referrals from a website called The YamYam which looks like a pretty cool site for a load of Black Country based news, info, events and blogs so I’d like to say thanks to the folks at The YamYam and suggest that maybe you, my dear readers, should check it out some time.

The past week has been enjoyable. Good food on Monday evening with my in-laws and family from that side at The Old Irish Harp and more great food on Thursday afternoon with my side of the family at my Granny’s 80th birthday lunch at Fairlawns. Last Friday saw us regulars at the Black Country Arms send off the boss and some of her staff as they embark on the exciting task of opening a new pub in Wolverhampton, The Lych Gate Tavern – and when I say new pub, I mean new… it was offices before the renovation, another in the same brand of real ale houses. The new bosses have started settling in at the BCA and I’ve popped in a couple of times this week for various reasons (the main one being to quaff a good ale) and this Friday I enjoyed introducing my mate Mike to Attitude at the Stein Bar as well as the guys that run it.

I’ve got a week off work now so time to catch up with a few things – tidying the garden, sorting my study, learning lines for an audition, rehearsals for Robin Hood & the Giant (next Saturday in case you missed the poster above), reading through a friend’s comic book script, sending off a lighting design I’ve been freelancing on, sending an initial draft script to a producer friend for possible production (watch this space), writing the script for a play idea I had and have been asked to draft, continuing my exercise regime at the gym and, if there’s time, chilling out for a bit.

Have fun with whatever you’re up to folks, I’ll catch you later.


I got a comment – it was spam

I received a comment on my last post. It got dumped straight into my spam folder but I thought I’d have a look anyway. I wasn’t going to approve the comment, but I thought I’d send a reply to the e-mail address supplied – it made me feel better at least. Here it is:

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Hi Nicole,

I would like to reply to your comment left on my blog which I have included for reference:

Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword….wait there’s even more Now what if i told you there was a simple WordPress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That’s right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at. WordPress Seo Plugin” [link deactivated on purpose for posting to blog]

There are several problems I have with this unsolicited advertising:

  1. Hello Web Admin” – I am not a web admin, I am a blogger using a basic WordPress layout.
  2. I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing…” – Your opening sentence contains a basic grammatical error (repetition of the word “is”), probably put there to make this automated comment appear to be written especially for me. If this had been personally written for me then, apart from being addressed to me, rather than “Web Admin”, you would have also proof-read the message to ensure errors like this are not made. It gives a VERY bad impression and would put most people off dealing with you straight away – thereby undermining your entire advertising campaign.
  3. …also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization.” – You are perfectly right on this one, because I don’t want to use bold or italics for SEO optimization. I want to use them for emphasis and therefore use them as they were intended to be used!
  4. There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword” – There are 2 links in the post you commented on linking within my site and a huge picture in the middle of it with my name on the alt tag. I can’t really see any reason to search for my blog other than by my name so the advice you are giving me is stuff I’m already doing. I’m beginning to think you didn’t even read my blog post.
  5. just watch this 4minute video for more information at. WordPress Seo Plugin” [link deactivated on purpose for posting to blog] – Oh, you want me to visit your site (probably full of loads more advertising that is not relevant to me) and watch a video… Why didn’t you just ask me to do that in the first place?! I wont, and I still wouldn’t had you asked right out, but it could have saved my time reading all that drivel about SEO.
  6. Type in paragraphs. It makes it easier for people to read and understand.
  7. Don’t keep repeating SEO and On-Page SEO if you are not going to explain what it actually is – Search Engine Optimization.
  8. This is a personal blog and I don’t care about getting people to view my trifle of a site unless they are either a] friends / family, b] interested in hiring me as an actor, comedian, technician or writer, c] have worked with me in any of the formerly mentioned capacities in the past. In all three cases there would be no particular need of viewing my blog unless there had previously been some real world contact. If anybody else wants to stumble across my site and read, that’s up to them.
  9. The only thing I would want people to be able to search for to find my site is my name. This is in the URL, in the page name, in the page title, marked as author of all material (bar comments) published on the site and features repeatedly on my contact page. As I have a rather rare spelling of my first name, searching for my name gives links to information about me in 8 of the top ten results on Google – the first being the blog you commented on.

So as you can see, your advertising is flawed, I have no need of your services and if you had actually looked at the page rather than spamming my comments you would have seen that my SEO if already in place without me even trying.

Kindly fuck off and stop sending out this utter tripe.

Jimm Rennie
(Google me, you’ll find my blog – you’ll also find I deleted your comment!)

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And if there is a real person receiving that e-mail and they check out the blog, they’ll now find I’ve published the e-mail I sent them. I can be a bit of a git sometimes.


The Blogger Returns

OOOPS! I haven’t blogged since the end of April while I was still in New York. Sorry folks, but I would like to state once more that I warned you I’d be an unreliable blogger.

So, what’s been happening since I last posted?

May:
Starting the month in New York with my beloved other half we flew back on a Thursday evening, landing on Friday morning and I headed straight out to Telford for yet another Teknicolour Smoof comedy night. The whole Pirate comedy routine is going well.
A few days after that I had an M.R.I. scan to try and figure out why I have partial hearing loss in one ear. The results came in as inconclusive so they’re just going to keep monitoring my hearing through annual checks.
Towards the end of the month I took part in my first Gong show and got sent off after my first two minutes. I blame tech break downs that left me with only being able to hear myself through a speaker right next to my hearing-aid wearing ear and therefore that’s why people said afterwards that they couldn’t hear me – because I thought I was too loud when I wasn’t at all.

June:
Didn’t we all enjoy the Jubilee?
June was relatively quiet apart from Saturday 16th which was really loud as I went to see Blink-182 in concert. They were fantastic.
In work related news for June, the team I’m part of won the 2012 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Customer Service.

Winners 2012 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Customer Service

A great night was had at the awards ceremony but I can’t help wondering why an event that requires blokes to wear suits and ladies to wear posh frocks would serve every course of the meal (including the veggie alternative main) with some sort of red source [melon with berry compote, chicken in red wine sauce or veggie thing with tomato sauce, eton mess with more compote]? Were the kitchen and waiting staff playing a game of “who’ll get the most splatters on their shirt front?”
The end of June also saw me begin ‘Operation BGBG: Beer-Gut-Be-Gone’ in which I’ve joined a gym that’s just opened up in town. So far so good, results to follow.

July:
July started with my second Gong show. No technical glitches this time. I ended up beating the gong and surviving the first of the finalist votes. The promoter sounded a bit shocked when he said that I was actually rather good and even conceded that May’s misfortune was probably due to the PA problems.
This month also included our 5th wedding anniversary and I’d like to thank everyone who posted such nice comments on our Facebook walls.
A few potential projects had been mentioned over the last few months and in July these began to see fruition in one way or another

  • I have been commissioned to design the lighting for a friend’s theatre tour of an original show called “The Inferno Kid”.
  • I have been cast in the role of Robin Hood in a modern mummers’ farce, the first in a cycle of plays regarding Bayard’s Colts. (Performance details on my Projects page). I will hopefully be involved in the complete cycle of four plays being presented throughout the coming 12 months.
  • I have been invited to audition for the lead role in a T.V. adaptation of a graphic novel. Details to follow as and when I’m allowed to say.

August:
Well we’re only a few days in but already I celebrated a mate’s 40th birthday, I have an audition for CurlyTash Productions’ inaugural play “Blank Paige” and I’ve managed to get myself involved in a family funday type event because I think the booker thought I was a general piratey entertainer rather than a pub performing stand-up comic used to adult audiences – oh well, I’m getting paid for it and I’m sure I can sort out a censored version of my usual buccaneer banter to use in front of the kiddies!

***Additional info on the “family funday type event” as I called it above***
I wrote the part above just after receiving a phone call booking me for this event and didn’t really question it much. After further investigation, this is not the local council putting on a pleasant little summer fête, this is actually the local contribution to Bandstand Marathon, a huge event taking place in 500 places around the U.K. at the same time on the same day. This is coinciding with the final day of the London 2012 Paralymic Games and has been described by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, as “an end of show party to end all end of show parties” for the Olympic and Paralymic Games and the Cultural Olympiad.

So, aside from accidentally getting involved in what is recognised by LOCOG as part of the biggest closing event for London 2012, it looks as though my acting is picking up. I have started to book in a couple of stand-up gigs between now and Christmas and I am currently working on a couple of writing projects (aside from Turnstyle Theatre scripts and the Cantata). To keep up to date with where you can see me perform and in what capacity, as well as my various writings and ideas then please have a look at my Projects page. I would also like to point out that I have recently been supporting a relatively new rock night in Walsall every Friday night at The Stein Bar. Please come along and join me for a drink some time as I believe in supporting the local rock scene and the guys running the night have some awesome events coming soon.

That’s about it for now and I will try to once again resume my weekly chronicles. Have fun with whatever you’re up to and enjoy the weekend.