The Wonderful World of Forkbeard Fantasy

January 13th, 2013 by Bernadette

Last week for three days I ventured to deepest darkest Devon for my first course with the amazing Forkbeard Fantasy (http://forkbeardfantasy.co.uk/), as part of my R&D for our show 366 Days Of Kindness.

We’re lucky enough to have received Arts Council Funding to make this new show, and I’m reading Aristotle and the Dalai Lama and trying to remember what I did when during the year!

I have long been an admirer of Forkbeard Fantasy’s madcap theatre/animation/puppet/interactive film shows (these words do not do justice to how amazing they are) and this few days was mostly spent learning the basics of Final Cut Pro with Robin Thorburn. By the end of three days I had three films! One is posted here, more to follow… but before that here’s some pics of their studio and some of the amazing props made by Penny.

In the summer they run week long courses, all accommodation and grub thrown in, so check out their website and join me in the summer if you fancy a bit of steampunk film/theatre/multimedia making. Except I shouldn’t say steampunk because I don’t think they like it…

 

September 16th 2010

December 13th, 2012 by Bernadette

September 16th 2010

Podcast 5 – Interview with Bernadette about 366 days of kindness.

September 28th, 2012 by Gareth

Hello All

Have a listen to this interview with Bernadette about her brilliant year of kindness in the all new podcast.

Please leave some feedback and a rating. If you do I will jump over 10 cars and a small dog in December.

To Listen directly go to the following link:

http://whiterabbitpresents.podbean.com/

Or download from itunes:

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/podcast-5-366-days-kindness/id543504687?i=121657347

 

 

#366daysofkindness Chapter 17 August 2012.

August 17th, 2012 by Bernadette

1st August 2012

Went to see my exhibition at Woolfson and Tay gallery in Bermondsey, they have done a great job of displaying it. Plus left a beautiful teeny tiny notebook as a gift for whoever visits first!

a gift for my first visitor

 

2nd August 2012

Just donated to www.karuna.org.uk. Thanks to Judi Hughes for telling me about them and their amazing work. They are working to develop a forest gardening and permaculture site in Shropshire – Janta, Merav and their two boys at Karuna – Judi said, “they’re working so hard to make the world a better place and could do with some kind words and support”

 

3rd August 2012

For the lovely family who run cafe at Jackson’s Lane Theatre without whom I would have perished of malnutrition the last few weeks, whilst making “Death and Gardening” with Wet Picnic.

At Jackson's Lane Theatre

 

4th August 2012

Today I discovered one of my neighbours trying to shove her sofa through a window so she could redecorate. I tried to help. It was like watching a cat giving birth to a calf. But we did it. I mostly served as encouragement as my shoving was rubbish.

Shove it!

 

5th August 2012

On the way back from Wivelsfield I saw a man asleep. I left this on the seat next to him with a note saying ” a present for when you wake up” Then I realized I probably should have woken him in case he missed his stop. Doh.

A gift for sleepy head

 

6th August 2012

Ooo, I’ve had a right bloody day. First- I dropped my phone in tea, then I got a really mean email from someone, and I had to walk around my studio a bit thinking about the Dalai Lama to calm down (this is what I do now) then every single thing I tried to do went a bit wrong. So, I had a quick clear out of a cupboard, bagged up a load of stuff for the charity shop, and took it there. The man in the shop said I couldn’t take his picture as he looks too old and he’d break my camera (the amount of people that say exactly that) I said:

“Don’t be daft. Come on, you might get a proposal off someone when they’ve seen you on my facebook page”

Him: “Go on then”

Me: “Look if you let me take your photo, I’ll come back tomorrow with more stuff. Yes, that is blackmail”

For Sense in Deptford High Street, who by the way are really short of donations and will take anything, so they say (including compliments and bribes)

This cheered me up. That and the chat I had with Patrick from Birmingham on the 188 home, and the chat I had with the Gentlemen’s Drinking Club underneath Deptford Station. Always, always, it cheers me up.

Sense in Deptford

7th August 2012

My mate is growing her armpit hair for charity. This has tickled me, so I made a donation. She might tickle me herself with the hair when it grows, if I’m lucky. It’s for Verity, the polycystic ovaries self help group. Today I was really kind a lot because a. I have a new phone and this put a spring in my step and b. I was laughing out loud as Dawn French’s book is hilarious. I gave the Big Issue woman some money but said I didn’t want the paper. She asked me why

Me: Honestly, because I have two copies already

Her: That’s weird

Me: I know. It’s a long story.

I was gonna carry on talking to her but she was very popular and didn’t need my rabbit. Plus she already thought I was a nutter.

8th August 2012

So, I’m in Hoxton, as my friend persuaded me to go to a life drawing class, even though I can’t draw to save my life. I was having a cuppa (unfashionably early as usual) when along comes this man

Man: Excuse me, I hope you don’t mind me saying, but you look like the actress who plays Judy Garland

Me: O. I thought Judy Garland played Judy Garland

Man: Anyway, bye…

Me: Wait a minute! I have been looking for someone to give this “unbirthday present” to, will you accept it? In exchange for a photo?

Man: Yes! Thanks.

(As I am getting ready to take picture)

Man: My Dad was a psychic, and I knew as soon as I saw you that you’d have a beautiful soul

Me: Thanks very much. Hold still a minute

Man: I was the nesquik baby you know

Me: What?

Man: I was a child model

Me: O. Wow!

Man: Thanks for the present. Bye.

Happy Unbirthday!

9th August 2012

357th day of kindness- watched amazing Usain Bolt smash 200 meters, had the most beautiful walk on the Southbank from the London Eye nearly all the way home, during which I kept thinking “London is really showing off right now”. Gave all the money I had in my purse to the man who sleeps opposite the roman ruins near The Clink in London Bridge.

10th August 2012

356th day of kindness. This is Derek. I bumped him wandering around Greenwich; he was looking for the cable car thingy. I took him to the DLR and helped him work out the route. On the way we had a chat

Me: So what do you do Derek?

Derek: I retired a long time ago. But I used to be a banker in the City

Me: O I see. You’re one of them boys

Derek: No not one of them boys. In those days it wasn’t like it is now. In those days there was just a few people laundering dirty money

Me: Not like now, all gambling with other people’s money

Derek: Exactly.

Derek

11th August 2012

357th day of kindness

My sis and me queued with many others to have our pic taken with torch at Excel, but they said they had run out of time. Children started to get teary, so we let the kids go in front then they extended the time so all kids and us big kids got pics taken with torch. Then we gave our seats to a family, made a card for a neighbour and stuck it in their letterbox and offered to make cups of tea to the firemen down our road. Good girls.

for a neighbour

12th August 2012

358th day of kindness- bought some ring doughnuts (Olympic theme there, geddit?) for the AMAZING and permanently cheerful/ nice/ helpful volunteers @Greenwich Park.

Amazing volunteers

.

13th August 2012

Today, for a lady in this shop, looking like she was having a stressful day, a bunch of flowers and a card.

Soho

 

14th August 2012

As the Post Office have been such a big part of this year, always delivering (yeah, I know it’s cooler to slag them off, but they have been BRILLIANT) I made them a card and took a load of yumyums to the collection office. They were literally speechless. One of them hid and wouldn’t have his picture taken!

Post Office

15th August 2012

Volunteered at Surrey Docks Farm and made a donation- so I can carry on the kindness after these last few days are up have been looking for somewhere local to volunteer

Surrey Docks Farm

16th August 2012

Free beer at Evelyn Street! Left this beer on the doorstep. Gone in 5 minutes. I am told it is pretty good beer!

free beer!

 

17th August 2012

Hee Hee! I just called a total stranger and wished him happy birthday! This was brilliant! I considered singing but I had a bit of a croaky voice and decided this would be terrifying. He is one of twins and he said his actual birthday was tomorrow so I’ll call his bruv then. Thanks to Jo Goodwin for an excellent start to my last day of kindness!

Then my sister, my nephew and my friend Kirsty and I went back to Lower Road Post Office where my whole year of kindness began. I bought them a cake and a plant, and wrote a card explaining what had happened this year. They gave us free drinks and told us about this lady who brings them a ton of sweets in every Christmas. It seemed like a really fitting end to the year, to go back to where I started, but shortly afterwards, my sister and I found a small boy crying in Canada Water station, as he and his big brother had been playing too rough and he hurt his arm. We bought him a packet of Magic Stars and chatted to him till he felt better.

Off he skipped. Lovely end to the year.

back to the beginning

 

What now? My friend Sharon Calcutt is carrying the torch of kindness, by commencing her own year of kindness from tomorrow. And I will carry on, and get a chance to do a few of the things I didn’t have time to do this year.

Letter to Post Office

 

This whole year… best thing I have ever done.

 

Podcast four – Edinburgh week Two

August 13th, 2012 by Gareth

Hello all

Here is the new podcast for your pleasure . To listen directly follow this link….http://whiterabbitpresents.podbean.com/2012/08/12/podcast-4-edinburgh-festival-special-week-two/  or to download from itunes use this link….http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/podcast-4-edinburgh-festival/id543504687?i=119291697

#366 days of kindness- Chapter 16- July 2012

August 8th, 2012 by Bernadette

1st July

I was at the Whitechapel interchange for the Overground line, super weary after an extremely long journey home from Brum. At the top of the stairs was a lady struggling with her buggy, hurrying to get the train, at the bottom was a tiny boy with his lip trembling. I scooped him up and carried to his Mum and they made the train, I was like a friendly child catcher. This used the last of my strength. I hope someone will scoop me up soon.

2nd July

Helped blind man get good seat on train, & a man with bad hip walk up stairs. Thought a lot about how trains are a bit rubbish for those with mobility challenges

3td July

I just sponsored Inside Out Heritage project with Sponsume for #366daysofkindness. If you think this is a boring one- consider- I started work at 9am and have just got home! In between I only saw people I know. Tomorrow I will try to do something more adventurous.

4th July

Gave my friends Grandad a ukulele lesson -he had wanted to learn for a long time and is George Formby fan! Great fun

Matt Feerick's granddad

5th july

A girl was fast asleep on the train back from Winchester when I got into Waterloo.I tried to wake her up. The first time she just wriggled and settled herself in. The second time I tried she said ” get off” then woke up embarrassed. I got her a bottle of water and showed her where the tube was. I think she’d had a “good day!”

Plus today I got this lovely message from “Simona Marletta” on Facebook

“hello bernadette. i just wanted you to know that the card you gave me hasn’t moved from under my pillow. it reads “make a wish, sleep with this under your pillow…it might just come true”. i keep wishing for better things to happen, in the meantime i look at the card and that, in itself, puts a smile on my face… thank you, hope to meet you one day”

July 6th

U-oh tummy bug has struck! Left an umbrella outside the house with a note saying ” this is a free umbrella- please take it. I prefer to get wet. ” It disappeared within 1/2 hour but I didn’t see who took it.

 

7th July

A card posted to remind someone of the endless possibilities of life, as suggested by Charlotte Dubery. I have been writing about Death for the new Wet Picnic show Death and Gardening and it is giving me a “seize the day” mindset!

A card through the post as suggested by Charlotte Dubery

8th July

In Kingston I met this waitress from Cork, she and I discussed the English Market there, and Paradiso and all the other brilliant things about Cork. I had haaloumi tandoori (I know!- “fusion”- lush!) after the storytelling gig we did for the festival. I also drank a glass of prosecco really fast. I gave her a golden envelope containing a lottery ticket and attempted to explain what I was doing but… the prosecco was talking. She seemed half charmed and half scared. Anyway, hope she wins

Golden ticket!

9th July

Just sneaked this into a letterbox. A mysterious card and some sweets. A man stared from the opposite house as he saw me taking pics.

Sneaky

10th July

Made a thankyou card for the man who makes The Best Coffee in Highgate. He wasn’t there. I left it by the tips jar and told the lady in there to give it to him. She gave me a bit of a look. Think I started a rumour….

A tip!

11th July

This morning, I went back to The Best Coffee in Highgate place, and the guy was there opening the card as I went in, it was amazing! He read it out and said ” Bernadette, who’s that?” I thought about remaining mysterious then thought it might be wierd later on if I am with someone and they say my name and he’ll think I’m a stalker. So I said “it’s me!” he said I made his week. First time all year I have seen someone open the card I secretly left.

So, the saga of the Best Coffee in Highgate continues a bit, as I found out the waitress who found the card I left for the man had thought it was for her, as it was her birthday the day before, so she thought it was from a friend as a surprise. SO I got her a birthday card and a little present. I am not gonna bother them, apart from in a normal getting a coffee way, again.

Happy Birthday stranger!

12th July

Nipped in and out of Latitude Festival to perform in Stan’s Cafe’s “Just Price of Flowers” before returning to rehearsals of Wet Picnic’s “Death and Gardening”. Spent total of 5 hours at the festival, the shortest time I have managed ever, and left rather reluctantly after scoffing a veggie hotdog, just as the rain started. This is Nicky who kindly gave me a lift through the mud in his buggy. I gave him some rolos.

Not just my last rolo, all of them!

13th July

At Toynbee Studios to do our Olympic themed storytelling show “Winners and Losers” including egg and spoon races! Found out it was this lady’s birthday during show. Got everyone to sing Happy Birthday to her and cobbled together a present and card. Great show. Ended with an Olympic Swearing Competition.

Happy Birthday Sam!

 

14th July

Hee Hee. Just getting ready for my Exhibition at Woolfson and Tay- left this in the books section

A small surprise

15th July

Today, my oyster card slipped out of its folder and fell onto the tracks as I was getting off tube. I had to explain myself to the guard, and was expecting trouble

Him: That is bad luck

Me: I know!

Him: Go through

Me: Really

Him: Yes. You can’t have more bad luck

Me: You are the nicest underground staff person, you are absolutely the best one. Plus you have a smile like a ray of sunshine

Him: O my God! (laughs)

His colleague: Oy! I heard that! What about me?!

Me: And you. You both are. I’d like to give you a reward but I don’t have one

Him: You can get us a coffee tomorrow

Me: OK.

I will do. Sometimes that’s enough. Just a little compliment.

I also donated to Big Isssue sponsored bike ride.

16th July

Today I recieved a beautiful anonymous package through the post. Beautifully wrapped  It is gorgeous. It contained a phone jacket with Alice in Wonderland on it. Whoever it was THANKYOU xxx

Went to the charity shop in Highgate. I thought I’d leave something in one of the second hand bags, so I made a little note saying “this is a magic bag, everytime you use it you will have an extremely lucky day” and I put a pound in it. Then I tried to take a picture but the woman in the shop was looking at me wierdly and I got skittish.

17th July

Received this lovely message via Facebook from from Audacity Chutzpah

“I’ve never even met Bernadette Russell but she still inspires me to be kinder. Thanks love. Given that we’re neighbours and have much in common I’m sure our paths will cross soon!”

Just left small card and gift inside “the actor’s handbook” in 2nd hand book shop. Figured anyone trying to be an actor in the current climate deserves a gift.

Acting surprise

18th July

So, out of the house between 7.30am- 10.30pm, most of the time in a black box with Matt Feerick shouting “cue sperm” and other such Wet Picnic madness, like a porn set it was in Jacksons Lane today, nearly home and remembered I hadn’t done a kindness. I mean, I’d smiled etc, but hadn’t gone out of my way. I ran to the busstop and saw a young woman

Me: Hello, do you like chocolate?

Her: er… yes

Me: Would you like this (nice lindt orange chocolate)

Her: Are you sure?

Me: I don’t like chocolate and you’d actually be doing me a favour. I’m on a mission.

Her: Ok. Thanks

I ran off. I hope this was a kindness.

19th July

I have had the mentalist journey home, culminating in meeting a man on 43 who claimed to be a mathematician who knew the beach boys who tried to teach me Esperanto. Left this on the tube. After the crazy man I didn’t have it in me to approach anyone

Wonder who got it?

20th July

Met these two tigers on the tube after a very long day.

Me: Where have you two cats been?

Tiger 1: Late night at London Zoo

Me: You look amazing

Tiger 2: Thanks

Me: I know you’re not supposed to feed the animals but would you accept a small gift?

(I had some munchies)

Tiger 1: er…

Tiger 2: yes please

Friend of the tigers: You’ve made them very happy.

Me: They’ve made me happy.

After this I went to Canada Water tube and gave a man sheltering in the doorway a bit of money. Feel slightly mental.

Tigers with the munchies

21st July

So today I was at the bus stop and there was a lady in a pea green coat. ( no owl, no pussycat)

Me: I love your coat

Then she smiled. The best smile I have ever seen. I had to say something

Me: that’s a great smile. You are beautiful.

Her: thanks. ( she giggled, I felt myself blush and feel stupid)

Me: I love green

Her: me too. And I forgot I even had this coat, it’s really cheered me up

Me: and me

We had a chat and then I kept seeing her, and we kept seeing ” hello” and smiling at the coincidence of making the long journey from deptford to Highgate.her green coat brightened up my bleary eyed morning. Then I got home to this amazing present from my friends Anna Sinfield and Abby Butcher. I seem to be getting a lot of gifts now….

It's all coming back to me...

22nd July

I was waiting for a call from Debbie McGee. Not every day you get to say that.She was interviewing Viktor and myself for the Wet Picnic show “Death and Gardening” She was as nice as you’d expect. I did like her (a lot)

Found out my neighbour had heart attack ( only 42!) so made her this card hopefully will be able to help her with shopping etc

23rd July

I carried around this fiver, waiting for someone to ask me for some money. I had it for 3 hours till anyone asked for money. In the end I gave it to a man and his dog.

24th July

Today I met a lady called Cindy on Russell Street in Covent Garden , in a sweet shop called Hope and Glory. I went in and she was drinking a bottle of water, she said she loved the weather but was parched. I went back later and bought her a bottle of orange juice. She gave me a giant lollipop. Everyone’s a winner.

sweet enough already

25th July

Today I helped a woman on an extremely busy train to Brighton find a place for her rucksack. That train was like a cattle truck. There was a lot of rage. I am staying in Brighton as I never ever want to get on a train again. Or at least until the Olympics has gone.

26th July

I thought I’d say yes to the first person that asked me for anything, and this totally charming man asked me to do a monthly wotsit for a charity he worked for but he asked me not to say which one he works for, so I won’t. He says they’re not allowed, and then he had to take his work t shirt off for the picture. I signed up and we had a chat for a bit.

27th July olypmics

Just donated to sports aid after watching that extraordinary Olympic opening ceremony. Had to really.. I am massively over excited and tipsy.

28th July

This is my neighbour who owns the newsagents near me. For 32 years he gets up at 5.30am and finishes work at 12.30pm, he gets up a bit later on Sundays. He’s always cheerful. He told me this just when we were chatting about work. I asked his son what he might like for a present, as I thought he deserved one, so I got him a bottle of JD as suggested. It was difficult to get him to accept it at first, then he was really chuffed.One of my favourites ever.

29th July

Winging it’s way to Northampton for as suggested by Ursula Dares

30th July

Wrote to and donated to Pussy Riot You can write to them here: pussriotsolidarity@gmail.com or read about them here: http://freepussyriot.org/

 

 

31st July

Winging it’s way to Wellingborough as recommended by Ava Bonham-Garter

That’s it for this month!

18th Days To Go folks!

 

Podcast three – Edinburgh Festival Special

August 2nd, 2012 by Gareth

Hello

We have been in edinburgh now for 5 days, 10 hours and 32 seconds. We have eaten, drunk, had one of our cast members fall of stage and end up overnight in hospital. I have ran to the sea and eaten meat by mistake.

Here is the first of many edinburgh podcasts – if you want to get involved as a guest, pop me a line on gareth@thewhiterabbit.org.uk

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/podcast-3-edinburgh-festival/id543504687?i=118847457&mt=2

 

or to listen

http://whiterabbitpresents.podbean.com/2012/08/01/podcast-3-edinburgh-festival-special-day-one/

The Detective Show and Podcast Number 2

July 30th, 2012 by Gareth

Hello All

I am in Edinburgh and have just done a tech at our lovely venue. I am working with People Show on THE DETECTIVE SHOW that is running everyday from the 1st August to the 27th August at Assembly George Square at 7:30. Here’s a link:

 http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/theatre/people-show-121-the-detective-show

It’s great fun and I hold a cucumber

 

 

 

 

 

Podcast Two

The second podcast is up and running. A meaty chat with Slot Machine about immersive theatre. Sorry about quality, but I am useless and learning quickly. It will get better.

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/podcast-2-its-all-about-you/id543504687?i=118657040&mt=2

We will be running a frequent podcast from Edinburgh itself and if you are up here and want to get involved. Please email me on gbbrierley@thewhiterabbit.org.uk

 

PODCAST – Episode One – In the begining

July 11th, 2012 by Gareth

 

 Hello all

So this is it. This is how I have been spending my time. I feel like I have entered the Matrix while setting up this podcast. Episode one is up and running. It’s going to be a informal arts chat with special guests. In the first we have guests Mark Long, Laura Milnes and Sarah Clews all talking about how they began making theatre. Are we prepared in education for the art world? When do you get paid? Was it easier in the 60’s? Listen out for  a special George Khan exit mid way.

This is going to be the first of many podcast covering a range of subjects. Please email me at gareth@thewhiterabbit.org.uk if you want to get involved as a guest. On write to me if you want us to discuss certain subjects. No juggling.

We will be on ITUNES very soon so look out for that. But please leave a comment, a rating and enjoy.

 

#366daysofkindness Chapter 15 June 2012

July 9th, 2012 by Bernadette

June

This month, my lovely friend Matt Feerick joined me, doing acts of kindness every day whilst on holiday in Toronto. He also did a massive, heart stopping, amazing one for me.

To have a look at it, go here:

http://www.thesecretact.com/The_Secret_Act/Welcome.html

It made me, and loads of other people, cry buckets. Thanks Matt xxx

 

1st June

In Birmingham rehearsing Just Price of Flowers with Stan’s Café.

Coming back into London via the dreaded Euston, heard man singing ‘My Girl’. Cheesy I know, but beautifully sung. I gave him some money

Me: can I take your picture?

Him:(singing) yes

That earned him an extra 50p

 

2nd June

In London preparing for our Jubilee storytelling show. A friend of my friend Lucinda Townsend is planning a charity cycle challenge around the Isle of Wight on 19th June (to celebrate his 50th birthday!) so sponsored him. He is raising money for homelessness, which is a cause close to my heart.

3rd June

Battersea Park – Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant

I did loads of kind things today. It was easy. Some days it is. I gave loads of sweets and crowns away to kids at Battersea and to my neighbours and I waved the flag for Anarchy at The Alternative Village Fete at Battersea. I performed a story about the Queen spending the night with a transvestite in Soho. Such a crazy day. A day of food kindness!

4th June

Little bit mystic, this. Out I venture, to leave something in the phone box as I haven’t left the house all day and I haven’t done a single kind thing. Today is my 291st day of kindness. I’ve just started wondering if it’ll feel strange when I have finished….

5th June

Back to Birmingham for more rehearsals of Just Price of Flowers

This man approached me at Birmingham station. He started telling me about needing money for the night. I was late and sort of stuffed money in his hand and rushed off. I immediately regretted not talking to him. Feel bad.

6th June

O my cripes I am so tired. Went to Brighton to do a try-out of my Kindness lecture at The Basement. It got cancelled due to illness. Did the show for the staff and it was good food for thought.

On the way home I smiled at this man at the railway station. I was unfortunately carrying this doll. She was part of a show I had done at The Basement earlier in the year, and she was supposed to scare people.

Me: Hello

Him: Hello. That is the worst doll I have ever seen

Me: I know. She’s a bit scary

Him: Why have you got her?

Me: It’s a really long story. Have you had a good day?

Him: Was all right. A bit hard after long break

Me: I hope you have a nice evening

Him: I’ll probably dream about that doll

Me: Sorry. Bye.

Several others attempts to smile at strangers were thwarted by her. Still, I did talk to a lot of people. Maybe I should carry her every day. Was thinking about giving people your time and just chatting is a valid kindness too. If you’re not carrying a devil doll.

 

7th June

Birmingham

I am writing anon reviews. My rule is: if I don’t like it, I don’t review it. Bit like “if you’ve nothing nice to say don’t say anything” as my Nana used to say. I have several fake names. I give good review. Hee hee. Did 5 reviews.

Yesterday I had loads of conversations about what it is to be kind. A thing that often comes up is this idea that some people deserve / need it more than others. I don’t know. If you are being kind to strangers then you have to decide whether they deserve it or not? I think not. How could I know? Thoughtful this morning, on the 7.13 to Brum.

8th June

Birmingham

I am in love with Brum. Like an old friend who you suddenly notice is quite a catch. Found out this lovely man on reception at Birmingham rep was celebrating his birthday so I bought him cake.

9th June

Brighton. Something had to give. Commuting from Brighton to Birmingham is a bit mental.

Left my ukulele on train! I love that uke. Still, I tried to stay kind in the face of adversity!

Man got on train and started asking for money. I gave him some. Man opposite said loudly whilst he was still there

“At least he’s not Romanian”

His friend: “yeah”

Him: “they’re usually Romanian”

 

After a brief pause during which I boiled inside, I gave him a proper telling off. Idiot.

Back in Brighton, I did a bit of hosting at Supper Club as my alter ego Toni Galore. Wearing a pair of union jack bloomers, whilst waving anarchy flags, I stripped to the sex pistols “Anarchy in the UK” I did other stuff, jokes and songs, so, you know… Life is sweet.

10th June

London

I helped this girl top up her oyster card at Canada Water. This was tricky, as she spoke no English. This was followed by lots of really bad mime and laughter from both of us. Much fun.

11th June

London

Overheard outside newsagents, man to his friend:

“She’s an anto social sod” (yes he said “Anto-social”)

Me: “Are you ok?”

Man with teardrop tattoo “Yes, I was just asking that woman for a light”

(He’s struggling to manage a lovely but slightly crazed Staffie)

Me: “Some people don’t like dogs”

I go and buy him a box of matches. I try to light his fag for him. It’s pouring with rain and I fail

Him:” Give them here ”

As he lights his fag I make friends with his dog

Him “She’s a softie”

Me: “I can see that. I love dogs”

Him: “Although if you were a dog, and you’re obviously not, she’d rip your face off”

Funny. Giggled all the way home.

12th June

Brighton, ready to do our storytelling show Are You Sitting Comfortably?

In Iceland buying stuff for show. In front of me is an obese man buying 7 tubs of ice cream. Biggest man I have ever seen.

Him (to the man on the till): I’ll put one back

Me: I’ve got some change how much do you need?

He needed 90p and I gave it to him, and off he went

Man on till: is that your good deed for the day?

Me: yes. I think so.

Mmm. Not so sure.

13th June

Birmingham

O my I am in such a grump. Getting up at 5am. Bad mood, trying to be kind. I managed to give the Big Issue seller sheltering from the rainstorm in Tesco’s a. a smile b. some money. That’s more than I did for anyone else all day. Him: “You look fed up”

Me: “Yes sorry, I’m in a bit of a grump”

Him: “It’s the bloody weather. We might have a rainbow though”

Me:” Yes, we might. Thanks. I’ll cheer up now”

Him: “Everybody’s allowed an off day”

Me: “Yes”

In the end he was kinder to me. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

14th June

Birmingham

This is Mickey; he is extra nice, with twinkly blue eyes. He told me about his friend Ivy and how she buys a paper off him every week and how they help each other out. We had a great chat and I bought him a kitkat (he’d had lunch, said he fancied a kitkat) hopefully I’ll see him again as he works outside local Tesco’s.

15th June

Birmingham show starts tonight!

I am in theatre all day, so I bought a gingerbread man for our lovely lighting guy to have with his cuppa. He couldn’t believe this was a daily event

16th June

Birmingham

I have written this card to give to a stranger on the train on the way home. I also helped the staff in Urban Coffee Company clear the tables. Good girl.

17th June

London.

I just sponsored Bliss for #366daysofkindness, with my sis, but it counts as it does benefit strangers I hope! She’s doing the London Bliss 5K buggy push for Bliss, for “babies born too soon, too small, too sick.”

18th June

Birmingham

Gave this lovely man with a poorly arm a small gift. He said, ” Am I your act of kindness?”

This is a first. No idea how he knew

19th June

Birmingham

Found out this lovely man and his partner in very bad car accident so bought I him flowers

20th June

Birmingham

Did 1/2 hour litter collecting round Edgbaston Reservoir, after a lady told me her dog got poorly eating an old sack! Plus I saw a jogger stumble over this discarded inhaler.

 

21st June

Birmingham

Saw a homeless man take his trainers off outside St Paul’s Church in the jewelry quarter. His feet were bleeding

Me: I know this is a bit odd, but do you want my socks? They’re clean and I’ve just had a shower honest

Him: yes please

I take off my socks and give them to him.

Me: I hate wearing trainers without socks.

Him: so do I.Feet are hard.

We had a chat.

22nd June

Birmingham

This is Bernadette (another one!) I gave her a little gift and she told me earlier she had prevented a lady from driving into a motorbike and thought to herself ” that was my good deed for the day” Hee Hee. Instant karma baby

23rd June

Birmingham

Big thanks to Hobgoblins music at custard factory for helping me replace my beloved uke! And tempting me with their wonderful instruments (this is not a euphemism) gave man in there a lottery ticket

Me: you don’t have to tell me if you win. But I will be back next Saturday.

Him:( grinning): I won’t be here next Saturday

Tee Hee

24th June

To Hannah as suggested by Heather Uprichard.

25th June

Birmingham

Still in the process of trying to write to someone on Death Row, so didn’t really count for today. Bought this lady a drink. I’m not entirely sure she wanted one…

26th June

Birmingham

Talked to a vicar about kindness, smiled at everyone all day like a nutter. The vicar (Pete) was amazing. He said, “Sometimes, I don’t think my heart is big enough for my job”

I just donated to The Royal Marsden Cancer

 

27th June

Birmingham

This is a fab (mostly) Spanish company working at B festival; I speak no Spanish but could see they were in the stressy part of devising a new show. I bought them some flowers and some news from home. Not very good news (banks). I suggested revolution! This went down well.

28th June

Birmingham

Epic, biblical, show off rain. Roads are rivers. Motorways south bound closed. Amazing. Just donated to Amy Winehouse Foundation as suggested by Kerry.

29th June

Birmingham

A small gift for the vicar (Pete) I discussed kindness and not believing in God with! (I mean me not believing obviously!)

30th June

Birmingham

Last day of show. At 10pm I approached a table of strangers in the bar. I told them about #366daysofkindness and said, “I haven’t done one today yet- can I buy you a drink?” I did, and then we had a great chat about it, load of other stuff, the riots, Brum. Now have 3 new friends.

#366daysofkindness Chapter 14 May 2012

June 28th, 2012 by Bernadette

May 1st

In Eastleigh. The man serving me in Tesco’s

Looked so depressed. The old lady paying for her stuff in front of me was taking ages. She appeared to have hidden her money from herself in an enormous bag. He was sweet to her but kept sighing to himself

Me: I like your earring

No response

Me: Are you OK?

Him: Sort of

Me: You should escape from here

Him: I wish

Me: Within six months everything will have changed for the better, I betcha.

Him: * nervous laugh*

Me: I know you think I’m a nutter but I really think that

Him: I bloody hope so

Me: I think you’re amazing

Him: I’m not.

Me: You are. You’re nice to people and you have a great smile.

Him: Thanks

Mmm.He wasn’t having it. Must try harder.

May 2nd

Tried to give blood. I had made an appointment at the Surrey Quays mobile blood unit. I kept thinking of vampires. I am, pathetically, the most squeamish person in the world, so I had set myself this task as a personal challenge. My little sister has given so much blood over the years she has received some kind of trophy. So, off I went.

Panic in the extremely claustrophobic, and, it has to be said, extremely unfriendly and gruff atmosphere of the Mobile Blood Unit. Failed to give blood due to a. having a panic attack b. the nurse shouting at me for filling the form in with a pencil.

I said, “I can’t do this” and legged it.

On the bus on the way home, feeling embarrassed and relieved in equal measure, I spotted a lady with her son, his arm in a grubby sling, asking if they could get on the bus for free.

She stunk of booze. I could smell it three seats away. It’s 10.30 am.

Her: (to bus driver) can you help me? I have to get my son to Lewisham Hospital. I haven’t got any money

Me: (on phone to sis explaining my blood giving failure) are you ok?

Her: yeah, he can give me a piece of paper; I’ve seen them, a special pass.

I approach, I can definitely smell booze

Me: it’s ok I’ll pay

Her: thanks

Me: it’s no problem. You’ve done me a favour. I couldn’t give blood

Her: o

They went upstairs

This made me sad.

May 3rd

Met two ladies on escalator at London Bridge. They were loitering at the top.

Me: Are you two ok?

Lady 1: yes

Lady 2: no

Lady 1: she’s afraid of escalators

Lady 2: she is.

(They were both in their 60s at least)

Me: Where have you come from?

Both ladies: INDIA!!!!

Me: Well it could be worse. You might have had to travel the whole way from India to London on a giant escalator.

Silence.

Me: Only joking, you don’t get escalators that long, not even in London! (We all giggle) You should each have a boiled sweet. Then just suck it and try to concentrate on that and not the escalator.

Lady 1: We haven’t got any sweets

Me: I have!

I loved them, they made me smile.

May 4th

I just donated to Welcome to Fundraising Football 2012. They raise money for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity (as requested by my lovely old mucker Chris Wright)

May 5th

Bought a flat white and gave the waiter a £5 tip. This is rubbish as a. not very imaginative and b. I am skint

May 6th

Set myself task of paying compliments all day- did 12 -received 2 hugs and a kitkat. It was fun and I managed to do it, without anyone suspecting me of chatting them up (I hope!)

I had a really nice chat with an old fella on the bus, who was sporting a fabulous trilby (I told him I love it, I am a big fan of hats). He told me about his grandkids and his operations. Then he said, “There’s a lot you can do after two hip replacements” Hee hee! (got a hug)

Had a great conversation with a lady at the bus stop about the challenge of wearing heels when you have to actually walk around in them. She had great hair, an auburn afro, and we missed the bus because we were chatting. (Got a hug)

Then the Big Issue seller in London Bridge, after a long chat (during which I made sure he knew how amazing I thought he was, and he is, cheerful even in the rain, always singing) insisted of giving me one of his kitkats. It was a fun day.

May 7th

Told a man with his twinkly eyes he could conquer the world. He blushed. I blushed.

May 8th

I met these two girls outside a café in Brighton; we were all ordering jacket potatoes.

Me: I love your shoes

Girl 1: Don’t you think they look like granddad shoes?

Me: No!

Girl 2: that’s the look isn’t it?

Me: They look great.

Silence, waiting for potatoes.

Me: I really need a jacket potato

Girl 2: Yeah, we need stodge

Girl 1: we’re back at work.

I ask to take a picture of them, as they look great. I try to think of something more I can / do say. I say I’m putting them in my blog

Girl 1: Ooo, I’m blog-worthy! What’s it about

Me: erm… I’m not gonna tell you. Check it out, it’s a surprise.

I buy them each a kitkat.

Me: This is just to say thanks

I scarper, and can hear them giggling.

May 9th

Man said to me do you have a light?

Me: no, sorry

Him: (whilst eating) do you think I should be eating this?

(He’s eating a pasty)

Me: it looks ok

Him: I got it off the top of a bin, but it’s warm

Me: it looks fine.

He walks off. I feel a bit guilty. I run after him and give him £2, which is all I have

Me: I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that pasty, but you might fancy afters

Him: thanks

May 10th

Left postcard with nice message inside book at WHSmiths

Random, I know, but kind of magical I hope.

May 11th

Some idiot tried to mug me in Wandsworth this morning. It was 9.30 am, and it was the most rubbish attempt at mugging ever. He only succeeded a. breaking my iphone b. running over my foot and c. hurting my arm. He came up behind me on a motorbike, nudged my phone and my bag out of my hand and then circled around me, whilst I swore at him in at least two languages. I invented new swearing, just for him. He seemed alarmed by this turn of events and my potty mouth, and scarpered with nothing! Apart from my curses in his ear!

I was on my way to meet a friend for the launch of Wandsworth Festival, and arrived absolutely livid. My friend Sarah and two glasses of Bucks Fizz soon clamed me down, but I was tipsy by 11am and this was not how I had expected my morning to go. I met lots of new people for the first time and all I could talk about was how someone had tried to mug me. It was getting boring, after a while.

I didn’t stay angry. I kept thinking about what a waste of effort it was for him.

I went to another launch in the evening, Islington WORD 2012 festival and left a card in a book in Islington library, for someone to discover one day.

May 12th

Left a card on a bench in SW18

May 13th

Posted a card through the door of this house

May 14th

Went to the dentist to see hygienist. The receptionist was super-nice, her and the dental nurse were muttering as I waited

Receptionist: Miss Russell?

Me: I can hear you two muttering

Receptionist: The hygienist isn’t here. I’m afraid there’s been a boo-boo.

Me: (laughing) you saying “Boo-boo” has made it all better

Receptionist: you’re very nice (noticing my rabbit badge) does that bunny bring you luck?

Me: Sort of

Receptionist: I need some luck. I try to be positive but I get trod on. I’m reading this (pulls out copy of The Power) it’s hard to put it in practice.

Me: You are positive

Receptionist: Tell you the truth, I’m fed up.

She draws a smiley face on my appointment and tells me her name’s Jerry. I leave, and then bring her back a bag of maltesers. I know, slightly inappropriate for a dentists, but it was 9am.She shouted “you are lovely!” as I left, a bit embarrassed

May 15th

 Left this message at friends neighbours house

May 16th s

Kirsty Housley deserves a special mention; she’s a good friend of mine, who ran a staggering 6 marathons in 6 weeks, in memory of her niece Ellen who died aged 10 months. Ellen had a rare liver condition called Biliary Atresia and Kirsty was raising money for it, and I sponsored her. We also made her a banner on Marathon Day and cheered as she ran past the house. She is amazing.

May 17th

In the street was a dapper silver haired gentleman. Bow tie, three piece suit, brogues

Me: hello

Him: er…. Hello

Me: I hope you don’t mind me saying you look wonderful. Stylish and cool. Dapper

Him: *giggle* thanks. Really?

Me: absolutely.

Him: I am very pleased

Me: bye.

After that I saw him watching me a bit nervously. Wondering what I was up to

May 18th

Tiny present left in park in Eastleigh

May 19th

Last year I left a fiver on a bus going towards Lewisham, in the early days of #366daysofkindness, and a man messaged me from Nottingham to say he received the same note in change! Amazing!

I helped a man get his luggage off the train. A lot of luggage, I might add.

Him:” I know I look like a tough nut but I’ve hurt my arm”

He did. (Look like a tough nut.) Turned out to be sweet and funny. But he must have had concrete in that case. What the hell is it with people and suitcases heavier than the moon?

May 20th

Gave Fiona at Magic Garden a bunch of flowers

May 21st I

The man outside the station has one leg. He was singing very quietly. I gave him a bit of money

Me: Sorry it’s not more

Him: S’okay

Me: What are you singing?

Him: I don’t know. I’m making it up. I think I’m making it up.

May 22nd

This sent to Kate Lundie Hills mum who just had op

Winging it’s way to Bushey. That is an EDIBLE paper butterfly!

May 23rd

To Jana Lapel-Denis as suggested by Vivacity Bliss, to cheer her up

May 24th

Sponsored Ian Payton who is running the Edinburgh marathon for bowel cancer

May 25th

To Jane Richardson as suggested by Jess Pearce to cheer her up

May 26th

Yesterday Matt Feerick, and the lovely Wet Picnickers helped this lady push her car as an act of kindness. Matt then told me he is going to do an act of kindness every day in his up and coming trip to Canada.

Found out it was this lady’s birthday and bought her flowers (bar manager in the Clark and Well)

May 27th

For Kim through the post to cheer her up as suggested by Wendy Attwell.

May 28th

Posted today to Lynne Chapman as suggested by Ava Bonham-Garter

May 29th   

To a mystery recipient in Canada (have to keep this one schtum as it’s delicate!!!)

May 30th

This one complicated, exciting, romantic! Via Matt Feerick!

(Turning into a bit of a cupid now! Loving it!)

May 31st

Met these really sweet school girls on Corporation Street, Birmingham

Girl 1: excuse me, could you give us 50p

Girl 2: we need 60p

Me: are you ok?

Girl 3: she lost her bus pass

I rummage in my bag

Girl 1: thankyou! Hope you have a lovely day

Girl 2: thank you. Hope you have the best day ever in the world

All of this said in the BEST brummie accents. Made my day

 

#366 Days of Kindness Chapter 13 April 2012 continued

June 27th, 2012 by Bernadette

Late April. Insomnia very bad. Told can’t spend too much time in front of computers. Signed off work sick. Tired but cheerful. Seem to be OK if I’m not in an office, so I never step a foot inside an office again.Determined to be kind and entirely driven by caffeine….on I go…

April  23rd

 Tonight I was invited to speak on World Book night about #366daysofkindness, with Gemma Seltzer whose brilliant blog  Speak To Strangers has been turned into a book. Ihis is the first time I have ever attempted to try and collate some of the material and stories I have gathered this year and it was  tricky.  In the end I just ignored what I had printed out and improvised. Manor House Library looks like a stately home. The ‘refreshments’ on the night were lovely, a lot of really small exotic food is exactly what I like, and I needed to be “refreshed” by the spritzers (spritzers! so glad they’re back in fashion) as I was very nervous, faced with a crowd of charming but slightly intellectual book fans, I felt a little inadequate.

At one point I decided to get them to pay each other compliments. They did this with such enthusiasm that it was very difficult for me to get their attention back. Anyway, a good night. I gave this lady a bunch of flowers. I picked her because she had a nice smile and a bit of a twinkle. In retrospect that could be said of all the audience at World Book Night.


April 24th

Another through the post to stranger Marlene Redmond as recommended by  Annaliza Jennings

April 25th

 Ian in Brighton. He was selling a bedraggled Big Issue and I asked him how he was.

Ian: I’m ok. I don’t know anyone here anymore, in Brighton. I’m going to the pub to make friends, so I’m getting some money to buy someone else a drink. But before that I’m having a pasty to line my stomach

I gave Ian some money for drinks and we had a great chat. He had his pasty and we discussed how people don’t very often stop and spend time to talk to strangers (inspired by Gemma Seltzer yesterday) Ian was funny.

April 26th

Went to see “Kafka’s Monkey” in Winchester with Katerine Hunter. I hadn’t done a kindness that day, so I left her an anonymous card saying wrll done and you’re great. I’m sure she gets plenty, and it felt a little odd, but glad I did it. Today I noticed that Andi Peters is doing acts of kindness, or encouraging them on his radio show, so I tweeted him to tell him what I as doing. This was the first of many attempts to contact Andi Peters, who is not responding. If you are reading this Andi, I won’t give up. I am after you.

April 27th On train to Windsor for comering gig as Toni Galore. My bag is heaving with wigs, they poke out of the zip a little, as if I am smuggling an actual person. A  man pays for my tea. I told him about #366daysofkindess and  said I should’ve paid for his. He asked if that was why I carried ukulele, in order to be kind. This was the most unusual question I have thus far been asked and I was stunned into silence. At the end of the gig- great fun-I met this amazing lady and gave her a small gift.

 

April 28th

Harriet and Matthew’s wedding at the Tower Of London no less! Amazing to be able to wander round the tower and an amazing wedding. The choir was so good, literally every time they sang I wept. Harriet and Matthew looked gorgeous. It was a Very Good Do. I compered the cabaret, but as myself, not as Toni, and I will never do that again. It’s much easier to be funny in disguise! At the ‘disco’ I bought a cheeky man a drink and explained my mission. He said he could think of other things I could do for him! I didn’t mind this sauce. It is a wedding. It’s part of the tradition.

 

April 29th I sponsored Claire Squires for the Samaritans on Just Giving.

 April 30th On the way to Brighton on the train, I helped a lady with a massive case on to the train. I shouted “Holy Fuck” as it was so heavy. Said sorry. I doubt even the Isle of Wight weighs as much as that case did.

 

#366daysofkindness- Chapter 12-a quick update

June 16th, 2012 by Bernadette

Hello dear friends, sorry for the delay. I have continued on my kindness quest as promised, but creating 8 new shows in the last three months has left me no time for blogging! There will be an update soon. You can check out all the daily kindnesses on twitter @betterussell or find me on facebook Bernadette Russell. At the beginning of July there will be a long overdue update! There will also be an exhibition at Woolfson and Tay gallery, so you could pop along if you’d rather do that than read what will enevitably be a massive blog entry!!!

http://www.woolfsonandtay.com/366daysofkindness.html

Juneathon Day 2 – Dog tired

June 2nd, 2012 by Gareth

Hello All

I did a 30 min jog in two parts today. I had Lexie the dog for the last couple of days and she was going back to her mum this morning. I thought she might be up for a run. This was the reaction.

  We walked there and I ran back. Stopped back at home, then I ran to tesco’s to get shopping for the AYSC event we have tomorrow in Battersea Park for the jubilee. I even tried to run around the store, but came unstuck in the fish department. Then I ran back with shopping bags in hands. The problem being was I looked like a shoplifter. So 30 minutes of strange running, a lot of lifting steamer trunks for the gig and some walking around the park.

Marathon and back again.

June 1st, 2012 by Gareth

Hello all

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I ran the London marathon. There you go it’s out there. 26 miles point something. A year of training, worrying and bad fashion choices. It’s only dawned on me a month later that I actually done. I will never do it again

First of all thank you all for the money you gave me for CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK. We raised over a thousand pounds and I am really touched and grateful. It was wonderful to run in the city that I love so much and the people were wonderful. Running past my house and seeing my lovely friends and girlfriend cheering me on, throwing water at me and screaming was a highlight I will never forget.

However, I never what to feel that feeling I had at 20 miles. High on too much glucose and sugar the wall came. Then the wall came back again smashing into me 4 or 5 times. Then a new wall was built over my dead ruined body. Depression hits, you think something is seriously wrong. People are dropping out and falling to the floor. Stretchers are numerous, crying is plentiful.

My legs stopped running and I had to walk for two miles and a half. The tube looked like a lovely option. Then I went into a black tunnel somewhere on the embankment. I found a empty toilet. Coming out I was like a new man, the legs worked once more. I ran out of the tunnel on the other side into the end of the world. The heaven’s opened and a storm began. It was wonderful. I ran all the way across the finish and cried.

What else?

The medal is large, like Jim will fix it. The recovery tent to change in was like something from the somme. Men crawling around the floor moaning, half out of their pants with severe cramps. The organisers are hero’s.

Good luck to you all for next year. I will be outside my house cheering you on. Drunk.

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Juneathon

So I want to keep running. But it’s had without a new challenge. So I was thinking about what to do when Cathy White gave me this link to Juneathon

http://www.juneathon.com/

 

So every day in June I will be doing a small blog about my exercise routines. So here we go.

June 1st

25 minute run around surrey quays wildlife park and docks. Lovely run but toes are hurting. A woman in her late seventies overtook me half way around. She then laughed. Best running song of the day I had on was YOU CAN’T TOUCH THIS by MC HAMMER. I even did a bit of the  shuffle dance at the 20 min mark. Does any one else combine a bit of bad dancing with their running? I think I close to inventing the new zumba.

See you soon

#366daysofkindness Chapter 11 March 2012

April 22nd, 2012 by Bernadette

LET ME KNOW IF YOU”D LIKE TO NOMINATE ANYONE FOR A POSTAL KINDNESS- ONLY 4 MONTHS TO GO- bernadette@thewhiterabbit.org.uk

22nd March 2012.Today was the wonderful crazy London Marathon. I had put out a call for anyone who wanted a banner made, so we made loads and as a result couldn’t see out of the windows! Amazing day as usual, not so many pics as have lost cable for camera… to come. We blew up 50 balloons, gave out biscuits (300) sweets (20 bags) showers and encouragement. I cried. I’ve lived on the 8 mile mark of route for 13 years and see it as my New Year. All of London is kind, and it is amazing.

Quotes of the day:

“We have no sweets left but we do have toliet roll and champagne”
“Welcome to the ghetto! We have custard creams! that is not a euphemism”
“These are the last flumps in SE London”

our house on Marathon Day

 

What I have been doing the last..ahem… while.. for #366daysofkindness, in diary and pics.(IF IT IS TOO LONG-SKIP TO PICS BELOW!!!)

 

March 5th Decided  to be a fairy godmother all week. Today  read and reviewed Sylvia Petter’s short story “An Imaginary Friend” So brilliant. Today was in the studio doing a bit of admin, and I listened to the Archers  for the very first time (I know shame on me, I know, I know) and acts of random kindness were their lent challenge! Everyone’s at it, even made up people on Radio 4.

March 6th “Fairygodmother” delivered some treats to The Waiting Room cafe staff in Deptford. They make the best flat white IN THE WORLD. Wondered if I should have a costume???

March 7th  Salvation Army Charity shop – donated a load of books. I noticed one of the books is called “The Pornographer of Vienna” and hoped the nice religious man didn’t think I was peddling filth…he didn’t seem to care

This message from Stewart Whoo made me very happy “As a recipient of one of your artworks, just want to thank you…and say it was successful. Quite emotional, shocking, bizarre and beautiful to get something so lovely out of the blue and with no reason. Truly magical. ”

NICE

March 8th  REVERSE MUGGING! Bought a lottery ticket put it in a gold envelope, to attempt to put in someone’s bag on the sly tonight at Deadly Dames Re write. Great night with Pulp Press and For Book’s Sake at Deptford Lounge , although slightly embarrassed at reading such a extremely rude story aloud in a public library. In the end handed a lovely lady the aforementioned golden envelope. It was International  Womens Day after all. (Again, I thought, what if she wins? If this was a film, she would win, and much hilarity, soul searching, and indie sound track would ensue)

My friends asked why some people get smaller “kindnesses” than others. Good question. Some days I have more money/patience/heart than others. Some days it’s hard. Some days an opportunity doesn’t easily present itself. When I was at the Kindness Conference in Somerset House back in November I remember thinking it was wierd them discussing “sustainable kindness” but now I know what they mean. I have let myself a little off the hook. As long as I do something every day, doesnt matter if its only small, as long as its in the right spirit. This (frankly) is a relief.

Plus I have already started thinking: what will I do next? Something else every day for a whole year? Am enjoying the mission.

March 9th Sponsored Sarah Ratheram (my friend)”to do the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile!” Obviously she is not a stranger but a. the actual donation will help strangers b. them’s my rules.c. sometimes it a nice to do an “easy one” instead of “front line”

March 10th first man (I think)I have ever bought an actual box of  chocolates for (apart from my granddad) Patrick was so kind, helpful and smily it could only have been him, he really looked after us at a great gig in Winchester Discovery Centre .

March 11th This loverly lady in Kentish Town after teaching workshop with The Cheek of It!

March 12th Sneaked this under door of lady I just did yoga with. She’s my “studio neighbour” but I don’t really know her yet. She’s an artist so it’s probably normal for her to receive strange messages under her door. Yoga is amazing. Great to do it again after only 1 year break.

March 13th Gave lovely lady at The Basement bunch of daffodils as I suddenly remembered I hadn’t done anything.

March 14th Signed an Age UK petition to help improve care for seniors- something I am really passionate about. I had amazing inspirational grandparents and would like to do more in this area!

March 15th  Just donated to RNIB as requested/suggested by Adam who I met on the bus today. Best thing about today was meting Adam, despite what I had previously imagine, its really easy to have conversations with people on the bus.

March 16th Volunteered to help on Campaign To End Loneliness.

March 17th  My friend Johanna’s wedding- she tried to explain karma to me as she’s a buddhist but I was tipsy (which I blame on her for providing me with champagne plus the best wedding food ever!) Paul McCarthy , new friend, wedding DJ and very nice man. Today’s recipient.

March 18th  Just donated to Great Ormond Street.Meant to ages ago after visiting my nephew in children’s ward and it broke my heart. and my heart is made of steel…(nephew is fine now)

March 19th  Something through the post for Bex Davey as suggested via twitter by Anna Madeleine. Bex runs café in New Cross (bit of a local fairy godmother herself by all accounts) I just found a beautiful pack of 1930s playing cards in Deptford market so included Tim The Tiger in the stuff I sent her. Will go to the cafe soon….

March 20th All week I tried to give sweets to strangers, challenging that old fashioned taboo. Starting tonight at the Barbican  Jars of lovely sweets with messages inside. I would have….

March 21st- first in a series of Cinderella cards. Made out of vintage annuals and dictionarys. really enjoyed making these. For Rhian Brain as suggested by Abigail O”Neill

March 22nd  Left sweets in a phone box .

March 23rd Checked, and  sweets out of phone box gone! Tonight I was looking for someone to give sweets to, then saw lady struggling with case. I rather keenly asked to help

Me: Let me help you

Her: no it’s so heavy… I don’t think

Me: It’s ok, I’m stronger than I look (the opposite is true)

I struggled up the stairs thinking:” you must have a corpse in this case”

Her: Thanks

Me: Do you want some sweets?

Her: No thanks I’m on a diet

That’s it. I’m done. Today has been a rollercoaster.

March 24th something through the post to Violet Skinner as suggested by Ava Bonham-Garter

March 25th  At Madam Jojos tonight for The Cheek of It!. Bloomers ironed. Ready to host. Ready to rock.with Lady Cheek and all the lovely ladies. What seems like 1000 women in saucy costumes. Nervous….gave a jar of sweets to the cloakroom lady. She seemed a bit depressed. We had a nice chat.

March 26th Last of my Cinderella cards sent to Sara Butcher as suggested by the lovely Ava Bonham-Garter

March 27th  Had reiki. Total bliss. Visited the wonderful Celien Hispiche at her new flat in Dean Street, and tried to give lady passing by  some flowers but she didn’t want them.(this doesn’t happen often but its a bit gutting!!)Gave them to Big Issue seller

March 28th at book launch of Short Stack with Pulp Press and For Books Sake.. Gave a lovely bunch of  daffs to this girl with the most amazing tattoos. Then I won a £30 voucher in the raffle! Instant karma!

March 29th cakes for my mysterious new neighbour. He dresses like a spy. I like it.

March 30th  at Are You Sitting Comfortably? gave this lady some hyacinths. The greatest smelling flowers in the world. She tweeted me later as she had shared them with another lady on the bus who liked them

March 31st my friend  Paschale’s birthday ,gave tloads of cakes out at her party. Kind man gave me lift to bus stop.

April 1st A girl asked me what the time was as I was waiting for bus.Think she was American.

Her: You don’t have a light do you?

Me: Yes, here you go. Erm, do you want some sweets as well? (like a crazy person I now carry around small gifts at all times)

Her: Erm. Ok. That’s amazing. Thanks

I gave her the chocolate

Her: I know I was gonna like London.

Me: Yeah, it’s a London Bridge thing, we just give visitors sweets.

Her: That is so cool.

(at this point I thought about asking her if I could take her picture but that seemed a BIT MUCH as it sometimes does, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. I love the fact that she will hopefully believe that it’s a tradition.!!)

April 2nd “Compliments Week” This is gonna be harder than it sounds I reckon! Inspired by Asif Iqbal and Damon Shaw. Met this lady taking tickets at NFT.

Me: how are you?

Her: bit knackered. I’ve been drinking and staying up all night coz of the festival.

Me: you don’t look knackered, you look like a magic pixie

Her: thanks very much

Me: you are an advert for drinking and staying up all night

Her: nervous giggling

Too much??

April 2nd To the man on 47 bus:

Me: your eyes are like diamonds. Brown diamonds.

Him: can u get them? Brown diamonds?

Me: yes. You definitely can.

Him: that’s cool

I’m on a roll now…

April 3rd In Starbucks waiting for Jules. The staff were hilarious, really made me laugh.

Me: you lot are brilliant

They all stopped what they were doing

Me : ( a bit nervous) seriously you are great all four of you. You should all be living lives of endless fun

Boy: we wish

Other boy: they wouldn’t allow it. We’re not even allowed creased aprons

Me: how dare they! I will protest loudly!

( we all laughs bit)

(the first boy looks a bit fed up now)

Boy: they have so many rules

Me:(whispering) I’m gonna call them Starf***s

We laugh. I go and have a cup of tea with this lively man.

April 4th  to a nice lady

me:I like your trousers (very floral, lush)

her: thanks they’re from Primark

me: I can never find anything nice in there. when I go in it looks like a rhino has attacked a jumble sale.

*silence*

me: but obviously you’ve got the knack

her: you should go in early, before the maniacs get there.

me: I will. anyway you look great. your trousers have cheered me up. they are the Trousers of Spring

her: thanks

after that I paid two dogs compliments, first of all my friend .Nicola Blackwell’s gorgeous rescue dog and then Major Tom who belongs to Victoria Melody and is beautiful. Both dogs took it well.

April 5th Coming back from the Barbican this lady and I were waiting by the wrong set of tube doors to get off the train. (the door opened other side)

Her: I knew it would be the other side I always do that

Me: Me too. Then I pretend I knew that anyway

Her: Then everyone thinks she’s just looking at herself, at her reflection, in the glass

Me: If I looked like you I would look at my reflection. I mean, you know what I mean. You have a lovely face

Her: O God I don’t

Me: You do.

Her: I think it’s awful

Me: No you’re beautiful you look like Clare Danes

Her: Who?

Me: She’s in Homeland

Her: I love that. Nice to meet you.

April 6th Had lush Thai dinner with my mate Kate.

Kate: tell the waiter something nice. He is nice.

(earlier I muttered behind his back “don’t bother smiling then” as he looked a bit stern…!)

I wandered over

me: me and my friend think you are excellent. A really friendly waiter and a really nice person. We’re coming back. Next time we’ll bring a bigger tip!

Him: that’s so nice thankyou! And you’d better

Me: you mean the tip?

*giggle*

April 7th At Waterloo Station

Me: I’m really impressed at how you walk in those shoes. You look elegant

Lady with crazily high shoes: thanks. They’re actually quite comfy

Me: really?

Her: yes you get used to them

Me: I would never get used to them. I would look like bambi after 10 pints if I tried to walk in them

Her: that’s funny (she didn’t laugh)

Me: anyway, you look great

Her: thanks

April 8th HARE RAISING IN HAMPSHIRE !

I really tried to give someone a compliment today but they were all walking too fast, although I did manage lots of smiles and Happy Easters. Then we sat in the car and had a picnic on Old Winchester Hill and saw 5 HARES running and playing, it was  so magical. Made a small donation to Thusa Kamelseswaran appeal. My mum bought me cheese for Easter. She knows what I like!

April 9th again I failed to pay anyone a compliment, partly due to the train being full of loud, tired, braying types!!! So bagged up a load of stuff for red cross

April 10th after kids show Mitch is delivering this box of goodies to his flat mates for me, kindness by delivery

April 11th I just couldn’t keep up with it today.(you know, modern life) And I looked like Nosferatu. Had these lovely hyacinths to give to a stranger but coz of the whole, undead look, wasn’t sure how well it would go. Then I met two overworked girls . I said sorry I look like Edward Scissorhands. They didn’t mind. They said it had been quiet but they still had to work like dogs and weren’t allowed home till the restaurant was clean. Modern day Cinderellas! Fantastic night last night at Cadence,amazing poetry, singing and storytelling.

April 12th Left a little message and a pound coin on a park bench in Deptford

April 13th Working on Depth Charge with the amazing Wet Picnic. Gave this to artist at Gunwharf . I had made it without anyone specifically in mind, then gave it to him as he seemed so nice, then thought maybe it’s a bit girly. I had to see him again the next day, and I was a bit embarrassed but he didn’t seem to mind

April 14th gave this girl in the choir a small gift, in return I got a hug which was great as I was very cold

April 15th -just finshed show with Wet Picnic Just a little one today…a coin and a note on the bench signed “gunwharf fairy”

April 16th Sneaked these in the fridge at Lucas Studios for a surprise treat for those starving artists types. Let them eat cakes !!

April 17th I carried a spare umbrella in case anyone got caught in the rain (leopard print)

Found someone! At the wonderful Cheek of it! class. Also  sponsored Tamsin Mccahill as she promised to do an actual moonwalk.

April 18th got stuck behind the stage at The Basement…. not quite sure how it happened…couldn’t get out without walking through dress rehearsal! So I bought the performer Super Bard some flowers!!

April 19th Tried a compliment again (well deserved)

Me: you have amazing eyes (she did, sort of green blue)

Her: thanks. They’re hereditary

Me: inherited from an angel

There was a brief pause then thankfully we BOTH laughed like mad

Me: sorry that was a bit wierd

Her: no, I like wierd. Wierd is better than boring

( I explained what I was doing)

Me: would you say that counted? As being kind?

Her: definitely. You’ve cheered me up, also I was really bored and now I’m not.

Me: brilliant

Her: I’m gonna do it tomorrow. I might find a husband.

Brilliant. Think I’ve made another new friend on the 47.#366daysofkindness

April 20th for  Joyce Jewell, a surprise through the post for this lovely lady, who lives alone and sounds like the Nicest Person In The World. Kirsty Mc Taggart told me about this lady (her nan’s best friend)

April 21st banners made for Gareh Brierely, Sarah Wheeler (as requested by  Beverely Freer) Samenua (as requested by Gaylene Gould) Kirsty Housley, Karen Knowles (as requested by Damien Cooper) Julia Belyaven (as requested by Chris Trim) and Nick Hutchins (as requested by Kim Trim. The signs were a little  scary as I only had black paint left! All ready for the marathon, fab to have something to take my mind of my (literally) bleeding mouth. Got raspberry bellinis and loads of sweets and biscuits to give to runners. Run rabbits run!

Today I set myself the challenge of approaching someone I was scared of. I know this sounds mental but I am usually kind to those who look kind, and I was thinking those who don’t look a bit… you know… grumpy… prob get grumpiness back… or something. Anyway was in Lidl buying 10 tonnes of sweets to give away at the marathon tomorrow, having only just regained the power of speech after being tortured by the dentist. saw a woman with really nice earrings and a scowl. she was scary, trust me

me: your earrings are lush

her: what?

me: your earrings are great. they suit you (crazy parrot earrings, brilliant)

her: thanks. my top’s got a hole in though (she showed me)

me: it looks fine. you could say its’ your style

her: it is. can I go in front I’ve only got two things?

me: of course

her: thanks (massive smile, much better than scowl, still slightly scary)

Harry Webster told me this story: i saw two skinheads (not just people with shaved heads, but the full bomber jackets, doc martins, teardop tattoos etc) give up their seats to an elderly couple on the bus, whom they addressed as ‘sir and ‘madam’. gave me a nice feeling.

So, onwards. These are a few things I’d like to do this month: give blood,give a present to my brilliant post man,give a present to a chugger (they get hassle all day) and take a big issue seller for lunch ….

 

 

#366daysofkindness Chapter 10 February 2012

March 6th, 2012 by Bernadette

Hello friends, sorry for the delay in this update. Trying to  keep it up, take pics, remember to put it up on FB and twitter fills my head up. Since the last post, I have past the 1/2 way mark, done a big Valentine’s Day Kindness swoop, starting writing a book/show of my adventures (not sure what it is yet? both? either? neither?) plus I have had to use my imagination with the kindnesses, as the terrible Dickensian reach of the RECESSION has left my pockets a bit lighter. It’s been more fun in a way, finding things to do that don’t cost me money, and/or clearing out my flat with things I know longer want to take to various second hand shops. I also applied to give blood, I know loads of people do this but I am a person who can’t even look at blood, I am extremely, stupidly squeamish so this was my most daring attempt at kindness yet. It’s even more scary than approaching the stern lady on Euston Station concourse on Valentine’s Day , offering her a cake and a valentine’s card. (she said no thanks and plugged herself in to her ipod. I was crushed, I tell you. Crushed) Since then the blood – giving appointment I had was cancelled by them, so that has thankfully gone on the back burner. I have been saying to people “I’m just trying to do a good deed every day” and “I’d love to take your picture, being as you are so good looking” and both of these work a treat. I’ve heard sad stories of people losing jobs, getting ill, feeling sad, I have made people cry with happiness and I have irritated others.

Of course, life goes on. I lost part of my part time job and like loads of others have been worried about money. My nephew got ill and went back into hospital (he’s fine now). Some days I dreaded having to be kind, but I always did it, every day, and once again I am glad.

Here’s the diary, in brief words and pictures:

1ST FEB - a few years ago i was lucky enough to work in Toronto with Stans Cafe Theatre company
at the amazing Harbourfront Centre. I fell in love with Toronto and its inhabitants, one day I
got caught in a rain storm on the islands and a man came out of his house and gave me a coat.
Another time a taxi driver went out of his way to return my purse that I'd dropped in his cab.
Amazing. So I asked my friend Viktor Lukawski if he would deliver a parcel to Toronto for me (he
lives there) to repay a bit of the kindness I received whilst there. I haven't heard back from him
yet... maybe he ate it himself...
2ND FEB a box of treats to my friend's wife, after they got
burgled for the second time, and she lost her wedding ring.
3RD FEB Reviewed the brilliant short story "Man or Mouse" by Mark Dark.
4TH FEB Heard from my friend Glenn "Hi Bernadette, check our our facebook group 'The Broken Biscuit Society.
we had a brilliant afternoon making Valentine cards inspired by your idea."
This was great, love to hear it when other people join in.
I also gave a lovely man in the charity shop a load of stuff,
although it made him blush as he thought I'd given him a bag of underwear. I
hadn't, of course, just some silky tops.Maybe he tried them on. Why not?
5TH Feb. Went to the fifth birthday party of "Finger In The Pie" cabaret.
I met a nice man called Charlie. Accidentally threw wine over him,whilst
trying to find the jar of sweets I prepared in my bag. which wasn't so kind ...
Charlie took the whole thing very well.
6TH Feb For my sisters neighbour,I left a jar of sweets outside her door.
She made my sis soup when they were in hospital with my nephew, so she deserves it!
Plus my friend Heather
Burton left me this message " I said no to
homeless chap who asked me for change for a cuppa in the snow. Then i
thought of you and ran after him with some coins. "
February 7th
 Finished and reviewed Nick Boardman's great short story
"Away With The Faeries", which saved me going out into the cold.

8TH FEB Today at "Society Of Imaginary Friends" I gave a jar of sweets to
my friend Jamie who has been supporting Occupy outside St Paul's since the beginning.
9TH FEB "#366daysofkindness-Valentines Day Love Train" was Time Out letter of the
week!(They are taking their time delivering that champagne though!)
Made a card for my friends flat mate . Also carried
the heaviest case in the history of cases up stairs for a snow splattered
lady. My arms are like a gibbon
10TH FEB Things I have heard this week: "nobody is gonna eat those sweets
you give them they probably think they're poisoned" " who's paying you? is
it a franchise? are Time Out paying you?" "what is the point of it?" "you're
wierd". I agree with most of these things. DOn't know whether I'd eat sweets
from a stranger, and it is a bit wierd.

February 10
Here's a feature on #366 in Italy!stupefacente!
http://www.zamenhof.it/features/366-atti-di-gentilezza/
Reviewed Sarah England's fabulous
story Cold Melon Tart .
11TH FEB Sent a package  to my friend James Dolan son Kai. For some reason I
had taken ages getting round to doing this. I have since heard it went done well!
12TH FEB Rendezvous with man outside Deptford Train station, who I had never
met before, who had asked me via twitter to read him something I loved. read
him Nightingale and The Rose (Oscar Wilde.) He was nice, I was nervous, it
was a bit awkward, then it was good. He's from Short Story Book Club. Nice.

13TH FEB I have made 50 Valentine's Cards, 50 loveheart cakes, and I have 50
heart balloons.I am nervous about tomorrow and don't really have a clue what
I am doing. That's another fine mess I've gotten myself into.Managed to rope in my friend
Christine Entwisle to film it, in case I make a show, so there is some other evidence/media of it.
Took two spare cakes and v day card to my neighbours. We went away last year
and left the back door wide open and they came in and locked it for me. Plus
he has a Russian accent, one of the best accents in all the world

14TH FEB
What a crazy, crazy day. Started at 9am in Time Out offices, me, Chris and Alexi Dugis,
we traipsed around soho, sloped around the underground, went to Holloway Prison Visitors centre, we met
milkmen, tourists, police, prison workers, mums and dads, actors, street cleaners..
All cakes all cards all balloons gone by 5.40pm, and one of the last people we gave a heart balloon
to on Parliment Hill had just proposed to her boyfriend.We had a glass of rose in Beaujolais, were joined by my
friend Asif Iqbal who brought his own homemade cards. Finished entirely covered in mud and knackered!
Here's a few peeps who joined in:
Claire Hewitt"Hi Bernadette, I hope your Valentines 366 days of kindness is going well. I
spread the love today at the office with Red Velvet Valentine Cupcakes. X
Lucinda Townsend "Cup cakes made here too by Elliot and myself, down Southampton, spreading
the love inspired by Ms B "
Bev Freer "you were spoken of on heart breakfast on the radio this am, bout 815 as you
gave the host Harriet a balloon when you were up on Parliament Hill!"

 15TH FEB Reviewed Diane Parkin's great short story 'One Born Every Minute '
- great ghost story!

16TH FEB card for Kevin Head, hope he gets better soon, as suggested by his
fiance Kirsty, know idea how she found me, but she did, and I'm glad
17TH FEB Today  I was asked to read through a story
and give a bit of feedback. Written by this man's "alter-ego Jennifer Lucus
(B.A.L.) Born Again Lesbian". Now how can I resist that? Plus, it was a
great story.
18TH FEB HALFWAY THROUGH THE YEAR- WOO HOO!
Today reviewed Sarah England's short story "Rough Love"
Made me cry. Amazing
19TH FEB I got the homeless man sitting outside tescos a sandwich and rolos.
He said he sleeps out. Blimey . In this. I couldnt do one night

20TH FEB today a card to Katie Clifford as suggested by Marnie Summerfield Smith

21ST FEB Cakes for  Wayne left at the studio,I left them in the kitchen as a surprise
.Once again I failed to spell surprise correctly, so I have given up trying.
Plus I volunteered at the charity shop opposite Deptford PO but that doesn't
count coz I haven't done anything yet. Me: I could bring you some cakes Lady
in the charity shop: Trouble is with taking cakes is.... Me: I know, I
could've poisoned them Her: Er... no... it's just health and safety
regulations. Me: I haven't poisoned them Her: No, you don't look like a
poisoner.
22ND FEB I secretly sent a card to a friend of a friend. It's getting harder as more people around me are aware
of it to surprise people!
23RD FEB
Gave a nice lady in Jacksons Lane Theatre a card. I very much enjoyed standing
outside the theatre burning a wedding dress for my Miss Haversham costume. This
was so much fun. A cab driver shouted " go on girl"
24TH FEB I left a Card on my friends neighbours doorstep in Mile End.I was slightly worried that it looked like a love letter
and might scare them. Then I got drunk and played Operation

25TH FEB Went to read stories to kids for bookswap day at TDFLP.
Loads of under 5s and no sleep is tough. Both them and I agreed that blowing
bubbles was much more fun so that's what we did. We filled the room with
bubbles and all got a bit hysterical.
26TH FEB Donated to my friend Steve Mayo's just giving page.I know, he's not a stranger,
but I figure that the recipients of the money are so it counts.

27TH FEB Card for Helen Tamblyn as recommended by Cathy White

28TH FEB Card for Stewart Who? as suggested by Denise "TheLady" Flower

29TH FEB Today in Tescos after a massive shop that made my arms like a
gibbon's (again) I gave the lady behind me my club card points, she welled
up a bit. Tescos in Surrey Quays is a very emotional place. And I know
Tescos is a bit evil.
1ST MARCH donated to New Cross Library for World Book Day
2ND MARCH For Abby Butcher 's mum as
suggested.

For Abby Butcher <http://www.facebook.com/abby.butcher> 's mum as suggested,
for #366daysofkindness.

3RD MARCH Today, in honour of World Book Day this week,I planned to go to
back to  New Cross Library and give them loads of books.
But I couldn't. I am weak as a kitten. So instead I left this excellent book
outside my house.

		

The End of Things

February 7th, 2012 by Gareth

Hello

I am currently writing my 2nd episode of my TV series DEADFACE and questions are being asked about many things. How many episodes in a series? How many series do you see planned? What happens next? Do they die? Is it real? What?

I do know,I promise…but things can change very quickly.

I recently watched the last two series of LOST after a three year break. I kind of gave up on it after the plot lines got madder and the actors had  a look about them that they didn’t quite believe the lines they were saying. Then it got better, very poignant and nicely rounded off. I even shed a tear. Here’s the thing about  good TV series that I love is in the investment. You have deeply invested in a  journey with the characters, the story arcs, the dream sequences, the relationship fuck ups, the alien invasions,  the strange mormans, the crimelords, the vampire slayers, the fighters, the funny nerdy ones, the twats turned nice and the talking animals.

And when it’s gone it feels…strange, empty,…cheated? Then you run onto Amazon and see what else is on offer. I remember as a young boy watching Cheers on a friday night on channel 4. I was allowed one can of quatro (A strange eighties green drink) and a packet of crisps. I loved it. As I got older and started to go out on a friday night I missed the whole Kirsty Alley section of series and by uni was totally unaware of it. But in 1992 I heard they were showing the last ever episode and I sat down with a can of lager and a pizza then for the next hour cried my eyes out as the lights of that famous, so familiar bar, was switched off  by Sam Malone.

So to get the chance to maybe write something that gives people that feeling…well lets see what happens. It could just be another Elderado, but with ghosts.

To finish up on a less depressing note, here is a new piece of excellent writing and all round top acting from Jeremy Swift. This demands a series.

#366daysofkindness Chapter 9 January 2012

January 31st, 2012 by Bernadette

Get On Board The Love Train!

Dear friends, this Valentine’s Day I will be out and about, probably mostly on the tube, giving away cards/cakes/sweets to people to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I’ll dress up a bit fancy, you know me.

I am inviting people (YOU! Dear reader)to join in by sending a card/message of love to someone. Not so much the obvious partner, but more like: a long lost friend, a relative, someone you mean to tell you love but don’t. Or don’t enough. If you fancy joining in please tell me about it. If you know someone who wants a Valentine’s Card tell me about it (obviously sensitively done!!!) I’m going to try and film my day’s adventures for next blog

contact me bernadette@thewhiterabbit.org.uk

Love Bernadette

 

Here it is on FB http://www.facebook.com/events/330319523674626/

 

What I have done and who I have done it to this month!:

 

5th Jan Left a card and book on the jubilee line- still getting away with Happy New Year cards I think!!

 

6th Jan Gave this nice waiter in a bar in Bermondsey Street a nice home made card. I had gone to meet Jude and Matt from Wet Picnic to talk about work n stuff, and was looking to someone to give it to (nice card, little bit of glitter inside the envelope, a “make a wish” invitation) The first waiter we met was a bit snooty and rude to Jude’s lovely fella, and I had the card in my hand ready to give to him, but decided he didn’t deserve it. This fella did.

 

 

7th Jan Gave a passerby a Happy New Year Card at Burgess Hill Train station

 

8th Jan Gave a lady a box of ferrero rocher I had left over from Christmas.

Me: (thinking I was hilarious and that everybody knows this ad reference) “Madam with these rocher I am really spoiling you”

Her: “Pardon?”

Me: (bit embarrassed)”Nothing. Bye”

I wanted to ask to take her picture but the moment had passed. Sometimes this just feels a bit weird.

 

 

 

9th Jan My friend Cindy told me this story: “Hello lovely – I just gave a homeless man a quid outside Tesco’s then went back with a cheese and pickle sarnie and a wispa for him – meant I didn’t have enough for my shopping and I felt a bit sheepish but thought of you!”

I love it when people do it too. Hopefully at Valentine’s Day there’ll be loads of us! (hint hint if you’re still reading!)

Gave homeless guy on Deptford High Street a bit of money. I wanted to have a conversation with him; it seemed weird just to drop money in his hand. But a bit shy today….

 

10th Jan I was in Deptford Train Carriage Café making this jar of sweets to give to someone and trying to order a flat white. The waitress saw what I was doing (tying a ribbon round a piece of gingham, fingers and thumbs) she said, I like that. So she got it.

 

11th Jan A small gift through the post for Wendy Dumper as recommended by Lucinda Townsend

 

12th Jan Send to Joe Grayling as suggested by his sis! I am getting a lot of requests from what I think is, judging by the email address, Brighton University??? What’s going on there? I started wondering…. Maybe I should just go and take them a load of cakes. But really like doing the postal ones.

 

13th Jan I just got this amazing email from Wendy who was 11th Jan’s recipient. “As I opened the box and looked in lovingly at the gifts, my face felt like a big

beam of smiles, and then I started to sob tears of joy.  It really was a wonderful

moment even though it was just me that witnessed it, but that’s OK!

Thank you so much Bernadette – what a wonderful thing you are doing and what fun you

must have putting all these things together, making bits and pieces and making the

cards too, loved the glitter and the little box and the gifts are perfect.  I’m going

to put the “make a wish” tag under my pillow tonight!”

This made me cry.

Most days I plan ahead a little bit and have something in my bag prepared to give to someone, but today by strange coincidence, I heard this man at work say he was planning a route 66 trip and someone had given me a book about that so I gave it to him. Easy. He sent me a link to a song about kindness. Here’s the ink if you fancy a listen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL8A-b9XZaI

Good day today.

14th Jan Combining spring clean with kindness gave this Kate Moss dress to my friend’s daughter

 

15th Jan I got this message:

“I know of your 366 days of kindness project, and it’s really sweet. I was wondering

if I could get some little bit of kindness on the post for my birthday? It’s next

Wednesday 18th January, but I feel a bit low because it’s so close to my late

husband’s birthday, that was on 16th January. He’d be 40, if he hadn’t died a year

and a half ago. Please surprise me, I love surprises!”

Sent a birthday surprise to Doly Garcia, who’s above email broke my heart a little bit.

 

16th Jan A few years ago I was lucky enough to work with Stan’s Café in Toronto at the Harbourfront Centre and I loved it there, and loved all Torontonians (is that how you say it?)- during the time I was there a man dashed out of his house on Toronto Island to give me a coat when it started to rain, and a taxi driver drove back to my hotel to return the purse I dropped outside his door. There’s not much you can teach the Canadians about kindness, if you ask me. Anyway, I loved it, and I posted my friend Viktor’s girlfriend Nina, whom I am yet to meet, a nice card. My first across-the-pond kindness. I am going to send Viktor another one to deliver to Toronto. He doesn’t know it yet.

 

17th Jan For Marion Gold, as suggested by Rebecca Tonge, through post

 

18th Jan I think this was in Jam Circus in Brockley. I was definitely in Brockley, anyway, I gave this lady a chocolate heart that my friend Penny Harrison had given me to pass on (thanks Pen) and she gave me a gigantic glass of red wine which meant I turned up to my friend’s house a bit squiffy. Instant karma.

 

19th Jan went for meeting about Shoreditch festival. I took an instant like to this man, who was slightly suspicious of me, but accepted my gift nonetheless

 

20th Jan for my friend Charlotte Civil- Sullivan’s husband

 

21st Jan On my way to see my friend’s show at the Lyric (great BTW, Great Grans’ Great Games) all ready to deliver something to someone at the theatre, when, on the way saw man on the tube trying for 20 minutes to get his contact lens in by reflection in window glass. I felt sick at all the eye pokery and was getting really irritated. Then I remembered I am supposed to be kind and lent him my compact mirror. More pockery. His friend was holding mirror up. His friend: “is this gay?” me: ” no. I don’t know” him: “I’m supposed to be in goal”. My stop came. Him :” here have your mirror back” me: ” no u keep it” his friend : “this is mental” I got off then remembered mirror was present from the very friend I was going to see in the show. Oops. It was a pretty camp mirror, and I loved the thought of him checking his eyes in goal with my dainty compact.

 

22nd Jan I’d left it a bit late today, that happens sometimes when I am working from home and I don’t leave the house and get embroiled in Radio4. So I dashed out and delivered a card to the nearest spooky house I could find. Don’t know why, I was in the mood for spooky. Quite daring as it looked like Miss Haversham lived there. The curtains twitched as I was trying to take a picture and I ran off…

 

23rd Jan Doing tax returns. Did a 5* review for someone who deserves it. See, I don’t even have to leave the house!

 

24th Jan In Eastleigh with the fabulous Wet Picnic. Gave this lady a good luck card. She has since become a friend, but I had only just met her.

 

25th Jan met this lovely man outside Waterloo station collecting for veterans. I gave him the scripscraps from my purse. Him: “Thanks” Me: “You’re welcome. Can I take a photo of you?” Him: “I’ll probably break your camera” Me: “No you won’t, a handsome man like you” Him: “oo *blushes* er.. ok.. thanks”.

It got me thinking, I don’t give enough compliments. They don’t cost anything etc. Gonna do more.

 

26th Jan Today I left a homemade chocolate in a silver box outside my neighbours house. It’s a really nice chocolate and an even nicer box. It’s safe to say that if you live within a 5-mile radius of my house you’ll get a surprise on your doorstep from me before this year’s up.

 

27th Jan found out that my friend Kate who was coming to the show tonight had a show coming up. I made her up an early birthday present. She was chuffed. Was good. It was a great show and the rest of my cakes got eaten up, which is a first.

28th Jan Davy’s Wine Bar, Greenwich, at my friend’s wedding party- this man got a card. He was nice. The card was slightly spooky but I hope he liked it.

 

29th Jan This was a weird night. I ended up at BBC audio awards, and at the after party both David Tennant and Johnny Vegas, Both very nice, Vegas hilarious. I had a small gift ready to give to someone but I had left it in my bag in the cloakroom so I ended up leaving it outside a flat in Deptford. Those two probably get enough kindness anyway.

 

30th Jan My friend Lucinda sent me a replacement mirror for the one I gave away on 21st Jan. Loads of people left me nice messages as I posted on FB that I was a bit fed up and now I am embarrassed and will never moan no more.

Reviewed and gave 5* to The Shadow by Michela O’Brien

 

31st Jan Gave this nice lady a small gift. She gave me a petition to sign. Fair’s fair.

No money and give me your %$£$%$ money

January 16th, 2012 by Gareth

Hello All

Happy new year and all that jazz. I normally start the year with a bright step forward and a million ideas that I put in a list, that gets carried forward every week until eventually I can’t understand what I had written in the first place. This new year the week just..greyly followed on from the next. No bright ideas, no new lists. Very busy still, don’t get me wrong, I’m not just sitting in my underpants watching Sky Sports News thinking when did my thirties go. Oh no. It just didn’t make me want to change my life.

I think this is down to the year being planned out already. The news keeps telling us how horrible it’s going to be. No money, no jobs, no future. I want to no how really bad this is going to be? Do I start hunting badgers? Or squirrels maybe? How do I cook these things? Do i have to go back to a dial up modem? Will I have to make a time machine, go back and kill the bankers?  WHAT IS HAPPENING?

Then we have the upcoming End of the World, which we have been watching trailers of now for years. I found it quite exciting. I can imagine myself with green hair, a tank top made out of badgers and driving around on a pimped up lawnmower.

My main worry is that we all start doing more stuff for free. In the arts it now seems acceptable to run theatre and film without actually paying anyone. Friends of mine who have worked professionaly now for over twenty years have been told “It’s good for your profile” when offered full time work for NO MONEY.

This guy says it so much better then me.

MARATHON

 In case you have forgot I am running this bloody London Marathon at the end of April. We are planning a special event for the day with live streaming, live sound and parties which I will talk about  more next time.

In the meantime please start giving me money for CHILDREN WITH CANCER (UK) on this website

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/GarethBrierley

 

 

 

 

 

 

#366daysofkindness Chapter 8 December 2011

January 5th, 2012 by Bernadette

Hello all, remember to email me if you know someone who needs something nice through the post. PLUS, on Valentine’s Day I am posting and hand-delivering 100 homemade cards. Let me know if you know anyone that would need one or if you’d like to do it with me…

 

Things I learnt this month:

 

It’s harder to be kind with a headache (either a “naturally occurring” or “brought on by excess of cheese” headache)

 

Some days strangers are scary, some days they’re not. Some days they’re interesting and intriguing. Depends on what side of the bed I woke up on.

 

It’s easier for people to accept kindness from you if you do it with an open heart. By that I mean: I noticed that when I am doing it because I’m in a “I have to do this but I’m not in the mood and that girl on the bus just gave me evils and I’m dying to go to the toilet and I’ve eaten too much cheese again…”etc, well, those days, with those thoughts in my head people are much less likely to respond favourably to my approaches, even if I am approaching with flowers/chocolate/ or on one memorable occasion, champagne. So I have to kind of get my mojo up, and approach with genuine warmth and openness, compassion etc. Then it nearly always elicits a favourable response. This is my experience from being on the frontline of kindness…

 

On blue days, on days when the relentless misery of battleship grey sky and grumpy colleagues, and aggressive cyclists, and not-much-moneyness, on these days I was unfailingly cheered by being nice to someone. I’d recommend it. It cheers you up, if you need it. If you don’t need it, it fills you with love and optimism. I don’t care if I sound like a soppy idiot. It’s true.

 

(I have had two glasses of semi flat champagne left over from Boxing Day, but I hope I am making sense.)

 

Here’s what I did:

 

29th November. I sent a card to Dawn King’s friend through the post. Now my craft supplies are getting a bit thinner due to excessive card making. This is a good thing. They take up more room than my clothes, and that is saying something. Dawn King’s friend name was Rachel Bollen from Newcastle and her two cats were called Olive and Mr Oblong. These are the greatest cat names I have ever heard. I hope I’ll meet all three of them one day.

 

30th November First day on project in Portsmouth with Wet Picnic. Met this lovely waiter in Gun Wharf who was working 9 am-1am. With a one-hour break. I gave him a card.

 

1st December Donated to national aids trust.

 

2nd December Whilst in Portsmouth, I am staying in a hotel next to the road I lived in when I was 17 (Shaftesbury Avenue). Tonight I’m gonna leave a note and a present outside the front door. I started pondering on how great it would be if through a fluke of physics/tear in the space-time continuum, 17 year old me got it. But I don’t remember so I probably won’t/didn’t.

 

3rd December found a lovely lady in the pub to give something to today. She was a ray of sunshine. I don’t think she was drunk, more naturally effervescent.

 

4th December I bought Pat (who I met today and is 80 years young) a cheese and ham sandwich and a cuppa as she was a bit peckish. 
She went home before I could
 get a picture of her.

 

5th December Hee Hee! Left surprise in Canada Water library. It was quite tricking choosing the right section to place it in- self-help? Romance? Teen fiction? In the end I chose at random

 

6th December Van Demal asked me to send something to his friend who is having a very difficult time. Sent it.

 

7th December Left on the jubilee line the great book  “When God was a Rabbit” with a small note

 

8th December another postal surprise for the daughter of a friend of mine who is having a hard time.

 

9th December went to a séance in Stoke Newington, a show in progress (which was great) and I gave my friend Heather Uprichard a card to deliver randomly to someone at the party she was going to I got this message back from the recipient “I got this and made me so happy! I still haven’t slept with the card under my pillow: really thinking of what I truly wish for first… thank you Bernadette :-) xs” Nice.

 

10th December Made a donation to Scene and Heard a charity a couple of my friends are involved in, a theatre project for children in Somers Town who work with professional actors on their own plays.

 

11th December Christmas card to random neighbours I have never met.

 

12th December Left in Spitalfields after rehearsal for our project with the music festival- Xmas card and golden coin

 

13th December Edwin. My new friend on bus. Because someone reminded me that just chatting to a stranger and sharing tips about hats is a good thing to do.

 

14th December ‎24 cupcakes delivered to SE Herts CATT team via my sister. Cakes were left over from the show yesterday.

 

15th December Gave a busker at Hampstead a massive bar of dairy milk Hopefully he’ll be so busy eating he will stop playing for a bit 😉 (When accordions are bad they are awful)

 

16th December Just did a strange and slightly creepy but great review. This “reviewer” is taking on a life of her own….

 

17th December Brilliant show with the musicians from Spitalfields Music Festival. Remembered after show I hadn’t delivered the card I’d prepared to anyone, so one of the musicians Alice, delivered it to her flat mate in the nick of time

 

18th December Christmas card to stranger left at Paddington Station

 

19th December Today sent something through the post to Morgan Nichols as recommended by Louise Halvardson

 

20th December Sent through the post to Yvonne Thornton as suggested by Rebecca Cubbit

 

21st December Today sent a card via Tina Moran for her daughter who I heard was a bit blue

 

22nd December Today delivered goodies to Jacksons Lane for Xmas day old folks party. Loads of people contributed to this sack of goodies including Sophie Donnelly, Kate Bohdanowicz, and  Caroline Jowett.

 

23rd December I gave a Xmas card and chocolate to my friend Stephan to give to his girlfriend who I have never met (she emailed me, this is always really nice, mainly as it’s great to know that it is nice to receive things)

 

24th December Met this really nice lady at Paddington station with her cute dog and gave her a Christmas card.

 

25th December donated to Centrepoint for homeless young people

 

26th December Secret 5* review. Well anonymous, secret would be pointless

 

27th December Left a Happy New Year card on the stage for someone to pick up after seeing the brilliant Colour of Magic by Forkbeard Fantasy at Southbank

 

28th December another review. No one so far has guessed it’s me.

 

29th December A little silver box full of silver coins I left on the tube, as a kind of voodoo money spell, but I couldn’t take a pic as I forgot my phone. The day has been strangely peaceful…

 

30th December Matt at the Mayflower- today’s recipient Met him the day before and he is a long way from home and its Christmas he said “ thanks for the card” (I had forgotten) I had a shit Christmas and I had no family here and I loved it”

 

31st December Planned to give this card and sparkler to someone in the vicinity of Surrey Docks at midnight…. instead I found a house party that sounded pretty lively and left my surprise in the doorway… did it get found?

 

1st Jan 2012-I just found out that I was the inspiration for a church talk in Edgbaston, Birmingham, my mate James Yarker’s church. I am really chuffed. He sent me a picture of a big picture of me in church. Possibly the most surprising thing that has ever happened to me. Brilliant and flabbergasting. Then my friend Lucinda Townsend told me this “and I forgot to tell you that you were the subject of my 12-year-old son Elliot’s philosophy lesson before Christmas! They were asked to do something kind for someone every day for a week and keep a record – so I emailed the teacher about you and your Random Acts ;-)”

Today I tried to go out with a small gift for someone but I am too utterly broken (in a good way) instead wrote another glowing review for someone most deserving and saved today’s gift for tomorrow

 

2nd Jan 2012 Gave this very sweet lady at the Greenwich Playhouse a little Happy New Year card and general message of encouragement. She nice. Watched Sherlock Holmes 2. Liked it.

 

3rd Jan 2012 Just gave this man sitting on London Bridge in freezing cold £2 all I had he looked so miserable and was so nice. Gonna look for him tomorrow see if he wants to get some food with me. It’s 2012, the Charles Dickens bicentenary and I was thinking for how many hundreds of years has someone sat on that spot over the river, hungry and asking for a bit of change? Plus ca change, and all that. I’m sure Germaine Greer took a homeless man under her wing??? I can’t do that, I’m too scaredy cat but I can take him for lunch. Will report back

 

4th Jan Couldn’t find him. Will look. Put a lottery ticket in a golden envelope and delivered to a house on my street. This is always nerve racking!!

 

 

Love Bernadette xxxx

 

 

Shakespeare Experiment, Driving and Christmas video.

December 5th, 2011 by Gareth

Hello All

The year is nearly coming to an end and as usual I have no Christmas parties to attend, no photocopying of my bum to be had or drunken fondling in the stationary cupboard with the operational manager from finance. The downside of being self employed. 

THE COMMITMENT

At the start of the year I made a commitment to not watch any Shakespeare plays for a whole year. I listed my reasons and there was some fierce debate. As the year is coming to an end with only 28 more days to go, I feel very confident that I fulfill my promise. Unless I am pressganged by the RSC marketing department and I wake up in bruised and drugged in a 24 hour Bard special. It has be heard of. 

I can report that it was very hard due to me not being able to see my friends perform in their shakespeare shows. I was invited and had to refuse, coming across like a pious idiot. I have missed 3 midsummers nights dreams, 2 hamlets, 3 As you Like it’s and a musical celebration of the bards sonnets. I did perform another show on the set  of the globes touring production of Hamlet in Yorkshire, if that counts.

I don’t feel like I am in a cultural void after my year absence. I don’t feel more stupid. I don’t feel like I am missing something important in life by watching a another famous actor talking to a skull. I would like to say i have filled my hours not watching shakespeare by doing something more worthy, but I won’t lie to you, I am not that man. Will I do another year?….Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Driving

 I am now 40 and have never learn to drive. I tell a lie, I had two lessons and I am sure the instructor was drunk. In the second lesson he said why don’t we try a handbrake turn? My mum took me out a couple of times and screamed for an hour straight. After that I hung up my brown leather gloves.

Now I hate cars in the city. I am often ranting about how big they are getting and whats the point of driving around soho at 2 miles an hour beeping your horn because it’s busy. I hate the school runs. I hate that  drive ins. I hate Top Gear.

I am going to learn to drive next year though. I feel like I am missing out of something. I want to be in on the gang who talk about litres engines, torque and wheels. I want to be able to moan on the other side of the fence. I can play driving video games. How hard can it be? I hope my lessons might be like the Grand theft Auto games… without the murders. Do I learn in automatic? Do i do an intensive course? Do I watch Top gear?

 

Marathon

I am running the London Marathon next year for Children with Cancer Uk and heres by fundraising pag

http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/GarethBrierley

Christmas Video 

I like to share a video with you made and sung by a friend of mine called Ben Homewood. We met filming in Belgium and he is a genius.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

366 Days of Kindness-Chapter 7 November 2011

November 28th, 2011 by Bernadette

Hello, THANKYOU EVERYONE FOR YOUR HELP, SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT

XXX

…for those who have just joined me, every day I attempt to do something kind for a total stranger. I’ve been doing it since 18th August 2011 and will attempt to do it for 366 days (being as it’s a leap year next year!!)

My adventures are recorded in words and pictures here. You can request a kindness through the post for a friend by emailing me at Bernadette@thewhiterabbit.org.uk.

 

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

 

6th November left a box of goodies on the bench in Deptford Park. I wrote on the lid “This is FREE and it’s for you. It’s your lucky day” went back 10 minutes later and it was gone!!!!!!

7th November feature by the brilliant Flic Everett came out in Daily Express!! Great and lots of encouraging messages. Also lots of requests for postals which I have to get cracking on!! Left some dried flowers and a hand made card on bus. That 47 is a lucky bus, by now. here’s the feature in the Daily Epxress

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/282242/365-days-of-kindness

8th November Today’s package through the post was for Mary Corbett

9th November hid a message with a “wish card” in newsagents

10th November I am at the “are we kind enough?” conference at Somerset House. Lots to think about. Lots of talk about “sustainable kindness”. Outside there were lots of tiny mice running up the stairs. I left my cupcake for the mice, they made me smile. On the way home I passed a soup van and asked if I could help them out. They said they needed blankets and coats so I will go back. Those people, in that van, they are helping people every day without help or publicity or anything. I wish I could be that good. I am not (that good)

11th November today, admittedly I was in a bit of a rush. Quickly made a little note and “make a wish” card for my friend’s husband, who was apparently confused, then pleased by it, which is a good response. But some mutual friends thought he should’ve got chocolate, which is fair enough. He might get another one later in the year. I feel I owe him chocolate!!

12th November tried to visit the old folks home near me, to offer my services. More specifically, I asked the head nurse if she’d like some home made cakes. She was rude rude rude and ended up saying “we can’t except those for health and safety reasons” which may be true but made me feel like an idiot and was horrid. So I gave something else to my neighbours grandson who happened to be hanging out of the window as I came home, a bit blue after the rejection. Ryan was happy. He got smarties. He has The Greatest Hair in South London.

13th November left some cakes outside the Post Office collection office (I like them in there)

14th November got this message from an old friend and it really spurred me on:

Beth Kerslake: Bernadette- you are a truly positive influence on all around you- yesterday I gave my parking ticket to the next person in, ran up a street to give someone their poppy back on their way to church, and I am trying to cook things for children in need. Thank you. Greatly

Today I was in a grump and I didn’t want to be nice to anyone. All I did today was tell this girl that she had a nice hat.

Me: that’s a nice hat (it was)

Her: thanks

Me: (thinking: that wasn’t much of a compliment) you have twinkly eyes. I mean, they’re nice. Sorry, that sounded weird.

Her: No that sounded nice. Twinkly eyes are good

Me: I think so (getting off bus) bye

Her: Bye. I think I live near you.

O blimey. All my neighbours are onto me. I wonder if it will affect property prices/rent???

15th November wrote three secret reviews. I am only writing reviews for things I like, and just keeping quiet about things I don’t. Plus doing it anonymously, so I can’t for obvious reasons, divulge. Which is boring, I know. Plus, in Brighton, as we’re getting ready for the show, I popped to a coffee shop and put some smarties in a woman’s bag!!! These ones really make me laugh! Imagine if I got caught!! What the hell would I say?? We missed Jules at AYSC? But we had the lovely Deb Mead, so all was not lost. Great show, great crowd, great cocktails…

16th November I saw an old man struggling with his bags so I helped him. He said ” you’re just trying to get to know me u crafty cow!” love it! I was still laughing about this three days later!!!!

17th November today I gave away my seat three times, up and down like a yo-yo. Then I carried a buggy up the stairs, and gave the Big Issue seller £2.23 which is what I had left. All day I had been carrying around a book to give somebody but couldn’t find the right person/spot/moment…..

Did a photoshoot at Natural History Museum for woman mag to go with the interview I did for them. I was rubbish and terrified. A man had to help me out on ice and prop me up. The photographer was LOVELY as was the PR lady. I was laughing like a mad man in all of the pictures, due to fear. Was a good laugh though.

18th November left a copy of Great Expectations in the lift at Shoreditch Station

19th November received my own present through the post from Emma Bowkett- lush. Took a bottle of bubbly with me to Windsor as am compering for burly show and thought I could find someone in Windsor. Its children in need so thought about giving it to a teenager!! I know this is wicked but I just imagined how amazing it would be; hanging outside spa waiting for your older mates to go and buy you a can of cider and a total random stranger gives you a bottle of champagne!!!! Anyway, didn’t do that! Gave it to an audience member at almost midnight.

20th November Sent surprise through post to Ian White Wood for as suggested by Judy Barrington-Smuts. Jude met this guy whilst working in Portsmouth. He sounded v nice man, plus he’s from my hometown so it had to be done.

21st November another one through the post as suggested by Sally Reeve Edwards.

22nd November another one through the post as suggested by Lisa Higgins. Then went to watch the Cheek of it! girls’ rehearsals they were excellent and I got scared. I have to be as good as them, and they were brill. My friend Harriet was doing it and I had to give her notes and I felt like Louis Walsh on X Factor as Zoe kept asking for my comments and I just kept saying they were brilliant. But they were.

23rd November Through the post to Eve Lumpy requested by Flic Everett

24th November through the post for Rebecca Tonge — as suggested by  Maggie Gordon-Walker. She FB’d me and said “perfect timing, thank you (and yes, it did make me cry)” xx this was great, I mean not that I made her cry, but that she got back to me. I know I shouldn’t do it for thanks but the encouragement is nice and also knowing that it is something that someone would like. I’d like it but I’m a bit crazy….

25th November neighbours locked themselves out of the house. Took them and the locksmith food. One of the boys said “o yeah, you’re the cake lady” I am getting a reputation locally for being a feeder…also sent something through the post to Claire Poley as requested by Karen Poley… during the Are You Sitting Comfortably show at Toynbee tonight when we were playing pass the parcel as we always do at the end, I threw a prize of chocolate coins at a very nice man and nearly had his eye out. Not so kind….

26th November posted a box to someone who shall remain anonymous, filled with silly gifts and messages. The box leaked glitter all the way to the post office. Went to watch my best mate Christine Entwisle win best director at Underwire Festival. Very proud. For some inexplicable reason I chose to go dressed as the Artful Dodger. Nobody commented.

27th November- on way home after compering Madam Jojos The cheek of it! showcase, it’s 11.40pm and I realised my carefully prepared little box of sweets haven’t been given to anyone. I approach a girl at Eros in Piccadilly Circus whilst Harriet looks after our bags and my ukulele.

Me: hello, would you like this?

Her: No

Me: (a bit surprised) but it’s nice… it’s just a little present

Her: please don’t give me anything, I don’t speak English

Me: it’s a present

Her: I don’t want it.

Me: o. (walks away defeated)

Gave it to the cab driver. He said “you made my day” I expect I did, the cab as £28….

28th November- left a book on the Overground line tube- on way back from meeting with Spitalfields music festival, after finding out the show had sold out. I thought about handing it directly to someone, but am so tired…. Left on a seat, saw a man pick it up… will he keep it??

Tomorrow the piece comes out in Woman mag, I am looking forward to seeing it and also seeing if anyone gets in touch… with requests….or suggestions…..

 

366 Days of Kindness- Chapter 6 October 2011

November 6th, 2011 by Bernadette

Dear Reader, I am definitely in the swing of it now, with the kindness. I started the postal ones, although I have a bit of a backlog as they take a bit more time. and a lot of glitter. Got interviewed by Flic Everett for the Daily Express about it (in the paper on Monday 7th November) and Woolfson and Tay bookshop and gallery are proposing an exhibition of it August- September next year.

Funny how quickly it has become just a thing I do. I never plan them, but I never forget either. Really enjoyed this month.Here’s the list. Find me on FB if you want daily updates or on Twitter (betterussell). If you have  friend who would like a nice surprise in the post then send me their address Bernadette@thewhiterabbit.org.uk

 

11th October left an unbirthday present in the phone box near my house. That phone box must be getting quite a reputation.

12th October My birthday! So I was the recipient of much kindliness myself!

Left lush card in national portrait gallery. Saw lady pick it up and smile.

13th October despite a hangover, crept out and left a mysterious yet cheering message outside block of flats

14th October I put a bar of chocolate INSIDE a woman’s bag -is this scary? Illegal? Left a note with it

15th October I went to see Jerusalem for the second time at Apollo Theatre, and met this great man outside, Mark, activist and fellow ark -er, what a top bloke. Gave him money. Bit boring, but he probably needs it.

16th October I sponsored Paul Arvidson he’s cutting his hair off for a very good cause. Now this was the first time I have known the person, so for good measure as it’s sort of breaking my own rules, I left a jar of sweets on the bus.

17th October went to see Grisly Tales from Tumblewater at Wimbledon Theatre, after the show I gave the author  note that promised I would send him a present if he sent me his address- he didn’t respond! I did know the theatre company so he should have known I wasn’t just a nutter! Will try this one again at a later date…

18th October lady who works in newsagent’s next door- took her a cake- didn’t explain too well she looked confused/doubtful!

19th October sent this to Donna Bakewell my first postal #366daysofkindness- nominated by Cindy Townsend

20th October Just took cakes down to St Paul’s protest camp for today #366daysofkindness brill down here good work!

21st October we had a storytelling show at Toynbee- (“Are You Sitting Comfortably? BEAUTY”) Last minute #366daysofkindness to member of audience nominated by Gareth- gave her a fiver. She said she just had her bike nicked so was slight compensation.

22nd October left some sweets on my neighbours step- git caught doing it by the other neighbour. She said “ That’s great, she loves sweets!” Plus received an ARK myself- my friend Cindy sent me an amazing beautiful box of treats!

23rd October Left Paul Auster book on bus. Man said “hey you’ve left your book” I said” I left it on purpose” he said “awesome” and I saw him reading it as bus sailed off. Aw. Great gig with the Cheek of It! at Madam Jojos. All good

24th October Left a book on my front wall (Neil Gaiman The Graveyard Book, and a hardback, peeps!!) Tomorrow must get on with the postal #366!

25th October left a book- beryl Bainbridge every man for himself- in vegan café in Camden after me and my sis finished our Halloween/ wedding shopping.

26th October second postal #366- a magic box containing: a fir cone I picked on the beach at Crear in the Highlands, lovehearts, Parma violets, a balloon, a party popper, a shell, dice dares, chocs, feathers, glitter etc. To Phillippa Lawrence nominated by Alex Alderton.

27th October took a load of cakes down to my favourite charity shop in Deptford- home made cupcakes left over from our show

28th October Lucky Penny- given to a bemused John Osborne after I had seen his (great) show” John Peel’s Shed” at Jackson’s Lane

29th October Dare Dice- given to Fran from Woolfson and Tay gallery in Bermondsey square who I had just met. She wants to do an exhibition of my 366 days of kindness in August! Yay!

30th October Left “Alice In Wonderland” and a note in the Ladies loos at the White Horse pub in Hatfield, where we were having our dinner-before- sister’s- big- day.

31st October My sis got married today- in fabulous Halloween style! I left a basket called Trick or Treat in the honeymoon suite! Also put a trick or treat bag in a strangers bag! (These are the tough ones, sneaking into someone’s bag- how would I explain myself? I am a reverse pickpocket?!)

1st November lottery ticket and note left in Soho after seeing my friend Henry Bouquet’s photography exhibition at Adam Street. I picked man who had an eccentric and sensational jacket on. He deserved it.

2nd November Box of cakes to Emma, who I just met on a photo shoot for Daily Express (they interviewed me about this foolish endeavour!!!!)

3rd November a book of Xmas ghost stories to a man I met on the bus Andy Rees. (Anne Perry – A Christmas Odyssey)

4th November box of sweets left on my front wall. Gone 20 minutes later! Note saying please take me!

5th November magic box to Donna Lowe nominated by Liz Hawkins. Containing: lucky penny, rubber duck, rose bath bomb, body lotion, heart balloon, Scooby Doo fizzy sweets, chocolates, glitter, feathers, a wish…..

Today is 6th November- it’s a quarter past 2, what will I do? xx

 

 

 

Marathon Help and Indoor Olympics 2012.

October 14th, 2011 by Gareth

Hello All

Now I must apologise for my lackluster approach to blogging lately. Bernadette has made up for it though with her weekly updates of acts of random kindness. Until I start  my  own acts of random evil when the world economy collapses next month, I must be more regular in the blogging department.

 

I am still running though. Jesus and all the gods yes I am running. Last sunday did the Royal Parks half marathon thanks to Chris Trim. My god it was a mixture of ups and downs. The first six miles was brilliant, running past house of parliament, up the embankment, down the mall. I had a permanent grin on my face. I had a bit of trouble grabbing the water bottles from the wonderful helpers on the side , but after the tenth attempt finally grabbed one and then dropped it straight away.  It was around the 8 mile mark that I loss the will to live. Depression hit me with a slap. What am I doing? I’m forty for shit’s sake? Where have all the bee’s gone? Other runners started to drop around me, some with cramp, others with more serious injuries. The sight of someone on the floor surrounded by St John’s Ambulances having a fit will stay with me for a long time. Hope you are okay fella.

The 10th mile mark came and then I discovered Lucozade. WOW. This is good, yes please, WOW. I soon passed my best ever distance of 11 miles and that jubliation kept me going till the 12th mile. The last mile was when I experienced real pain for the first time since starting running. The thighs started to burn and I had made a serious mistake with my choice of  pants. I don’t think you need any other details.

I made it though, just over 2 hours and I never stopped. Then it dawned on me. I am going to have to double this in next years marathon. Shoot me now.

 Marathon 2012

I am running this baby in 2012 for the fantastic charity CHILDREN with CANCER UK as part of their team. They have given me a training plan which is frightening and has something called ‘Fartlek’ in it. You can sponser me now or nearer the time as I aim too raise a lot of cash. Here is the link.

 http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/GarethBrierley

I also would love to do some kind of art event while running the marathon. I was thinking every mile I would deliver a line of a new story, that have twenty six lines in it.

That’s rubbish as you can tell.

Anyone got any ideas? Please leave in comments.

Indoor Olympics 2012

The lovely Bernadette and I will, with People Show, will be running this special event in march of next year. A two day event with indoor athletics, egg and spoon, find the red trousers and other such great sporting events. We want different countries from all over London represented. We are also want to raise some more money for the above charity. More details to follow soon.

Have a lovely weekend

 

Gareth

366 Days of Kindness- Chapter 5 September 2011

October 11th, 2011 by Bernadette

So, I said I was going to keep a record every week, in my blog, and I didn’t. I have tried to keep it brief. Remember if you would like me to do something nice for someone- you can email me at Bernadette@thewhiterabbit.org.uk

 

All the kind things I have done since 21st Sept.

 

Wednesday 21st September

Left the novel “one day” on bench in park. Then I felt bad, as I remembered I had promised it to my friend. Went back, it had gone. I haven’t mentioned it, with a bit of luck she’s forgotten.

 

Thursday 22nd September

Left a fiver on the bus seat, but I wrote on the fiver explaining, so I hope it gets passed around and spreads the word!

 

Friday 23rd September

I left a nice message and a party popper with my neighbours. The next morning I found the popped popper on the pavement outside their house!

 

Saturday 24th September

Gave some Jehovah’s Witnesses a plate of french fancies for #366dayskindness. I was on my way to deliver them elsewhere, but I thought that they probably receive quite  a lot of doorslams, so they could do with a fancy.

 

Sunday 25th September

Sponsored total stranger Natalie Goulder. Left her this message “I’m doing one kind thing every day for a total stranger for #366daysofkindness. I live on London Marathon route (8miles in) so will look out for you x” hope she not scared. She didn’t reply. L

 

 

Monday 26th September

Left a message of kindness on the seats at the Tate after looking at John Martin’s Apocalypse exhibition. An antidote, I hope, to the hellfire and brimstone stuff.

 

Tuesday 27th September I left a load of birdseed on the table. Birds count as strangers. I don’t know them. Not convinced, even though my friend at RSPB said it certainly did count. Did another one.

Left a pot of geraniums outside old folks home . Hope they didn’t trip up on it.I grow the biggest geraniums in se London.

 

Wednesday 28th September

Found a stranger to sponsor thanks to Jack Trow! Isabel Shapiro. Jack said he’d buy me a cocktail, so I think I will have made a profit there, if I pick a really expensive and massive cocktail

 

Thursday 29th September

Gave this lovely lovely chef at Yellow Earth near where I live a bunch of flowers, he seemed a bit blue lately. I wanted to take a picture but it would’ve spoiled the moment. Haven’t been back in yet.

 

Friday 30th September

Found a load of cigarettes in pockets of old coats. I don’t smoke anymore, except when I do, so I piled them up and put a note saying please have these if you like and then please give up. Don’t know who took them. I know, dubious, this one.

 

Saturday 1st October

My sister’s hen night. Gave her friend, who I hadn’t met before a “make a wish” card.

 

Sunday 2nd October

On my way to see premier of Black Pond at Raindance , left book at Eros Piccadily!

 

Monday 3rd October

Gave Vanessa Woolf Hoyles husband a box of chocolates. I have never met him, so he is a stranger. Plus she said he’d had a rough week.

 

Tuesday 4th October

On the way to do show in Brighton, had a long conversation with curate of East Grinstead St Swithin’s Church about kindness. He said it’s easier when you are poor, when you’re life isn’t about acquiring wealth and posessions. Mmm… gave a couple a bunch of flowers in Brighton, she said “thanks. I think some comedian has already done this though.” Them comedians, always giving away lilies, int they?

 

Wednesday 5th October

I helped a tourist couple buys their travel cards, said “Welcome To London” AND gave them my number and said if you need help give me a call.

 

Thursday 6th October

Gave lottery ticket to first man I saw getting off the bus. Told him to phone me if he wins and gave him my phone number. He hasn’t.

 

Friday 7th October

Did a neighbours recycling, by taking it out of his recycling bin and put it in the big recycling bin. Felt weird.

 

Sat 8th October

Left jar of sweets saying eat me at house near me. Rang bell, ran away.

 

Sunday 9th October

Sponsored Kit Taylor for the Royal Parks ½ marathon. Bit of a cheat, as I can’t exactly describe him as a stranger, but you could say he is strange. Plus I haven’t seen him for years. Hardly recognise him. Honest. Plus gave a dog the other half of my croissant.

 

Monday 10th October

Gave a “make a wish” card to my friend David Duchin’s friend over from Denmark. Kate Kamil. Told her to open it at midnight. I knew that she would be in the mood as we had visited Dennis Severs house, so she’d up for a bit of magic.

 

Tuesday 11th October

It’s 19.30pm and I am still deciding…….

366 Days of Kindness- Chapter 4 September 2011

September 21st, 2011 by Bernadette

The week that I found out how to be kind when you’re in bed feeling sorry for yourself.

Tuesday Sept 13th

I have the lurgy, and am cross because, despite decades of living like a cross between Henry VIII and George Best, I never get ill.

Strangley, I had been wondering how I would do the kindness activities if I was ill in me bed, just the day before. So I must have felt it coming. Plus was worried as had a big gig coming up, compering for a Breast Cancer Charity Burlesque event, and knew I a. couldn’t be ill b. couldn’t imagine compering in this state of disrepair.

So from the sick bed, I wrote an anonymous (great) review for someone’s book. This has to stay anonymous of course, otherwise she might find out and it might be a terrible disappointment that it’s just me. This book really deserved a great review. Was quite pleased that I had achieved something from the sick bed that didn’t cost anything.

 

Wednesday Sept 14

Donated to “help the forest” for next year’s Edinburgh Festival. Still in bed with lurgy! Really enjoyed the forest and the free fringe this year, feels like that what the Edinburgh Festival should be, not some big corporate money making (except for artists) comedy producers festival. Felt good.

Still in bed. Think I ate a dodgy vegetarian meatball (is there any other kind? I hear you cry!)

 

Here’s stuff about the Forest:

The Forest is a volunteer-run, collectively-owned, free arts and events space masquerading as a vegetarian café. We provide a dedicated space for people to get involved in any creative activity imaginable.

 

Thursday Sept 15

Recovered enough to get down to Whitton for the fundraiser.

Beyond nervous, feel like I am at the biggest hen night in the history of the world (not a bad thing) totally sober (bad thing)

Think it went well. Gave away a LOT of fairycakes iced to look like breasts. Under the glare of the follow spot by the end of the evening they looked more like iced testicles. Snogged this poor man half to death under the glare of a follow spot, in the name of “comedy”. Lots of fairly dubious #366daysofkindness last night. Donate ½ my fee to cancer research.

Come home broken.

 

Friday Sept 16th

Left an envelope with a fiver in on a bar in London Bridge with a letter- “have a drink on me.” Hope it’s not found by a recovering alcoholic. That’s not kind.

 

Sat Sept 17th

Signed this. Got other people to sign it.

Reduce Income Inequality for a Fairer, Safer and Happier Society – e-petitions

epetitions.direct.gov.uk

We the undersigned wish to highlight the findings of the Equality Trust that societies with smaller income differences between rich and poor have fewer health and social problems, such as teenage births, violence, social disorder, mental illness and drug abuse; further further note that such societi…

 

Sunday Sept 18th

http://bit.ly/minersfund today #366daysofkindness

 

Monday 19th

September always makes me think of Charles Dickens, my hero. So I left “Christmas Carol” on the train #dickensofkindness. It had a bit of coffee spilt on it, but still…

 

Tuesday 20th September

Dice of kindness (see pics)

Gave this to my friend Ed Currie to give to his girlfriend, who I haven’t met so this does count.I hope she does it!

Getting into the swing of it now. Lessons learnt: Don’t plan the next day’s kindness. If an opportunity comes your way, take it. One person’s kindness is another person’s annoyance.

Onward!

 

366 Days of Kindness- Chapter 3 September 2011

September 12th, 2011 by Bernadette

Third week of kindness during which I made people cry, realised it’s very difficult for me to be kind to certain kinds of people, and I made LOADS of cakes.

Hello friends. If you just want to know what I did every day, you can just read the big bold type. The rest is my musings, plus some pics.

Tuesday September 6th

Market Coffee House in Spitalfields- left a “make a wish” note.Out for the night with Chris Entwisle.

I saw a waiter pick it up and he caught my eye.

ME “that’s for you”.

HIM: “erm…thanks”

It was inviting him to make a wish and that it might come true and that to think of me as his Fairygodmother. I would love such a message- but would he?

Then was embarrassed in case he thought it was a proposition. THEN remembered I go in there a lot,so will prob see him again,and that all the flyers for my show are in the  leaflet rack so it’s not too anonymous/godmother-like.

Still, it is nice in there, and I did leave him a tip too.

Wednesday September 7th

Gave some flowers to the sad lady in Boots, and helped another lady up some stairs which made her cry,and spoke to a sad man at a busstop

I went to the shopping centre in Surrey Quays to buy eyeliner, I was still deciding what to do for #366 today. Got to the counter

ME: Thanks.(as she handed me aforementioned eyeliner) How are you?

SAD LADY IN BOOTS: Well, I’ve had better weeks

ME: O no, really?

SAD LADY IN BOOTS: Yes well I have had better. I say to myself there’s always someone worse off than you, that helps me to get out of bed in the morning, but it’s been better.

ME: O no. I’m sorry to hear that.

So I dashed out and scanned around for something to cheer her up. I carry around a few cards, envelopes and sweets in my bag for emergency kindness-situations, so I quickly wrote a card saying “for a better week” and I bought her a plant from the stall. Then I ran inside and gave it to her and really quickly garbled out what I was doing.

ME: Hellothisisforyousorryyouarehavingasadweekiamtryingtodosomethingniceeverydayforpeopleidontknowiambernadette.

PAUSE (whilst she digested the speedy communication)

SAD LADY IN BOOTS: That’s so nice. You are very nice. Give me a hug.

ME: O, thanks.

It was nice to get a hug and she was very sweet, and it was a great pay back, but she looked as though she was about to cry. Then I thought, would it have been nicer if I hadn’t said anything (which had been my intention but it all blurged out) and it was a nice thing to do but … it did make her cry a bit. I am going to see if I can see her again next week, when I go back for some eyeliner, as, needless to say, I have already lost that one.

Today was hard, as I had found out my friend had died. Kept crying.I felt sad and wide awake all at the same time.

I walked to the Yellow Earth to meet Gareth later and I saw a lady with a stick struggling up some stairs

ME: Are you ok? Can I help you?

STRUGGLING LADY: No but it’s very kind. These stairs are very hard

ME: I should coco, it looks like a bloody hill up there!

STRUGGLING LADY: Well, I am nearly there now, but I have had an operation and I have steel pins in my spine and they slipped see so I had to have them adjusted… and.. it’s just hard (she cries a bit) but it’s very kind of you

ME: Not at all- are you sure…?

STRUGGLING LADY: I’m fine

So I leave but I try to remember her number it’s 166 I think so maybe I can leave something for her another day. Then I go and drink wine with Gareth in Yellow Earth and I think about my friend.

On the way home I see a man at a busstop with his head in his hands and I say:

ME: Are you ok?

SAD MAN: Mmmm

ME: Are you sure?

SAD MAN: It’s ok.they… it’s… some people aren’t meant for love

ME: O. But you are. You’ll be OK.

The man is drunk I think but his bus comes and he gets on ok. I go home for tea.It’s been a funny old day

Thursday September 8th

Technician Gordon form the Brye Theatre in St Andrews- met him today and found out he is getting married in Barbados tomorrow- so got his fiancé who I have never met a grow your own yacht kit and a good luck on your wedding card

 

We had a show in St Andrews. I found this toy yacht and it seemed like a fun idea.

Friday September 9th

I gave our taxi driver a massive bag of sweets for his kids.

Today was extremely trying and got me thinking about people I would personally find it challenging to be kind to.

We were on the 9.10am train from St Andrews to London with a hen  and stag party (A sten party? a hag party?) and they were noisy but jolly. Two of the fellas were dressed as smurfs and they had holes cut out in the “gentlemen’s toilet” area. They were doing impressions of smurfs with very strong Glaswegian accents. All this was fine. Then at Newcastle on got this braying posh nob who spoke for almost two hours about foxhunting and efficient ways of culling badgers. I tried to concentrate on the story I was finishing for our gig on Saturday.More refereneces to murder found their way into the story as i was writing it and enduring him. I found out on the journey whilst listening to his horrible grating voice that I hadn’t got a job I wanted. Then an extremely drunk, elderly lady in overpowering scent  spilt cheap wine all over my trousers.

I didn’t feel kind.

Still,I gave our taxi driver a massive bag of sweets for his kids.

ME: (shouting a bit over the traffic) HAVE YOU GOT KIDS?

TAXI DRIVER: Yes

ME: (couldn’t hear)I SAID HAVE YOU GOT KIDS?

TAXI DRIVER: Yes

ME: (still couldn’t hear)I SAID HAVE YOU GOT ANY KIDS?

TAXI DRIVER: (Bellowing now, and a bit afraid) YES ! YES I HAVE I HAVE!

ME: O, sorry. Here you go….

This is what I thought about on my epic journey:

People I would find it hard to be kind to:

Foxhunters

Tories (prejudiced I know, but…)

People who discuss Stanley knives and badgers necks in the same sentence on public transport

Kate Copstick (she was EVIL to me and my friend)

Then I thought, maybe I should set myself the challenge of being kind to one of these. It is after all easy to be kind to the kind.

People more likely in my experience to be  recipients of kindness:

Those who smile

Those who look sad but somehow approachable

Those who ask nicely

People more likely in my experience not to be recipients of kindness

Those who scowl

Those who bare their teeth, for no apparent reason, in public

People who discuss killing animals, loudly, on public transport (maybe, just maybe a jolly butcher could get away with this…)

I resolve to refrain from any of the last three activities.

Saturday September 10th- mass cakes of kindness during/after/before our show at the Thames Festival

Made 86 cakes in the end, gave them away during show and afterwards, gave away 30 packets of crisps and my own bottle of rum, gave any passing child I could see a handful of sweets.Gave a man a kiss as he asked nicely. Enjoyed the mass-kindness very much.

Sunday September 11th- cakes of kindness to my neighbour

ME: Would you like a cake?

MY NEIGHBOUR: O thankyou

ME: Can I get the plate back?

MY NEIGHBOUR: You make these every day?

ME: Well, not every day

MY NEIGHBOUR: O. Not every day

ME: No, but I try to be kind every day

MY NEIGHBOUR: EVERY DAY? EVERY DAY? EVERY DAY?

Me: Yes

MY NEIGHBOUR: O.o.o. O my.

ME: Bye (left without plate)

Monday September 12th

Letter and £1 left on northern line tube

I saw a girl pick it up and examine it. The tube sailed off from London Bridge as I watched her.

This is good. It has changed my life (for the better)

Coming up: more #cakesofkindness including a mass #cakesofkindness in east, west,north and south London. Also – planning a masskindness in Greenwich soon.

 

 

 

 

366 Days of Kindness- Chapter 2 August 2011

September 6th, 2011 by Bernadette

This couple of weeks has been proper learning curve with #366daysofkindness, including an hour in the morning of 31st August when I thought I am going to stop doing this, it’s mental, after several friends said “A Year? For a whole year?” I thought  no one will notice, then encouraging messages from friends and strangers and a wee mention in Time Out got me back on track.Also good point made my friend Kate Bohdanovich “it’s not exactly kind if you’re making a show about it is it?” this is a good point. I promise the show itself will be exceptionally kind, however that will manifest itself.   So here it is like a diary from the olden days. I will do a blog from now on every week so as not to bore you with a really long list.

 

August 23rd- Gave a stranger an “unbirthday present”

I gave a man the unbirthday present. It was beautifully wrapped and contained chocolate, handcream, sweets and a mini sparkler. This was the first really nerve racking one, and the first day I realized that it takes a lot of balls to approach someone in this way and they might actually think you are mad. Especially if you are dressed as I was almost head to toe in silver (it was that kind of day)he looked a bit scared. He said thankyou. I wondered whether this was kind or not. I hope he liked it. I put my name on the label and #366daysofkindness and thought about whether or not it was better if it was anonymous- maybe it’s more magical and surprising if it’s totally random and not part of a “project”? on the other hand maybe it’s less scary if it is obviously part of a plan? Mmmm…

August 24th Gave Ryan from Tescos in Surrey Quays a Plant

I had already decided to give someone a flower today, and went into Tescos on the way home to buy some. When I got to the counter the man on the till was so jolly and nice to the lady in front of me I decided he deserved a flower if anyone did. I explained what I was doing as it seemed appropriate in the circumstances and he liked the plant and he asked my name- later found me on facebook and posted this

“I have just been the lucky receiver of a ‘Random act of kindness’! I was given a beautiful flowering plant, totally out of the blue by a fellow Londoner, happily spreading joy on her way home from work. It has made me feel so wonderful and so special and once again has opened my heart and eyes to how wonderful life is. Thank you Bernadette, sending love to you this evening and love to everyone else out there :-)”

Now that was a great pay back. Made my day.

 

August 25th  Gave a stranger a book-

is this kindness or reverse mugging?

today’s – very hard -got nervous. Wrote note inside a book, explaining what I was doing and my name. on the bus I decided to give it to the girl sitting opposite but she looked shy, and the man opposite me looked grumpy. Starting thinking about how some people probably get nice stuff happen to them less often as they look discouraging. Wondered whether I should find the grumpiest person on the bus and give it to them. Thought back to the first day of this when I offered a stranger my seat and she threatned to beat me then everyone else up. Got bus fear. Got off bus.started looking around for a likely target and then thought “I’m thinking “target” like a serial killer” and that made me nervous. in the end -ran up to woman and said “please take this, I’m not mad, honestly, thanks” and I went to put it in her handbag and she (understandably) offered me her tescos carrier bag instead, with a weak smile. Then I ran off. Wasn’t quite the high of yesterday.thought about doing a few more anonymous ones to take the pressure off myself. And the recipients, in case I actually scare someone or get into a fight.

 

August 26th left “note of kindness” on table at NFT

So, begininig of anonymous “notes of kindness”.gonna see how it goes if I leave lovely/funny/encouraging notes for people. If it so happens I speak to them that’d be good but not essential. This is a relief. Also I hope a bit more magical. Left letter outside NFT addressed “to you , yes you” . As i left no-one had picked it up…no one had even sat at the table even though the tables around were crowded. Hopefully a waiter will pick it up, they looked run off their feet.

 

August 27th  gave stranger  a “cake of kindness”

did a bit of a cheat today, I had loads of cupcakes left over from yesterays show, and was going to meet ladies who booked me for compeering a burlesque gig in Twinkenham, so they weren’t exactly strangers but I hadn’t met them until the day. Cakes went down well.  Am hatching plans for a mass Cakes Of Kindness event. That’ll scupper the government’s anti-obesity drive.

 

August 28th gave a stranger a picture of les dawson and “note of kindness”. It went wrong

I woke up with a glint in my eye, and decided today was gonna be a cheeky one. So I wrote a letter which said if you’re enjoying bank holiday I dare you to call in sick tomorrow love from your fairy godmother with a picture of les dawson dressed as said fairy godmother on the back. I know this is a bit rubbish, but it made me laugh. this was the second big lesson of this couple of weeks- I approached this guy on the concourse at London Bridge and the conversation went something like this:

ME: hello, I wanted to give you this

HIM: I don’t want it

ME: honestly it’s nice

HIM:I don’t want it

ME:it’s a good thing I promise you

HIM:I don’t want it

ME: take it take it ! (runs away)

This made me laugh but I had to admit as an #366daysofkindness it didn’t really count, so I left a £1 on the tube seat for someone to pick up.

 

August 29th left a “note of kindness” on church noticeboard

So by now I have decided it might be a good idea to mostly do anonymous #366daysofkindness, just for the time being.  Left a letter on the church notice board saying read me.Hope that God doesn’t get the credit. He’s always getting credit for stuff, athletic achievement, survival against the odds, the wonders of nature etc.

August 30th. gave “note of kindness” to Midwife in Lewisham

The note on the church noticeboard is still there, I see. Bummer.

Visiting friend in hospital gave the  midwife at Lewisham hospital a “note of kindness” she seemed to like it. I was going to stick it on the hospital noticeboard but as noticeboards haven’t gone so well and as I would have to have squeezed it between posters for bladder problems and diabetes it didn’t seem right.

August 31st gave “note of kindness” via Sophie Donnelly in East London

in an attempt to spread #366days away from SE London I asked my friend sophie Donnelly. to take a note of kindness home with her. Today was the day that my venture featured in the time out blog and that cheered me up. See here:

http://now-here-this.timeout.com/2011/08/29/london-blogger-shares-the-love-with-‘acts-of-random-kindness’-project/?fb_comment_id=fbc_5006741027841_734690_5006765184841

September 1st left note of kindness and £1 in phone box in SE London

September 2nd gave homeless man 50p then thought better of it and  gave him £5. Central London.

Travelled up to Highlands for Billy Hiscock and Hanna Wolf’s wedding.

September 3rd  Gave lady who worked in café in Crear a note of kindness.

she came out afterwards and hugged me and said you must’ve known I needed that.

September 4th  left note of kindness and flowers from Scotland on table in the amazing Café Soy in Birmingham

saw a waitress pick it up and caught her eye.

September 5th left choclate on a doorstep rang the bell and ran away SE London

 

That’s all folks. For now. As I said, will do weekly blogs from now on. I can’t expect anyone to read all this stuff, can I?

x

 

366 Days Of Kindness-Chapter 1 Introduction and beginnings

August 22nd, 2011 by Bernadette

it started on August 18th 2011

So, a few days ago, I was in the Post Office to send off an application for a job that I really really want (that is not relevant to this tale, but I am using what I call “typing voodoo”, whereby if you type your wish whilst having desparate thoughts, you wish may come true. “typing voodoo” has never worked, but it’s still in development).

I was thinking about the riots, and how scary it was, and about what the hell I would do if I was leaving school now, and how I generally wouldn’t stand a chance if I had to compete against anyone now as every one has a PHD in everything, and how come young people got the blame when looks like everyone was filling their pockets in Footlocker/Dixons/Hennes, and how sorry I felt for London and if there was a break down in civilisation how long would it take before I went totally insane/started eating meat and people/forgot how to speak; in other words all that stuff that everyone was thinking in the madness of early August. There was a young man in the queue in front of me, I reckon 15, and he was explaining politely (reader: I report faithfully, he was polite!) that he didn’t have any money for his letter as he thought it was freepost. I saw it was to DVLA. As he walked past I said “I’ll pay for your stamp” I didn’t even know I was gonna say it but I did. He said “Thanks” and then we stood in slightly awkward silence waiting for the Post Office man to be ready to help us. That was that. Bought his stamp, he said thanks and bye. It was such a buzz. Obviously I do do things from time to time that are kind, to strangers and familiars (I don’t mean familiars like cats to witches, I mean people I know and am familiar with, obvs)

Later that day, I took my second chance to be nice to a stranger. A girl sat next to me on the 47 bus and her friend sat on her lap, and I said “have my seat” she said “no, you’re alright” and I said “it’s ok, I am getting off in a minute” so I got up. Then she said “you better find somewhere else to rest your eye, else I’m gonna cut you” O. Nutter. She then started threatening everyone on the bus, and shouting that she wasn’t in the mood for it. The girl she was sitting on fell asleep, obviously used to/bored by random threats of violence. Weird. I got off the bus sharpish, gutted that my second kindness of the day had been so rebuffed. But luckily she hadn’t cut me, so it all worked out in the end.

I got home and decided to commit to this kindness malarkey. Gareth said I needed a hobby so this is it.

This is wot I have done so far.There will be 366, as 2012 is a leap year.

August 19th Sponsored a stranger for their run (anonymously). Tried to send £5 to Maurice Reeves but can’t find how. Must just go to Croydon.

August 20th I have hidden £5 in a book in Waterstones in Greenwich with a note saying “enjoy”. This proved a firm favourite, so might be repeated.

August 21st Gave a stranger at the busstop a packet of lovehearts. bit embarrassed.

August 22nd TODAY! Left a packet of liquorice allsorts in a phone box in Shoreditch with a note saying “eat me” for. Although, not that kind if you’re diabetic, or don’t like liquorice. o well…

Need to find more cheap/free ways of doing it. Also would like to be more daring. Anyone want to dare me? I am keeping a record here, on facebook, and twitter  (betterussell) . Plus please join me. I think it’s ok to do it to people you know, so long as they don’t know it’s you, if you live somewhere small where everyone knows you like my mate Damon Shaw. I have tomorrow’s planned.

Running fashion, plus the end of the world.

August 19th, 2011 by Gareth

Running Fashion

So I am ready to go for my first run with other humans. I am running 10k tomorrow around greenwich park for the British Heart Foundation, but I am not so nervous about the run, but more about running etiquette.

Do you talk to the other runners? Can you look them in the eyes? How much distance do you have to be apart from them?

My main concern is the outfit’s I have to run in. Being on my own for the last 6 months I started with some old grey tracksuit trousers and any old t shirt that is lying around. You know the ones, badly stained t shirt, some random free festival t shirt , even one that someone left around your house that is so hideous it was never talked about from both parties. I haven’t brought anything new either. I don’t know where to start when I go into a sports shop. I am also scared stiff. They all look at me in a way that they know I am an imposter, a fake, someone that is not one of them or ever will be. Maybe I should where a suit.

End of world

Well it’s been an eventful couple of weeks around the country. Looting, stock market crashing, the start of a new big brother. It’s the end of days I think. Bernadette asked me a good question yesterday. With the collapse of civilisation coming what skills could you offer in a new world? Can you build a shelter? Hunt? grow food? I thought  for a while and then answered.

I can devise an experimental theatre show?

Let Mad Max kill me now.

 

Before I go, please buy our new album of lovely stories for you to listen to, whether running or fighting off mutants at the end of the world. Available on itunes and Amazon.

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/are-you-sitting-comfortably/id455027823?ls=1

 

 

Cuts

August 2nd, 2011 by Bernadette

Tomorrow the play wot I wrote opens in Edinburgh at the Bosco Tent Edinburgh, and I feel bereft as although it was a long few weeks of endless days it was a massive treat to work with such a talented team.And I learnt a lot about CUTS, both the surgical and the script kind. Snip snip snip…

In the spirit of research I went back to UCHL to ask James Holding some anaesthetic related questions and arrived to a reception area filled with the dulcet tones of a string quartet, on a sunny day, with rehearsals going well. All was well in my world- then- “Quick! “says Holding, “get into some scrubs, we have to go into theatre.” So I struggled into some and went in to watch a man having an inflatable penile prosthetic. Yes. A man (we were never formally introduced) had two thin balloons placed either side of the old chap in order to aid him in raising the jolly roger should the need arise. Me, a woman who couldn’t change a plaster on my own finger a mere 7 weeks ago without feeling a bit faint saw a man being poked at with a thick needle in a place no man should be poked. Unless he likes that sort of thing. And I was fine. Then we ate some reese peanut cups and I checked a few ether- related things with James and went back to rehearsals. I can pretty much guarentee that that experience will not be repeated.

Phil looks into a glass, darkly

If you are in Edinburgh Etherdome will be brought to you by:

Denise Kennedy, actress(Kate Bush hair, great actress, voice of an angel)

Dennis Herdman actor (handsome and evil, hilarious and mysterious)

Phillippe Spall actor (possesses the uncanny ability to improvise,seemingly without end, a stream of entertaining/funny/alarming consciousness. )

Balthazar Gaulier AD( sweet and clever but also excellent at swearing)

Andrea  Salazar(, unfazed by anything. company manager- brilliant)

Mick Barnfather director (silver headed genius and pat ball maniac)

and Sydney Florence costume design (she of the perfect eyebrows and magic fingers, creator of beauty) Phil Eddols set design (he made a set that looks like Boris Karloff should be hiding in it-great)Christoph Wagner (lights, omni-calm lumiere) Chris Larner (songs and music, cheeky chappie wordsmith) Julian Hanby (sound design and all round is there nothing this boy from Nottingham can’t do?) also Lil Binham company manager (glamour-puss and terrifyingly organised) Richard Jordan producer (who I am hoping to have a few gins with once I get up there), and the brilliant Jackson’s Lane and Assembly Rooms. Hope I haven’t forgotten anybody. O I have, the amazing WonderWoman Mira Dovereni “despite having just given birth to the biggest recorded baby in South London I can still talk about the show a mere 2 hours afterwards”who’s idea sparked this journey into blood and guts.

I really hope it does as well as expected, as it really deserves to. Here’s the link if you fancy:

http://www.pennydreadfultheatre.com/

In the midst of all this we had a lovely AYSC gig in Ashford, in the most amazing magical room, so thanks to Peggy Riley for that. Also thanks to all writers and our guest reader Alison Mead .Here’s some pics:

 

 

The  up and coming show at the National will be dedicated to our dear friend Anna Mickelfield, who tragically passed away  after a brave struggle with cancer. Me and my family will miss her so much. She was beautiful, funny, clever and ballsy.I will never forget her.

 

Cinema extra’s and Charity

July 19th, 2011 by Gareth

Extras’s

I have been noticing lately a change in the way extras do their business on film. In the olden days the extra would be say, in a crowded scene like a train or a bus and have to pretend to be watching the world go by deep in thought, trying not too look directly into the camera, or at the lead actor.  A couple of extra’s can have a conversation with each other but this can not too animated as too overshadow the main action. An argument between too lovers would be wrong, or someone laughing at the others joke would be frowned upon. Generally a interaction between two extras would consist of them just nodding at each  other vacantly.

Things are changing

Now with iphone, ipods and every other communication device. Extras in films are plugged into their multi media communication device of choice, looking away into the distance listening to Podcasts or Lady Gaga. Or they are looking down playing Angry Birds. Watch carefully in the films now, you can see it a lot.  My questions are as follows:

I wonder if they really do get the chance to play angry birds for real, or are they acting? Do they bring their own communciation device of choice or are they provided one? How do they they cope when they have do a period piece?

Film vs Real Life

I sometimes get confused about my actions in the real world are affected by my experience of films, especially when most of my itunes consist of soundtracks. For example do these things happen in real life.

1.  Staring at a gravestone of a deceased love one deep in thought. Rain optional.

2. Speaking into the speakerphone instead of putting it too my ear.

3. Wearing long black coats.

3. After a bout of coughing looking at my hanky for spots of blood.

4. Running in the rain without a coat.

5. Laughing with a loved one on a selection of fun time activities.

6. Saying the line “things change’ while staring out of windows.

7. Disarming a nuclear bomb in under 30 seconds.

Just wondering.

Charity.

I am running my first 10k race for the british heart foundation on the 20th August in greenwich park. Please if you can sponser me a quid and here’s the link

http://original.justgiving.com/garethbrierley

Also I am currently in a wetsuit around bus stops in the London area promoting this:

http://bluemile.wwf.org.uk/

One last plug: Bernadette is writing a play for this lovely company below in Edinburgh festival.

http://www.pennydreadfultheatre.com/

see you

 

Watership Down and that sporting event next year

June 23rd, 2011 by Gareth

Hello All

I am asking for some suggestions this week, some hope and some advice. Bit cheeky but that’s the way it is.

I am reading again after an absence of 25 years Richard Adams Watership Down. When I was 7 my mum gave me the book as did countless other parents all across the country did and I was hooked. I think I read the book over twenty time for the age of 7 to 16. Then the trendy’s took over, Austeur, Catch 22 and American Psycho pushed my copy of Watership Down way to the back of the shelves, until it eventually disappeared completely. So a week ago after reading the short stories for the latest AYSC I thought of Richard Adam’s Masterpiece and like an itch had to find a copy and read again. Bernadette had one (With a loving gift description from her grandparents to a 7 year old birthday girl version of Bernadette.) I sat down and started with some trepidation. It still holds up. It is still beautiful, haunting, sad and majestic. Fiver, Hazel and Bigwig were like old friends and I seemed even to remember old passages by heart. It is a work of genius and for a kids book that probably does not many funny moments in it (Except the German bird) it is incredible to think of all the seven year old’s devouring it in the seventies. I remember in my last year of primary trying to write a sequel, but stopping after a page. I remember hours spent looking at the cover and trying to work out who the rabbit was in the background leaping away, Fiver? . The foreground being Hazel I think. I remember being very disappointed with the film at 8. I remember looking at rabbits more carefully.

Then I remember the map. The real location is in berks near newbury where there really is a watership down and nutthanger farm. Richard Adams walked that route many times and lovingly new every inch. I remember promising myself that when I was grown up I would go there and look for the Bigwig and co. But you know what…I never have. That makes me a bit sad . So now  I will go… this summer. I have to.

So who wants to come? Also is there any book location that you promised to go and never did. Answers on a website please.

OLYMPICS.

Now before I go on about how this thing is getting on nerves. How half of  Greenwich Park has been closed for the summer for a trial run of the posh horsing event, how half of my arts colleges got cut because of the four week sports celebration. Before I start any of that. What are the benifits? I have come up with just one so far:    THE OVERLAND TUBE

Anything else?

see you soon

Let Them Eat Cake

June 20th, 2011 by Bernadette

The end of a manic but great week.

We were very proud to be part of the Two Degrees Festival at Toynbee.
I pushed the boat out,bought sparklers and borrowed one of my sister's
costumes (part Ugly Sister, part down-his-luck trannie, part Marie
Antoinette), I did try and get costumes for all us girls off ebay, 3 vintage
nightdresses and 3 18th century wigs,to get into the whole 18th century revolutionary
France thing, but when they arrived and I tried them
on they looked more Bette Davis in Baby Jane and smelled like mushrooms. So
they got washed and I shrunk them all anyway, so that plan got binned.
Everyone looked gorgeous and a bit punky and I looked like a pantomime dame,
which is how I like it. I bought way too much cream for the strawberries,
everybody wanted more bread.  I very much enjoyed dressing my teddies up as
David Cameron, Margaret Thatcher and a pig and
making them have a picnic for the set.  We had Andy and Acer from Triple A
to film it and I'm looking forward to seeing what it looks like, as it's a
bit of a nightmare for film makers what with there being no light. When it's
all done and edited I'll put it up here. Stories- as usual- brilliant,
lovely to see some old friends and lots of new faces. We did pass the parcel
and sparklers. The whole festival was encouraging and inspiring and great to be around
lots of politically motivated people.
Looking forward to "Are You Sitting Comfortably?- THE SEA" in
Brighton tomorrow.We're planning another sleepover for the next season,
hopefully it won't be totally overshadowed by the wonderful Duckie who are
doing their own "Lullaby" at the Barbican.

Also was the end of my second week's R&D for Etherdome with Penny Dreadful
starring Denise Kennedy, Dennis Herdman and Philippe Spall, directed by Mick
Barnfather. They made me laugh a lot, which isn't a bad way to spend a week,
and I'm looking forward to starting full time rehearsals on the 27th. I love
being steeped in gruesome 19th century medical history.

Anyhoo, here's some pics from our Revolution:
And a joke : A banker, a nurse and an office work are given 12 biscuits to share.
The banker takes 11 and sys to the office worker "watch it, that nurse is after 1/2
of your biscuit.

 

 

Ether

June 12th, 2011 by Bernadette

Started R&D for the brilliant Penny Dreadful's new show "Etherdome",
although I  started researchng a couple of weeks ago, and visiting
museums filled of objects that should be used to slice eggs, but were
actually used for surgical operations.

I managed to worm my way in to watch an operation at a hospital (won't name
in case they get in trouble)
I am a person who can't look at their own finger if I have a paper cut, even
typing INCISION makes my stomach turn, so this seemed as good a time as any
to rid myself of this lily-livered attitude towards blood and guts. This
opportunity may never arise again. (As my good friend Sophie Russell said:
"You see, that's where we differ. You see it as an opportunity, whereas I
see it as something to be avoided at all costs").
As I turned out Mr Barnfather (director of the play) and I witnessed a
fairly low key night on the wards: a man coming round from anaesthesia after
a urethroplasty (yep, glad I ain't a man for that one), and a young girl who
was having a central line incision, so not much blood, and lots of looking
at the ultrasound and working out what was what on the fuzzy screen.
It's a bit like staring at clouds, after a while everything looks like
dolphins, although there were no dolphins of course that'd be ridiculous.
There were veins, arteries and muscles (ugh ugh ugh) At one point someone
said "OOPS!" and everybody laughed so I laughed too although I'd no idea
what had happened. There were loads of people in there, popping in and out
and playing pop music, it was surprisingly cavalier, their attitude. Someone
had tweetie bird on their hospital hat thing, and I thought I really hope
that nobody wears novelty scrubs if I ever have to have an operation, I
don't want to come round to that, I'd prefer it if they all dressed like
Florence Nightingale, even the men. Much more stylish.
The window of the largest operating theatre looks right out the Radisson
hotel opposite. Imagine that: As you get up for breakfast and have a morning
stretch by the net curtains, you see a man in a mask smathered in blood
handing another man a severed finger, for example. No full English after
that.
In the name of research I had a bit of nitrous oxide out of the tube (smells
of nothing) ether (they said it seems of pears I think it smells of evil
mixed with glue) and banana gas, which they give to children (not it's
scientific name, smelled like pears)
I had quite a lot of the Ether as it's not often I get a free hit of
anything these days and I waned to see what it'd do. Didn't do much, but I
was already quite tired.

I wanted to see something much gorier after that. I know it's morbid. The
anaesthetist said later a man was having his leg removed but that I would
find that a bit much, as he did.
He said that at the end of the op they just chucked the leg in the bin "a
clean bin though" he said. Bit Sweeney Todd, that. I asked "Does the leg go
in the incinerator?" and he replied "sometimes..."
Which means that there are other times when the leg doesn't go into the bin.
So my next short story is about that leg.

 

TV Series, the future of performance and some upcoming notices

May 31st, 2011 by Gareth

Hello

I am currently writing a TV series at the moment. I just started so it’s not that impressive. I am also currently like the rest of us watching between 7 or 9 different TV series at the moment. Some of them are weekly doses and some of them devoured in one long sitting where it makes you dream that you are in it for a week after. I once had trouble working out the difference between Deptford and Baltimore. The lines were blurred after a mega sitting of the wire. Sky’s new channel Alantic is offering to many goodies of old and new that I need a wall planner and no other things to do ever.

In the last decade everyone loves TV series, it’s true. The quality has risen dramatically in the last 15 years. I think for writers, directors and actors the chance of creating a world where story arcs and character that can mature over say 52 hours rather then 2 becomes very attractive. The money helps too. Money is ploughed into TV series  because the DVD sales have gone through the roof. Broadwalk Empire looks like it has the budget of a small to medium european country. I think TV exec’s now know that people might not watch  the first run of a series on primetime tv and the ratings might be low, but six months later the box set could sell in the millions.

So am writing away, I have just got to page 10, which accounts to 10 minutes of screen time. Only another, lets say 6 seasons of it….only another 4, 310 pages to go. I am already thinking of the spin of series

THE FUTURE OF PERFORMANCE

I am a gamer. Always have been and I guess always will. I have visions of me in a old peoples home playing FIFA and Call of Duty. I just recently purchased LA NOIRE which is game set in 1940’s Los Angles where you follow a policeman rise through the ranks. The difference in this game from a thousand others is that normally the graphics of people are sometimes good or it’s like watching a episode of South Park, in this game they make expressions and they act. A small raise of the eyebrow, a tiny downturn of the mouth it’s all there for the eye to see. In the game itself you have to interview a suspect and tell if they are lying by watching and hearing them. The actors (a lot of the cast from Mad Man) are fantastic and the writing is very good.

What I realise now is that this is the future for my profession as a actor and writer. The money games have behind them now and bigger than most hollywood movies. The creative input and freedom is very appealing. Twice this year I have nearly cried at a games ending and then laughed out loud at the brilliant work in PORTAL 2. If you can get away from the people just shooting at other people normally in the middle east and every game having someone  who is a space marine with a heart or a young spiky haired boy on a revenge mission because his home in a  small country village was burnt to the ground by Manrango the evil or something. If you can ignore al that, there is some really good work out there where it’s tech is changing rapidly and  it’s love of storytelling shines through. Now all i need to do is fit into that lycra suit…

SOME NOTICES

We are doing Are You Sitting Comfortably in LONDON on June 17th and in Brighton on June 21st. Still time to submit a story and please book tickets. See rest of website for details.

I am doing THE DETECTIVE SHOW in Yorkshire on Saturday and Didcot on the 25th of this month. Please come if near by.

Here is a link   www.thepeopleshow.co.uk

That’s enough from me. Bye.

The Old Smoke

May 23rd, 2011 by Bernadette

I love the olden days. (The olden days for me started with Queen Victoria and ended sometime in the 1950s. The sixties shooed out Victorian sensibilities for once and all, but have a lot to answer for. )

I love collecting olden days stuff, and wearing olden days clothes, and even saying olden days stuff like “lawks”. I love drinking tea out of art deco china cups. On the walls of my flat I hang speckled mirrors decorated with hand painted crinoline ladies. My jewellery box full of mourning rings filled with dead people’s hair; I have been known to wear a top hat.  I visit the sites of old plague pits. You get the idea.

But I am mostly very glad that I don’t actually live in the olden days, and that I live now. For reasons of hygiene, contraception, painkillers, tarmac, microwave popcorn,and the right to vote, amongst others.

I have spent most of this last week in the olden days (specifically around the 1850s) as I’ve been doing research for the new Penny Dreadful show Etherdome. I went to the Old Operating Theatre in London Bridge, and came over a bit peculiar, thinking about people having their legs removed without anaesthetic with what looked like a pair of rusty secateurs caked in someone else’s blood, whilst biting onto a piece of wood with what was left of their brown rotting stumpy teeth, screaming in agony for hours, then bleeding to death, and all this because they had the misfortune to be poor, accident prone, and born then. There were etchings of people having gallstones removed that made my gallbladder shudder in fear. They haunt me still…

Since I have to take nurofen if I blow my nose too hard, it was difficult to imagine the relentless agony of having your appendix out with nothing to help you through it apart from a brandy and a few reassuring words from your moustachioed surgeon. Ugh. Made me feel lucky to alive and healthy and I realised that I don’t want anything to ever hurt me ever.

I also visited the Dennis Severs house, which is bloody brilliant. The upstairs is like climbing inside Charles Dickens head and finding out the floorboards inside his head are squeaky and uneven; there are real cobwebs festooned with dust (impressive), plus every room smelled strongly: cloves, orange, lavender. Gareth said it reminded him of his Nan’s house. I loved how dark the interiors were, they embraced the gothic gloominess, the walls were black and midnight blue, there were stuffed dead animals everywhere, there was a real cat (who had thus far avoided being stuffed, probably too fast for them) and the fire was lit. I was instructed ” to meet this house halfway, with your imagination, ” and did so gladly, you can’t touch stuff, you aren’t given potted historical facts to make it easy for you, you are supposed to be quiet. I loved how strict it was. I’m going back next week.

 

So, I do love the olden days, but mostly for the aesthetics. It certainly was not a time to be anything other than a rich white man if you knew what’s good for you. Even then, you’d better stay healthy or you’d find yourself strapped to a steel table biting your own tongue off whilst a worried man poked at your innards with a dirty spoon.

I realised that I love now, the 21st century, mostly for the anaesthetics.

I had been thinking about health in a more general way the last few weeks as I have finally totally given up smoking.

I developed from a never-tempted non smoker, to a once-known-to-smoke-whilst-brushing-teeth dedicated smoker to a only-when-I ‘m –doing- a -show –but- then- I chain –smoke smoker. Now I am a non-smoker. Really. Weirdly I just don’t want to. I feel like I’ve got away with it for long enough, and I don’t want to actually get cancer, or have a face like a pickled walnut, or have to lug around an oxygen tank, so I starting running and stopped smoking, and inevitably I now feel awful and tired and have giant spots, that I dreamt were the bubonic plague.

My visit to Victorian times weirdly helped me through the tricky three weeks of not smoking, and I even managed to do the whole of the Pumphouse project without a single drag.

But I miss it. Smoking is cool. I know I’m not supposed to think/say/write that. But it is. I’ll never do it again, but I look back on it fondly. As I said, after what I have seen this week, I don’t want anything to ever hurt me ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumphouse Project, A Rant and first Album Completed.

May 20th, 2011 by Gareth

Hello everyone

So sorry for the tardiness in these blogs. Some of you may thank the long gap, but others will be slightly disapproving and may hasten to call us lazy. I can only say sorry. Myself and Bernadette have been involved in a project with People Show called:

 

 

 

 

THE PUMPHOUSE PROJECT – http://www.pumphousegallery.org.uk/exhibitions/pastexhibitions

This was a show devised with People Show artists (including us), ALRA stduents and ROEHAMPTON students. There was 35 of us in total and we had two weeks to make a show in the Battersea Park and The Pumphouse Gallery. Then a week of 11 performances. There were Ghosts, human Fountains, guides that kept forgetting the history of the park and having panic attacks. The whole project was wonderful, exhausting and inspiring. Looking back on it now I was so lucky to be working outside for three week in that wonderful park and working with such great artists. Sorry I am gushing, here’s some pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A RANT

Traveling down Bethnal Green I saw a new building development being built for young professionals called the…wait for it…AVANT GARDE Tower. I can’t tell you why this is wrong because it just is… on so many different levels.

Friend: Where do you live now?

Young professional couple: We live in the Avant Garde Tower in shoreditch.

Friend: Oh nice. Is it Avant Garde?

Young professional couple: No. But we do shop at Ikea if that counts and we make our own wool.

Greenwich Market is being sold apparently to a hotel chain. IT IS VERY CLEAR TO GOOD PEOPLE. The reason people go there or any independent shops is because it isn’t you and your 2 for 1’s, get a free dog with every necklace bollocks.

That’s it I feel better.

ALBUM

We have recorded a audio book of ARE YOU SITTING COMFORTABLY’S stories by myself and Bernadette with John Ward. The last one is recorded and we are ready to go on sale shortly. We will late you know details.

See you soon. Please comment or abuse

 

Gareth

Lost her freedom, identity, and dress sense, gained a crown and a load of money

April 25th, 2011 by Bernadette

I’ve had an amazing couple of weeks with two great storytelling shows thanks to the brilliant writers and audiences we are priviledged to have,a nail-biting but excellent last show of Radio Z with Stans Cafe at the idyllic Dartington Hall,  cheering on my bruv-in-law in the London Marathon as he and thousands of others ran past our house, finishing with a raucous compering gig at Battersea Barge for the Cheek of it! Burlesque showcase which went a bit Wild Western with fisticuffs and craziness.

During one of the breaks of the aforementioned Wild West gig, I composed a poem for Kate Middleton, I have got  into the habit of writing poems really fast whilst in the breaks of comedy gigs, as a result they are quality as you can imagine. They often go down better than the material I have slaved over for weeks, so I am going to keep it up. The last one was called Ode to Nick Clegg With His Big Yellow Head. But a man in the audience ate it after I dropped into his glass of wine, so that one is lost to the mists of time. Or lost to that man’s duodenum. Carol Ann Duffy is probably keeping an eye on me now.

Anyway, here’s my poem, followed by the entries for the competiton from the AYSC? events, as promised.

Kate, Kate, it’s not too late

Dear Kate

Is it your fate?

To be the Queen of our land?

If you take Prince William’s hand?

Like poor Princess Di- will you always cry?

Will you find yourself sicking up your tea

And frollicking with hairy men beside the sea?

Having affairs with loads of different chaps

And drinking gin till you collapse

Sounds like your life is much like my own

Only difference is, I have a toilet, and you have a throne

O Kate! It’s not too late!

To escape to Ibiza, it’d be great!

Go back to your common ways

And spend the rest of your days

Smoking fags and watching Jeremy Kyle

It’d give you a reason to smile

William can go off and marry a horse

Which is a tradition of the royal family of course

O Kate!

You’re like my other mate Kate. But she married a bloke called Dave

O Kate !

It’s not too late!

It’s not too late!

THE END

Here’s the results of the AYSC? LOST competition, as requested I have typed up all the entries for London and Brighton. The question was: what’s the most amazing//extraordinary/surprising  thing you have ever found…

Here are the wierd, romantic and mysterious answers the audiences came up with ( I really hope we haven’t left anyone out…):

 

LONDON

A Large amonite

Finders keepers-treasure trove. that’s what they call it. An you have to share it with the landowner. Well I’m not going to share it with anyone. That’s why I’m not going to say what I found.

A bike (whilst picking wild mushrooms- it must’ve been stolen, and it got stolen again in 1 day)

The best thing I’ve ever found is that if you drink decent champagne, you do not wake up with hangover!

Either music, or my life, or an air pistol at a caravan site when I was 11 or 12.

The best thing I found was a taste for champagne after 8 years as “designated driver”

The book “papillion”

1st edition (american) hard back of Burrough’s “Naked Lunch” 2nd hand book stall on Chapel Market 1969

Where I am to be- I’m still looking

Found! A cute little kitten in a small bag floating down the river (we gave her a home)

over 200 odd pennies on the street since 2007- “see a penny pick it up”

I foun a UFO whilst on holiday in Greece. I as sat having dinner in a taverna and saw a bright light darting through the night sky, then crashing into the beach in the horizon. after dessert I ran down to the shore. Finally i found it…. the remains of a UFO.My boyfriend said it was a Chinese paper lantern. I still think it was a UFO.

The best thing I ever found was a X10 magnifying hand lens which had ben abandoned on a barnacle encrusted rock on Tenby beach

£50!

The A12- the orad out of Suffolk that leads to London

A white and pink flat with a garden full of clematis

The best thing I ever found, aged 12, was my grandmother’s copy of “The Joy of Sex”. Me and my 13 year old cousin read it front to back, occasionally looking at each other and asking: “Do you think grandma ever did that to grandad?”!

A toy rabbit lying in the middle of the road right after I had dreamed of finding that rabbit.

The best thing I’ve found is…. that I can steal food from work

A green velvet hat balanced on the end of what looked like a broom handle sticking out of a street bin.

The end of the road

I found true love when I thought it didn’t exist

True Love

Best thing I ever found? On a low stage, in the middle, toward the front, hidden behind a microphone stand, Marcella

The SMS  version of a la recherche du temps perdu… the scotman’s guide to spending less than £5 a day (review by G.Brown, IMF… “I wish I had read this book when I was running the economy”…David Cameron’s apologetic note on the lines of “I m sorry I encouraged the UK’s racist explosion of 2012 in order o distract attention from the bankers’ bonuses/NHS reforms/Libya or Afghanistan- delete as appropriate

A cat in a box maybe alive- Thomas Schrodinger

When I lose things I never find them again :(

A baby in a Tokyo station

my own wallet bobbing in the sea while swimming

My Prostate gland

the way to Amarillo

I found a low budget pornographic movie lying on the path while walking back from college

I found the top set of a pair of false teeth in a waistcoat pocket at a jumble sale in Denton Holme Community Centre in 1980.

my G Spot

I found a bag of human hair at the back of a cupboard in a nice hotel in Hawaii- maybe they got too hot

Last year I found the first story that I ever wrote about a fat old Easter bunny- every bit as bad as I remembered it was and so special to read again that I cried. baby!

My dog, before he died, & I got to say goodbye

WMDS- no? myself (gap year)- too obvious. the warp zone in level 1.2- it was at the time

The best thing I’ve ever found. The knowledge that life cannot be planned, but must should can be experienced.

anything I’ve lost (it happens a lot and all feels good all the time!)

the one thing I didn’t know I had lost

I was 13 whn I found a pink used vibrator top o’ leith in Edinburgh I actually never seen one before

I think I’ve found my virginity again. seriously

Best thing I ever found – “LOVE”

BRIGHTON

I once found a coconut carved into the shape of a woman wearing a hula skirt, we called her Etheel. Later that day we found a stick with a skull on the top, we called him Neil. Ethel and Neil lived happily ever after.

A caterpillar the size of a pencil

A tribe of tree-dwelling people with no former contact with the civilised world- in Queen’s Park- Hanover

A little old hardcover book with painted illustration plates of alpine flowers. The writing is all in swedish, and I can’t read a word of it! Found on a back path of a park in north-east Paris

The way down from Mount Snowdon

A copy of Mrs Beeton’s Cookbook in the foundation of a house

I found my husband in field in Oxfordshire at 4 in the morning he is a shiney precious thing

A baby hare with paralysed back legs we called him Smokey Joe!

Baby Jesus (then I lost him again :))

A secluded rocky bay at the end of a long, dusty journey in search for somewhere more idyllic

A dead dolphin

I found a termite mound in the woods when aged 12

I found a pebble on the beach that had a hole straight through, a worn, pitted bead

A projector in an old house. a mixed CD entitled “from amos with love”

I was very hungry two days ago and I found an apple and chocolate bar on the floor. it was amazing

A door without a key..two left shoes.. a skirt with no buttons..a scarf with no end.. a pocket with no trousers

a kitten

the most wonderful amazing thing i ever found was a letter. My mother died when my sisters and I were 10, 9, and 8 years old. When my father died many years later we found a letter she’d written to him describing each of us and the future she visualised for us. It had all come true. How well she must have known us!

the way to the thinking place. where there is only me and the stillness (and a pint)

the cold side of the pillow.every night – when i wake up, amid frantic dreams and tangled sheets, i remember i can turn my pillow over and the world rights itself again

1. on a really really broke day I found a crisp 20 pound note. me and my mate sepnt it on the best chips and beer ever.2. a vegan, travelling in amercia- in the herat of cattle-farming country, straving to eath from lack of vegetables, suddenly, there it was- Cafe 127- VEGAN CAFE!!!

I found a voice improvvement programme containing 6 records with Mihael Aspel and Jan Metcalf giving voice lessons it teaches me how to have a voice that expresses the serene and beautiful thoughts of poets. recorded in 1962.

never found anything!

I lost my sanity and myself when I lost my dad!

the greatest treasure I ever lost was a poet and the father of my future children. i found him on the streets of Brighton many years ago now and had a few lovely weeks together before i lost him to further travels and his home country of New Zealand. i haven’t seen him since

Ona sunny day in the south of france, whilst swimming in a very murky lake, i felt a soggy paper thing wrap itself between my toestentatively i broguht it up with my long finger-like toes to find a 10 franc note. At seven years old, the ice creams were on me!

the meaning of life- but i ain’t telling anyone

i once found one of my lovely cats called Dolly’s hairs on my t shirt. I was on holiday at the time and was missing home….so it made me happy!

Walking through Vancouver I found a scratched slide. When I scanned it into my computer I found an image of a huge crowd of around 300 people seared in an arena in the 1960s ALL STARING BACK AT ME!

The best thing I have ever found ever would be my wife

 

That’s your lot. Now I’m going to eat some cheese in the shape of an egg (don’t really eat easter eggs)

xx