Rage on the Road

Having spent the last few months writing a succession of short splenetic pieces under the collective banner of The Rage Monologues, I’d been focusing primarily on producing a cache of material I could raw on for live sets of varying duration.

The premise was simple: spoken word shows are notoriously difficult, especially if your thing is prose narrative. Audiences seem to respond better to poetry, and to shorter pieces. Telling a story or reading an excerpt from a novel simply doesn’t hold the attention in the same way, and when slots are often between five and 10 minutes in length, there isn’t much storytelling you can do if you’re not a writer of flash fiction.

So after penning a couple of short rants that seemed well-suited to the spoken word format, I aired them, admittedly with varying success. But the more intense the performance, the more people took notice. By which I mean by ramping things up, it was hard for them to ignore me as I stood, shouting and raving and cursing. Adopting a more manic persona seemed the way to go, and so I figured perhaps I should make that my set. Hence more wants penned, with a view to having a body of material I could draw on for sets of all lengths that I could mix up according to location and crowd.

I discovered the other day I’ve produced more material than I had actually appreciated. a whole pamphlet’s worth, in fact. Consequently, with a number of live dates pencilled in for the coming months, I’ve decided a pamphlet to accompany the performances, for those who don’t feel the urge to rush from the room after the first thirty seconds. It’s going to be self financed and self-published, and will be an extremely limited print run.

The material is still being pieced together and proofed, but when it’s ready, it has a cover waiting for it. Simple, but effective….

 

Rage Cover 2

 

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk

Rage Monologue #4 – News

The Rage Monologues was devised as a spoken-word project built around an in-progress and expanding collection of pieces that would evolve over time, developed and adapted to suit different audiences and settings and, where necessary or appropriate, tweaked to be up-to-the-minute current. It was never about producing a fixed body of published work. However, sometimes events overtake plans, and this piece I began performing a few months ago is probably more relevant now than it ever will be again, so I’ve decided to share  it with the world as it’s currently written.

 

News

 

It still seems to be a fact little acknowledged outside certain domains – media studies, sociology and the world of Charlie Brooker, for example – that the news media is biased. It seems to be even less understood how the mainstream media – the big providers, like the BBC and Sky – is highly selective as to what it covers. The post-election ‘Fuck The Tories’ protests, like Occupy’s pro-democracy protests over in Parliament Square before them, were largely ignored in favour of, well, everything. The revolution clearly won’t be televised. It will be suppressed, ignored out of history until it ceases to exist. How do you fight back against the international media?

If the mainstream news media were to be believed, things are once again quiet in Gaza, and the Ukraine situation is altogether more settled. There is peace. There is calm, but we can’t get too comfortable because the terror threat is as high as it’s been since 9/11. It’s all a strategy. Keep the people on edge. Keep them compliant.

All of the new legislation is for our safety, about preventing terrorism. It’s not about control. Oh no. Only a conspiracy theorist would suggest that. Keep the public’s focus on the things that keep them scared. Keep them indignant. And keep them distracted with entertainment. Give them the news they want. But wait.

Sports news is not news. It’s news about sport.

Celebrity gossip is not news. It’s gossip about celebrities.

So you’re wondering what’s happening in Syria while shitting yourself silly over ebola. The next time you’re reading OK! Magazine, Heat Magazine, People magazine, Grazia, The Mail, The Sun, The Mirror, Metro or any other wretched tabloid arsewipe, take a moment to think and consider this:

X-Factor is not news.

Strictly is not news.

The Voice is not news.

The Beckhams are not news.

Harry Potter is not news.

Big Brother is not news.

Celebrity Big Brother is not news. Most of the contestants aren’t even celebrities.

Dr Who is not news.

The weather is not news.

I’m a former D-List Celebrity, Get me Out of Here! is not news.

Britain’s Got Talent is not news. And if anything, this programme proves the precise opposite of what the title states.

Simon Cowell is not news.

Rhianna’s pierced nipples are not news.

Katie Price is not news.

Made in Chelsea is not news.

The Only Way is Essex is not news.

Joey Essex is not news. He’s just an idiot who can’t tell the time.

The love life of some slapper off The Only Way is Essex or some cretin off Made in Chelsea is not news.

Footballers’ wives – the TV show or actual footballers’ wives – do not constitute news.

Suzannah Reid’s short skirt is not news.

Diet fads are not news.

A nip-slip or so-called wardrobe malfunction is not news.

Frankie Boyle saying something offensively un-PC is not news.

Bruce Jenner’s sex change is not news: give the guy some peace.

Justin Bieber is not news.

Miley Cyrus is not news.

Myleene Klass is not news.

Robert Pattinson is not news.

Daniel Radcliffe is not news.

Kristen Stewart is not news, affair or no affair.

Emma Watson’s hair is not news.

Somebody parking badly is not news.

How some comedian deals with a heckler or someone whose phone goes off during their performance is not news.

Eastenders / Emmerdale / Hollyoaks actors and actresses scrapping outside restaurants is not news.

Naomi Campbell being a bitch is not news.

Kate Moss sunbathing topless / on coke / being a bitch is not news.

Katy Perry and Russell Brand are not news. Never were.

Bickering celebrities regardless of their status is not news.

Pete Doherty on / off / on / off / on drugs is not news.

That little tosser with the bouffant hair from One Direction: whoever he’s dating / shagged is not news. Nothing he does is news.

Kim Kardashian’s oiled buttocks are not news.

Kate Middleton’s disappointing breasts are not news.

The opinions of the masses are not news.

Facebook comments are not news.

Katie Hopkins is not news.

Madonna posing topless again in her 50s or falling off a step is not news. Madonna is yesterday’s news. Let’s be honest. More like yesterday’s news 20 years ago.

My Big Fat cunting Gypsy Wedding is not news.

Whatever bigoted bollocks spills from the mouth of Jeremy Clarkson is not fucking news.

‘Celebrities’ bickering on Twitter is not news.

What people have said on Twitter in response something somebody people follow on Twitter said is not news.

Miley fucking Cyrus, I repeat, is not news.

Sleazy, corrupt MPs are not news. Apart from when they’re murderous paedophiles, in which case you won’t hear about it, so it’s still not news.

 

Fuckthetories

This is not news. Nothing to see here, people. Move along, now, and fast, or you’ll feel the strong arm of the law hefting a baton at you. Pic: Mail Online.

 

Essex

Now this, this is news. Look at his lovely white teeth and tended eyebrows. What a wholesome, sincere lad. No, it’ doesn’t matter that he’s a fuckwit, he’s the salt of the earth. He’s got a new haircut, too. Don’t you feel much calmer and happier knowing about that rather than worrying about those ultra-left brutes who are trying to bring anarchy to the city’s street with their offensive placards and dungarees?

 

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk

Rage Monologue #9–Neighbours

So the plan had been that The Rage Monologues would be a purely live project during 2015, that I would build a set over the course of the year with material that was intended primarily for performance, before ultimately – perhaps – producing a pamphlet or chapbook collecting the pieces I had done in 2016.

The cancelation of a number of events, coupled with a simple lack of openings for a writer whose pitch is to stand in front of people and bawl obscenities in a way that will make them feel shit about their sad pathetic little lives (not an easy sell, believe me) compelled me to reconsider my strategy.

The number of monologues ready to go is expanding weekly. the number of places to perform them seems to be reducing at a similar rate. So as a taster, here’s a monologue I am yet to perform, due equally to a lack of opportunity and a lack of guts.

Enjoy. And of you’ve got a spoken word night in need of some live rage, get in touch.

 

 

Neighbours

Hey, you! Yeah, you! Can you hear me? Yeah, me, banging on your wall? I guess not, since you didn’t hear me banging on your front door or window earlier. It’s me! The guy next door! The quiet, friendly guy you sometimes nod to in the street, usually if we’re arriving or departing at the same time. Yeah, howdy, neighbour, nice to meet you. Only, I wish I never had. Because right now, your racket’s causing me considerable stress. Could you please just keep it down a bit? Please? Just a bit? I’m not even expecting you to stop, although that would be nice. But c’mon, have some consideration, would you?

Do I keep you awake? I doubt it? Does my racket mean you can’t hear your TV, your music, that you can’t hold a conversation over dinner? Are your walls and floors vibrating on account of anything I’m doing?

Listen, we all make noise. I play music, watch TV, do DIY. All the normal stuff. But I watch my volume and I watch the clock. I never vaccum clean after 9pm. You know why? Because I don’t want to disturb the old lady on the other side, and in truth, I don’t wan to disturb anyone. I keep myself to myself, you know? I’m not saying I’m a model neighbour, but all I’m asking is that you have some consideration, you know?

Do you hear me? Are you listening? Hey! Yeah, you! Motherfucker! Can you hear me? Will you please just shut the fuck up? I’m sane and I’m sober, but you’re driving me to a place I don’t wanna go! You hear? You hear? I’m telling you, you’d better listen up! Motherucker!

If I ever get round there you’ll regret you ever moved in with that fucking stereo and that fucking awful dance music. You’ll regret you were ever fucking born. I wanna smash that fucking stereo to smithereens. I’m guessing you don’t have any vinyl and probably don’t even have CDs, so I’m gonna have to smash your iPod or whatever the fuck else you’ve got, and your laptop, but not until I’ve deleted all of your fucking Spotify lists and ripped your fucking cable and phone lines out and stamped your router to bits.

But it’s not the equipment’s fault, is it? Venting my rage on inanimate objects is pointless isn’t it? A temporary solution. And complaining to your landlord or making your life hell to the point you’re evicted or move of your own accord, it doesn’t solve the problem. The problem that is you. That’s why I wanna cave your skull in with your fucking speakers and kick your broken body down the fucking stairs. Kick it out back and boot it around the yard for a bit, like that night when you and your fucking idiotic mates got pissed up and played football with various random objects like tin cans and milk cartons from your recycling box – after you’d lost your ball over another neighbours’ wall at 2am. Yeah, you’re such big tough guys, no fear of scrambling over to fetch it till the dog came after you. It’s jut a shame it didn’t get you and chew your fucking balls off, ‘cause as much as I’m sick of your shite music, I’m sick of your loud shagging at all hours too. No, I’m not envious: your half-witted girlfriend’s a fucking skank and what’s more, you disgust me and don’t deserve to get laid. And regardless, who doesn’t hate the sounds of someone else’s sex?

And so, I want you to be silenced. I want to do you damage. I want to break you. Demolish, annihilate you. And when I’m done I wanna fucking skin you. Sit your throat and fucking skin you.

I need to be clear. I don’t hate you. I just hate your behaviour. The way you stand at the front, and the the back of your house, smoking cigarettes with the smoke blowing in through my windows as you talk loudly with your housemates and your friends. I don’t actually mind your existence, and actually expect occasionally to hear sound, sneezing, coughing. I’m a reasonable kind of guy. But you don’t need to be slamming every door in the house every time you move between rooms. The fact you insist on cranking up your console gaming to such a volume I feel as if I’m in the room, yes, I hate that. I hate your coming home drunk and bawling all the way down the street at 4, 5, 6 am, then spending an hour yelling up and down the house, tramping up and down the stairs, banging and crashing against the walls.

I hate your mid-week parties that start at four in the afternoon and run for 12 hours straight. I hate your fucking shitty club music. That despicable, shitty club music. That endless, repetitive, dum-dum-dum-dum, the same fucking tempo for what feels like an eternity and more. Those endless fucking beats, that monotonous rhythm that drives into my brain at all hours, relentlessly, relentlessly, dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum…. die you bastard, die!

Rage On the Road

They turn up in their cable-knit sweaters and cord trousers to nod amicably to observations about hedgerows in spring. They quaff half-pints of session ale and continental lager, red wine and soft drinks ‘because it’s a school night’ even though half of them are retired. They chat amiably about this and that, this and that, thus and that, primarily who has a book launch event coming up, who’s event they went to and whatever beautifully-crafted collection they’ve just read. It was recommended by so-and so, and so-and-so other did a simply delightful job of the artwork and so-and-so else gave their apologies but had recently had an accident or injury or was otherwise incapacitated or engaged… The poetry set. The ageing, the mumsy, the middle class pseudo-sophisticates… the middlebrow, nicey-nicey, bland-as-fuck head-in-the-sand dinner-party chatterers who think a mild swipe at Cameron set to an acoustic rendition of some 60s pop hit qualifies as edgy, pithy and political…

I don’t sit comfortably with the poetry set. Nevertheless, I occasionally raid their spoken word nights as an uninvited guest. Sometimes, I’m invited to perform, too.

The momentum of the Rage Monologues may not have gathered quite the pace I’d hoped for in the last couple of months, but April’s calendar so far looks rather like this:

April 23rd – Nevermind, York (5-7pm)

April 25th – Basement, York (7:30pm start)

Expect rage. Expect to see me die. Slowly and painfully. Get in touch via Facebook / Twitter / whatever if you’d like me to come and spill fiery venom at your event. Will rant for beer.

All the Rage

I’m not really one for New Year’s Resolutions. Similarly, I’m not one for anything that’s ‘trending’ or could otherwise be considered conventional. As such, I’m weary of the general approach to writing / publishing / performing, even in the lower echelons of the industry. in other words, the deal whereby one writes a book, reads excerpts at various events and spoken word nights, flogs said book, and goes off to write another.

I’m no fan of Jack Kerouac’s writing, which I find tedious and indulgent, but I very much admire the fact he elected to read from an unpublished work, with notes from his as-yet unpublished work-in-progress tucked inside the pages of his breakthrough novel, On The Road, just when he was breaking big. For 2015, I’ve elected to break the cycle of reading from published works, and shall instead be focusing on a work-in progress, that’s geared not toward publication, but performance: The Rage Monologues. There’s theory behind the method, but I’ll return to that later, in another post.

As such, I don’t have any major publishing plans this year, and will instead be taking The Rage Monologues on the road. Many of these performances will be guerrilla works, delivered at spoken word nights to unsuspecting audiences, although planned dates will be posted here in advance.

Be warned, however: The Rage Monologues are seriously nasty and not for wimps. Here’s a taste.

 

 

Planned performances to date are as follows:

Platform Thirsk, Little 3, Platform St, Thirsk, 7th March 2015. 7:00pm (7:30 start)

Speakers’ Corner, Golden Ball, Cromwell Road, York. 11th March 2014. 7:30pm (8pm start)

Nevermind, 8-10 Stonebow House, York, 19th March 2015 5-7pm

 

 

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk

Lunch Break

I’ve got half an hour and a lot to do. Namely, I need to bank some cheques. I need to post a package. I need some athlete’s foot treatment and some sleeping tablets, plus some batteries. I need to move.

The world has other ideas. I’m not paranoid, I don’t think the world is against me or that it’s some kind of conspiracy. But why has the world decided to descend on the city centre during my lunch break, and to shuffle around at an aimless crawl? Hasn’t anyone else got anything better to do? Where’s the urgency? How does anyone get anything done? Life’s too short to gawp and lick at every shop window, to stop for a breather every third step. If these dinosaurs don’t get out of my way I’m going to saw my toes off right in front of them while they dawdle over bath salts and nail polish in the narrow aisles of Boots. Chances are though that they wouldn’t even notice, making my statement for nought. Still, I make it out alive and without leaving any corpses in my wake. I consider this a major achievement, but my jaw’s aching with the constant grinding of my teeth.

The dregs of humanity have descended on the Post Office in time for my arrival. A man in his 60s lumbers and lurches down the pavement at a crawl, pointing at windows and bouncing off walls. I slow my pace, unable to pass him as I near my destination. He swerves into the open doorway, looks around surprised, staggers back a couple of paces almost stepping on my toes, then rolls forward a stuttering step or two to take an unsteady position in the queue. I take my place behind him, mindful to keep my distance. His leather jerkin, stained and greasy, stinks. He’s mumbling constantly to himself… “My girlfriend… yes, indeed.” He spits into his hand, then dusts the rancid jacket down with the spittle from his palm.

A woman striving hard to affect a well-to-do air as she puffed her checks and satchel-like eyebags entered the office behind me and immediately stands apart from the queue and positions herself behind the person being served at the nearest kiosk. Perhaps she didn’t understand the concept of queuing or simply considered herself to be above such plebeian pursuits. Eventually, her turn arrived and I observed her being served at the next counter. She was wanting to post package. Rich or poor, she’s clearly missing some vital faculties. “I’ve got lots of stamps, I don’t suppose I can use any of these,” she says, producing a wad of books of stamps of numerous denominations

The cretin’s wearing below-the-knee shorts. A T-shirt bearing some absurd logo and the legend ‘Sex Wax’, and a baseball cap. No big deal, he’s just another average 20-something old idiot, and one with a short attention span and limited patience. That much is clear as he steps and lunges backwards and forwards, leering and peering from side to side, as if this perpetual movement will somehow accelerate the queue. And he’s eating a chewy candy bar. Huge great nags, which he chomps and slavers over like a fucking hungry dog on a bone. Eventually, I get served. I pay for my batteries and get out, not waiting for my receipt. I round the next corner, passing the large glass front of Starbucks where people sit at the counter, looking out at the world going by. I’m paying it no mind, but my eye is caught by a blingy diamante-encrusted iPhone being lofted to eye two girls sitting facing outwards and grinning at the screen at the end of an extended arm. ‘Selfie! This is us in Starbucks! BFF!xx’

And so it is that the pinnacle of our evolution revolves round the discovery that it’s possible to turn a camera round. No more do tourists need to stop strangers in the street to ask them to snap them in front of landmarks and amusing signs. So what if the landmark or sign is cropped from the shot or obscured by blurred, looming faces, this is life, living in the moment and everyone’s life is better than everyone else’s.

I never thought I would actually be happy to be back in the office.