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I told the UK Democrats Abroad I voted for George Bush

29 Aug

3 PM Thursday 29 August 2013 Nunhead Heights

BLOOMSBURY FUNDRAISER Starring Stewart Lee and Me

Stewart Lee, the King of Alternative Comedy in Britain, has slotted me on the Resonance FM fundraiser at the Bloomsbury Theatre September 11th. That is really nice of him.

I hope it goes well.  I am not an alternative comic. I am a failed mainstream comic.

My last two fundraiser appearances went badly.

I was asked to entertain the Democrats Abroad at the Soho Theatre in the early Noughties. I hate Democrats. I hate anyone who says they care about the poor, because they probably don’t. And even if they do care about the poor, one has to ask their motives. Unless they are poor, themselves, and then I hate them for being poor. And I don’t respect any American who prefers living here in England. Only Democrats and the insane would flee America. See me in the second category. Wow, that was a lot of hate!

I told the audience I voted for George W Bush – and you can guess the response. Yes, it wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t true, either. I hadn’t voted since 1984, let alone for George W Bush.  Why did I tell them that?  I don’t like Republicans, either.

In 2002, did a big gala for JK Rowling’s “One Parent Families” charity at the Les Mis Theatre. 1400 seats. Her organisation promotes ripping children away from their fathers. I didn’t know this at the time or I might not have done it. And I didn’t know that later in the year I would have my children ripped away. Semi-instant karma.

I did well comedically, on the night.  I just told jokes. I can do that kind of thing if I want to. I just don’t want to.

Resonance FM is absolutely the best radio station in the world. It has give me a spot for my incompetent anarchy for over four years. Unprecedented. It HAS to be respected for that.

I can guarantee that your hard-earned money will not be wasted on this charity event.

Please come!

Benefit for Resonance FM at The Bloomsbury Theatre.
Organised by and starring Stewart Lee
and featuring me, Lewis Schaffer
Wednesday 11th September 2013
http://www.thebloomsbury.com/event/run/1839 

LEWIS SCHAFFER: NOW ON DRIVE TIME RADIO

Nunhead American Radio, the radio show of me, Lewis Schaffer, and to a lesser degree, Nunhead, returns Monday 9th of September at a new, better, time: 6:30PM.
DRIVE TIME. How incredible is that?
With the amazing Dulwich Ukulele Club providing the music. Over 120 shows since 2009.

Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer
Resonance FM 104.4FM
http://www.lewisschaffer.co.uk/radio/
Mondays, 6:30PM,
Next live show September 9th, 2013

What The Hobbit says about British society.

6 Jan

2AM Sunday 6 January 2013 Nunhead Heights.

I went with my oldest son, the 11-year-old Mini-Lew, to see The Hobbit at the Peckham Cineplex. I had never read any of Tolkien’s works, nor had I seen any movies based on his work.

When I was Mini-Lew’s age. some of the cooler kids in my hometown of Great Neck were reading Tolkien. I guess it was exotic to them, coming from England. This was many decades ago. I was still into collecting baseball cards and postage stamps and wasn’t part of that cool world. I didn’t know how to be part of that world.

My son, who is English, has read the book and loved the film. He is into that world. 

The essence of The Hobbit is this:

If you get into deep trouble you best have a wizard  following you around to come to your rescue. Otherwise, you’re screwed.

Why have the Dwarves fight or smart their way out of jams when the Wizard will blow up the mountain and crush their enemies? Unfortunately, having your own personal wizard is pretty much up to luck. And my kid, as far as I know, doesn’t have his own wizard.

In  The Wizard of Oz, the Oz Wizard provides no miracles and no salvation. He doesn’t kill Dorothy’s enemies or even gets her home. He only imparts self-belief. One can accomplish what one truly wants, he tells the four of them. Dorothy made her way to the Emerald City on her own and found her way back home on her own.

What is the Dwarves quest?

To recapture their historical home, the Lonely Mountain. It is a place of happiness and culture?  Is it a land of love of one’s fellow man? 

No. It is the bank where their ancestors had greedily hoarded gold and jewels. ‘Now that’s a motive that we can get behind!’ I write sarcastically. ‘Not fighting an Evil Empire, just a lust for gold.’

But Dorothy of Kansas’s home is filled with her lovely family and friends. Decent people. In The Hobbit, the Dwarves are just greedy bastards who invade the Hobbit’s home and wreck it. Rotten people, these Dwarves, on a rotten quest. 

Why is Thorin the leader of the Dwarves? He inherited it. But is he worthy of being followed, as the Wizard says he is?

Thorin is no genius. He is too stupid to know that his kingdom’s neighbors were not his enemies. And then he had expected his neighbors to come to his aid even though it meant they would be destroyed by the rampaging Dragon. And without the Wizard, the Dwarves would have been eaten alive under the command of Thorin. 

Thorin, the King of the Dwarves, is derisively put down by one of his enemies for losing his kingdom. One of the worst thing you can do in Britain is lose your inheritance. To the Manor Born and the Manor must be given to your oldest child.  And there is nothing more laughable than an ex-King. Think of the pompous Kings of Yugoslavia, the foppish Duke of Windsor, or the now irrelevant Mitt Romney.

The motto of the Queen of England is ‘We have held onto more stuff longer than any other British family.’ The Queen of England is President Assad or Mohammar Gaddafi or Assad plus four hundred years.

I grew up believing that ‘A man who dies rich is disgraced’ as Andrew Carnegie said. Carnegie is the man my second child is named after. He gave his money away to build schools and theatres. The Queen hoards her money to give to her children. I am not going to die rich so I have no fear of being disgraced that way. 

The Hobbit is propaganda by the British ruling classes to keep British children accepting the rule of their ‘betters’ and to know their place. 

I hope most Brits don’t believe that rancid ideology. It is so un-American – or the America I believe in – that I almost screamed in the theatre. Not that it would have mattered. We were in Peckham and screaming in the theatre  there isn’t  unusual.  

When the lights came on in the theatre I breathed a sigh of relief. I hadn’t wasted my childhood on that Tolkien garbage.

Sadly, my Mini-Lew has grown up immersed in that pro-monarchy, pro-ruling-class ideology. The ‘know your-place-as-you-don’t-have-a-wizard’ rubbish.  

He loves the Queen. Ah well, I still love him.  

What do you think about this? Tell me. Leave a comment. 

@lewisschaffer – twitter feed 

Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio 

Live shows begin 8 January 2013

See Lewis Schaffer live every Tuesday and Wednesday: Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous, The Source Below, 11 Lower John Street, London W1F 9TY. Come on down. Free admission. Or reserve at bit.ly/londonfreeshow 

Peregrine Falcon spotted on Nunhead Heights. News of Nunhead for 10 Dec 2012.

10 Dec

Listen TONIGHT at 10:30 GMT or 5:30PM UK time to Nunhead American Radio. www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. 

9 PM Monday 10th December 2012 Nunhead Heights.

Nunhead, Southeast London, is also what Germans call the white bit of the finger nail – Das Nun’s Head. Did you know this? No? I made this up. Nonne Kopf!

The News of Nunhead

Friend Doug Brooks of Friends of One Tree Hill spotted a Peregrine Falcon atop Nunhead’s highest point over the weekend.

The Peregrine Falcon’s name means ‘wandering falcon’ and is the Official Bird of Nunhead American Radio. I just decided this today.

The southern link of  London Overground trains opened on 9th December linking east London with southwest London.

1.3 miles of track were re-laid to connect Surrey Quays (pronounced ‘keys’) with Nunhead and points west. This allowed the 150 year-old South London Line rail trains to be removed from service. Now it’ll take 15 minutes to get to Clapham but 40 minutes to get to Victoria from Peckham Rye Station.

We will ask our guest, Councillor and friend Renata Hamvas, what can be done about this!

According to the Southwark News, East Dulwich artist Heather Burrell is to recreate from old shoes the stolen Barbara Hepworth statue. The Dulwich Park art was believed taken for its scrap metal value. Why old shoes? Who’d steal old shoes.

Peckham Open 2012 & Charity Art Auction Event, which Nunhead Arts is involved in is happening at Peckham Space. The exhibition is running from 30 November – 20 December. Check out Nunhead Arts website. I don’t know what this is but it is something!

The Nunhead Community Choir, led by friend Richard Swan, is having a festive pub carol crawl on Sunday 16 December. Meet at the Rye Hotel at 2pm at the bottom of Peckham Rye. I have often crawled pubs Carolling. Also Debbying, and Sarahing, and Elizabething…

They’ll be at the following pubs at the approximate times singing:

2pm – The Rye Hotel, Peckham Rye,
3pm – The Old White Horse, Nigel Road, Peckham
4pm – The Old Nun’s Head, Nunhead Green
5pm – The Waverley Arms, Ivydale Road – ‘followed by the usual carousing and raucous behaviour leading to embarrassing videos on Facebook in the morning.’

THIS JUST IN: Save the Ivy House has just received an offer of funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund. The plan is to buy the Ivy House and run it as a cooperative pub and community hub. Keep informed on twitter and @Save_Ivy_House and at the Save the Ivy House website.

Tonight’s guests are the brilliant Brian Damage and Krysstal, famous musicians I’ve known for years. Nunheader Ed Hammond was scheduled but he’s coming in next week. Instead we have Renata Hamvas, Nunhead Heights Southwark Council councilor talking about the trains! And maybe the cemeteries and parking and bicycles…

With the Dulwich Ukulele Club, our house band, and a new song for Christmas! Lisa Moyle is our lovely co-host, and Chris Dixon, our Man. Possibly Claudio on the desk. Who knows?

LISTEN!

@lewisschaffer – twitter feed 

Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio 

Go to our facebook page! Nunhead American Radio.

Shows restart 8 January 2012: See Lewis Schaffer live every Tuesday and Wednesday: Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous, The Source Below, 11 Lower John Street, London W1F 9TY. Come on down. Free admission. Or reserve at bit.ly/londonfreeshow 

The BBC is to blame for Rupert Murdoch and a regulated press can not be free

29 Nov

2 PM Thursday 30 November 2012 Nunhead Heights

Today Lord Leveson has recommended the British government regulate the press. I didn’t read that far into his proposals but that seems to be the gist of it.

A regulated press is not free, no matter the good intentions of the regulator. It is like saying a tethered horse is free. No matter how long the rope, the horse knows who his boss is.

The problem with Rupert Murdoch and the press is the British public broadcasters, the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Britain is amazingly centralized and concentrated. Follow me, please.

Five supermarket chains have 75% of the grocery business. London’s residential property is worth the same as the next 40 biggest cities and towns in Britain combined. I read that in The Guardian 31st March 2012. It is as if New York were worth as much as LA, Boston, Indianapolis, Atlanta, San Fran, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Austin, Houston, Denver, and thirty other cities combined. Minneapolis. Chicago. Detroit. New Orleans, Memphis. You name it. Isn’t that incredible? Richmond. Philadelphia. Buffalo, Portland, San Diego.

The government-owned broadcaster controls maybe 50% of the airwaves. They own two of the five big TV channels and the biggest radio stations and local ones in every town. And what about digital channels, websites and magazines?

The BBC is impartial, unbiased, and not supposed to serve the needs of any one group. The people want it to be that way.

If the BBC comes out against X group, then the Xs are going to be unhappy. If they come out against Y group then the Ys will be unhappy. That is why the BBC doesn’t come out against very much of anything.

‘When you try to please everyone, no one likes it.’ I don’t know who said that first but it is true.

But a BBC that tries to please everyone  makes the BBC into an impotent and neutered animal. And makes it easy for a Rupert Murdoch to march in.

In order for Murdoch to have controlled the Government he needed to operate only a third or half of the non-BBC  media.  A cable network: Sky. A newspaper for the educated: The Times. Newspapers for the masses: The News of the World, and The Sun. Boom.

A media baron couldn’t control America that way. It is more decentralized. Maybe a few barons, but definitely one man couldn’t.

Rupert Murdoch pounding away at the Monarchy or Europe was more than a match for a wishy-washy, soft, mealy BBC.

If Britain wants to avoid another Rupert Murdoch it’ll need to break up the BBC and bring more competition to the airwaves. Or the old media needs to die off and be replaced by a hundred thousand independently own websites.

 

Yes, I blame the BBC.  [Sorry, I know you love your BBC.]

Britain, like America, loves commissions.

The British version of the fact-finding committee seems to be just one guy. In the the case of the problems with phone hacking – that is, the problem with Rupert Murdoch and his control of the British Government – they have Lord Leveson. I am sure he had help – lawyers and assistants – but it wasn’t like the Warren Commission which had a panel of famous people who could share the blame for a dodgy report about President Kennedy’s killing.

How come the British put so much faith in one person to provide the explanation and solution to a problem? I don’t know but it isn’t the way things are done in America.

@lewisschaffer – twitter feed 

Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio 

See Lewis Schaffer live every Tuesday and Wednesday: Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous, The Source Below, 11 Lower John Street, London W1F 9TY. Come on down. Free admission. Or reserve at bit.ly/londonfreeshow 

 

Nunhead gives thanks for Lewis Schaffer. News of 25 November 2012.

26 Nov

9 PM Monday 25 November 2012 Increasingly in Demand Nunhead Heights.

Nunhead, Nunhead. No matter how many trains Transport for London adds or removes from Nunhead Station, Peckham Rye, Honor Oak Park, or Queen’s Road Peckham stations, it will still take an hour to get anywhere from the increasingly in demand Nunhead Heights.

Listen tonight, Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London to Nunhead American Radio. 

East London Lines begin service at Peckham Rye and Queens Road Peckham on December 9th. The London Bridge to Victoria rail loop is being discontinued and trains will go directly to Clapham Junction.

If  I got gigs again in the Clapham Junction area then this would be amazing but I don’t. 

The Save the Ivy House Campaign – @Save_Ivy_House – is still waiting to know what is going on with the Ivy House, the very first pub saved under new legislation protecting ‘Community Assets’. As I have noted before, five or six times, only in Nunhead would a pub be a community asset.

We only know the owner is proper angry, is thinking of suing Southwark Council and won’t let the local people into the pub to survey it. Whoever screams loudest will win this one. 

Last week on Nunhead American Radio, all Nunhead gave thanks to Lewis Schaffer. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIY3FERHK5s

The Cheltenham Café, the worker’s café of choice in the increasingly in demand Nunhead Heights, now has evening takeaway. Cypriot kebabs and grills and a free bottle of wine for orders over £25. Why can’t British cafes stay open for dinner out like in the US of A? Call 02077322459 to get your free bottle of wine. Seriously: Why can’t there be diner-type restaurants in the UK?

In the debate over what to do about the Elephant and Castle Roundabout of Death, this was said:

“We need to move away from 1970s design, where pedestrians are supposed to be somewhere and vehicles get to enjoy super highways where they can go as fast as they like.”

Who said those wise words?

The Southwark Council Cabinet Member for Transport, Environment, and Recycling.

I will mention that if the Council tries to remove on-street parking on the Heights.

Today, Nunhead American Radio is the 45th entry in a Google search for “Nunhead”. It was 672th during a check last year. Moving on up!

Happy Birthday to Nunhead American Radio’s Lisa Moyle’s other husband, David Moyle. He is 39! Actually, I don’t know his age and don’t care. Where is Lisa? That is what matters.

Our special guest couldn’t make it tonight. Save the Ivy House @Save_Ivy_House are coming in next week.

Instead we have personal favourites: Comic Near Nunheader Charmian Hughes and my older brother Randy Klein, New York Nunhead American Artist. He is sitting in for Lisa Moyle. Enjoy!

@lewisschaffer – twitter feed 

 Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio 

See Lewis Schaffer live every Tuesday and Wednesday: Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous, The Source Below, 11 Lower John Street, London W1F 9TY. Come on down. Free admission. Or reserve at bit.ly/londonfreeshow 

The one pence rip off. How shops and the State collude to screw us.

18 Nov

3:30PM 18 November 2012 Nunhead Heights

I spotted a stack of pennies and two pence pieces an inch thick on a brick wall outside my corner shop in Nunhead Heights, the increasingly in-demand area of London.

I counted 11 pence – that’s maybe 17 USA cents.

This wasn’t lost money. This was litter. Someone had freed himself of the burden of carrying around that metal.

When money becomes rubbish it isn’t money anymore.

Why does the government continue to coin one pence, two pence, five pence and possibly even ten pence coins, when people can’t buy anything with them and they get in our way?

99p pricing, or even 95p pricing, is aimed to convince us that things cost less than they really do to get us to buy more.

The majority of these coins will never, ever be exchanged for for larger denominations – they just rot in drawers and bowls.

And if you care about the lower classes, and I don’t being one of them, well, the lower classes shop more often than richer folk and the rich’s single-weekly-shopping at Waitrose. The poor get more pennies at the corner shop. Penny coinage is a regressive form of taxation.

It eats at me every time I go shopping. I wrote about this last April.

And not to mention the millions of hours a year society wastes in counting the coins and attempting to have these coins redeemed. What could we be doing with those hours?

Vestigial coinage is an age-old problem. Once there were half-pennies and farthings, and who knows what else, all thrown in the rubbish bin of inflation. All coins eventually get taken out of circulation but now there are four coins which are harming our people.

Anyway, I thought about picking up the stack. I didn’t do it.

When a broke man like me turns down a stack of coins, you know those coins have got to go.

@lewisschaffer – twitter feed 

Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio 

See Lewis Schaffer live every Tuesday and Wednesday: Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous, The Source Below, 11 Lower John Street, London W1F 9TY. Come on down. Free admission. Or reserve at bit.ly/londonfreeshow 

Did you hear what happened at the Comedy Store last night? That’s the problem with live comedy today.

10 Nov

3 AM Saturday Morning 10 November 2012 Nunhead Heights.

Back in New York in the mid-’90s, a TV producer asked me to test an idea he had. He had seen me host shows in Greenwich Village and wanted me to trial a new kind of  comedy-talk TV show.

I had been doing comedy for maybe two years.

I went to the Kaufmann or the Silvercup Studios in Queens – I don’t remember which. It was a proper TV studio with a sets, cameras, and a camera crew. It probably cost him a pretty penny, and an ugly penny, too, to arrange this, even though he was using the crew from an earlier show. Unions don’t do favors.

His idea was for me to do only the ‘funny bits’ of my act. Make it fast – superfast. And cut out all the dull bits. Jokes without setups. Interviews at the speed of sound.

You cannot do only punchlines. I know that now. And ‘one-liners’ really have two lines. I know that now. And if a joke is just two words then one of them is the set up and the other is punchline and you can’t be sure which is which. I know that now.

It was a failure. I was a failure. He never called me again or came to see me in the Village.

There is a crisis in the live comedy business in the United Kingdom.

British comedy clubs are getting maybe half as many customers as they did a couple of years ago and are cutting back or closing down.

At the same time, the comedians, who used to make a decent living from these clubs  are struggling to get paid work as more clubs close or cut down and more and more comics come into the business.

My friend Martin Besserman runs the Monkey Businsess Comedy Club in north London He has called a meeting of the comedy community for this Monday. Comics and club promoters are coming. I’ll be there.

The comics have different needs from the club owners.

The comics want to work for the highest possible wage and they want to work. The club owners would be happy to put on a show without comics if they could get away with it. If they have to hire comics they strive to pay them as little as possible. That’s just business.

The gathering will be like a meeting of the British Zoo Association except instead of just the zookeepers the animals have been invited, too. The crocodiles and the stingrays in the same room with the Steve Irwins.

Martin’s main gripe is that other club owners are either putting on free admission shows or heavily discounting admission and it’s killing his business. And that comics are undercutting their value by working shows for less or even for free.

He’s right.

He charges ten or twelve pounds at Monkey Business – I don’t know exactly how much as he refuses to book me for Saturday nights because he thinks I’m unreliable. He is not alone in thinking this.

But other clubs can put on free shows as they get the money from the bar or if they don’t pay the comics very much, or pay the comics at all.

Martin pays his comics. But there are now many more good comics than there are spots and comics want to work. What comedy-goer would pay ten quid when right down the road is a free show, with comics seemingly just as good? 

Did you hear what happened last night Comedy Store in London?

Of course not.

Nothing ever happens at the Comedy Store in London.

In my 12 years in this country I haven’t heard a live comedy-goer or comic tell me of amazing goings on at the most successful comedy club in Britain. Not even once.

No amazing new jokes. No amazing revelations. No trauma or drama or theatre. Nothing unreliable at the Comedy Store.

I’m having a dig at the Comedy Store but it’s the same at almost every club and show in the UK. And I mention the Comedy Store because they’re the most successful comedy club in the country, they don’t book me, and owner Don Ward had a pop at me a few years back.

He once asked me, at a party in Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival, “Which Lewis Schaffer do we have tonight? The funny Lewis Schaffer or the not funny Lewis Schaffer.”

“At least I am funny half the time” I answered.

And though I didn’t know it at the time, that’s the point

Brilliant comedy is funny only part of the time. Daniel Kitson. Clown Doctor Brown. The other half is panic, insecurity, boredom, introspection, insight, education…

Great comedy, and I AM saying that sometimes I am a great comic, though not always or not often enough, involves a lot of the non-funny. It demands pathos, crisises, chaos and breakdowns. True anger and true sadness. And risk.

There is no risk at the Comedy Store in London only a couple of hours of funny.

I needed to be not funny half the time in that Queens studio. And we as comics need to be not funny half the time at Monkey Business and the Comedy Store. Okay, maybe a quarter not funny. But the clubs demand funny all the time. 

That is why my show, Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous, is drawing twice as many people as it did last year. It isn’t completely funny.

Live British comedy today is all funny all the time. Until that changes comedy clubs will continue to die.  

I’m not worried about Live British comedy because it will change.

Read about the blind soldier who came to my show. I am proud of what I did that night and proud of this post.

@lewisschaffer – twitter feed

Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio

See Lewis Schaffer live every Tuesday and Wednesday: Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous, The Source Below, 11 Lower John Street, London W1F 9TY. Come on down. Free admission. Or reserve at bit.ly/londonfreeshow

Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comedian

John Fleming's blog - SO IT GOES

John Fleming’s blog: human interest, humour, humor, comedy blog featuring eccentricity, performance, movies and occasionally a few tears

Nunhead Nags

A blog about Nunhead regeneration

Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comic

Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comedian

John Fleming's blog - SO IT GOES

John Fleming’s blog: human interest, humour, humor, comedy blog featuring eccentricity, performance, movies and occasionally a few tears

Nunhead Nags

A blog about Nunhead regeneration

Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comic