Sunday, 31 January 2010


Controversially unemployed newsreader and owner of the stiffest upper lip in Britain, Moira Stewart is the current face of tax. She makes it seem so easy perched up there in her greenish ivory tower, but really she's scared. So scared in fact that she hides in the cupboard under the stairs praying that her tax return will do itself.

I've done my tax return now, but why do I always leave it to the last minute?

For those of you with proper jobs who never need to worry about calculating your own tax contributions, every April at the beginning of the new financial year those of us with other fiscal arrangements get a letter reminding us to file a tax return. I then put this letter to one side for safekeeping and promptly lose it. It surfaces sporadically, usually whenever I'm searching for something else, but I never quite have the time, or more crucially, the inclination to do it.

If the accused who defends himself in court has a fool for a client, then is the actor who can't afford an accountant equally foolish? Possibly. I'm registered as self-employed, because I'm an actor and that is certainly scant qualification for running a business. Despite this I recommend that anyone in this industry still register themselves as self-employed.

The first year they will send you the most impenetrable all-purpose form full of questions about your property ownership on the Isle of Man, and the cost of cleaning your ecumenical dog collars. The best way to weather that storm is to get an accountant to do the first year's tax return for you. Equity has a list of those that specialise in services relevent to actors. When I first looked in 2007, I was quoted prices ranging from £150 to £650. No prizes for guessing which I went for. They will know which sections do not apply to you and will provide you with a copy from which you can work out each subsequent year. Then you're on your own.

Since then I have been determined to file my tax return myself and although it's still not something that comes naturally, it's mostly a matter of working out where to put the zeroes.

Today is the deadline for the tax year 2008-09 so if you haven't already, submit your tax return.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Please Just Give

We're running the London marathon for charity. Specifically TACT. Less acronymically The Actor's Charitable Trust. I'll write a bit more about the sorts of things they do with the money soon, but in the meantime if you want find out more you can do so here.

In order to make it worthwhile for the charity we each need to raise £1,000. Grand. And because we're running together we're raising together. To that end we've set up a combined Justgiving page. Please donate some cash to a very good cause, whether it's a pound or a pound a mile or a mound of pounds: all donations are equally welcome.

The photo below from left to right: Brogan West, Mark Collier, a disembodied arm attempting to open shop & Me. The countdown above the door states that we had 90 days until the marathon, it's now 87 and counting. That's right we have 87 days to get fighting fit for the big day and the big distance, you have 87 days to help us reach £3000, but I'd appreciate it if you could put your hand in your pocket sooner rather than later.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Happy Birthday Blog

It's one year ago today that I started this blog.

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to Dave Wrote This
Happy Birthday to you

I arbitrarily decided to update the blog every three days or so, and had I managed this successfully this would be the 121st post and those of you that enjoy counting may well have noticed that it is not.

I've added another five blogs to the blogroll on the right. So now it's a sort of top nineteen. Even catchier.

I convinced my sister to lend me the use of her scanner so I'd have a bit more to write about, but here's hoping this doesn't just become my CV ad nauseum. Real life gets in the way, sometimes for the better and sometimes not, but I do have plans for this blog.

Friday, 22 January 2010

My Fair Lady

Continuing a walk down memory lane the first play I took part in at secondary school was a production of My Fair Lady. My school almost exclusively staged musicals which truth be told weren't my cup of tea. They still aren't. I would always nearly audition for them and then bottle out when I discovered that singing solo in front of your peers was a requirement.

When My Fair Lady came along I got over it long enough to audition. I remember we all had to sing 'Wouldn't It Be Lovely?' We were all sick of hearing it by the end of the auditions.

I played Jamie. Ever heard of him? I seem to remember someone saying he was Alfred P. Doolittle's best man but not his best mate. I don't think any of that was supported by anything in the text.

The dance routine for 'With A Little Bit Of Luck' was improvised and altered every night by Gavin, who played Doolittle. Apparently this made it pretty obvious that it took me longer to pick it up than the other David in our trio.

I was also in the ensemble for songs like 'Actor Gavotte', which was a day at the races for the great and the good and the rich. It was decided that this would be signified with top hats. Top hats on loan from idiots. The fellas were assembled and they were each handed a hat. As the initial excitement was reaching fever pitch and someone mimed throwing one above their head it was revealed that they were antiques and that we would held accountable for any damage. If you own an antique anything, do not ever lend it to someone producing a play. Ever.

Monday, 18 January 2010

The Park Is Mine

I'm still mired in tax, so once again I haven't written a proper blog post. Sorry.

Instead here is the cover artwork for the VHS release of The Park Is Mine.

I couldn't find a decent image of it when I posted about the DVD release. Well now that I have, here it is.

It looks like an incredibly complicated neon light.

I like it.

Friday, 15 January 2010

He Is Not Jesus, Though He Has The Same Initials

It's tax return time and while I am up to my armpits in distraction, sadly this blog has to take a back seat once again.

As I wade through receipts, here's another performance from Pulp's 1998 Finsbury Park gig to tie you over.


Monday, 11 January 2010

Teach An Old Blog New Tricks

Spurred on by Nicola Morgan's birthday blogging I visited a great many blogs yesterday and I was inspired to do some spring cleaning on here:

I've set up an RSS feed. Whatever that is.

Over on the right you should see a blogroll. That's blogroll with three l's, not what you may have originally read it as. This is a list of my current favourite blogs. A top fourteen if you will. I know, it's catchy isn't it?

I'm also using Google analytics to make sense of traffic to and from the blog, if indeed there is anybody actually reading it.

Having browsed blogs aplenty, I decided to vote for a couple of them in the 2010 bloggie awards. Why not nominate your favourite blogs?

Any and all suggestions welcome.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Vanity Hair

This is a video improvised, shot and edited entirely by Andy Cartwright. That's him with the hair.

And since I had absolutely nothing to do with the making of the video at all, I'm clinging to the fact that I compiled these for the blog as a reason to post about it.

It also means I can also say without fear of appearing immodest that I think it's very funny.

Monday, 4 January 2010

I'm Going For A Run

New Year's resolutions are for making and then breaking. So the most efficient way to come out of the other side with your head held high is to avoid making them in the first place.

I didn't make New Year's resolution this year, but I, someone who doesn't traditionally go running, am going for a run in January. This is because I am in training for the London Marathon. Yep, I'm as surprised as you are. I've agreed to run it for charity so I can't back out now.

I'll post when you can, and should, sponsor me.

So spare a thought for me as I puff and wheeze and stumble about.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year

It's that time of year again. The beginning of it.

After the Dickens debacle of Christmas 2008, I found myself going into the next year broke. Work was thin on the ground for the first half of the year and I failed to turn 2009 into two-thousand-and-mine.

Here's to 2010.