Archive for August, 2009

To be or not to be….. Part 2

August 25, 2009


Well, as mentioned previously in this blog, I have been doing some acting classes and last night we were all given out respective set pieces that we need to perform as the finale of the course. Each of us has to perform a monologue to an audience of about 150 people, which is 150 too many if you ask me.  I am yet to tell anyone when this performance takes place and am still thinking that I will wait till the moment has passed before letting anyone know I actually did it. This is of course assuming I go through with it on the night; still if none of my friends or family are there does it really matter if I fumble through my lines? Actually it’s not really learning my lines that worries me, it is that I am convinced I will trip up as I “enter stage left” and literally break a leg rather than metaphorically.

I have been given a section form a play called Division Street by Steve Tesich, not a play I am familiar with. I am playing the part of a character called Sal and in the section I have I am talking to a woman that I have not seen for years but she is the person I have always been in love with. It is a 300-odd word monologue which is supposed to be “heartfelt and touching yet humourous”. So far I have only done one read through to my class, and although I received an ok reception in my head I was convinced that I came across sounding like Mr Humphries from ‘Are You Being Served’, declaring his undying love for Mrs Slocombe, and even though I have not seen Division Street I am fairly certain this is not the visualisation Steve Tesich had in mind when writing his script.

To be continued….

Eat more tuna

August 18, 2009


I eat a lot of canned tuna and the brand I eat 90% of the time is Sirena, more specifically their original tuna in oil Italian style. I really like the authentic looking style of the can and the yellow and red really talks to the Italian heritage of the product.

It was back in 1949, that the Valmorbida family immigrated to Australia from Italy and in 1956, the patriarch of the family, Carlo Valmorbida, started to serve the Italian community in Australia with products they missed from home, and now we all benefit from this move.

One of the lines most in demand was tuna, back then most of the tuna available was canned in brine, dark and poor quality.  Carlo offered a canned tuna for the Italian palate and the product was aptly named Sirena which means mermaid in Italian.  The Sirena mermaid appears on the top of every can and I love the image. Whilst Carlo Valmorbida has since retired from the family business, the brand’s board still consists solely of the Valmorbida family. 

Like other brands of tuna they have a plethora of variants, but as mentioned the one I like best is in Italian style oil, it tastes great. And a little tip for you, it goes great mixed with some fresh dates and served on a slice of toast, makes a tasty and healthy lunch.  

Now the science:

  • Tuna is full of Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Tuna is low GI.  Products with a low Glycaemia Index keep your blood sugar steady
  • Tuna is an excellent source of quality protein
  • Tuna is packed with nutrients and minerals including magnesium, selenium and potassium
  • Tuna is rich in B vitamins such as niacin (B3), B1 and B6.
  • Tuna can keep you slim – research has shown that Omega-3 fats found in cold water fish such as tuna improve the body’s ability to respond to insulin and therefore prevent obesity.  The Omega-3 fatty acid EPA stimulates the secretion of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate food intake, body weight and metabolism.

How do you know if a child is a witch?

August 7, 2009


How do you know if a child is a witch? Beat him or her with a broom and if they cry, well then they are surely possessed by daemons, everyone knows that witches are terrified of brooms.


Crazy logic I know, but what is scary is that in Nigeria this is fast becoming common folk law and the abuse of children as witches is on the rise. They are blamed for causing all manner of things from illness, poor crops, a family member loosing their job and even death. Once a child is identified as a witch they are more often than not tortured (put through a cleansing ritual as it is know) in horrific ways in order to cast out the demons and if this fails they are then ostracized by their community, in some cases they have died as a result of their “cleansing’ rituals.  

Ironically much of this horrific treatment is done under the guise of ‘doing gods work” and children accused of witchcraft can be incarcerated in churches for weeks on end where they are beaten, starved and tortured in order to extract a confession. 

The states of Akwa Ibom and Cross River have about 15,000 children branded as witches, the vast majority of them end up abandoned and abused on the streets.  There is some light in this dark story. Stepping Stones Nigeria is a charity which is doing a great job in very trying circumstances. The charity was set-up in 2003 when Gary Foxcroft, spent 3 months in Akwa Ibom State carrying out research in community perceptions of the oil industry. During his time there he came across groups of young children, some as young as four or five, sleeping rough on the streets. It started off by setting up a school and from there has branched out into caring for the many kids that are tortured and abandoned for being witches. They work with other community organisations in the region to protect, save and transform the lives of these vulnerable children.

To find out more about them and to support the good work they are doing please visit their website for more information:

To be or not to be…..

August 5, 2009


I recently signed up to do some acting classes, not really sure why! It is not as if I have hankered after a life on the boards, although I did act at school, and no I don’t mean act-up but there was some of that I guess.  Anyway, I almost changed my mind at the last minute, I was convinced it was going to be all…. “pretend you are a seed, now pretend that seed grows into a tree, and now pretend it is a windy day”.  But it turns out it is rather good fun, and as of yet I have not had to pretend I am a tree, but I might make a better one now than I would have a few weeks ago.  It is a ten week course which culminates is each member having to do a monologue in front of a live audience, a dead one would be more preferable if you ask me.  

The nice thing about it is the fact that we are such a diverse group of people, and there are some clear ‘natural actors’ among us who I am sure will do very well. The hardest part of the whole course for me is trying to remember everyone else’s name, this is something I am notoriously bad at.  Each lesson starts off with a game or two in which you actually need to know other peoples names in order not to be eliminated.  I tend not to last very long in these games, I know what you are thinking, “how the hell is he ever going to learn his lines”?. That is a question I have been asking myself, maybe I won’t ask anyone to come along and see me perform……

….to be continued