The Voice Of The North

by Steve North

It's a funny old game this acting lark. There you are one minute laughing louder than everyone else as you converse with fellow thesps, clutching your Guardian recommended bottle of wine in Waitrose, or spouting furiously about how angry it makes you when ignorant philistines use the word "luvvie" proving that you are exactly that, when along comes the Jobseekers Allowance to really mess up the cafe society from the North Laine to the Arts Club.

Will we all be forced to become waiters, bar workers, temps or one of those people who ring you up asking you if you've ever thought about having a conservatory built on the back of your terraced house without a garden? No, because most of us poor old loves are doing or have done them already. The thing that really winds me up about the JSA is its patronising assumption that nobody wants to work, that really we're just all workshy lazy bastards who need a big kick up the arse to get us all back behind a burger bar counter earning £2.00/hour, whistling cheerfully because we've all gained back our self respect.

Under this government we will achieve "one nation", one nation under two pounds an hour, a nation of security guards, sales reps and people who have to say "do you want fries with that sir?" for a living. Well sod that. People want interesting work, decent wages and the chance to do something they've trained or shown an interest for and then they'll have self respect, actors included. Thankfully down here we're spared the worst excesses of the DSS, and the CPSA (civil service union) have gone on strike partly as a stand against the JSA so things are looking up.

One of the most popular misconception's about actors is that if you've been on the telly you don't need to ever need to sign on or do other work to get by. When I was in London's Burning, I used to get some really weird looks off people when I signed on after filming had finished, as if to say what the fuck are you doing in here. Maybe it had something to do with the cape I was twirling and the skull I put down on the desk, who knows?

Still haven't seen David Baloney down there yet, but we live in hope. I write this just before the Peterborough game and still can't believe yesterdays Argus report on Gerry Ryan's revelations that he, Case and Brady took a wage cut after money previously promised was not forthcoming. Money from the sale of Kurt Nogan and the Goldstone Gamble never materialised.

Well where is it then? Like everyone else I bought those tickets on the assumption it was going to a "buy a player" fund not to pay back Stanley's interest on his loans. Just when you think there can't be any more revelations to emerge to shock you anymore, Bellotti, Stanley and Archer come up trumps again. In an excellent article in yesterdays Guardian by David Lacey (in which he makes the interesting revelation that the same man who has acted for Chartwell (who bought the Goldstone) for the last three years also "acts for Bill Archer in securing deals for Focus Diy", the company Archer part owns with Stanley), he again concludes that it looks suspiciously like asset stripping with Archer and Stanley wanting to get out "with a share of the sale price". Boycott the Goldstone gamble and pray that these people get out and let a decent board take over the club.

I'm off to sunnier climbs for a couple of months to do a play version of "Only When I laugh", but my credibility will be restored later in the year when I thrash my way round "Englands dreaming" in a new play about punk, "Pretty Vacant."

See you in June....(playoffs?). "

Steve North. 25.5.96.

Steve's Review of 1995
"Colin" in London's Burning
Steve's (uncensored) "Hyper" column (June 1996)
Steve's (uncensored) "Hyper" column (July 1996)