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We Can Learn From Anything

Thursday, 31 July, 2014 | Comments | Make A Comment

Every time there is some sort of conference in the arts, especially ones concerned with marketing, then you get people leaping about onstage shouting about how the arts can "learn" from one thing or another. From football to shipbuilding everything can help the arts.

Here in TheLab™ we thought they might be onto something (or maybe they've just caught something! Ed!) so we did months of research to come up with the following examples of what other professions and activities the arts could learn from.


What The Arts Can Learn From Arsonists


light 'em up and draw in the crowds. image courtesy of Universal Pictures

These guys are, to be honest, a bit crazy but they do have a good marketing idea. They set fire to stuff and people will gather to watch. If the fire is big enough the police and news people might even send a helicopter and you'll end up on a live news broadcast for free, nationwide!

Take that National Theatre Digital...... whatever!

There are some obvious downsides, like the fact that every single piece you make will have to be fire themed to cover your tracks so you don't end up doing hard time make the whole "everything is on fire" thing seem plausible.

You will also have to figure out how to keep your audience running from the building screaming in a mad panic (and your performers come to that) but we feel sure that you will think of something. A comedy fire alarm as seen in Gremlins 2 may come in handy.

Extra credit if you combine this marketing method with the gardening one, those fire hoses will come in handy!

What The Arts Can Learn From Gardening

Bear with us here. What do you do in the garden? Well you plant things so they can grow. You till the soil, plant the seeds, use fertiliser, keep the bugs away and trim the leaves as the thing you planted turns into a flower, or a tree, or a cabbage.

All the while you maintain an air of smug superiority because you know what a hoe is used for and a Sunday afternoon gardening trip to Homebase (?) is what you live for.

Now, you want your audience to "grow" so we think this means, should we be willing to stretch this metaphor to the limits of absurdity (and we are willing! Ed!), that you have to randomly throw people down on the ground, cover them in dirt and turn a fire house on them. If you do that you're audience will grow.... geddit?

It's literal but it might just work.

What The Arts Can Learn From Hollywood


The Lone Ranger was both hugely expensive and hugely successful at the box office.... well, it was hugely expensive... Picture courtesy of Disney.

There is a lot to learn from the film industry. First of all they pay their "stars" way too much money (hello pay increase for dancers! Ed!), blow massive chunks of cash on special effects, location shooting and "completion insurance" (whatever that is! Ed!).

It also takes forever to make the films and then get them to market and these folks really know how to market something. 60ft wide billboards are the least of it.

Having spent years in production with the best and the brightest minds the finished film is then put in front of a focus group and if they don't react well to just one little thing the whole film could be re-shot at massive expense because the focus group knows best.

This of course works like a charm and film production company Disney will attest to this having lost more than $500Million on the movies 'John Carter' and 'The Lone Ranger'. Word on the street is that only 5% of movies are actually profitable. We're not sure why people are talking about feature film profitability on the street but there you go.

But that's not the point, because it's all about the process...... man!

What The Arts Can Learn From Supermarkets

Supermarkets are everywhere now. You go to a petrol station, there's a supermarket attached to it, you go to a supermarket and there's a..... well, there's a supermarket attached to it. Ok, so supermarkets are basically in two different places but we see a trend, because more of one thing means a trend... right?

So, theatre's should attach a supermarket to their venue. Think about it! People need to buy some milk and lots of courgettes (..? Ed!) and they're going to come to your theatre to do it.

The checkout folk can "up-sell" tickets to the latest show in the same way you can, inexplicably, buy gift cards for iTunes and sim cards at the checkout in Morrison's.

Most venues would need to be reconfigured to allow for storage of groceries of course and let's face it, most venue seating doesn't have enough room for people with normal sized legs.

Yeah, we just made fun of people who are 5ft 2', deal with it!

Venues could also launch a loyalty or points programme so the more shopping you buy the more tickets you can have for free. £250,000 of spending should get you one free ticket we reckon (and a lot of courgettes! Ed!)

In the marketing world this would be described as a "synergistic, economically cross fertilising, commercial retail developmental strategy". We're pretty sure you can get funding for that.

What The Arts Can Learn From The Police

So the police are not, in general, good at drawing a crowd but they are good at dragging crowds from one place to another, just ask The Met!

When the soft sell doesn't work we heartily recommend getting your henchman (you do have henchman don't you?) to grab large numbers of muggles, dragging them to a venue and literally forcing them to watch your show. Fitting hand and foot restraints to seats will be costly but you can recover that cost and the ticket prices by forcing people to "make bail" to get out of the theatre, all major credit cards accepted.

There are some indications that this practice is already being experimented with as it would explain the large number of people attending Andrew Lloyd Webber shows.

Human rights issues will have to be considered of course mainly because you might be forcing people to watch 'Lord of the Flies'.........(we kid! Ed!)

What The Arts Can Learn from Car Companies


The Things you can add to a new BMW cost almost as much as buying another BMW. Picture courtesy of BMW.

Anybody who sells cars will tell you that the car is not what makes you the money it's the options. If you buy an Audi or a BMW you can add options to the thing the cost almost as much as another car. So, let's start Optionizing™ the theatrical experience.

The most obvious options would be additions to the seating of course. Power adjustable, ventilated and heated premium leather and "hot stone" massage function! Fold down rear seats are also a great option especially if you combine them with the supermarket idea above so more room for the shopping! (synergy! Ed!)

Don't go too far though with stuff like headrest mounted entertainment systems because that might be showing something that's more fun than the hapless punter paid to watch, never underestimate the power of an episode of Coronation Street*

Extended warranty is also another way to go so if the show breaks down or the ceiling falls on your audience's head (more common than you might think) then you get a poorer quality rental show in an alternate venue to replace it until the one you paid to see gets fixed.

*Coronation Street is a UK soap opera that has been on the air since the time of the Visigoths and features characters called Tracy and Ken living their humdrum lives until they are murdered for no reason or crushed by a falling train.

Published Thu, 31 Jul, 2014 at 09:28 | Share on Facebook |

We're Outta Here!

Tuesday, 12 February, 2013 | Comments | Make A Comment

Things are bad right now for the arts in the UK, on the other hand you could argue when were things ever good? So maybe you're thinking it's time to move to pastures new, where the grass is greener, the people are nicer and the funding policies not quite so crazy.

Here in TheLab™ we've put together a comprehensive (not really) list of the good, bad and completely made up facts about the countries you might be thinking about as a good career move!


siwtzerland.jpgIf you want to dance on an Alp then where better than the country that invented dancing on an Alp? If you haven't seen "The Sound of Music" then, first of all, shame on you and secondly ........... wait, what..... what do you mean it was set in Austria? Oh, never mind.

The Good: It's very pretty, especially in the Alps (where The Sound of Music wasn't filmed apparently) and they have more kinds of chocolate than the rest of the world has people which will come in very handy when you're out of work.

The Bad: We're talking about a country that has laws against flushing your toilet at certain times of the day and won't let you wash your car on a Sunday. They also make you join the army and give you a gun with no bullets to keep in your house in case the Romans invade or something! Thanks to lenient taxes the place is also full of annoying race car drivers.

Cost of Living: Makes London look affordable


norway.jpgHome of the prettiest people in the world for no other reason than they are Scandinavian. We haven't met all Norwegians, although there are only 47 of them, but most are very pretty, blue eyes are not mandatory though. Also, the location of the infamous movie 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' that enjoyed wide spread................. ok, that was filmed in Sweden? Damn you Sweden!

The Good. Thanks to the complete lack of people there is plenty of space, especially in the north and the theatres they have in schools make our dedicated theatres look like sheds (looking at you The Byre).

The Bad: A cheese sandwich will set you back about £145, it's a good sandwich but it's not a £145 sandwich. The average temperature in winter is minus 400 degrees celsius and it snows in summer.

Cost of Living: Did you not read the cheese sandwich story above?

The Unites States of America

usa.jpgHome of Disney, Barack Obama and hot dogs on a stick (not making that up) the USA is the original land of opportunity and the home of the free(ish). The place is so vast that some states are living in the present while others are stuck in the late 1760s. Best known for being the location for the hugely popular science fiction flick Blade Runner set in................. what? Filmed in London, oh whatever!

The Good: If things don't work out then the proliferation of fast food outlets will provide ample opportunities for minimum wage employment

The Bad: The Republican Party, Fox News, Donald Trump and the slightly terrifying idea that you might end up working for a dance company in Arizona or Texas.

Cost of Living: You can buy an entire cow for about £4, that's good right?


australia.jpgAn almost completely empty prison colony the size of a small planet, Australia is the go-to place for people looking for a fresh start. As long as you stay around the outside edge you should be fine, don't go into the middle bit. Home of the infamous Mad Max movie which........ was actually filmed in Australia (woohoo) although it is completely terrible. The film that is, not the country.

The Good: It's empty and it's sunny, what else do you want?

The Bad: Sharks, jelly fish, more sharks along with their shark friends and in the summer it gets so hot that if you go outside you catch on fire. Also has entrance requirements for work purposes that would flummox Sheldon Cooper*, even on a good day!

Cost of Living: Expensive because everybody eats "Barbies™" all the time and those things are pricey.


france.jpgAhhhh.... France, home of The Louvre, The Eiffel Tower and trains that are so fast they can bend time (take that Sheldon Cooper*). The French also spend more money on the arts than we spend on nuclear submarines (not making that up). Many films have, in fact, been made in France but they are all about a man with a cat fetish who falls in love with a woman who works in a flower shop. None of them are any good.

The Good: Butter croissants, need we say more?

The Bad: Population will go on strike literally at the drop of a hat. They'll spend 16 weeks hanging about, blockading all the roads while they argue about who should pick up the hat.

Cost of Living: Who cares, as long as you can afford the butter croissants.


germany.jpgHome of all the best car companies (looking at you BMW) and the most efficient traffic signals in the civilised world (looking at you junction of Karl Liebknecht Strasse and Spandauer Strasse). The Germans actually fund the arts because they think they are "good for society", which is definitely weird. Let's not talk about German film.........

The Good: All we know is this, people say that Berlin has a great "scene" you never hear people say that they hate the "scene" in Berlin!

The Bad: Insert lame joke about Germans and sense of humour here and what's with all the beer festivals?

Cost of Living: We think it's somewhere between "Hmmmmmmmmm" and "Arggggggggghhhhhhhh!!"

The Worst of the Rest

Sweden: If the film "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is anything to go by the whole country is full of homicidal maniacs with an Ikea fetish and crazy computer hacker brunettes who go around smacking people in the face with golf clubs. Avoid!

Mexico: Seriously? Mexico! .......... No!

Belgium: Assis Carreiro moved there to run a dance company into the ground and they can't decide what language to speak. Avoid!

Scotland: Stop it!

Wales: Now you're just being ridiculous..............

* What do you mean you don't know who Sheldon Cooper is?

Published Tue, 12 Feb, 2013 at 11:57 | Share on Facebook |

A Conversation With Alan Davey

Wednesday, 6 February, 2013 | Comments | Make A Comment


Desperate times call for desperate measures as details emerge of a recent conversation between the infamous "Man from ACE" and ACE's very own Alan Davey, CEO of the funding monolith.

Good afternoon Mr Davey, er..... boss, how can I help you?

Yes, yes, good morning, I would like to apply for some funding please.

Come again?

Money, I need some money for a new project!

I see, and what exactly is this project may I ask?

Well, we've had a lot of cuts from (points upward and looks at the ceiling) upstairs, if you know what I mean, so we need to replace the cash.

(looks up at the ceiling somewhat perplexed) .....


So, you want Arts Council England to fund..... Arts Council England?

Yep, brilliant plan huh?

Genius sir, matched only by those who start land wars in Asia but (somewhat sarcastically) is it art Mr Davey?




Yes, Mr Davey, this is (gesturing with air quotes) The Arts Council, we fund art and artists

erm..... Oh good lord yes, it's art, let's face it, everything we do around here is completely theatrical, right? I mean, you should see tomorrow's script!


Oh yeah, we're rolling out more cuts for the plebs, I've got this whole scene where I'm practically weeping into my sleeve, I just hope I don't choke.

A hope shared by few others I would wager?


What is this art called?

Erm..... let's call it "Pension Fund"


Glad you like it!

I was being sarcastic!

So was I.....

And just who is this art aimed at may I ask?

My friends on the senior sta.............. er...... disabled people....... disabled black people........ disabled black people who are veterans living in South London who have no hope and only we can save them!

Diverse, almost cynically so......

Oh..... and the Olympics

The Olympics are over you....... Mr Davey

Not those ones, the new ones in Brazil.....

..... (looking weary) How much money do you need for this project?

not much, about sixty million!

(incredulously) Pounds?

No, cats! Of course pounds!

Mr Davey what are your other sources of funding for this, for want of a better word, project?

We don't have any, we need 100%!

I'm sorry Mr Davey (a smile creeping across his face) but Arts Council England doesn't fund projects at 100%! Please show yourself out!

Published Wed, 6 Feb, 2013 at 09:30 | Share on Facebook |

Throwing Stuff

Tuesday, 1 January, 2013 | Comments | Make A Comment

Judith Mackrell, Guardian writer and (alleged) super villain, published a short piece just before the holidays that discussed why people throw flowers to ballet dancers at the end of a show.

Having failed to come to the only reasonable conclusion that people attending ballet performances are both rich and crazy we, here in TheLab™, started to ponder what you could throw at contemporary dancers after a show.

Flowers, for the most part, are completely useless and just die all the time so what else can you throw to the dancers after a show?



Dancers are always hard up for cash. Either they have no job prospects at all or work for English National Opera. You should also not assume that simply because they have just done a show that they have been paid appropriately, if at all, for the work. Throwing coins is very obviously out of the question (ask a footballer) so it's notes all the way.

A rolled up wad of twenties should suffice (for each dancer) but if you want to get really creative you can put the money in scented envelopes or attach it to paper aeroplanes and go nuts.

For those with more money than sense we suggest using enchanted doves to carry money in their beaks to land on the dancers out stretched arms during the "call".

If you have to ask us where you can get enchanted doves then you can't afford them!



In these hard times for the economy we have been told that folks can't afford to go shopping anymore because a loaf of bread costs about the same as a gold bar.

Dancer's of course need a steady supply of nutritious sustenance to get them through the day so a nice hamper filled with fruit, vegetables and a selection of choice meats would be warmly received.

If you're a bit weak and feeble you may struggle to lob said hamper out of the audience and onto the stage (risk of dancer crushing is also a problem) so may we suggest a hamper on wheels that you can be simply push onto the stage.

Variety is key to a healthy, balanced diet so please coordinate with your fellow audience members to reduce the risk of duplication in the hampers. Anybody who thinks giving celery sticks is a good idea will be shown no mercy!

Additionally, throwing un-wrapped fresh fruit (tomatoes in particular) may be misinterpreted dramatically as something else entirely if you start chucking it after a show is over.

Job Offers


First of all, get your mind out of the gutter!

Arts policy makers have failed, for 60 years, to generate anything like a productive and progressive job market for professional dancers so....

Performances are probably the best recruitment venue for any aspiring dance maker, especially one with a very small circle of contacts.

Much like the money you can simply throw the job offer at your dancer of choice. Better still, if dance companies could craft a small velcro patch to each costume you could lob velcro darts and hope you hit the right spot.

A new wave of audience participation could be started, we could escalate the whole thing to a "Nerf™ Gun" battle at the end of the show.

Any attempts to tag the dancer with QR codes, barcodes or numbers will be frowned upon.

Health Insurance


Nothing says "I appreciate your performance" more than a 12 month, health insurance certificate with a recognised and trusted health care provider (one with a speciality in sports medicine and low deductibles for physiotherapy!)

The National Institute for Dance Medicine is, sort of, underway but more needs to be done to protect the health of professional dancers. "We love you" means providing fast access to MRI* scans for your favourite performer.

We figure a single season of performances across all dance companies will provide health insurance to a couple of hundred dancers.



Ok, compared to health insurance and money, socks may seem like a bit of a cheap shot but dancers burn through socks faster than ACE burns through bad policy.

Dancers want two kinds and two kinds only. Big, chunky wool socks to keep their feet warm when they are not in rehearsals or just starting to get warmed up. They are also good for sitting on the sofa of an evening when your reading a book, probably!

The other kind are, so-called, trainer socks, these are just socks without the bit that goes up past your ankle. They have the added advantage of being really cheap but also the disadvantage of being really cheap!

Please remember to remove any cardboard or plastic packaging before you throw them onstage however. Perhaps you could also include a short note so the dancers know exactly why you are throwing socks at them, this could save a lot of confusion backstage.

In addition, throwing soft cuddly items at people can be fun, and going to the theatre is supposed to be fun! Right?

Published Tue, 1 Jan, 2013 at 01:30 | Share on Facebook |

Winter Wonderland

Wednesday, 5 December, 2012 | Comments | Make A Comment

"Sleigh bells ring, are you listening, In the lane, snow is glistening........(tra la laaaaa!)". Yes dear readers it's Christmas time again! So it's all snow, mince pies, trees, wrapping paper and annoying relatives starting right now!

Of course the holiday season is all about giving lovely gifts to the people you really like and socks to the people you really couldn't care less about. With that in mind we, here in TheLab™, decided to get some of our favourite folks a few gifts to make things better for them and a lot better for the rest of us!

Maria Miller, Minister for Culture Media and Sport.

miller.jpgThe minister has a problem with not knowing anything at all about culture, the arts or pretty much anything to do with the department she's in charge of.

To solve this problem we have a year long supply of tickets to grotty "regional" theatres so she can see a new show every night of the year.

As well as that, so she'll have something to do during the day, we've thrown in a Lifetime Culture Pass™ so she can spend her days in workshops and classes learning about, you know, stuff!

We did try and get her into a local community college to boost her credentials but she didn't have the grades and those dudes take a D+ average.

Alan Davey, CEO, Arts Council England

davey.jpgFor the only man in the world that's more of a basket case than George Osbourne we have, drum roll please, a replacement! (settle down at the back!)

Yes, that's right, Mr Davey can take early retirement, with what we believe to be a sizeable pension, because we've found a Philips Saeco Xelsis HD8946/01 Digital ID Automatic Espresso Machine (in "Mirror Steel" not the cheap, stainless steel crap) that's willing to take on the job.

The machine knows bugger all about running a funding body so no real change of direction there but it does have more of a personality and can also pretend to answer fake "live" questions, just like Mr Davey.

It can also make coffee!

Quentin Letts

letts.jpgThe ridiculous theatre critic for the Daily Mail (stop laughing at the back) is always in a permanent frenzy over one thing or another.

To stop him having an aneurism and to basically shut him up we got him 4 gallons of Ketamine (basically a horse tranquilliser) and a really big syringe. Let's face facts, someone who is that much of an ass is going to need a really big needle.

Our gift also comes with 4 burly blokes (to hold him down) and one veterinarian to administer to required dose. We figure it will knock him out for next 136 years.

You're welcome!

English National Opera

tight.jpgThe big opera company with millions in annual subsidy from the funding monolith that is Arts Council England has a problem paying dancers so we thought about getting them an accountant.

Chances are they probably have one of those even though he/she very obviously can't count.

Instead we've bought them a really nice shovel with a very long handle. As a collective the whole organisation was so utterly inept at explaining why they were only paying professional dancers a pittance that we, here in TheLab™, thought a sturdy implement to rapidly dig holes they can't get out of might come in handy.

Akram Khan

yoda.jpgThe venerable dance maker got himself in a pickle when he went to the papers yapping about the arts having "too much" money.

He also threw a nuclear strop when NBC Universal cut 'Vertical Road' his Olympics piece out of their US broadcast to go talk to some swimmer.

To prevent any further meltdowns we've got him a new PR rep. This ones a bit different though because she's half ninja, half PR rep and half Jedi.

So, not only is the force strong with her but she also has three halves and can rugby tackle Mr Khan to the ground and slap him around a little before he's even thought about making a complete arse of himself.

Monica Mason

mason.jpgThe former AD of the Royal Ballet doesn't like women very much. Initially we thought getting her a time machine was a good idea but, like most things in ballet, time travel is impossible. Anyway, she's retired now so she can't do any more damage.

Instead we've secured her a lifetime membership of "Ye Olde Village™", in Norfolk, where people with nothing important to do can go and live it up like it's 1865.

The village comes complete with butter churning, field tilling and something to do with "chicken fiddling". The less we know about that the better though.

Kevin O'Hare

ohare.jpgMr O'Hare is the current AD of The Royal Ballet which, as we know, has a bit of a woman problem.

So, to avert any further catastrophic misogyny, we have secured for the "man" at the top a vast array of books about women and feminism none of which feature pictures of women in their underwear or mention anything about cooking, cross stitch or shopping.

We've also booked him a complimentary "orientation" appointment with a leading OBGYN so he can, you know, learn about stuff.

The Ballet Boyz

bah.jpgWe can't really see any reason for Mr Nunn and Mr Trevitt to stick around really.

Their dance company isn't really about dance and we feel sure the near £700,000 they will receive over the next three years can be better spent elsewhere.

So, on us, they have two, one way, cattle class tickets to North Korea, because let's face it, that's probably where they belong.

North Korea also has the added advantage of having no internet access, so in all likelihood we will never have to hear from them again.

Happy Holidays! (rock on with the war on Christmas!)

Published Wed, 5 Dec, 2012 at 10:00 | Share on Facebook |

Buttercup Interrupted

Monday, 24 September, 2012 | Comment | Make A Comment

Like the shockwaves extending out from a lone CocoPop dropped in a bowl full of milk the news that Assis Carriero, AD of Dance East, was leaving to become the AD of Ballet Flanders spread through the dance world like wildfire. (Houston, we have a mixed metaphor problem! Ed!)

Dance East published a press release that nobody read and statements were issued from ACE that nobody cared about.

The real story however is only just emerging about why the woman responsible for "Soil Dances", Rural Retreats™, "Come Dance With Me", a dance building that resembles a super-max prison from a bad science fiction film and more "receptions with the ambassador" than we care to remember is suddenly leaving for a post she has no obvious qualifications for.

Article19 has received copies of private emails and Skype™ chat transcripts between the Dark Forces™ of the arts and their international contacts around the world as they attempt to "offload" the divisive AD in the most obvious case of NIMBYism we, here in TheLab™, have ever witnessed.

To avoid detection from the Freedom of Information Act the Dark Forces™ used their personal email addresses and code names. Alan "Wavey" Davey and Janet "JaJa" Archer both from ACE are involved and Ms Carriero is referred to throughout as, bizarrely, "Princess Buttercup".

The names of the international contacts and others have been redacted to protect the unfortunate, the put-upon, the guilty and people who have to live in Ipswich! We have also censored the more extreme bad language, these guys know how to curse!

From: Alan Davey ([email protected])
Subject: Princess Buttercup
Date: 10 August 2012 10:15:12 BST
To: Janet Archer ([email protected])


F*** F*** F***, dude, it's all gone pear shaped. The planets are in alignment, the moon has become blood and I tossed my bones last night and the resulting pattern was unspeakable.

Buttercup has to go, Com(sic) dance with me was the last straw, I mean, WTF was that about? I have more fun tossing my bones with a broken hand.

Suggestions? Ideas?

Wavey D.

From: Janet Archer ([email protected])
Subject: re: Princess Buttercup
Date: 10 August 2012 11:15:12 BST
To: Alan Davey ([email protected])

FFS man, gross! LMFAO ;o]

But yeah man, people are getting suspicious that the fix is in, if you know what I mean? If we push her out though there could be trouble, we might need to get creative. I'm thinking a fact finding trip to Italy and an unfortunate grape accident on a vineyard, if you know what I mean? ROFL ;o)



Sent from my Blackberry™

From: Alan Davey ([email protected])
Subject: re: re: Princess Buttercup
Date: 10 August 2012 13:34:12 BST
To: Janet Archer ([email protected])


F******* grape accident, love it, absolutely f****** love it. :o() Too on the nose though, too many questions from the plebs, I'm thinking we foist her on some other lot, not too far away though, need to keep an eye on her, just in case.

The mainland somewhere, perhaps Holland, that lot are always off their face anyway, doubt anybody would f****** notice! ROFL!

Got our tickets to the final Twilight BTW, gonna miss Edward, those cheekbones...... LOL

Wavey D.

From: Janet Archer ([email protected])
Subject: re: re: re: Princess Buttercup
Date: 10 August 2012 16:35:11 BST
To: Alan Davey ([email protected])

Brilliant, f****** brilliant, yeah, Europe. I'll start the ball rolling, let Buttercup know her goose is cooked, she(sic) no longer part of "the family", hahaaaaaa ;o)

Yeah, Twilight, awesome, you gotta total man-crush LMFAO :P



Sent from my Blackberry™

Transcript: Skype V5.0112 "jajabinks1010" ([email protected]) and "bunnykiller666" ([email protected]). Started on 11 August, 2012 at 14:56:12 BST

jajabinks1010: what's up Buttercup?
bunnykiller666: j. darling, all is good, my Dalmatian puppy collection is coming along famously, my new coat is going to be simply divine...
jajabinks1010: that's some f***** up s*** right there but yeah? sure, ok, whatever!
bunnykiller666: ****** ** *** ******
jajabinks1010: nice talk, anyway, we've decided it's time for you to make a horizontal career move, you know, anywhere else but here.
bunnykiller666: *** ******* *** *** ****** *** ***** **** * ***** circus clown *****!
jajabinks1010: **** *****
bunnykiller666: *** *** * ******* soap dish *****
jajabinks1010: ** ** ****** * ******* ****** ******** toilet brush!
bunnykiller666: ****
jajabinks1010: **** * ****
bunnykiller666: ?
jajabinks1010: you know what I mean!
bunnykiller666: *****
jajabinks1010: look, it's f****** done, we're going to do it real quite like, not in public cos that would be humiliating and unfair.
bunnykiller666: **** *** *** ******* ****
jajabinks1010: you wish!
bunnykiller666: *** ********* **** ** **** * ********
jajabinks1010: **** **** *******!!!!!!
bunnykiller666: ****
jajabinks1010: we'll be in touch, don't go anywhere and don't start reading any long f****** books!
bunnykiller666: **** **** ** *****
jajabinks1010: so, lunch on Thursday?
bunnykiller666: sure, my treat darling!

transcript ends---

From: Janet Archer ([email protected])
Subject: Buttered Toast Toast
Date: 12 August 2012 17:15:12 BST
To: Alan Davey ([email protected])

It's done, f***, that woman talks like a drunken sailor with tourettes and the genetic inability to use any words that don't contain the letters "...uck", ROFL :o{}

let's get this thing done!



Sent from my Blackberry™

From: Alan Davey ([email protected])
Subject: The Buttercup Redaction
Date: 13 August 2012 09:34:12 BST
To: ***** ************ (********@yahoo.nl)

Hello ***** you ***** ******* ****

Look, we're calling in all our favours, you owe big for the last tour of Nederland Dans Theater 2, that's the last f****** time you make me sit in a theatre for 3 hours watching people run around in their pants btw!!

We're moving Buttercup, it's time, things are heating up and we gotta drop the dead weight so tag, you're it!!

Nice work on the arts cuts by the way, you made me proud!

Wavey D.

From: ***** ************ (********@yahoo.nl)
Subject: re: The Buttercup Redaction
Date: 13 August 2012 10:12:10 BST
To: Alan Davey ([email protected])

F*** you Wavey D.

You had to sit through that show once? I had to sit through it 6 f****** times and even then we're not taking Buttercup, no way no how.

Get the Dark Arts™ on Skype, and f*** you on the arts cuts too

***** ** *****

***** ************
Head of Cultural Affairs
Royal Dutch Embassy

Transcript: Skype V5.1.928349 basketcase112" ([email protected]) and [multiple recipients]. Started on 13 August 2012 at 16.45.12 BST.

basketcase112: Are we all here..... good, now we need to offload Buttercup and you all, and I mean all of you owe us, somebody take her on or so help me........
Sweden: hahahhaaaaaaaa fo-shizzle wavey d. no way!
Denmark: Nej
Germany: What Sweden said!
France: What Germany said!
Spain: What France said!
basketcase112: I suppose you think this is funny!
Greece: Yeah, actually it's f****** hilarious!
France: What Greece said!
Germany: What France said!
Austria: bwahahhaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Portugal: What Austria said!
Sweden: ;oP
Germany: What Sweden said! ;o)
Sweden: Lol, right back at you :o{}
basketcase112: tossers!
Slovenia: Well you would know, what with your bones and all!
France: What Slovenia Said!
Germany: What France Said!
Portugal: What Germany Said!
Austria: ROFLMAO!!! :O{}
basketcase112: wait, where the f*** is Belgium?
Denmark: You know what that lot are like, won't take part in anything unless it's in 14 different languages!
Portugal: What Denmark said!
France: What Portugal said!

Transcript ends at: 16.47.12 BST

From: Assis Carriero ([email protected])
Subject: Ninja Skills
Date: 14 August 2012 17:01:10 BST
To: Alan Davey ([email protected])

You *****

I'm hearing rumours about Belgium, I f******* hate Belgium, ATK has Ninja skills, she's gonna f*******(sic) Nija(sic) me!

I *** ******* ** ****** ** ******* *** ****** ****** you b*******!



From: Janet Archer ([email protected])
Subject: re: Ninja Skills
Date: 14 August 2012 17:08:10 BST
To: Assis Carriero ([email protected])

Sup Buttercup?

Relax, we would never send anyone to Belgium FFS!





Sent from my Blackberry™

Transcript: Skype V5.1.928349 basketcase112" ([email protected]) and ********************. Started on 14 August 2012 17:09:11 BST

basketcase112: ok, where the f*** were you guys huh? you know what we wanted to talk about, b*******!
Belgium: because we know what you wanted to talk about!
basketcase112: You gotta take her!
Belgium: can't help you, sorry!
basketcase112: What about that dance company, you know, the one you completely f***** up!
Belgium: Royal Ballet of Flanders?
basketcase112: Yeah, whatever?
Belgium: is buttercup trained in dance?
basketcase112: No!
Belgium: is she trained in choreography?
basketcase112: No!
Belgium: does she have any discernible skills whatsoever that would be advantageous to running a dance company?
basketcase112: No!
Belgium: perfect, let me make a phone call.
Belgium: We'll take her if you hand over €500,000 and a years supply of pork pies!
basketcase112: Let me make a phone call.
basketcase112: We'll give you 50 quid and a money off voucher for a ploughman's lunch.
Belgium: Sold!

From: Alan Davey ([email protected])
Subject: Ploughmans Lunch
Date: 14 August 2012 17:50:12 BST
To: Janet Archer ([email protected])

It's done, we got a bargain, 50 notes and a ploughman's voucher, knew having Morrisons cafe chain on the tab would come in handy.

Break the news, and no first class to Brussels either, back of a truck going in the right direction will be fine!

Only 10 more sleeps until Edward..... LOLS

Wavey D.

From: Janet Archer ([email protected])
Subject: re: Ploughmans Lunch
Date: 14 August 2012 17:50:12 BST
To: Alan Davey ([email protected])


getting Buttercup up on Skype as I type this, a bad job done well.

LOL on Edward, Popcorn and Twizzlers are on me!



Sent from my Blackberry™

Transcript: Skype V5.0112 "jajabinks1010" ([email protected]) and "bunnykiller666" ([email protected]). Started on 14 August, 2012 at 17:56:12 BST

jajabinks1010: sup Buttercup?
bunnykiller666: don't play nice with me **** ** ****** * ***** *** ******* *** **** toilet!
jajabinks1010: charming as always!
bunnykiller666: *****!
jajabinks1010: we got you a new gig, Ballet Flanders, the locals broke it and ruined it, what could go wrong!
bunnykiller666: f****** Belgium! I'm not going to Belgium, you know why they say "what happens in Belgium stays in Belgium?" Because nothing ever f****** happens in f****** Belgium!
jajabinks1010: Dude, LMFAO, 13 years in Ipswich and not much happened their (sic) either, so nothings changed huh, LOL!
bunnykiller666: ******* * *** * ******** **** * ****** *
jajabinks1010: ******?!?!
bunnykiller666: ********!
jajabinks1010: yeah, send us a postcard!
bunnykiller666: **** ** ****** ***** *** *** ** ***********
jajabinks1010: so, Lunch on Thursday!
bunnykiller666: sure thing, my treat!

From: Janet Archer ([email protected])
Subject: Buttercup Interrupted
Date: 14 August 2012 18:10:12 BST
To: Alan Davey ([email protected])


It's done, no loose ends, bring on Twilight m*********** LMFAO ;o{}.



Sent from my Blackberry™

From: Alan Davey ([email protected])
Subject: re: Buttercup Interrupted
Date: 14 August 2012 18:15:12 BST
To: Janet Archer ([email protected])

F******* awesome dude, we tied that up real nice, now, how do we deal with f****** Balssupgetty?

And that, dear readers, is how it all went down, honest!

Published Mon, 24 Sep, 2012 at 12:12 | Share on Facebook |

The Big Game

Tuesday, 3 January, 2012 | Comments | Make A Comment

Like bird flu, the Mini Cooper and Bruce Forsythe The Place Prize is back once again to do............. Well, we're not really sure what it's supposed to do but it's back and we and a lot of other people would rather it wasn't.

This got us thinking, here in TheLab™, about what other games we could come up with that didn't take a millennia to finish and were a bit more interesting for the audience.


gladiator.jpgThe protagonists are organised on a giant, elevated podium surrounded by water. Each choreographer is given a giant Qtip™ and wears a brightly coloured unitard. The buzzer sounds and the dance makers begin the melee. The last one standing on the podium wins the prize.

Options include filling the surrounding pool with mud, jelly, ice cream or lions but we feel sure somebody would protest about the cruelty, to the lions!

For: Over quickly
Against: Nobody looks good in a unitard!


predator.jpgBased on the formula of the film with the same name. Dance makers are transported, in defiance of all the principles of physics, to another world where they are each provided with some form of projectile weapon. They are then hunted by giant aliens that can see in the dark and turn invisible, which is cheating but it's their game so.... Last one standing wins the prize.

Options include bringing in Arnold Schwarzenegger to yell at people to "get to the choppha!" whilst covered in mud!

For: We can use 'Welcome to the Jungle' as the theme song.
Against: Dance makers being skinned by enormous, improbably intelligent, sociopathic aliens might make the sponsors a bit squeamish!

A short side programme involves the Ballet Boyz making a documentary about poor people in the jungle trying to rip them off. The Boyz mysteriously disappear, but only when it is really hot does this happen!

Dance Maker Fortunes

wayne.jpgFashioned on the game show Family Fortunes, the dance makers and their company compete against each other in a series of elimination rounds where they answer stupid questions about the number of people who can name the music used in the work of Wayne MacGregor (the top answer is always going to be; "Who the hell is Wayne MacGregor?")

Eddie Nixon can host because he's a lot like Les Dennis and he likes talking to people about competitions and stuff.

For: Middle England will love it.
Against: Reminds us about Les Dennis!

Sonic The Hedgehog

sonic.jpgDance makers are dressed up like a blue hedgehog with a mohican (stop laughing at the back). They then run along a series of platforms performing impossible stunts to collect gold rings while fighting some dude called Dr.Robotnik.

One with the most gold rings is the winner but unlike the video game you only get one life.

Dancers for opposing companies can dress up as Dr Robotnik to try and take the competition out, would result in some spectacular flying collisions.

For: The sound effects are funny
Against: High risk of protagonists being run over on a dual carriageway!

Big Brother

All the participating dance makers and their dancers are forced to live in house for a month where they engage in mundane conversation for hours on end whilst sitting in a filthy pool of water. Contact improvisation high jinks ensue on a regular basis usually fuelled by alcohol. Winner is the the most obnoxious, unpleasant one.

Surprise guests could include John Ashford, Alistair Spalding, the fat piano player from the ROH and somebody from ACE. With that lot in the mix there's bound to be an incident where one of the dance makers loses it completely and they all end up in a corner cowering behind a chair with no clothes on!

For: Nothing
Against: Everything

Published Tue, 3 Jan, 2012 at 04:54 | Share on Facebook |

It's A Dance Riot

Thursday, 11 August, 2011 | Comments | Make A Comment

During the "mayhem" in London over the last few days several minor stories have slipped through the cracks left by people prying open security shutters on branches of Lidl. We, here in TheLab™, dug deep to find you the stories the dance world probably wishes you will never read!

Riot Audition

Nigel Lythgoe has announced that he has optioned a new pilot for BBC Television entitled "So You Think You Can Riot". The former Muppet choreographer told the Evening Standard that the show would be built on the foundation of "So You Think You Can Dance", only this new show would, presumably, be classier.

Participants will be invited to televised auditions where they will have to demonstrate their creative ability to wear a "hoodie", steal things they don't need and scream like little kids when they get bitten by a police dog.

When asked about his experience to run such a show and judge the participants respective rioting skills Mr Lythgoe responded; "Well, I don't know anything about dance either and look how that turned out, don't tell anybody though huh! Nudge, nudge, wink wink!"

The eventual winner of the series will receive medical treatment for the dog bites and a 12 month prison sentence.

Competitive Riot

Not to be outdone the Evening Standard is also reporting that Alistair Spalding, Chief Bottle Washer and shameless opportunist from Sadler's Wells Theatre, is launching a new version of the "Global Dance Competition".

Imaginatively titled the "Global Riot Competition" the London theatre is inviting people to submit their applications via YouTube. "It's already huge you know" enthused Mr Spalding, "I mean, there are already thousands of videos being entered, it's a runaway, barn burning success..... literally, they're actually burning barns!", he exclaimed whilst rapidly clapping his hands together.

When the Standard's reporter pointed out that those videos were just people rioting in general Mr Spalding referred all further questions to the London theatre's five press officers, all dressed in riot gear.

The eventual winner, selected by a team of actual judges from the High Court, will have the opportunity to riot inside Sadler's Wells for half an hour followed by an 18 month prison sentence where they will share a cell with the police dog from SYTYCR.

Operatic Riot

Antonio Poppano, the genetically substantial, chief piano player from the Royal Opera House, has announced his plans to write a new opera called "Una Rivolta da Ricordare" (A Riot To Remember) reports the Evening Standard (a paper that seems to be suspiciously full of arts related riot news).

The opera will feature leading stars from the opera world whom we are unable to name because we don't know anything about opera.

"Una Rivolta da Ricordare" will mimic the classic Deborah Kerr, Cary Grant movie but instead of people with actual talent meeting on top of the Empire State Building where romance ensues, two "hoodies" will meet atop a burning Currys.digital to take cell phone pictures of themselves handling stolen goods and posting those images to Twitter before being swiftly sent to prison for being stupid, or something.

Mr Poppano stated he has a strong desire to orchestrate some Eminem for the work or maybe he just wanted some M&Ms. The reporter couldn't be sure because he was eating a jumbo bucket of chicken wings at the time (Poppano that is, not the reporter, who's a vegan we understand).


Jeremy Hunt, currently in charge of the Department for Culture Media and Sport, has launched a scathing attack, via the Evening Standard, on dance companies across London for their "abject failure" in counter-acting the violence of the last few days.

"What the hell are we funding all their education projects for when it is patently, i say PATENTLY, obvious that they have failed to socially re-engineer an entire city with all the money we give them?"

The Culture Secretary's vitriolic attack was accompanied by a stinging editorial from Daily Mail journalist (cough, Ed!) Quentin Letts. The editorial appeared to be constructed entirely from swear words. The writing was so breathless, animated and dripping with venom and hatred copies of the paper were delivered to readers (cough, Ed!) on fire.

In response to the attack a spokesperson for all dance companies was unable to comment because she was lying on the floor laughing so hard.

ACE denied it was responding to the DCMS attack by setting up a "Jack Bauer Fund" named for the notorious central character of the '24' television show.

Riot Riot Riot

Several dance companies have declined to answer questions about just where they obtained lots of shiny new sound and lighting gear for their up an coming tours.

The Evening Standard (again? Ed!) is reporting that some looters during the recent riots in London, were moving with "a level of grace, deportment and skill not normally associated with the average chav".

Witnesses reported feeling a sudden urge to applaud as the alleged footpads moved away from the looted premises. At some looted stores there were reports of "after looting discussions" taking place followed by intense debate about "what it all meant".

Suspicions were aroused when video footage emerged of several looters who appeared to be "stealing, interpreted through the medium of dance" at several stores in the capital. Swathing funding cuts have forced to dance companies to take ever more extreme measures to secure their production and touring future.

Big Riot

The Big Dance organisation has come under suspicion after it was claimed by several sources that the widespread rioting in London was all part of a dance participation project.

ACE and the DCMS told the Evening Standard that they were investigating several aspects of the project revealed in the Big Dance evaluation forms. A spokesperson for the funding monolith told the paper that they are very uneasy about some of the preparation classes and workshops that Big Dance had been organising.

These included "Traffic Cone Lobbing", "Riot Shield Contact Improvisation" classes and workshops teaching youngsters how to "fence" stolen property on Ebay without arousing suspicion.

Some pundits have expressed no surprise at the antics of Big Dance suggesting that the scheme may be another way for them to pad out their inflated participation numbers.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, when asked for comment by The Standard, simply waffled incoherently and the reporter noted that his answer seemed to be entirely constructed using the word "Olympics".

Published Thu, 11 Aug, 2011 at 09:56 | Share on Facebook |

Why So Serious?

Monday, 13 June, 2011 | Comments | Make A Comment

More often than not we, here in TheLab™, have to communicate with the outside world. Most of the time this communication goes well, sometimes not so much and when things go bad you have to fight fire with fire or to be more precise, withering sarcasm.

Some, all or most of these are completely real, see if you can spot which ones!

Press Flacks or Admins

Haven't you got anything better to do?

Yeah, but we're not doing it right now!

Article19, never heard of it!

Well, we've never heard of you but apparently you still exist!

Can you send us that in an email?

Sure, that's why we called you, to ask you if we could please spend half an hour writing you an email!

if you could do that it would really make my life easier!

Yeah, but our job is to make your life difficult and now you're just provoking us!

I don't talk to the press!

Well, judging by your general demeanour you probably shouldn't talk to anybody who's awake!

I just spoke to the person you asked for and she's not here!


Why are you being rude?

We're not being rude, you're just oversensitive, reactionary and stupid!

You seem very angry about this!

Yes, because, madam, anger is how one stands in opposition to indifference, laziness and ballet companies!

Do you know who I am?

Yes, we called you, remember!


Hey, we have an audition for a male stripper aboard a cruise ship, can you publish it ASAP?

dude, take a wild guess!

can you send me an email each time you get a new audition in?

Of course we can, can we also get your address so we can come to your house and make you breakfast in the morning, walk your dog and clean your bathroom while we're at it?

Can we upload your videos to our YouTube channel?

Only if we can come to your house and eat all you Coco Pops™, borrow your car, max out your credit card and sleep in your bed!

Published Mon, 13 Jun, 2011 at 05:45 | Share on Facebook |

Stop the Press

Thursday, 28 April, 2011 | Comments | Make A Comment

Our very own EvilImp™ breaches Arts Council England's normally high security (a Yale lock and a petulant cat called Wilfred) and takes over the press office for the day. Here's what happened as the usual questions came in fielded by someone with scant regard for playing nice, obfuscating or deflecting.

With thanks to our dear readers for sending in some of their own questions, we hope these answers bring you comfort.

Were the NPO decisions fair?

Well, it came down to our buddies in the big shiny buildings vs those grubby little f******* in the provinces and guess who won?

The large-scale?

erm...... It's ACE's position that people who are poor and grubby will be easily impressed by simple things, ergo, the provinces and those annoying touring companies need less money. They tend to complain less when things look a bit shabby.


Look, if the President of the United States visits we can hardly show off the UK by taking him to the 'Chipping Sodbury Amateur Dramatics Collective Improv Night' can we? It's ROH all the way, good for business, (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

Stop nudging me and stop winking at me!

Sorry dude!

The CEO of Northern Ballet was giving ACE a hard time about funding cuts, how would you respond to that?

I would say this! Dude, we gave you a shiny new building, you're like the kid that got a PS3, a mountain bike and the worlds biggest bar of chocolate for Christmas then bitched about not getting a snow globe. Shush, deal with it, push off!

So he's off the Christmas Card list

That dude was never on it!

What about high levels of pay for senior people in the arts, what is ACE's position on that?

Dude, look, I can't say anything officially if you know what I mean (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) but I will say this. We know who has the biggest snout in the trough and we're making plans. Legally we can't do anything but we know some boys from Sicily who can have a few words on the QT if you get my drift? You didn't hear that from me!


Sorry dude!

What is Mr Davey's (Alan Davey CEO of ACE) position on long term funding growth for the arts vs short term, per capita GDP growth and the potential negative indicators linked to philanthropy, tax incentives, inflation and middle class migratory patterns?

ermm..... no clue but he thinks the X-Factor is awesome!

How do you feel Mr Davey dealt with the recent hearings at the DCMS Select Committee?

Put it this way, we made him sit on the naughty step for three days and took away his Lego™ bricks!

Lego™ Bricks?

Dude loves to build castles and trucks and birds and cranes and horses and (snip..... Ed!)

How do you respond to people who think ACE should be abolished and no public money should be spent on the arts?

We usually just tell them to f*** off

Who designed your maps for the recent NPO announcement?

He's called Jake, he's five and and won an open competition, he was very excited to be a part of the whole thing.

How deep is the understanding amongst ACE personal of new technology?

One of our employees holds the highest ever score on Angry Birds, does that count?

Not really!

Then I'm all out!

Why did your website crash on March 30th?

Our web dude was hammered, dudes got some issues if you know what I mean?

What happened to the proposed variable year funding agreements?

Well, it sounded like a good idea at the time then we realised we would have to do this NPO crap all over again every year or so. Who needs that kind of grief?

How is your relationship with DCMS these days?

Ha! Those f****** f******* I'll tell you what! They better not show their **** f****** faces around here ever again after what they did to us, f****** **** f******* *** ****** ** **** ***** a** snow globe *** ** ******** ** ***** *** *** ****** pliers ** * ***** ******* ** ****** lobotomy!

So not good then?

Basically the same as it's always been

How are you going to deal with the 50% reduction in ACE's overhead?

We're shipping the whole operation off to a call centre in Nepal, we're gonna hang with Dalai Lama dude!

Isn't that going to affect turn around times on GFA funding applications?

Nope, we can turn your funding application down for no good reason from anywhere on planet earth, we're building an iPad app to do just that.

iPad App?

Yeah, it's basically just a big red button that says "can I have some funding" and when you press it the app tells you to f....... (snip, Ed!)

At the time of writing ACE had recovered control of its press office.

Published Thu, 28 Apr, 2011 at 11:52 | Share on Facebook |

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