An Actor’s Life: Good behaviour in a just society – The Post

An Actor’s Life: Good behaviour in a just society

Old Trafford in the 1980s, and now Europe in the 2010s (photo: istock)
October 22nd, 2016 7:00 am| by Ian Burns
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

The world is in a mess, and there’s not a lot to laugh about. Liberal-minded people now seem to be in the minority.

Heartless humanity
People who think it’s abhorrent for other humans to be killed – whether it’s innocents pulled from the rubble of bombed buildings or found drowned in their attempt to escape torture or worse – now seem to be in the minority.

I have images of small, dead children on beaches or ones barely alive sitting stunned in makeshift hospitals burned into my retinas and I want to help. I also want our governments to help to prevent unnecessary suffering and not to encourage it.

It’s politically naive perhaps, but turning people away and turning a blind eye in order to live in nationalistic isolation is madness and fundamentally wrong in my humble opinion.

Mashed in Manchester
I was in Manchester recently to see a football match at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’. I went with my wife and two boys. Their first impression was how obese and drunk everybody was.

The passion all around us was evident though: from the club staff, ex-players and the public. Posters for zero tolerance against racism plastered the walls. Man U is a global brand after all.

Outside the stadium I asked a young man where the nearest tram station was. He was very drunk or stoned and said: “Don’t know mate. I’m so hammered I don’t even know where I am!” Escaping into oblivion seems to be the English way.

Life’s a lottery
We took a taxi and the driver was a middle-aged Indian – the norm he told us as locals don’t drive at night. He refuses to work after 11pm because of the loutish behaviour.

The European licencing laws that allow bars and clubs to stay open until the wee hours of the morning haven’t worked out apparently, and maybe Brexit will bring a return to the old Victorian licencing laws, the only positive of this stupid vote I can think of.

The Tories are making it up as they go along. They don’t have a clue how this departure from Europe will pan out. Banging a nationalistic drum about free choice and being able to finally “label our own food” is fine for those who want to hear that, but what, I wonder, will the reality bring?

Baloney the lonely
Is Johnny Foreigner really to blame for all our woes? This is a question I’d like to ask former neo-Nazi Daniel Carlsen, the leader of Danskernes Parti, who’s been handing out tins of ‘anti-refugee’ spray bearing the slogan “legal and effective”. Is this acceptable in modern-day Denmark?

If racists live long enough to get dementia (a central theme in That Theatre’s forthcoming play, David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘Proof’, which opens on October 19 at Krudttønden and runs until November 19) they’ll forget they were racists, but do we have to wait until then to rid the planet of this shit?

Inside Old Trafford fans are encouraged to report racist abuse. Surely if they can do this, we can? Their example is one to emulate in the ongoing battle against isolationism.

I predict that if it wins it will get very cold out there, and that without any EU restrictions on ingredients in frozen pre-packed food, I suspect people in Britain will just get bigger until they explode.

It’s a timebomb under the NHS or whatever the blinkered and privatised Tory version with only British doctors and nurses will call itself.

Ian Burns


A resident here since 1990, Ian Burns is the artistic director at That Theatre Company and very possibly Copenhagen’s best known English language actor thanks to roles as diverse as Casanova, Shakespeare and Tony Hancock.