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Watch “GLAMOROUS PEOPLE” trailer

WATCH IT HERE

“The funniest sitcom in years” Heat magazine
“Brilliant” the Independent
“Utterly, utterly brilliant” the Express
“Got hit all over it” the Times
“I love it. Fabulous!” Jon Snow, Channel 4 News

New Shows and New Book Edition in the USA: A JOURNEY TO THE DARK HEART OF NAMELESS UNSPEAKABLE EVIL

The book about what’s wrong with everything ever is finally coming to the United States: THE WORST DATE EVER is bring published as A JOURNEY TO THE DARK HEART OF NAMELESS UNSPEAKABLE EVIL by Nortia Press on April 22 2014.

Fun awaits!  One sheet / press contacts here A JOURNEY… ONE SHEET.

SHOWS…

Monday April 21  New York, NY at the Half King http://www.thehalfking.com/

Friday April 25 Washington, DC book here

Thursday May 1 Los Angeles, CA at Largo book here

 

“This book will change your life” The Mirror

 “… cannot be recommended too highly; full of foul-mouthed brio, insightful, scathing, savagely funny and ultimately heartbreaking. Buy, beg, steal or borrow this hilarious, angry book …” The Times South Africa.

A Journey Jacket small

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The official blurb says:

Renegade British comedy writer Jane Bussmann (South Park) was suicidal in Hollywood hunting interviews with A-list celebrities. So she fled to Uganda, hunting an interview (or better, a date) with charismatic American peacemaker John Prendergast.  Instead, she found herself up against war criminal Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army, and somehow also against the international community’s farcical failure to stop him.  How her tale manages to be both gut-wrenching AND hilarious must be read to be believed.

Originally published in the UK, Bussmann’s JOURNEY left reviewers nearly, but not entirely, beyond words.

The Ladies test pilot clip

 

The Ladies is a sitcom set at the world’s worst magazine and a nice old lady’s house.  It is very loosely based on The Worst Date Ever and written by Jane Bussmann & Naisola Grimwood, an African.  As seen in the Radio Times and the Independent, here is a clip from the live script test.  The taping in the former BBC Radio London building had 700 people queuing round the block.

You are watching

 

BIANCA an inspirational boss…………………………………SALLY PHILLIPS

BRUCE an Australian intellectual……………………………..KAYVAN NOVAK

MINKY the boss’s thick daughter……………………………..MORGANA ROBINSON

MELISSA a delicate American

& KATE MIDDLETON a princess……………………………..OLIVIA POULET

MUM who is treasured…………………………………………VILMA HOLLINGBERY

PRINCE WILLIAM

& GEORGE CLOONEY a pair of role models……………….STEPHEN ASHFIELD

JANE a delicate English lady much like Jane Austen………JANE BUSSMANN

 

Bono and Geldof and Distinguished Ladies at Soho Theatre

Double the fun – Soho Theatre in November, go to their site for tickets and the live show page for more details.  Tweet those fuckers!

@bono&bobarecunts #bonoandgeldofarecunts #DistinguishedLadies

Kampala show

KONY2012

 

A LAST SHOW OF THE BOOK IN UGANDA and at a time like this.  This last one is to raise some stinking money for the Marty Singer Scholarship Fund and finally finish that house for one of Kony’s former sex slaves, so I can go back to writing nob gags for a living.

Friday April 20th 8.30pm at MISHMASH in Kampala, tickets here.

 

Cape Town

Combining writing by day with Cape Town Open Book Literary Festival by evening…  if you have been to these events and want to follow up by asking your MPs to do something useful, read below and forward on to your MPs or indeed anyone that gives a damn.

We would have called the proposal Ask a Black Bloke but I can’t see it holding up in Parliament.

Jane

REBEL VIOLENCE AND INTELLIGENCE SHARING

Offering British Expertise to Protect Women and Children

Despite the UK’s huge financial commitment to protecting women and children, the LRA[i] has grown into the deadliest force in the DRC[ii], the FDLR attacked INGOS and key UK trade interests[iii] while the Muslim militia ADF developed links to al-Shabaab.  Better, cheaper results are achievable in line with the bilateral aid review.  This proposal focuses on the LRA but serves as a model for tackling regional militia.

Philip Lancaster, co-author of the International Working Group’s Diagnostic Study of the LRA, the most authoritative and up to date assessment available, cites lack of intelligence and poor intelligence sharing as the critical stumbling block[1].  The UN cites lack of actionable intelligence as their stumbling block[iv]. Meanwhile available intelligence is wasted.  Regional armies cannot prioritise it.  The AU is not operational. There is no major peace negotiation.  The Security Council has “grave concerns”[2].  Civilians are caught in the gap, unprotected, despite Britain’s substantial funding.

We propose Britain helps bridge this gap with two small, cheap teams of experts.  The first coordinates civilian intelligence, a crucial missing link.  The second bolsters MONUSCO’s Joint Information and Operations Cell (JIOC) in preparation for, and support of, the AU.

OFFERING BRITISH CIVILIAN INTELLIGENCE

The official line is the LRA can’t be stopped because ‘no one knows where they are.’ This is not true. Local people always know. If someone is twisting the heads of toddlers[3] in your neighbourhood, you tend to keep an ear out.

Civilian intelligence is a huge, untapped and free resource.  We suggest sending a tiny team of civilian intelligence-gathering experts to help the three key groups – local people, NGOs and Clergy – coordinate their extensive networks.  For the 25-year history of the crisis, vital information from civil society has been squandered where it could have saved lives and prevented mass kidnapping.  A civilian-only unit is needed, since NGOs cannot fully cooperate with the military, and the military’s human rights record means local people and clergy don’t always bring them information.  Likewise despite MONUSCO’s recent ops, civilians risk LRA reprisals.

The aim of this civilian support team would be to centralise information into attack prevention.  Local actors cite how verbal accounts of LRA can be used to identify and track different LRA cells (eg by type of weapons used) and warn communities in their path. The team would centralize records to make the DDRRR process more effective and give families a chance to at least keep tabs on their kidnapped children.  Right now, even the names of children kidnapped are not centrally recorded. This undermines DDRRR. Young people leaving the LRA risk torture and death from both locals and captors.  Having to overcome shoddy record keeping to prove you were kidnapped in the first place should not be part of that.

OFFERING BRITISH TACTICAL INTELLIGENCE SUPPORT

The JIOC suffers from lack of resourcing and senior staff appropriate to the tenacity and impact of the LRA.  Throw in mistrust between local armies, and it can’t get much done.  People on the ground have long said the JIOC in its current form can’t work; now Human Rights Watch is publicly citing the JIOC as a problem.  The US is proposing sending four expert ‘mentors’, two intelligence-trained and two operationally-trained, as an alternative to boots on the ground in their contribution to the region.  We suggest Britain match the US’s commitment.  The UK has the expertise to deliver, at a fraction of the cost of our current £60million investment in MONUSCO, a two-person civilian Special Projects team working within the UN to gather intelligence.  One part-time post supports from the UK.[v] Right now the US do not share intelligence, a glaring omission in this region.  This UK team would work on a two-year mission, gathering, analysing and sharing intelligence in a trusted environment while building accountability.  The aim is to bolster existing intelligence to protect civilians before the AU becomes operational and support the AU when it does.  The experts themselves don’t have to be British, just British-backed.

What makes this programme different is it does not represent a money drain: if after 12 months the team is not providing quality information, or if the information is not being acted on, the project would close.  Either way it would bring transparency to end the mystery around the 25-year survival of Joseph Kony and the LRA.


REOPENING PEACE CHANNELS

Since the military process has not eliminated the LRA high command in 25 years, and 90% of the fighters are kidnapped, peace must always be an option.  Key UN actors agree an ineffective military process is worse than no military process when the LRA follow attacks on their personnel with bloody reprisals of up to 900 civilians at a time.

Britain saying that Kony has a mediator’s phone number and hasn’t used it is not the same as Britain actively supporting peace. The UK has a long-standing and extremely expensive relationship with Uganda.  The LRA are also expensive: post-conflict being a fat chunk of our £2bn investment to date.  Could asking President Museveni to tell the LRA the peace agreement is still open be a part of our special relationship?

The LRA can legally sign the final peace agreement but no one is making it happen.  If Britain’s feeling is that there must be a concrete sign from the LRA they are serious first, let’s have someone actually make that possible.  In practical terms, take the LRA that message.  The Regional Task Force led by Archbishop John Odama is ready and willing: Odama repeatedly persuaded Kony to release children in batches of up to 90 before the Ugandan army stopped the process.  Let’s ask Museveni to meet Odama and make it official.  What’s to lose?

Key Juba actors and researchers suggest it is time to take the peace focus beyond the famously unreliable Kony.  He is not the only powerbase in the LRA.  Abductees report to UN staff that their commander wanted to defect but didn’t know how.  A renewed negotiation reaches those commanders, rather than passively waiting.

Joseph Kony and the LRA are not about to go away.  Al-Jazeera reported that the LRA met with Khartoum and could reprise their role in a proxy war between Bashir and the new S Sudan administration.  Reports from the ground suggest Kony is regrouping in CAR.  His military campaign has one constant: his tool is civilians.


[1] http://congosiasa.blogspot.com/2011/08/guest-blog-lords-resistance-army-and-us.html

[2] http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10335.doc.htm

[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/07/world/africa/07congo.html ‘rebels even tried to twist off toddlers’ heads’.


[i] Since 2008, the LRA have displaced 400,000 people across S. Sudan, CAR and DRC, killed more than 2,300 and kidnapped more than 3,000 women, children and young people. Ghosts of Christmas Past

, joint NGO report (Oxfam lead) Dec 2010.

[ii] In 2010, there were more than 200 separate attacks in North Eastern DRC alone. OCHA

[iii] FDLR rebels attacked UK oil firm SOCO’s convoy in Feb 2011, kidnapping two. BBC, Feb 17 2011 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12492906

[iv] ‘We have no actionable intelligence on where Joseph Kony is where his main leaders are. So that is the first job: to equip the international community to get in there and find where these leaders are. Everyone agrees that is what should happen.’

The UN Department of Peace Keeping’s Kevin Kennedy, speaking on BBC Today.

[v] The proposed low cost intelligence gathering operation takes the form of a civilian Special Projects team supplied by the UK to work for the UN, with one senior local negotiator and two ex-military personnel (one officer, one junior rate) in country reporting to the Deputy Force Commander. Continuity is key; the person heading the team needs to stay in the role for the full two years. A senior rate specialist working part time from the UK would support the team with Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace and Requests For Information.

The LRA are regenerating: an Evelyn Waugh Farce

In London, on a very strange journey round the Corridors and Tearooms of Power with my henchman Lizzy*. Upshot, there are a lot of people in the House of Lords, the House of Commons, the Foreign Office and, I suspect, in the Ministry of Defence who would like to stop the child-kidnapping Lord’s Resistance Army kidnapping, chopping up and raping. However, there’s one problem. Nobody’s doing it.

Meanwhile, we’re being told the LRA are on their way out. This is not true: reports from the field say they’re building training/rape camps (someone text Ben Affleck!) and on a massive kidnapping spree to fill those camps.

On the ground – Uganda’s army (UPDF), Congo’s army (FARDC), the UN’s team (MONUSCO), the USA and the Central African Republic’s fantastically named FACAs. However, the Congolese don’t have the capacity to stop the LRA. The Ugandans are on the point of being kicked out by the Congolese for their history of looting. The UN are restricted to the less dangerous places and the LRA prefer the, as it were, dangerous places. The Americans are running out of cash investing against a grudge match. And the FACAs fuck off at the first sign of trouble, there being about 12 of them. As with all phony wars kept going as a nice little earner, money pours in and everybody wins except the kids getting kidnapped.

In January I went back to Africa on a two-pronged attack of finishing my NGO comedy drama, while finding out what is actually being done about the LRA, as opposed to ‘condemning them in the strongest possible terms’.

I found myself having teas and African Guinness (sharper, less foamy) all over Nairobi, the epicentre of white folks in Africa. Usually, as we talked, a small white boy threw sticks in a hedge, crawled into the hedge and was dragged out of a hedge by a black nanny saying, ‘What are you doing that for, Jamie/Max/Ollie?” to a screamed explanation.

I established that Britain can’t stop the LRA because nobody knows where Kony is. “So what we are doing?” I asked. We’re endorsing the African Union’s newly launched four-country offensive to find the LRA, I was told. “Do you think they are going to find the LRA?” I asked various experts. “They’ve got a summit in Addis next month.” Cool. “But the LRA’s not on the agenda.” OK… “And Britain leads the LRA process on the security council. The SC just held a meeting about the LRA.” Oh. Good! What happened? “The AU didn’t turn up.” I emailed the AU to ask what their plan was. They were very nice, said they couldn’t tell me, but were planning to have a meeting about their plans.

“We must be doing more than that,” I said. All parties told me, “We’re increasing the aid budget to help the victims. Half a billion over five years.” “But doesn’t that go via local politicians and NGOs, who famously nick it?” I asked everyone. Then I learned this: one of the things the UK is giving money to is a project for local Ugandans to protest about the politicians stealing money given by foreign donors. I wish I had made this up, it’s glorious.

Many officials told me they fully believed the Ugandan army was doing a good job looking for Kony, and anyway, they couldn’t do a good job because they were in five countries including Somalia, so given that they couldn’t possibly do the job, they were doing a really good job, and while they had never stopped the LRA, they wouldn’t have been looking for them for 25 years if they didn’t want to find them. We would continue to support the Ugandan army’s attempts to rescue the kids. But no one knows where Kony is.

Then I put a different question to everyone I met. “OK, look,” I said, to everyone. “Let’s put a different question. Imagine I’ve been kidnapped as a sex slave by the LRA. I am, right now, being held by the LRA. How would you get me back?” The answer was different. “Local intelligence.” What do you mean? I said. “The local people… in contact with the LRA… they know.” “Is anyone asking them?” “Not really.”

After many, many phone calls with many, many parties, I have two plans to stop the LRA. Here is Plan A.

PLAN A: Ask a Black Bloke.

The UK government pays the salary of two people who are good at studying intelligence and someone in London to help them part time. These people Ask a Black Bloke if they’ve seen Kony. Or a black woman, or a black kid. ie bring local people into the process, since they are the ones actually being chopped up and getting their kids kidnapped, and ask them about the LRA. The two people also properly share information between the myriad UN agencies, the NGOs, the armies, clergy and civil societies, not forgetting the FACAs. They build a picture of how the LRA are operating and work on an early warning system. I’m simplifying, but only in detail.

Meanwhile, the UK actively back a civilian prepared to restart negotiations for a peaceful settlement, which given that the LRA are spread out into little groups no one can currently be arsed to find, would be handy… The Archbishop of Gulu, John Odama, came over at Christmas – I’m going to try to ask him and the Archbishop of York John Sentamu what they think. I’ve interviewed John Odama before and he’s great. The Archbishop of York is after my own heart (he cuts up his dog collar on Radio 4 because he’s pissed of with Mugabe! He jumps out of aeroplanes with the Red Devils! He’s an Honorary Para!) – really hope he’ll meet up.

That’s Plan A. It all comes down to whether DFID will pay the information gatherers’ salaries. They’d need to be there for at least 18 months, but if after a year they’re not getting good information, or that information isn’t being acted on (the real test…) they go home. Any other charities willing to make that promise?

No genuine peace negotiator would want paying, but they would need us to have their back. They’ve been stitched up in all manner of ways in the past (priests bombed while negotiating kids’ release in 2002, 2003… you name it).

Here is Plan B: it makes me considerably more money.

PLAN B: TENDER FOR DFID GRANT TO RESCUE CHILD SOLDIERS

1. Identified Problem a)

Large number of kidnapped Child soldiers across inland forests.

1. Identified Problem a) (2)

Lack of capacity, will, incentive to rescue children.

1. Identified Problem b) (1)

Large number of European paedophiles and sex tourists plaguing African coastal regions.

2. Proposed Project Proposal  c) (1,2,3)

Employ Human chain of  European paedophiles and sex tourists across inland central forest moving slowly north.

- Electronic tagging system (20,000 anklets) to be donated by SA police.

- Paedophiles given 24hour grace period (JAD4K*) between finding child and returning him to army reception centre.

*Just another day for the kids.

3. Proposed Project Costs  a) (4,5)

Zero dollars. Zero shillings. Zero pounds.

4. Proposed Project Budget c) (6,9-11)

Four million sterling (overheads, office management, staff, wardrobe budget, misc. expenses of J Bussmann Inc.)

4. Proposed Project Success  a) (100)

100%.

UPDATE: TENDER STATUS – April 2011

Rejected.

REASON FOR REJECTION: Does not address 2011 aid underspend.

In all seriousness, Plan A is a genuine proposal. Obviously there is more to it, but when I sit down with the politicians who could make a decision I’ll let you know what they say.

If you’d like to help it would be excellent if you could email your MP and ask if they think Britain’s current approach to the Lord’s Resistance Army is appropriate. We’re spending £60m annually on MONUSCO and giving £100m to Uganda, 50% directly to the Ugandan government. You can get your MP’s email by going to www.theyworkforyou.com. Ta!

*Chenery, she’s very good.

Show opens tonight and here’s the Wall Street Journal telling you to go see it

Read Anna Louie Sussman on Bussmann’s Holiday in the Wall Street Journal here

Yup! More NYC shows, this time with Women

After the sell-out, somewhat raucous Kenya night, we’re putting it on live in New York City on March 11, 16 and 18th as part of Women Center Stage – http://bit.ly/NYCShow.

Come along and hurl bagels and Central Park horse detritus

http://www.cultureproject.org/wcs/artists/spotlight-jane-bussmann