Yes, Spike's a googlewhack, if you put him in apostrophes.
One in however many million.
Mercury Fur was a terrific buzz, but left a nasty taste. The world of the play is brilliantly well realised (more dystopian horror), and the reckless bravado of the choices Philip Ridley makes in his language to create that world is exhilarating. You also had the sense of being at an event, which is always pleasurable. People hopped up on prepub write-ups had fight-or-flight mechanisms on yellow alert. Me included.
Talking of flight, before the play goes up the frontofhouse person informs you with barely disguised glee that the play will last two hours without an interval (the most horrific part of the evening for R...) and that should you wish to leave for any reason, you must do so by this curtained exit here (necessitating a stroll across the stage). When the time came, and the more squeamish, or more discerning, or more in need of an early night punters came tumbling down across the space, trailing winter coats and godknows what else, the play's energy suffered rapid decompression.
There was much in the play to suggest a powerfully present righteous anger at the drift of geopolitics toward resource wars fought by the rich for the rich, and that socio-cultural collapse is their baleful companion. It was ever thus, of course, and cultures bounce back from war, but PR is clearly worried that technological "advances" will superinflate the collapses and render them permanent. All that is laudable and interesting.
What I can't get over - and here I cringe to realise I put myself in the bracket lambasted in the Observer by the blindingly clever and lovely Miranda Sawyer - is the use of a child actor, of about 13 years, as the object of nightmarish threats and abuse on stage. The character dies from an accumulation of physical and psychological stresses, and he dies onstage, moments before he is due to be disembowelled by a sadist. For all that I'm absolutely sure that the cast and director and PR himself will have done everything possible to reassure the boy, keep him alert to the fact that it's all play, all a story, and a story with the keenest moral intentions - for all that, I was still disturbed - by the fiction, yes, but separately by the worry of how this play was being processed in that boy's imagination. We can't yet know, can we, that it's caused him no harm?
The new title for the blog is from Ulysses, by the way. I had to change it after shamefacedly realising just how bloody common the "Writer's Blog" witticism is on the internet. I should be ashamed and I am. But hey, I'm a greenhorn in these here parts. I hope this appears on Google soon, as it'd be easier to direct people. Not that I've given anyone the address yet, but I might soon.
No news from Radio 4, blast it.
Looked at Apprentice yesterday and made some key decisions. Have Spike today but the delayed spring offensive starts tonight.