I'd been curious about the Monsterists for some time, so I jumped at Friday's opportunity to hear what they had to say at Soho theatre. Only, for reasons obscure even to him, Richard Bean was on his lonesome on stage, save for a flip-chart. A call to brother and sister monsters in the auditorium went unheard. Manfully shrugging this off, RB gave a very entertaining and persuasive account of the Monsterist manifesto, its aims and drives and reasons. Where do I sign up? I'm particularly enthused by the call for a year-long moratorium on productions of Shakespeare, so living writers can have a go with the resources he uses year round. It's what he would have wanted, and anyway he's dead. I liked the cut of RB's jib, I must say. Now I've given up solipsism I'll try and get to know his work.
After RB there were some playreadings from the three writers he's been mentoring for Arvon, but there was a break first, and I talked with a playwright called Rebecca Nesvet who teaches writing at the Univ of Gloucestershire. She'd asked RB a clever question. I also caught up with West Yorkshire's lit manager Alex Chisholm, who directed a thing of mine once. She'd also asked RB a question, along the lines of "why don't you writers get off our backs? we're doing our best to get your work seen, but the sums don't always add up." I hope I don't misrepresent you, Alex. She said it all in the most genial way.
So farewell John Paul. Goodbye Karol. A great man, which is me saying nothing by way of approbation or scorn. He just was a great man who lived a dirty great life, in the league of Chao En Lai, Seneca, Galileo, Nye Bevan, JFK, Olivier and so on. We can argue about their triumphs and tragedies, but we can say for sure of each, you don't get many to the pound.