23 March 2006


Sounds like it ought to be a Ben Jonson character, who chews tobacco and holds forth on the parlous state of the London taverns, but it is in fact a virus that's come to visit us. Spike's cheeks went bright red and puffy early in the week, and the GP took a look and said, Ah that'll be Slapcheek then. Technical name is parvovirus B19, if you're interested. So then B got it (without the amusing red cheek business), and I was felled yesterday, on my way back from a day trip to Liverpool. I was up for a not uninteresting meeting with the artistic team at the Everyman and Playhouse, whose surnames all start with B - Bodinetz Bell and Bilis. I don't know why that tickles me but it does. Anyway it was a chat about The May Queen and they were very smart and nice about it, and all round charming, and if I do get to work with them on the play then I shall be very lucky. But it's all a bit up in the air, funding-dependent. Fingers crossed. It was a busy afternoon, with lots of talking, as I also managed to squeeze in lunch with Lizzie N and a cuppa with little sister Jane (she's 30 this year - yikes). But then I got the achey legs and tingly eyes on the train home, and now I'm a very unshaven bear with a sore head and throat, though thankfully my temperature seems to be okay now. And I don't look like I've been slapped.
I was meant to have started work on a project today, a show called Night Light, which is very near completion and will go on tour from early May, but the company want me to revamp the text they've written for it, so it's all quite urgent and so a double damned nuisance about this bug. The piece is a departure for me as it's a devised, movement-oriented thing about sleep and nightmares, fear and security, and the visual ideas and textual themes are fascinating, so I'm looking forward to getting going. It makes an interesting change to be given this specific brief, where the aim is to write text to support and complement the visual and the choreographic.

In bed, by the way, I've been reading Andrew Smith's wonderful book MoonDust: In Search Of The Men Who Fell To Earth, about the Apollo astronauts. It's an account of his travels around America to meet the remaining lunar explorers, along the way chewing on the meaning of space travel, the profound changes wrought on the men who left the planet, and the history of that extraordinary time, the truncated Space Age.

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