11 December 2006
Well it was supposed to go up on the birthday, slight Sharkey tradition, but a day late's not too bad. Note elevated position due to concern that if based at floor level small person would inevitably see it as a challenge to his nine-monther's climbing skills. Also note if you please recently up-putted shelving - not by me you understand but by one of Stoke Newington's wondrous regiment of tradeswomen, in this case Claire the Carpenter.
So yes last week's trip to the 'Pool was quite something for me, a succession of pleasant shocks interspersed with inevitable reflections on my upbringing, education etc, finding myself as I did, cast in the role of prodigal writer in the week I turned forty.
Over lunchtime coffee I was introduced to Liverpool arts correspondents by Gemma Bodinetz and Deborah Aydon, respectively the Artistic and Executive Directors who run both the Everyman (new writing, largely) and the venerable Playhouse (classics, largely). After that I spent a wee while in the pub, but not just any old boozer, The Philharmonic, opposite the concert hall of the same name. Used to drink in there on a Monday night with my sixth form pals... Took some photos of which the least fuzzy is this...
Yes, it is a stained glass portrait of a Field Marshal. But have a look at the panorama here, and you can see the twin lounge rooms named for Brahms and Liszt.
Then as the light was fading I headed to the Everyman.
Did some work on the play in the bistro downstairs, then had a delicious plate of food to set me up for meeting the Ev's young writers' group at six, a couple of doors down. They made me feel incredibly welcome and I hope I get to spend more time with them at some point, their enthusiasm and commitment were properly inspiring, and I was only sorry when their session leader - and Ev's literary manager - Suzanne Bell kicked me out to go down to the Playhouse for the season launch. Gemma and Deborah were already speaking when I got there, to a packed audience of subscribers eager to hear what's in store in the coming months, as well as the plans for the capital redevelopment of the theatres. All the programme details are up on the website of course, with the five 'Made In Liverpool' shows complemented by a mind-bogglingly alluring mix of touring work from the likes of Shared Experience, Daniel Kitson, Out Of Joint, so on and so exciting. And in the midst of her presentation, Gemma talked about my play, and there behind her was projected the image you see below, which I'd not seen before.
So all told, a grand day out.
Head down now to finish the rehearsal draft...