30 January 2007

With reference to the previous post... it was Q. After saying to the Captain "Now it's time to see if you can dance", he sends the Enterprise spinning across the quadrant to land up face to face with the hitherto unimagined nasty, The Borg. Star Trek sceptics out there may groan, but it's exciting and, yes, thoughtful stuff.
Here's Q reading Shakespeare, opposite one of our finest classical actors.


Having a funny one today. Everything a bit out of whack since the day started with Bernard doing the Screaming Tomato thing (copyright, Ova Girl) at some unconscionably too-close-to-the-night-before sort of time (about six) and since B is reasonably insisting that son number two is no longer entitled to warm milk whenever he wants it, I had to drag my sorry ass out of bed to attend the incident, which also meant looking after son number one's needs as he had also been cruelly yanked into consciousness by the baleful noise.
Then when I get here (early) to work, I'm walking through the side gate as is my wont and I clock several blokes hovering about with walkie-talkies, then I spot the camera crew, the photographers, and have just enough time to wonder wtf when upon that instant I'm aware of the focus shooting toward the gate behind me, two people-carriers sweep through, and out pops - The Richest Person In The History Of The World And He's Quite Famous Too - Bill Gates. Besuited, slight, bald patch. He was at the Library to show off Windows Vista to the media - this was the 'global' launch, apparently. There he is below, bottom left, in the Microsoft office (small 'o') photo in 1978. The company had exactly eleven employees at the time and here they all are.


Directly above him is the interestingly named Bob O'Rear, and get this - before hooking up with this bunch of deadbeats Bob was a NASA astrophysicist and was in Mission Control when Armstrong stepped onto the moon.

Work so far today has included looking through a bewilderingly long list of names and looking them up - casting has kicked off for The May Queen. Can't say too much about all that for obvious reasons but I will tell you that I feel awfully posh as this is the first time a piece of mine has had a casting director.

Sunday at the Arcola was an absolute blast - for me of course it was also a huge relief that it went off so well, I felt very proud of all the writers in particular, I hope they won't mind me saying so in that peculiarly paternal formulation, and it was gratifying and fun that they had two lively houses (the second one was so lively we had to put more seats in) to play to. Their pieces rocked - I'll write about them separately when I have a few more of my meagre wits about me - but I just want here and now to say a public thanks to the Arcola for having us, they were very supportive from the off and I doubt there's a better spot for what we're trying to do. And while I'm in this sort of mood - cheers to my crew, Ruth, Tash, Flavia, Steve and Tim, without whom.

27 January 2007

Nervy feelings on the eve of Miniaturists 5 tomorrow, as there should be. All is well in hand, there's a good team in place, the plays are fab and the theatre supportive, but still there's that tremulous sense, the nag that there's stuff you haven't accounted for, reckoned on...
A quote popped into my head, and I felt sure it was from The Singing Detective:

The hall is rented, the orchestra engaged. Now it's time to see if you can dance.

Only it's not from Dennis Potter's meisterwerk - any guesses? (without googling, now!)


25 January 2007

Was going to puff my chest out and link to my first ever comment on the Guardian Unlimited site, responding to Maxie Szalwinska's piece on the Theatre Blog about short plays - I say going to, because the bloody thing's down, innit? Bloomin' marvellous.

*5.35 pm - it's back up! 'Ray.

21 January 2007


This is our generic flyer, and we done got ourselves a website, to celebrate a new year and a new show in a new place. So that's,

The Miniaturists, Arcola Studio 1

January 28th at 5pm and again at 8pm
- two showings of the five plays.

Which are, it gives me no little pleasure to tell you,

by Leyla Nazli, directed by Serdar Bilis

by Samantha Ellis, dir.Matt Peover

by Elizabeth Kuti, dir. the writer

by Judith Johnson, dir. Nigel Townsend

by Glyn Cannon, dir.Hannah Eidinow.

There's more at arcolatheatre.com, of course. Damage is 9, 7 conc, as it says on the flyer.
I'm really looking forward to it. Less stressed about the whole thing than before! Partly because I won't have to do quite so much myself - getting better at delegating. Partly because I haven't any time wherein I can worry, work has gone nuts, in a good way.

18 January 2007

Sly and the Family Scott


Liverpool last weekend was great fun - a thought I thought I'd never think again - during Dad's protracted illness and the fallout from his passing away every trip 'home' was freighted with grimness of one kind or another. But my Uncle Charlie celebrated his 90th in fine style on Sunday, and many of the family on Mum's side (the Scotts) turned out. It was great to see everyone at such a happy occasion. Of course my brother and I had business to attend to beforehand - we went to Goodison Park for a nervy, exciting, and in the end quite satisfying Everton game, against Reading. Guest of honour for the day was the one and only Sylvester Stallone, pictured above as he took a bow on the pitch before the game. Sly is pals with one Robert Earl, Everton's new investor, and of course he's over here promoting Rocky Balboa. It was surreal to see a screen legend on the park, and more so when he took his seat in the stand not too far from me and Alan. Reading opened the scoring, and with the Blues looking a bit listless someone near us bellowed, 'BRING ON ROCKY!', well within earshot of the Sly One. It finished one each, we played much better second half.

I had meant to check out The Flint Street Nativity on Saturday night, but with me going to the match and all, and disappearing Monday morning to talk about The May Queen, it only seemed fair that I should look after the boys in our little holiday apartment and give B my ticket. While I was picking up said article at the Playhouse I happened to be kept waiting while someone booked a numbers of tickets for the season - including a pair for my play. Did I mind?

I also had a chance Sunday lunchtime to have a quick peek at Jake and Dinos Chapman's show at Tate Liverpool, Bad Art For Bad People. It was a disorienting hour - one minute I was leaning in to study the 'Hellscapes', then after a breezy taxi ride with the driver obsessing about Rocky and intoning the theme tune I was on Goodison Road queuing for the turnstile.

Got a shock earlier in the day when we walked down to the Pier Head - the ferries' landing stage is caput:

lpool jan07 060

lpool jan07 059

Stormy weather in the spring of last year the culprit. I trust plans are well in train to renovate in time for the Capital of Culture business next year... (it's supposed to be a World Heritage site, after all).

There are numerous building projects in the downtown area, and some, like this one,

lpool jan07 037

are unashamedly 'aspirational'. But you don't have to look far (across the road, in this case)

lpool jan07 036

for the kind of glorious decay characteristic of the place I knew growing up, the city still reeling from the war, the decline of the port, and a dozen winters of discontent, struggling to fight off the ferocious, deliberate, ideologically-driven neglect of the Thatcherite experiment. The bastards closed down the factories, and built us a garden.

09 January 2007

Someone got here today by googling 'Compare Robinson Crusoe Portrait Artist Young Man'. What an interesting, if mind-boggling, idea. I fear the google route may have taken our intrepid researcher far from the point, but there are some interesting morsels strewn along the roadside, such as this marvellously pithy review of Defoe's classic. Both books also appear in this list of the 100 best first lines. I would certainly add my own current favourite: "Marley was dead, to begin with."

The Mark of The Beast

There are 666 items of spam caught in the net of my googlemailbox.

Meanwhile my blogging self is feeling blue and disheartened at the shenanigans over at Fin Kennedy's place. That someone as generous (that word again) and genuine as DE should be subject to this sort of happy-slappy, disdainful, sneery treatment is just rubbish. I wouldn't blame him if he called it a day and saved his breath for the punters who will continue to beat a path to the theatres that stage his work. I'm hoping not, as I shall miss him and Rascal and all the rest of it.

In his latest post Fin gives a shout out to The May Queen which is very decent of him.

But for those commenters who enjoy sledging creative people for their temerity, and the perceived timidity in our peer reviews - we may not have many teeth but we're still smiling.

06 January 2007

04 January 2007

"I'm On The Train!"

My first experience of blogging at 150 kph. First impressions - yes it feels terribly modern, and sets one thinking about connectivity and travel and all that, but still I can't get past the thought that my laptop looks filthy in the sunlight coming through the train window and I really ought to give it the once-over with a wet-wipe now and again...

I'm on The Flying Scotsman, to Newcastle for a flying visit, to see The Little Prince and Thumbelina, the two Christmas shows playing at Northern Stage. Very exciting, and looking forward to seeing Erica and getting the guided tour.

After a sluggish start to the year this is really very invigorating, hurtling north under stunning cloudscapes, blue horizon then grey-black, and back again... I think we're in Yorkshire now, York next stop.