I have a new place to work. Temporarily anyways. I'm on an 'artist's attachment' at the National Theatre Studio, which simply means I have a room in the building for a few weeks, and the use of a decent coffee machine, and a little roof garden (it's brand new so not yet very lush), and interesting neighbours. Also - and this is the really good bit - I get to use the NT canteen. I love institutional food. It's cheap too - today I had salmon and two veg for less than a fiver.
At lunchtime today I beetled over to the canteen early as I wanted to be in place to see this:
the Red Arrows streaking over the city as a not too modest tribute to the RAF on its 90th anniversary. Still, they did largely on their own save Britain from Nazi rule, so fair play. The RAF that is, not the Red Arrows. I was quite emotional at the sight, in fact. I have a distant memory of seeing them when I was little and being somewhat overwhelmed. But then thinking about it later I wondered if my memory was haywire (again) and my young self had in reality thrilled to the exploits of these chaps instead.
It's getting on for two weeks since I saw it but Robert Holman's play Jonah and Otto is lingering long in the mind. I saw it on a freezing day in Manchester, horizontal rain, the city itself felt like it was in despair. But entering the Royal Exchange your mood lifts, your eyes can look to the heights, you can breathe in the space. RH's play is a piece of magic, a yarn spun, a sleight of hand, and like the best such things it makes you laugh and not care to know how it's done, you just enjoy. You believe. But read what David Eldridge has written about the play and the man here, and also Simon Stephens here.
Meanwhile I'm off back to the early eighteenth century, reading the definitive biography of Daniel Defoe.