18 April 2008

It's Friday night, I've put the boys to bed, cooked and eaten my mushroom omelette and now I'm listening to Jessye Norman's voice, married to The Four Last Songs, Richard Strauss. I used to listen to a lot more classical music and opera and so on than I do these days. The Fall and Pink Floyd are the two names currently most heavily represented on my iTunes '25 most played'. Funny how things mutate.

It's been an interesting week workwise. I wrote virtually nothing but had one of those real lightbulb moments on Monday, which has illuminated the rest of the week's reading and thinking. In and around Daniel Defoe and his work, but you could have guessed that.

Also on Monday I saw Fram, Tony Harrison's new work for the National Theatre, directed by himself and its designer Bob Crowley. I found it enthralling, bewildering, beautiful, touching, funny, strange, baffling, frustrating, majestic, prolix, self-mocking, and quite unashamedly challenging in its piling up of a tottering tower of weighty themes. And there were fart jokes, and vomit. Video, dance and what at one stage I thought was a Mighty Boosh tribute sequence. Quite wonderful. Of course it goes without saying, the man's a legend in his own dinnertime. And yes I have seen him in the canteen. But no even if I had the courage, I wouldn't still. Never meet your heroes, don't they say (though I did hear he came to Northern Stage to see A Christmas Carol, and if I'd been there at the time, who knows..). As an actually not very spotty teenager in Liverpool, I watched the video of the NT's production of TH's Oresteia with the rest of the A Level Greek class, and was awestruck. No translation had ever before come close to generating the heat and power of classical Greek, but as soon as the watchman opened his mouth, we knew Aeschylus had finally found a mouthpiece for the age of English. Sorry, Gilbert Murray! At least you have lovely Jeff Rawle bringing you to life on stage.

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