01 September 2009
All of which serves as a prelude to my simply recording - I am rereading, not just one of my favourite books, but one of my favourite things ever, Generation X. And looky. Just saw this. Mr Coupland has an announcement to make.
21 May 2009
which is almost a discouragement to signing away all those hours and weeks to Proust's prose, when painting can do this for us in a matter of minutes, quarter of an hour tops. But but. There are miracles in great prose aren't there, the mystery and hilarity of communing with a great mind, that has so much to tell us. All six volumes of it.
When I ordered the Volume One, I was assured by the vendor that in spite of its cheapness, its only blemishes were as follows
Cover worn, marked and creased. Inscribed.
If I'd known it had been 'inscribed' with a hand drawn map of Europe, I might have paid a little bit more for it.
17 May 2009
Two nights later, another treat, Erica W's Northern Stage production of Look Back In Anger, at the Richmond Theatre. I shan't go on about it or I shall have to retitle the blog The Old Pals Act, or something. But I did think it was pretty brilliant. And Bill Ward - whom I've never met! - was, for me, pretty damn close to a definitive Jimmy.
12 May 2009
We did a Miniaturists on Sunday just gone, number nineteen. I had hoped to air my ridiculous play about Will Shakespeare and Will Kemp, ridiculous in the sense that what was I thinking? To write a play about theatre´s god. I have though, and even though I read Edward Bond´s Bingo first, by way of preparation. Again, what was I thinking. The play, Bond´s, insanely good. There must be a revival soon. My shortassed piece couldn´t quite make it to the stage this time but hopefully next. That´s on July 12. Declan Feenan stepped in with his as ever beautifully judged miniature, Building Site. Thanks for coming, by the way - I know at least one of you did! Several of you did. There were good houses for both shows, which is not ever taken for granted, especially on a Sunday like Sunday, bursting at the seams with the promise of summer. The writers - besides Declan, there was Susan Mulholland, Diane Samuels, Rhiannon Tise and Mark Homer - all seemed to have as good a time as the audience, which is to say there was a pleasing equilibrium achieved, just the kind we like.
I now find myself upstairs at the Tyneside Cinema, in the Tyneside Coffee Rooms - ´a local legend is reborn´ - no, not Shearer, or rather, yes him too - forties music in the air, to complement the decor. There are little union jacks and period teapots on the mirror-backed shelves behind the bar. And an anachronistic poster of Boulevard Of Broken Dreams. Devilled kidneys on toast is 3.95.
24 March 2009
Anyway here is Oppenheimer himself. I saw this clip a long time ago, it´s the sort of thing that stays with you. (The quote is not used in the opera, by the way. But enough!)
Meanwhile I had a short play on in this. I was extremely pleased with how they did it. They being Ross Armstrong, Jo Herbert and director Gordon Murray. It was a real pleasure to do a little something in the new Southwark Playhouse, too.
And I have written ´additional material´ for this. Which opens tonight. Blimey, how tempus fugit.
08 February 2009
I was in my second year at Oxford and had imbibed enough institutional cockiness to go up to the dynamic duo of British art at a book signing. I'd been an admirer since I'd seen footage of their living sculpture works on telly when I was still at school. I just thought they were unbelievably funny and interesting and strange. No great insight, I just instinctively liked them. I correctly surmised they would have no problem with a student coming up to them in Blackwells and asking if they would sign something other than their book, as he couldn't afford it. I was doing Plato's Symposium that term, I just opened it at a random page. Don't ask me what the text is saying here, the old Greek is pretty rusty. I might be reading lots later in the year if one of my plans comes off, though.
28 January 2009
Last night at pub quiz we won a disposable camera, so there may be some overexposed mugshots of the team on here, in time, permissions permitting...
Now I´m off to see Dominic Leggett´s play at the Tristan Bates Theatre, thence home for Match of the Day.
In a word, as my life was a life of sorrow one way, so it was a life of mercy, another; and I wanted nothing to make it a life of comfort, but to be able to make my sence of God´s goodness to me, and care over me in this condition, be my daily consolation; and after I did make a just improvement of these things, I went away and was no more sad.
22 January 2009
I shall dress for dinner. Get everything ready.
The WITCH leaves and her minions ready the scene for supper. A ritualistic sequence. The sense of a nightmare, where a terrible travesty is taking place and everyone but the dreamer thinks it is perfectly normal, routine even.
GRETEL watches on as the WITCH eats HANSEL, whole, in one go.
BLACKIE can be seen covering her eyes with her paws.
As Erica would tell you, there was an astonishing amount of work required to dramatise those few suggestive lines. Eating Hansel became this enormous set piece, during which the poor boy was carried aloft in procession by chorus members acting as kind of pallbearers, the Witch took her seat in a high-backed chair, and to the inappropriately dainty strains of Tim Dalling´s music for strings, Hansel is consumed whole, tipped into the Witch´s waiting jaws by the impassive chorus (her attendants, sort of nasty wood fairies), she crunches and swallows his twitching body, until at last he is inside her bulging belly, and she gives the most disgusting belch, as the light fades, for the interval. Blackie, I should tell you, is the Witch´s cat, in fact a lost girl called Susan, shapeshifted against her will, and Susan Blackie helps save the day in Act Two... also covering her eyes at the sight of Hansel´s demise is The Moon, characterised as a slightly loopy girl of indeterminate age, who comments on the action throughout, and finally intervenes in the story to show the children the way home. The director had a lot of fun with The Moon, I think, who was entrancingly played by Vicky Elliott, and pointed out to me that I seem to have written an awful lot of gods and monsters in my time.
14 January 2009
Workwise, the first few weeks of Twenty O Nine are all about plots and plans and proposals, and unhappily it´s in the way of these things that I can´t tell you much at all about them. But the main one this week, I will say, involves peer review of a proposal I´ve made to a university, and this week I have a window in which to respond to the review, and so it will go on, until the decision is reached and communicated to me, in late March. How long can one keep fingers crossed before they lock like that?
I´m off to the second sitting of Every Good Boy Deserves Favour in a short while. My second visit to the NT already this year. I saw Oedipus on the third, which I found very moving. I only wished we could have all reconvened the next day for Oedipus At Colonus.
Back soon, anyway. Honest.