Monday, May 31, 2010

Saturday night was the last ever National Theatre of Scotland Allotment. Which felt like occasion enough to drag through to Govan for an evening.

The theme of this particular Allotment was "playing, dating, moving and shaking". In fact, I didn't do much of any of these but I did try.

So this time around, we had 17 "installations" I suppose you might say. Number one was Rose Ruane who stood in a box with a peepshow window all night and gyrated suggestively to the accompaniment of various rowdy musical tracks. You could scratch your comments onto the surrounding blackboards in a lovely white marker pen.

Number two could have been created just for me. Computer terminals allowing access to Natter, a "live visual chat room" which cunningly looked for all the world like twitter and hooked up to a giant screen projecting your witticisms (nattercisms?) to the assembled company.

The carousel of doom. Well, this was a manually powered tall roundabout really. Hard to see the precise point of it, aside from allowing people to sit, place their drinks on it and then sending them hurtling across the room (the drinks rather than the people) as soon as someone put their back into it and got the thing spinning. But then I chose not to sit on it so perhaps I thus missed the doom. Or the doom only befell the drinks. Or. Who knows.

Six degrees of separation was a girl in a soft blue jumpsuit with a pink flash on her back who assembled six strangers and endeavoured to uncover their six degrees. Despite the most generous interpretation of a connection, she totally failed with our six. Beyond a possible years apart crossing of paths in a pub in East Kilbride for a boy from Stirling and a fellow from somewhere outside of Glasgow.

I shall not force you to walk with me through the other 13 experiences. Suffice to say we did not take part in the live poetry composition. We did contribute to the Mercury newsroom with real profundity. We did not take part in the giant wordsearch. Russell did pick up the ringing phone and might possibly have confessed his darkest secrets but they only asked him how many cats you could fit into a double decker bus. We did not pop our heads into the live facebox. We did allow the Love Calculator to work its magic. But as it paired him with a boy and me with a girl, I must question his judgement. Though mother would love it to be right. And we did sign up for the group speed dating experience at the nearby secret location and that, courtesy of Fluid Networks with the slightly sordid accompanying gesture, was the undoubted highlight of the night. Despite getting rained on, en route.

I think, by way of a summary, I would say it didn't work quite as well as the gaming night. But then as the gaming night was touched by the brush (albeit vicarious) with stardom, maybe it never would have measured up. Neither of us came away with love. Yet, at any rate. But it was full of the young and the very beautiful. I did come away with a profound piece of wisdom courtesy of the girl in the gold lycra body suit:


And I musn't forget about my tiny Fluid Network's hug. Recreate the experience for yourself here. So all in all, a well-ploughed night. I'd recommend it if it hadn't been The Last. Ever.
Now if you're after a good deed for the day (and you're still waiting in agonising suspense to hear about the scintillating cast - due off the press very shortly now - gathered recruited and compiled for my little festival show), you could do worse than help out a researcher from Oxford University who is gathering evidence to investigate the relationship between creative skills and psychological disorders....

Now I'm not sure if this will end up being a recommendation to get involved in our dark arts world or not. But it might be very interesting along the way.

Her questionnaire can be found here. Have fun.

Friday, May 28, 2010

He wrote this after reading my blog, by the way.

so you want to be a writer?
by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

For those of you who auditioned and are still patiently waiting for an update, my very huge apologies for the length of time that this is taking.

There are all sorts of good reasons for it. But I know the wait is most frustrating. I promise I'm getting there and should have some sort of definitive verdict soon. Ish.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Well I may not have a cast yet but at least I have half a rehearsal schedule.
Can I say once again that the internet is a miracle..?

There's a particular track that featured in the soundtrack to my body balance class a couple of routines ago. It's gorgeous and I've oft thought I should look it up as I might be able to use it.

So Saturday comes around and my imaginative teacher (as opposed to my Sunday slavish teacher) was mixing and matching routines again and steals this one back from the body balance scrap heap so I asked her afterwards what it was.

She consults the sleeve of the CD and tells me it's Soul Survivors. Well, you try putting that into spotify and see what happens.

So I felt a little sad and despairing and like I wouldn't find out the truth til next again week. When a brainwave. Not much of one but enough as it turned out. For I googled the class name and the release number and wouldn't you know it, after a bit of hunting about, here it is.

As to whether or not you'll see it in this here festival show that's occupying most of my current head space, well I couldn't possibly comment. This decision will be made by my esteemed musical director. But if it does make the cut, well, you heard it here first.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Living room floor littered with one hundred pieces of paper with possible casting permutations scratched o'er them.

Now I just need to choose one.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Decisions decisions decisions.

It's a nightmare, this casting business.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Auditions. A miraculous thing.

Everybody dashes about during the day doing their real jobs. Pitches up at a dishevelled and dilapidated office block with the dust of the day still clinging to their heels. Clusters together in a charmless room with scrappy photocopies of a work of minor genuis clutched in hot and sticky paws.

I lurk next door, the monster in the den. Waiting to strip all hope and confidence from the vulnerable auditionees.

And through the door they parade, one by one.

Turning a scrappy photocopy of a work of minor genius into something that for the most part, means something new and interesting and fresh and sometimes, utterly delightful. Just for me.

Well, of course not just for me. For the theatre group and for the chance of strutting about and pretending to be someone else and the chance to brush for five minutes with a work of minor genius and the chance to dabble in something other than the dust of the day.

And every now and again, you encounter someone - whether it's someone you've seen do a hundred shows or someone you haven't ever seen before in your life - who delivers a performance that is hats off breathtakingly delightful - or sad - or striking - or impressive. Or whatever. And it's a little bit of a humble moment that there you are, just regular old you, sat in this dilapidated office covered in the dust of the day watching these busy harrassed whole other lives going on around them people pull a moment of loveliness out of their magical theatrical bag of tricks.

Guess that's why we do it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I think The Man Who Lives Opposite has a floozie.

I was heading up towards town at 7:10am this morning in a taxi cab and the Man Who Lives Opposite was heading back down the way towards his house in his lovely Porsche.

Because he'd been with Her.

I could see it from The Way That He Was Driving.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Currently exercising most of my imagination is quite how I can watch a promenade production on a (petite not to say small) site-specific venue, night (and matinee) after night without being seen by the audience.

Answers on a postcard.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I almost forgot to share the cultural highlight of my trip to Barcelona. It goes by the name of "Lobbing Potatoes at a Gong" and is the product of the illustrious mind of a Mr Rodney Graham.

Now I can't really understand Spanish but this will give you a flavour of the exhibit, highlight of an important new collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona (MACBA):

A Lobbing Potatoes at a Gong, 1969 (2006), Rodney Graham recrea una coneguda escena de la història del rock en què un músic llança patates contra un gong, en una mena de performance curiosa.

A curious performance indeed. He went on to turn these very same potatoes into vodka, on display in a case behind the film screen.

I can't even begin to describe the power of this installation. Words can scarcely do it justice. So I shall settle for some reprobate pirate video clip - someone filming the installation at some point in particularly ropey quality. My favourite moment is when all the people get up and walk out (this is not part of the film - I watched all ten minutes of it to try and find the point.) But it'll give you at least a sense of the poignancy and passion expressed in this potatoey hell.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Apologies for the radio silence. Principally, I've been in the land of bumpy and curvaceous architecture, exquisite red wine, bubbly delicious white which some mistake for lemonade, obscure meats swimming in spiced and delicate sauces and sun sun sun (accompanied by a sometimes gusty wind) which is known as Spain. Specifically, the city of the French bulldog which is known as Barcelona. And a bit of Valencia.

Anyway, back now. So festival preps must commence in earnest. Hold on tight.