Saturday, May 21, 2005

When Coza Met Paddy Marber

When Coza Met...Paddy Marber

Given that I've noticed from my stats that a few readers have googled 'Paddy Marber', I probably should elaborate slightly. Paddy is in fact Patrick. No one, to my knowledge, calls him Paddy. Just since this is my blog, and I do have a tendency to shorten people's names, Paddy it is. Think of it as a sign of my affection. Without having to send any of you off to google his proper name, there are a couple of reasons why he's great. For me his greatness is centred around the fact that he, amongst other things, wrote Closer. Closer's one of my all time favourite plays, and was hugely successful, making it to Broadway. And, of course, into the film that garnered Oscar nominations for Clive Owen and Natalie Portman this year. His other major claim to fame is his being one of the people behind Alan Partridge. In short, I love Paddy. Not least because he came to see SSoB. I hope that's filled in any gaps.

Fresh from my middle english commentary paper, I ended up meeting Paddy at St Catz. I was rather hoping that because of my general finals spaced-out-ness Paddy would put any insanity down to this, rather than to the fact that I was overly excited to be meeting him. Don't say I can't play it cool. But once we'd established my current status of insanity I had the rather surreal experience of Paddy divulging exam tips. And proclaiming that a second is "a noble degree...any more than that and you're getting above yourself". I'll leave you to fill in the gaps as to what class of degree Paddy got. Indeed it seemed to abound in the surreal, as we played 'desert island Shakespeare'*, talked about David Hare's rejuvination and whether I'd written nice things about Paddy in my extended essay.

The most surreal moment, however, came when we were discussing what I'm doing with The Four Right Chords and Paddy asking about its inspiration. Cue the very edited highlights from me and Paddy's immediate response: "Are you are groupie?". Brilliant, I meet one of my favourite writers and he goes away with the impression that I'm a groupie. Tellingly he didn't miss an opportunity later in the conversation to refer to "the celebrity". I can't help thinking that Griffin might be amused that the writer of Alan Partridge, albeit in jest, called him a "celebrity". Such is my dedication to the Griffin cause, however, was that my immediate repsonse was "he's not a celebrity".

But, amongst the surreal, there were some lovely moments that are the reasons that I get excited about writers, not least Paddy saying that it's the best job in the world. He also said some very nice things about SSoB, not least that he hoped that I'd get to see it acted by professional actors given that there was a poignancy to it that hadn't been captured in the production. He also gave me some food for thought about my own writing in the future. Paddy thinks that all writers only have three stories and therefore they should use all the resources they have. Which meant that he interjected midway through the conversation with "you do know that you're going to have to write about being ill". He'd already commented that writers can't hide themselves in plays and I was a little startled that I was so visible in SSoB. And not just visible to people who know me. But if in SSoB it was refracted, then Paddy thinks I should look at it head on. It's an odd one, I don't feel that I have much more to say about it at the moment. Paddy thinks distance will change that. Maybe he's right.

In the end, having wandered around my plans for the next year and some suggestions, Paddy said that he could talk as much as he liked, but the only thing he could say, without a doubt, was that it is a struggle. And I agreed, I've recognised that. But I equally know that I have to have a go. Whatever happens.

So, in a nutshell, Paddy rocks.

*Me: Lear, Richard II, As You Like It. Paddy: Hamlet (whilst he thinks Lear's the better play, Hamlet's longer!), Twelfth Night, The Tempest.


Val said...

Fascinating! so Closer's all about Paddy is it? which one is he?

totally thrilled that you got to have a 'proper' conversation with him.

Corinne said...

Oh yes - Closer's all about Paddy. He's Dan, bless him.

When he did his talk on the film though, he did say that he couldn't write Closer again - because he's happy now. Bless him.