Monday, February 28, 2005

Once More For Luck

Once More For Luck

At this point there is so much that I want to write here. The last four days have been something of a riot of experience and its record emphatically belongs here. However, I'm already feeling the pressing need to sleep pounding down on me and I'm not convinced that I'd be hugely coherent so it's going to have to wait until I've had some much needed sleep.

SSoB didn't win the Cam Mac award, but Kate did, very deservedly, win a best actress award and, rather brilliantly, we won Best Design. I'm thinking that it was the duck which did it!

And, even though I'm going to elaborate on this further it has to be included here for sheer excitement value, - Patrick Marber came to see the Saturday matinee. And breathe.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Wednesday's performance yeilded two things which stuck in my mind. The first was Will holding Sophie's hands towards the end of the play, which just seemed to resonate to such an odd degree. The second was quite simply:

No.

Kate really is tremendous and no where more so than at the end of the second act. She crushes you [and indeed Harry] with that single word.

Those Bloody Kids

Those Bloody Kids

Prior to last night's show I was rather helpfully filled in [read scared-to-death] by Mike [Techie Extraordinaire] on a variety of things which had gone wrong on the technical side of SSoB, that I had been blissfully unaware of - mainly because it must have been decided that I'd have had a cardiac arrest. I let Mike enjoy scaring me, and was somewhat pleased that he asserted that the doorframes wouldn't fall off again. He couldn't be quite as sure about the projector, however, and I'm officially going to start praying every time it has to be used. On the plus side I did get tips from him about camping in the snow; though how useful knowing about the igloo effect is going to be is questionable.

I should have guessed at this point that something was going to go squiffy, and I subsequently spent the entirety of the first act thinking that I was going to vomit. The reason for this was that Jay suffered something of a memory black out, skipped a good page and a half of dialogue and left the room to answer the door to Will long before he should have done. Cue Will not being there and Jay having to come back in and say 'No one there!', before the doorbell rang approximately ten seconds later and Will finally emerged. Normally I'd have been in something of a state of terror at this but it was only heightened by the fact that I was hugely aware that the Dean of Oriel was in the audience, and was going to be chairing the post show discussion. Racing through my brain as I attempted not to vomit was the pressing refrain - bloody hell, I hope he doesn't think that I wrote that. Consequently we got the most pissed off Jay that we've ever had, though his description of his realisation of what he'd done after the show was hilarious. My brain will forever have the image of him biting his knuckles and wanting to blame 'bloody kids' for the non-existent knocking on the door imprinted on it. I did feel sorry for him given that he never messes up. If you're going to do these things though, you might as well do them in style.

After the show I had my first experience of being pissed off with an audience member. And, unfortunately, it was an audience member that I know. In many ways I'm glad that the Graduate came along, bringing friends with him and paying for tickets is always going to endear people to me. What I didn't need was i)him laughing incredibly loud at an incredibly serious moment in the play [indeed in what Cristina and I have decided is the best scene in the production] and ii)him coming up to speak to me afterwards and the only acknowledgement he made about the play being that some of the actors had been getting Jay and Harry mixed up. The first one made me want to thump him as it really broke the mood and the second one annoyed me as not only wasn't it true [I know every single word of SSoB, every performance I know when something gets changed or goes wrong and whilst there were mistakes last night, that wasn't one of them] but also because when one of your friends has had her first ever play put on you don't rabbit on about some meaningless pedantic mistake. I'm assuming that he didn't like the play, which is fair enough as I once told him he was a shit actor [in my defence i)he is ii) I phrased it more nicely than that and iii)it was several months after the event and not on the evening of his show], but I'm sure that he could have found something - anything - to say was good or that he enjoyed. He also tried to involve me in a conversation about him - which is also fair enough, but not ten seconds after SSoB has finished. Not that I'm being self-obsessed here [though I am] but the thesp code of conduct is that it's all about the person whose show it is. Or at the very least it is until you get out of the auditorium.

In the end I got my required ego stroking from the post-show discussion. We ended up having a really interesting talk, I got to enthuse about Will and the Dean of Oriel had lots of ego-inducing things to say. We also ended up talking about what happens to the characters after the play finishes, and it was especially interesting to hear what the actors had to say, even though I did have a couple of disagreements. In some ways the play has maybe come full circle for me. When I first wrote it I saw an incredibly positive streak running through it. Then , especially during early rehearsals, I saw something altogether darker. Now, the more I see it and talk about it, I see something much more positive emerging. I'm genuinely starting to think that maybe they're all going to be ok. Which is nice, as I'd feel guilty otherwise.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Last night's favourite line had a few contenders but I think in the end I have to go with the one that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end:

'I'm sorry'

And for the first time ever I believed Harry. Utterly, completely. And equally saw why sorry is never going to be good enough.

A Seat With A View

A Seat With a View

So SSoB had its premiere. And it's hard to encapsulate exactly how in love I am with the play once again. There were a few comedy technical hitches - namely the fact that the projection decided to stop working after one slide - and some nerves from the cast, but I saw the play in a way that I'd never seen it before. I think sitting at the top of a theatre looking down on people who have paid to see it does that to you.

Afterwards I went out for drinks with Cristina and James, which was rather brilliant not least because they paid and we spent rather a lot of time looping around the play. And, without prompting, James said that the political bit had made him think of David Hare's* Amy's View . At this I could quite gladly have signed my soul over to him.

* I love David Hare. I want to be David Hare. I think you're probably getting the picture here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Brideshead Not Quite Revisited

Brideshead Not Quite Revisited

On my way back from the computer room to my house last night [my internet is off again and I haven't got time to spend a morning waiting for the computer men to fix it at the moment] I ended up going flying rather spectacularly on some rogue ice. It was one of those utterly comic falls, one mintue I'm walking happily along, swinging my bag, the next moment my arse has made contact with the floor without the grace to notify me that it was intending to do so. Indeed had someone been filming me it was the type of footage which would undoubtedly have gotten me £250 on 'You've Been Framed' or other such tortuous alledgedly amusing television programme. But alas, no one was filming and the only thing I managed to get out of the whole experience was a painful foot which is presently swelling up quite nicely, and a bruise on my bottom. I'm now thinking that cowboy boots aren't made for walking on ice, something which I don't ever remember seeing John Wayne having to do.

SSoB had its dress rehearsal this morning, only given that it started late as the theatre people decided that it wouldn't be a good idea to either i)open on time or ii)switch on the dimmers so we could start our rehearsal for a good 45 minutes after we first stepped into the theatre, it was running late and I had to leave towards the end of the second act in order to get to my rhetoric tutorial. With the exception of some of the projections randomly having managed to turn themselves upside down, and the sound op managing to play a random buzzer noise when a telephone should have gone, it seemed to be going well. Everyone was picking up their cues and no one tripped over the rug. Currently part of the set is being re-painted and all the giant chess pieces are being returned to the original white colour which they were before they went to live in whoever's garden we borrowed them from. I did consider going to the theatre and helping with these mindless jobs but in the end decided that my afternoon might be better spent arsing around on the internet, burning lots of Griffin songs on the college computers and generally not panicking.

In the midst of all this my final ever tutorial slipped by, hardly noticed. I'm not sure that I understand rhetoric anymore, but Rhodri was very sweet, though marginally more insane than usual. I'd elaborate but I'm guessing that he might not want the goings on between him and his girlfriend published on the internet for all to read. Indeed that very sentence probably points to why these tutes have been so odd. He did also promise to buy me a bottle of champagne if I got a first. And indeed if I got a 2:2. So nearly all bases covered there. But it is odd to think that three and a half years after first sitting in Matthew Reynold's room, talking about Vanity Fair and being pleased because I'd got 'very promising' scrawled in green ink across the top of my first ever Oxford essay, I've just had my final tute, in the bowels of Jesus College, talking about the Hugh Grant effect on posh Oxford boys when they go to America. I don't think I'd have ever imagined that, but, perversely, I don't think that I'd have had it any other way.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

A mini-featurette for this week, in which I pick my favourite line of SSoB from that night's show. Tonight it was without a doubt:

"I know that now, but at the time I rather wanted to be Byron"

I know that I wrote it but I never saw what Will was actually saying there. Until tonight.

I'm really sorry Will. *

*Ok, I know it's fiction, but let me run with this, especially with Will who seems to surprise me at regular intervals.**

**Yes, maybe I should keep taking the medication.

Bring It On!

Bring It On!

WARNING: This post may contain production spoilers. So if you're Nik then look away after the first paragraph.

I've now decided that rhetoric may be consigned to the dustbin of my history but I haven't entirely lost all patience with the over-arching subject which it belongs to. Namely because the email I sent to Rhodri, my insane but uttery hilarious language tutor, with my 900 word unfinished essay got a lovely reply back which i)didn't mock my panic and ii)told me not to worry about finishing the essay and we'd talk about it tomorrow. I almost feel guilty about mocking him at the weekend over lunch with Sam. Almost but not quite.

SSoB's tech, which largely consisted of everyone faffing with lights, tripping over the rug on the floor of Sophie and Jay's living room which hadn't been taped down and the Stage Manager forgetting to spray Jay with water before he came on for the last moments of the play, and thus coming on mid speech and spraying him in the face with what resembled the kind of device which is usually used to wash windows with. Can't say it's the sort of meaningful ending that I'd evisaged when I wrote the play, but I did laugh. I also saw the set of projections which are being used between Act One and Two for the first time, which were rather fab, not least for the comedy inclusion of a duck. You think of Oxford, you immediately think of ducks. I can see the logic.

It was rather wonderful though to hear the play in the theatre. Hearing people speak the words that I'd written in the confines of Teddy Hall was rather nice, but hearing them echo round a theatre was even better. And, even though I should have seen this one coming, I have a set. A proper set - complete with some rather cool giant chess pieces. What more could anyone want from life. I think from this point in even if we don't sell a single ticket, I'm happy. In fact I'm more than happy. I definitely didn't envisage SSoB in the midst of the OFS when I wrote it, indeed for a long time I didn't even imagine anyone but me reading it. Until four months ago no one else had. And then today I stood in the midst of a theatre, with my name on all the posters outside, with people saying my lines, and even our Production Manager breaking at one point to say to the actors "you're not putting your glasses on the mats. In Sophie's house you'd put the glasses on the mats". And he's right. Sophie would make you put your glass on a coaster.

Trotsky's Dustbin

Trotsky's Dustbin

Question: "Rhetoric has always tended to outgrow its original concern with persuasive public speaking". (A Lanlam) Where would you locate rhetoric?

Answer: In the bin, along with structuralism, huge chunks of Freudian literary criticism, Bovril*, whoever decided that ponchos where going to have a resurgence so that I can no longer wear mine, Richard Park, most 'dance'** music, all of Charles Dicken's early work, George Bush, skirts than are wider than they are long and people who dislike Sienna Miller***.

*Though not Birthday Bovril, as that is a thing of comedy genius. Just don't expect me to drink it.
**Dance my arse. Abba you can dance to. Steps you can dance to. You never get people at weddings dancing to 'dance music'.
***Not only because she is engaged to Pretty Jude Law, but because she is a style goddess. She even wears brown with black.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

In Defence of Pondering

In Defence of Pondering

Things that I have pondered today:

1) Why there are currently lots of little girls walking around Oxford wearing brightly-coloured stripey tights. It makes me jealous as I'm not five years old and can't get away with wearing them with a tiny tutu and some miny ugg boots. Indeed I can't get away with wearing them full stop, unless I wanted my legs to resemble over-grown tree trunks. I've already resolved that any future daughter of mine will wear them, preferably with a pair of legwarmers too. Boho Princess here I come.

2)Exactly why Drama Tutor is so fond of Pinter when all of his plays - Betrayal aside - are practically the same play.

3) Whether I will forever more get a knot in my stomach and the desire to 'whoop' when I hear the opening bars of 'Superstar' from JCS. And whether I can actually allow myself to live down the fact that I whooped in a theatre. Whilst sitting behind a class of 10 year olds.

4)When I'm going to decide what exactly I'm doing about my twenty-odd pounds worth of nector vouchers. For some reason I feel that I need to spend them on something more substantial than my weekly shopping. But I don't know what, given that my amount of points probably only qualifies me for a Big Mac meal.

5)Whether it is morally right that I've just eaten three penguin chocolate bars on the bounce.

6)And whether it would be straying into even dodgier territory if I ate a fourth.

7)Whether I've been doing all this mindless pondering because of what the next 48 hours hold in store, namely, and in order of trauma:
i) Whether Cristina's play got a slot.
ii)The release of my Extended Essay Questions
iii)SSoB's dress rehearsal
iv) My final ever scheduled tutorial
v) SSoB's premiere.

8) If I'm going to forget to breathe or not.

9) If I should get my cowboy boots re-heeled, for the ultimate ye-hah effect.

10) How two people named David and Victoria could end up with a son named Cruz*.

*Though this was somewhat better than when I first heard the name on Radio Two today, which had me frantically hoping that their association with a certain Mr Tom Cruise hadn't gone too far.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

How To: Make Me Panic In One Easy Step.

How To: Make Me Panic In One Easy Step

As I type the production which is currently in the OFS is in the midst of their get-out. And because we're buying a large chunk of their box-set, SSoB is officially starting its get-in.

Shit.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Bruising

Bruising


Today I am mostly feeling bruised.

SSoB's second review is fairer [and by that I mean that it actually appears to be a review] but I'm not hanging out the bunting there either. In some ways there are things which I think the reviewer might have a point about - she wasn't keen on what she saw from the first act but was much keener on the stuff from the second and third acts. Which is a fair appraisal as I like the non-act one stuff best too. However she did ruin this valid point somewhat by talking about not liking the ending of the play - which of course she never saw. And she again gave the impression that she'd seen the entire play, which made some of her review rather shoddy towards the end. The phrase "mediocre script" also got used, which does sting somewhat. I should balance that out before I drown in my vat of self pity, by saying that she did also say "Furness writes intimate dialogue with sensitivity and skill" and that "All in all, the basis of the play is an interesting one, and there are some very poignant moments that display both writing talent from the playwright and acting ability from the cast". Of course there's a but at the end of that sentence, but given that the reviewer hadn't seen the majority of the play [is this becoming my new refrain?] I don't think that it's a valid one.

The Borders preview, for all the comedy value of it being my equivalent of HMV, turned out to be something of a non-starter. It was hugely unorganised, none of my company were particularly in the mood for something which was clearly pointless given that the tanoy system was still playing Beatles songs during one of the other shows previews, and I wasn't really in the mood to be near one of the directors of another show basking, rather loudly, in her review. I also wasn't really in the mood for the extract from Quartet which was a scene in which a character left the stage to inform her mother, by telephone, that she had cancer [or was dying of cancer, I'm not sure given that the plot wasn't clear and my hearing was affected by the Beatles song]. Having made a phonecall of that nature myself it wasn't one I particularly relished seeing in Borders, especially when I was already feeling bruised and introspective.

The workshop I was meant to be going to this afternoon also got cancelled as Suzanne Bell had an asthma attack this morning and consequently couldn't get here. It's a shame as I really wanted to meet her, and all the writing workshops I've been on have been fun, but maybe it was a good thing that I got to relax and lick my wounds this afternoon. She's sending us a pack of all the stuff she'd have talked about so that's something.

Given the downbeat nature of this entry I should probably say I've three nice things to report:

1) My friend Sam is coming to Oxford tomorrow and I haven't seen her for a month or so, so that's going to be fun.
2) I got my very own yellow-NWF hoodie today. There's already a thread on Oxford gossip with someone asking how to get hold of a yellow one. I'm of course smug because only SSoB have yellow hoodies, and none of the others are in demand. I will say however they are very, very bright yellow [too much so] and for some reason I ended up with a medium so you could quite easily get two of me in there.
3) I got a much needed writing boost after the review debacle by being (finally) given Nina Steiger's [Soho Theatre] contact details. Which puts the student reviews into perspective.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Review + Red Wine = Rant

Review + Red Wine = Rant

So I got the first review of SSoB today. And basically it sucked. Well, that may be an overstatement as I've seen a number of reviews this term where plays have been slated and it wasn't that bad. But I'm not bringing out the bunting, let's put it that way. So, given that I've spent the evening drinking red wine and eating at Freuds and I'm a little tipsy [consequently my disbelief has given way to annoyance] I'm going to make a list as to what is wrong with the review. It'll save the therapy bills.

i) All other reviews for NWF shows grounded the review on the production as a whole. My reviewer grounded it entirely in the script. And his lack of empathy there of. Which is both unfair and misleading.
ii) He made out that he'd seen the entire show. He hadn't. He's seen 20 minutes of it. And because of this he actually got his overview of the play wrong. In the entire play there are only three actual references to what has to be Oxford Uni. And he only saw one of them. It is not a play about Oxford and anyone who actually sees it in full would be aware of this.
iii) He mentioned that there were good things BUT DIDN'T TALK ABOUT THEM.
iv) He wittered on about 'Oxford New Writing' without getting to the point, leaving inferences about cliche hanging.
v) When I did theatre here there was such a thing as student review ettiquette. I'd noticed with the fact that two plays this term have been ripped apart in the Oxspew that this ettiquette seemed to be disappearing. It should come back. Student theatre needs to be given some slack at times.

And because I'm annoyed it was very, very noticeable that the play in the NWF which is written by the guy who edits the drama section of the Oxspew got a glowing review. Odd that one.

I'm giving myself until midnight tonight to remain annoyed and then move on. Mainly because this is some shitty student reviewer, and a shitty student reviewer who probably couldn't write something to save their not-so-bony arse at that. At the end of the day SSoB is a finalist for the award, was chosen by a theatre manager to go in their theatre and was enough to make the Writer's Director at the Soho Theatre want to talk to me. Meanwhile, shitty reviewer is peddling his views in a free student newspaper. I'll stay where I am, if that's alright.

Don't Call Us, We'll Call You

Don't Call Us, We'll Call You

Today I did something that I haven't done in a long time, I went to a theatre bid interview. Before anyone makes the obvious point as to what-the-heck I was doing in a theatre bid interview given looming finals, I should probably state that I'm on the bid as Associate Producer in order to bolster Cristina's chances of getting her play, Etrangere, on at the OFS next term. The extent of my involvement is to be solely advisory. And to make the bid look more solid as the OFS was something of my spiritual home as a Producer. Just no one mention this to any of my tutors, thank you very much.

So we went to the interview. And it went well. Really well. The thing which I feel that it will fall down to is whether the Manager is willing to take a risk with the play [it's very political and he seemed to have images of events at the Birmingham Rep circulating in his head]. Which is odd, because I've never bidded for a play where that is the case. Usually there's some other aspect, but this is down to the idiosyncratic choices of one particular man. So far his idiosyncratic choices have served me well, he was the person responsible for selecting which of the New Writing Festival plays was put on in his theatre and he chose mine [for which I may have to love him forever], but this one could go either way.

Possibly more pressingly, at the beginning of the interview I got slightly way-laid by the fact that he compared the situation to Pop Idol. My head was screaming 'I'm really, really glad you picked that particular reality tv show'.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

University Challenge

University Challenge

Thanks to the Eagle and Child Pub Quiz [and indeed Becky's prowess on Google, not that I condone cheating] I feel that I've learnt lots of useful things this week. The postcode for the Shetlands is ZE, the name of the 1915 play Hobson's Choice was inspired by a guy in Cambridge who made his customers take the next horse in line rather than chosing their own and the battle two days before Waterloo was called Quatre Bras. We also managed a more impressive third place after coming last when we did the Quiz a fortnight ago*. So success all round.

Given that my work levels are just reaching their peak for this term it's rather unfortunate that I've finally lost all fear regarding my new play. Indeed I lost the fear in rather spectacular style yesterday afternoon and ended up plotting out, using lots of different coloured pens which I'd got for a bargainous £1 in Smiths a few weeks ago, the entire play. I finally settled on the characters and their names and have pinned down the story arc. I even started writing. I've still got lots of little details to work out, and I need to root the story in a particular year, but I think I finally made the break through from having 'the idea' and keeping lots of random notes and writing out bits of dialogue that I like to jumping into the swimming pool. Or something like that. It's a bit different to SSoB as it's not a play in a room. It also isn't as unified in time, there's a span of just over ten months, hence the need for me to plot the play rather tightly. It's really rather exciting though, as I've got these new characters in my head, waiting to come out with lots of things different to the ones in SSoB. The only thing that I'm semi-worried about, and maybe even the semi is too much, it's more of a gentle nag in the back of my brain that may or may not develop into a full blown headache, is the possibility of it getting caught up with reality. Or, as that's not quite right since I've plotted the play away from reality, that people who read/(hopefully) see it will get it caught up with reality. I don't mind so much with SSoB, there's a lot of me in there, but with the new play it's more awkward if it gets caught up. I like to think that I've plotted it in such a way that though the idea came from personal experience, that I've moved it away into a realm of obvious fictionality. It's already mutated a couple of times so hopefully I'll be able to eventually banish that little nag. But the fact remains that it's about a band, or since I'm not entirely sure how many members a 'band' actually has to have to qualify as a 'band' it's about a duo. And a little bit about their fans. Which does lead to some interesting/ slightly sticky possibilities. Once I've layered in the third major storyline, and undoubtely pursued some route that only emerged as I was writing, though I'm on safer territory. I kind of hope that people will see my own almost-popstar fixations as a jumping off point and not the sum total of the parts. But we'll see.

*It should probably be noted that we did cheat more this week, though.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

All The Small Things

All The Small Things

Turns out that my recent reading of various broadsheets to prepare for the inevitable 'have-to-get-a-job' reality which is fast looming hasn't be thorough enough. Clearly I should have recognised that my spiritual home is the Whitby Gazette and kept a look out for jobs there. Sure enough it turns out that they were looking for a trainee reporter and I've missed the deadline. Of course I know that in reality this isn't the job I'm looking for, it's a bit of a career commitment for someone who has already decided that their future hopefully lies elsewhere. And it's in Whitby, which even by my travelling standards isn't a do-able commute from where I live. But it's the Whitby Gazette. I'm sensing that you're probably not feeling my pain, so I'll move on.

New Housemate has struck again. Fridge storage space has never been something of an issue, but it seems to have become yet another venue in which New Housemate can fail to integrate himself into current routines. Currently the fridge is over-flowing with various crap, and, most annoyingly, out of date crap. When there's limited space I think that it's only fair to remove anything out of date from the fridge. Indeed even when there is enough room to house the entire contents of Iceland I think it's pretty much standard practise to remove anything that has a likely change of giving you e-coli. Maybe I'm just fussy about that sort of thing, but it seems pretty logical to me. Clearly though this isn't a belief which New Housemate subscribes to. Neither does he subscribe to the belief that when space is limited there has to be some order of priority for what actualy goes into the fridge. I'm sure that everyone likes cold drinks, but having two bottles of dilute drinks in there is going a little far when you've already got cans of beer, two loaves and dubious other items using up precious space. I'm sure that wars have been waged over less serious issues.

As a final random note, read Festen, the play which Drama Tutor has been raving about for weeks, last night. And, because I think that - his Pinter infatuation aside - Drama Tutor is a pretty sound source of theatrical opinion, I'd been expecting something rather wonderful. But I'm not sure. It was very tight I agree but it didn't grab me as being anything outstandingly brilliant. I'd already planned to go and see it in a couple of weeks time as I'm in London to see Fox do a gig at The Bedford and had worked out that I might as well treat myself to a play whilst I'm there, so I'm going to have to see if the production changes my mind. But it was a little disapointing I confess.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Promo - the Penguin Classic Way

Promo - the Penguin Classic Way

Given that we've only been distributing the promo for SSoB for less than 48 hours it was rather heartening that twice today I saw posters which I hadn't put up. Given that one display was in the window of the Old Fire Station Theatre where the play is being staged it probably doesn't count, but the first time I saw the poster was on my way to the English faculty library, which - abiding by all possible rules on these sort of things - definitely counts. Got an email from The Graduate too to say that he'd seen a poster, which has to be considered a good sign. The promotional bandwagon is starting to roll out. I also saw two of the other NWF shows' posters. I know I'm biased, but I like mine the best [I'd seen the very, very pink posters of the remaining show at Sunday's Press Preview]. Mine's the only one which looks like it might be the cover of a Penguin Novel. Which is surely how one should judge these things. By the end of the week I'd rather hope that I can't walk into Oxford without seeing one.

It's half term here, however, which does deminish my desire to go into Oxford somewhat. Given that I don't have any contact with schools in Oxford I run the school timetable by that which afffects my brothers, ie. the one in Leeds. Therefore I'd assumed that last week was half term and it consequently came as something of a shock when I went into town today and couldn't move for children. Don't get me wrong, I like children, it's just that Oxford's a nightmare normally, when you add teenagers congregating around the Odeon for no clear reason so that the paths get blocked and the taxis have to hoot them out of the way every two seconds and under fives riding their bright pink bicycles [why didn't I get a bright pink bike?] in the middle of the pavement it becomes unbearable. Which makes life interesting when I've got a tutorial at Jesus* tomorrow, which is slap bang in the middle of town. I'd better prepare to use my elbows.

*Jesus only makes me giggle slightly because of the aforementiond JCS issue; I giggled more when I went there during the point when JCS was showing in Oxford and there was a large promo poster with 'Jesus College' stamped over Glenn Carter's [Jesus] head. I confess to having gotten excited whenever I saw those posters, though there's absolutely nothing Penguin Classic stylee about them!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

English Reviewers [Without the Scottish Bards]

English Reviewers [without the Scottish Bards]

SSoB took its first baby steps into the world today. In other words we had our press preview. Not that there were many press there. Indeed the actual Oxford wide press don't descend until opening night. Today was for the student press, which is rather important in a town dominated by its university. The last press preview I attended was back in October 2003, for a production whose theatre bid I'd put together, which I'd enjoyed but not felt the thrill of nervousness that I felt today. After all, if the previewers hated that show there was no skin of my, erm, feet. My name wasn't anywhere, people weren't judging me. Today, however, was different entirely. Indeed it was probably different to anything I'd ever experienced before in terms of press preview. In many ways I've had the nice part of the bargain in this show. I've gotten to woo at the promo material, watch rehearsals and then get free tickets at the end of it but I haven't had to do any of the crappy stuff that theatre normally involves. The most intense experience I've ever had at a preview was for "Charity", a new-writing musical which was the first show I ever souly produced. For a term I literally lived and breathed that show. And because I was the Producer I had my fair share of crap to deal with, from running round for police hats, to bundling actors into taxis to go and perform in schools, to sorting out the legislative nightmare which was the OFS. I got the good stuff too [indeed I still rank it as my favourite show I've worked on], but the crappy stuff was there in bucketfulls. And because I'd been so intimately connected to every single aspect of the show, literally actors couldn't breathe without me knowing about it, I felt an overwhelming fear at the preview. I felt as if I were being judged. Of course I wasn't. Reviewers don't care who does book, or who dealt with the porters when the window in the rehearsal room got broken. With SSoB, however, I am being judged. Not least because it's explictly being sold as New Writing. It comes with a massive logo on all its promo - New Writing Festival 2005. Even the slowest amongst us can pick that up. So they're going to talk about the writing. So in effect they're going to talk about me. Which is an oddly disconcerting experience when in many ways I feel that since I haven't had the crap with this show, that I've gotten to flit in and flit out without having to make any of the tough decisions, that it shouldn't be about me. But it is. And it will be. And I know that come the end of the week when the reviews come out I'll be more nervous than I've ever been. Because SSoB is me and up until now the only people who've had access to it have said nice things. But the reviewers don't know me, they're not my friend, or a potential director, or an actor so they have lots of scope for not saying nice things. Which is scary.

At the moment, however, I'm oddly calm. Almost as if I'm surveying the whole process. And, added to this, one of the reviewers laughed. Repeatedly. Which has to be a good sign.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller

I found out last night when I was reading the BBC site that Arthur Miller had died on Thursday. I can't say that I'm massively versed in his work, but an interview with him which I read five or six months ago profoundly affected me. He was talking about the fact that he was 89 and yet still wrote everyday. And his reason was quite simply that he still had something to say. When he no longer had anything to say he would stop writing. And I think that is the most beautiful, eloquent statement on being a writer that I have ever heard. Obvious it may seem but I think within that statement is what it is to be a great writer. And more especially a great playwright. It is, emphatically, having something to say.
I think the best way I can sum up Miller is to quote my own favourite living playwright, David Hare, who once again manages to capture exactly what I feel on the subject:
"Arthur was the last of the three great theatrical voices of the American century - O'Neill, Williams, Miller. Arthur's special achievement was to make political and social plays which belonged on Broadway and yet were also powered to reach out into America and way beyond."

Jesus Christ Superstar - The Broadway Version

Jesus Christ Superstar - The Broadway Version

Last night I went to see Gateway to Heaven/Credo two one act plays by Cristina Bejan. Cristina's one of my two American-Playwright-Friends [APF for short], the other being Reina who I have to be extra nice to at the moment as she has discovered that she wasn't given a 'name' in my old blog whilst the male lead of the play we worked on was. She should be happier now though as she's in my new blog and I've no idea where the male lead is or what he's doing. That's showbusiness for you. Anyway, the three of us have some strange six-degrees-of-separation thing going on [that would be Cristina, Reina and I rather than any combination which involved the absent male lead] as we all independently know each other. Which I find slightly odd given that I)Cristina and Reina are American and America's a big country ii)we've never all been in Oxford at the same time for more than three days in the last four years iii)it's just odd.

Anyway, before I continue to ramble down that path, I'll return to my original train of thought, Cristina's plays. I really enjoyed them, after all how often do you get to see God dressed as Ozzy Osbourne on stage? If I had a preference though it was for Gateway. As its title implies it was set in heaven's waiting room, where Ronald Reagan, Madonna and a guy called Karl were all waiting to see St Peter, supervised by the waiting room's receptionist, Joan of Arc. It was witty and clever theatre, without being the type that blows your head, in effect it was exactly what I needed after the events of the day. It also contained jokes about Jesus Christ Superstar which I found absolutely hilarious having sat through more showings of JCS* in the last few months than is probably healthy. It's possible that I might get to a stage where just the mere mention of JCS doesn't make me laugh but as there are numerous things which I really should have moved on from laughing about [pirate ships, non-chaffing rope, whelks, Jessie-the-sheep to name just 0.000001%] I'm not holding out much hope.

*For anyone who doesn't know the reason for this, it is not because I'm some JCS freak or manic Andrew Lloyd Webber maniac, but because Fox** was appearing as Judas.

**Not very often that footnotes have footnotes but I'm diving into whole new territories today. For anyone who knows not Fox, he is also part of the summer of the horrifically-tortuous-reality-television show. I didn't vote for him during the show, though he was always my mum's favourite, but four or five months after the show had finished I ended up going to see him when he came to York as he's the flatmate of Griffin and they're wonderfully sweet together [I'd put some comment in there but I only make dubious witticisms about them when I'm either in or going to Manchester. I'm not exactly sure why such jokes should have a geographical basis, but clearly in my brain they do]. Of course when I met him it turned out that he was incredibly lovely and rather talented [I maintain you need to hear Fox live to really capture him], and thus he became something of a story in his own right. He is also, for future reference, due to comedy reasons 'my best friend'. The less said about this, the better.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Loftspace

Loftspace

Of non-school related routines, there are probably two which are stuck in my head from my childhood. One is of going to see my grandmother after school and on a Sunday morning. Of playing on a blue plastic motorbike in her garden and 'cooking' with a small pan and a large plastic pineapple which for some reason was hollow and used to contain plastic soilders. I'm not entirely sure why, and clearly I never thought to ask, but it did. The other is, and this must be a pre-school routine, of going to see my 'Aunt' Lesley on a Wednesday. Don't ask me how I know it was on a Wednesday, my brain just tells me it was on a Wednesday and it's another thing that I don't seem to question. She lived in a flat at this point and I can vividly recall playing in the fields next to the building with her children in Summer, or of sitting in her kitchen eating oven chips in winter. The first memory has long since been parcelled up with my childhood, folded neatly away when my grandmother died eight years ago. Today was the second memory's turn to be packed away; this morning Lesley died.

Of course Lesley wasn't really my aunt, but she was much more part of my childhood than many of my actual blood relatives. During his twenties my dad had done that now most cliched thing of creating something of a urban-family; they'd lived in a house in inner city Leeds, which - by all accounts - seemed to have something of a lax attitude to houseguests, throwing away newspapers and doing the washing up. And the urban-family of sorts subsequently became part of my extended family. So now it seems odd that part of it is no longer there.

Whilst we were all aware that Lesley had cancer and that the prognosis wasn't fantastic I think everyone had assumed it wouldn't be this quick. She'd been ill during chemo before, and whilst she was ill again everyone thought that she'd have a few more months at least. That she might get to the summer. My dad had even spoken to me at the weekend about sending her a programme and suchlike from SSoB when it had finished as she'd asked to see one.

It does seem unfair. For the fact that she was the same age as my parents, that two of her children are younger than I am. And I feel the same sense of impotent anger that I always do when someone dies of cancer. Survivor's guilt maybe, that my brush with the disease was ultimately brief and in the great scheme of things something of a non-starter. But for others it isn't. And when you've sat in those wards, those clinics, surrounded by people on drips having their blood counts read out to them, seeing their faces as they get the good or bad news, it's not something that you can easily forget.

I guess today marked another piece of childhood, wrapped up in tissue paper and tightly packaged, being moved into the loft.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Pardon seems to be the hardest word

Pardon seems to be the hardest word

WARNING: This entry may contain spoilers. If you're coming to see SSoB and don't want to find out random things then look away now. If you're not that bothered, and frankly I can understand why, keep reading. And to save confusion I'm calling all of the actors by their character names. Stops me getting confused too.

On Tuesday night I went to a four hour marathon SSoB rehearsal. Over the last four or five years I've been to endless rehearsals. Ones where I've kept book, ones where the director has made us play games with a large wooden stick that managed to bruise my hands, even one where two of my actors got over-excited and managed to break a window [explaining that one to the college porter was something of a highlight]. None of them, however, compared to Tuesday night's rehearsal. It was something of a combination of it being wonderful to hear people speak the lines I'd written, and my being self critical. I've lived with the play far too long not to be, I know where the lines go, where I've repeated something that I shouldn't have; I even found myself knowing instinctively when a line had been missed, or a phrase twisted. I became radically aware of bits I'd change. But I also became radically aware of how much of it seems to work. It was a rather pleasant feeling I have to confess. And it settled my nerves somewhat when everyone felt the need to say how funny the first act is; it's still the bit I'm unsure about - the second act rocks, the third act for two thirds I love, but the first act was always the more difficult. I confess to having my odd witty moments [I was rather heartened recently to discover that my 'girlband nickname' would be 'the witty one', it's certainly better than 'the pedantic one'], but I don't really do punchlines. But people laugh. Though I have to credit Harry with making the word 'socks' into the comedy moment of the play.

But I was very, very aware of my being the author. I resolutely don't want the cast to think that I have the answers, that I know why or how someone is doing something. And it was nice that, aside from a question about whether the characters were based on real people and if I'd support a reading of Harry which had Alan Rickman style qualities, I wasn't. I was surprised with just how accurate some of their surmises were, though. There were lots of Richard Curtis pieces of advice, and Sophie commented on how she felt herself and Jay had aspects of Monica and Chandler. I never consciously put that in, but Curtis and Friends are something which probably pound through my veins. There was always bound to be some that got in there. It also amused me just how reverant they were to the script. For some reason Harry had a total mental block on the word 'pardon'. Now maybe 'pardon' is just one of my quirks, but I've never thought of it as a particularly odd word. But for Harry it just wouldn't come out of his mouth sounding normal and I was asked if he could change it to 'sorry'. Given that the odd [or very odd] pardon hadn't been crucial to my artistic vision, I agreed, but I felt it incredibly sweet that it was thought necessary to ask. I also loved the fact that at one point they spent a number of minutes discussing why Will stumbles over a line and repeats the word 'more'. It's a times like this that I realise just how much of what a writer does isn't 100% intentional. If I'd have laboured over every line like that I'd have still been writing now. Lit crit can see wonderful things.

Yesterday was, officially, my only day off until next Tuesday. After a fairly late night because of SSoB buzzing round my head I slobbed around for most of the morning before having to go to the supermarket which I officially hate. I then spent much longer than I probably should have done writing a writer's statement for the press pack, which involved me being slightly pretentious and quoting the phrase "shit happens". Whether this will turn out to be a good thing or not, I'm unsure. It also emerged that the Border's Preview has been pulled forward to the morning of the 18th as all the writers and directors are having a workshop with Suzanne Bell [literary manager of the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool] in the afternoon. Some how even the chance to big up Virginia Woolf and Roald Dahl pales into insignificance at this.

Having some how managed to calm myself down I went for dinner with The Graduate. Normally I have enough patience to sidestep from any of the possible areas of major disagreement between us [and, Harry Potter aside, there are many, not least his view of blogs], but I was already tired and crotchety and if I'm entirely honest not entirely certain that I wouldn't rather have been in bed, reading one of my trashy magazines and so I doubt that I was at my most tactful. Thus I ended up revealing that I wasn't entirely surprised that his PGCE application had been rejected by Oxford and that I didn't think he had good enough motivations to go into teaching. I know I'm a fine one to talk having dropped my plans in that direction, but I seriously researched the whole thing and still consider it to be something that I'd enjoy doing. I just felt that his whole approach was a little naive and that the research really hadn't been done. I think we agreed to disagree, mainly because I didn't want to have an argument in public and it was starting to look like I was beating a puppy, and so we settled back into better territory of discussing our favourite Beatles songs. Which, naturally, we didn't agree on.

Next Step, Placards...

Next Step, Placards...


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Rather classy, I must admit. But then I'm biased.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Rocking [albeit whilst sitting down]

Rocking [albeit whilst sitting down]

Of the list of things which I love without reservation, The Bedford is without doubt near the top of the list. It's this wonderful Narnia-like pub in Balham, where you step through the door into what appears to be any normal pub but which upon your entry turns out to be something entirely different. Not quite the scale of Narnia I have to confess, but something along those lines. Were it not for the fact that it's a good two hours away from me even when I'm in Oxford I'd make it my local. If not for all of the great music that I've seen there, then for the fact that it has a space named the Globe, which resembles, as its name suggests, that of the theatre of the same name and which has a fabulously twinkly fairy-light backdrop in front of which all of the acts perform. I first went there back in June, to see Griffin do a gig, and I fell somewhat in love with the whole experience. Indeed I defy anyone to go there and not become enraptured with it.

The reason I'm waxing lyrical about The Bedford is that I went to see Riccardi play a forty minute set there last night and consequently ended up falling into bed some time around 3.45am this morning. Which isn't exactly conducive for a day when I've a tutorial it has to be said. But to return to Riccardi, the evening was rather wonderful. The band rocked [everyone always says this but there really is no other way to describe them, they rock] and I got to sit down in the midst of Narnia listening to them, albeit whilst trying to avoid ending up on either a video or audio recording. Nik also managed with quite some hilarity to create comedy promo material for SSoB, which led to a guy who once played keyboards when Riccardi backed Griffin asking if the play was taking place in Oxford Street. Unfortunately my reply was in the negative.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Coffee Cups and Washing Up

Coffee Cups and Washing Up

It's odd how quickly you settle into a routine. If I discount all the time during the Christmas Vac when I wasn't here then I've only lived in my house for 13 weeks. Which isn't, in the scheme of things, very long. It is long enough, though, to have settled nicely into something of a routine - albeit a routine which is randmonly interupted by Modern Language students queueing up for classes outside of my bedroom door [the college decided that they didn't have enough teaching room due to building work and decided to turn the room next door to me into a seminar room, which has amusement value if only for my seeing how loudly I can play Busted through the walls before someone comes and tells me to turn it off]. And in turn my two other housemates have a routine, so collectively we have our routine. This was until the arrival of New Housemate three weeks ago. New Housemate has a very different, and not yet compatible routine. He leaves his belongings all over the bathroom. He manages, through some super-human ability which I've never before encountered, to cover the kitchen in ground coffee every single evening. He plays his music at a level far beyong anything which I've managed to muster during the chorus of 'Air Hostess'. And, today, it emerged that the plates which I thought had dissapeared into the great Oxford triangle had taken up residence in his room, and are now festering away in the sink. And will be until I can't stand it any longer and wash them up myself. In short New Housemate has rather a lot to learn. And given that myself and the Linguist have already fallen victim to finals panic in the last week, his timing for learning everything is not exactly the best.

To quote a famous song, albeit massively out of context, there may be troubles ahead. Only this time with extra strength coffee thrown in.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Jumping Not Falling

Jumping Not Falling

On Monday afternoon I went to talk given by Patrick Marber as part of his residency as the Cameron Mackintosh Professor of Drama here, in which he spoke about the film version of Closer and its relationship to the play. As he battled with an Oxford Professor who was resolutely anti Dan [Pretty Jude Law in the film] he started speaking about how audiences never like Dan, and that though the play started with Dan its structure doomed him somewhat to being disliked. At the time I think I had some misgivings about this. Not because I doubt what Paddy was saying. I don't, I haven't managed to find a single person who's found Dan sympathetic in either film or play version. Indeed the fact that the acting accolades are all heading the way of the two more obviously likeable characters would indicate that I'm going to have a struggle finding someone who feels sympathy for Dan. And yet, and I'm not putting this simply down to Pretty Jude Law though I do admit that having his features gracing the screen did give Dan a certain attraction, I rather like Dan. By God, he's flawed but there's something about him; indeed I think there's one particular bit which seals it for me:

DAN: Tell me you're not in love with me.
Beat.
ANNA: I'm not in love with you.
Pause.
DAN: You just lied. See me next week. Please Anna...I'm begging you...I'm your stranger...jump.

Maybe I'm being swept along just as much as Dan is, that I'm allowing myself to be caught up in the emotions which are pummelling him. And yet, in that one moment, I think there's something entirely beautiful about him. Unequivocally, totally. Something that just sweeps you away and forces you to accept its beauty. If Paddy now realises that an audience never loves Dan it's something he didn't expect when he was writing it - he rather expected an audience to love Dan too much - and I can understand why. His writing is pushing us to love Dan, even if only for this one second, and even with everything that happens, even when Dan behaves like a sh*t, the moment still remains. At that moment, despite everything else, I'd jump. Which is what, ultimately, the play is all about. Yes it's dark and has its apparently emotionally sterile moments, but it has a heart. It's got that slice of humanity that I was talking about in McDonagh's play. It never condemns its characters, it instead shows them taking a chance, valiantly struggling for intimacy, to be close to one another, in a world where there's global communication but no one really talks to one another. And that's where Dan's right and maybe where Alice falls down. Dan is willing to jump whatever the cost. Alice never truly does. And that's why, I guess, I can't but help liking Dan. He jumps. Foolishly, selfishly, annoyingly...all of those things. But he still jumps.

Today I can't say that I've done much jumping myself. I've written 2,500 words worth of essay and eaten a packet of Maryland cookies whilst doing so. I guess some days are more for jumping and others for covering yourself in chocolate chip cookies. Today would be one of the latter ones.

Just a little bit more

Just a little bit more...

This week's favourite photo from the Whitby Gazette:


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[I know I need help...]

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Whitby's Elvis Sings For Charity...

Whitby's Elvis Sings For Charity...

My books from Amazon arrived today. I like books and getting them through the post - even ones that I've paid for myself - is still something of a thrill. Opening them, sniffing them [ok, so I don't actually sniff them, but you get the idea], flicking through their new pages...It's at times like this when I realise that I may have issues. Anyway, books arrived, I got over-excited. Three weeks worth of back issues of the Whitby Gazette also arrived, courtesy of my mother. It should probably be stated that i)I don't live in Whitby [or indeed the surrounding area] ii)I never have lived in Whitby iii)I don't intend to live in Whitby [unless some fluke happens and the Whitby Gazette offer me a post, in which case I'm packing up my shoes quicksmart and taking up residence in the only seaside resort in Yorkshire which is north facing]. Which does, of course, pose some questions as to why I'm receiving back issues of the Whitby Gazette and why this makes me happy.

In short [there is the 40,000 words and counting version which you can read should you desire] I initially started buying the Whitby Gazette because Griffin was featured. Griffin as used here doesn't refer to the mythical creature of the same name, though why the Whitby Gazette would be featuring that sort of Griffin I'm not sure, but to a guy named Alistair Griffin who, as fate would have it, I ended up supporting during a particularly tortuous series of a British reality television show. Anyway, Griffin was on the front of this particular issue of the Whitby Gazette promoting some raffle which was being used to collect money for the Christmas Lights in Whitby [as I type I think I own several bulbs that graced the streets this Christmas] and I ended up with a copy. I'd like to think that there was some logical step that led to me getting excited about the Whitby Gazette after this, but I can't. It's not even something which I can claim has happened to other people. I remain possibly the lone subscriber to the Whitby Gazette outside of its catchment area. I confess I like it. Firstly, they're always rather nice about Griffin, which definitely has not been the case elsewhere [a particularly stinging snippet from the 3am girls seems to pop into mind] and for that some support in kind seems merited. Secondly, the majority of its content is widely alien from anything which I'm used to. I'm sure that the population of my high school was only marginally smaller than the population of Whitby, which inevitably leads to some wonderful stories. Finally, I've become associated with the Whitby Gazette in a manner I'd struggle to throw off. I was even given a Whitby Gazette bookmark for my birthday. So it's become a marker - literally in this case - and I rather like that.

But I concede, it is slightly odd to have a pile of Whitby Gazette issues in the middle of a room in Oxford.

Friday, February 04, 2005

The One Without The Swigging

So, what do you think of Marilyn? I nearly opted for a blog skin with playboy bunny shot glasses at the top, but in the end Marilyn won through. With a dress that gorgeous it would have been rude not to.

In this hive of productivity [not only did I find a new blog skin I also managed to finish my reading for my essay this week, which on a Friday morning is something of a triumph] I also fished out my former online journal from the realms of my computer and stuck it up here. It's a few years old, and the phrasing and spelling is, shall we say interesting, but I do have a fondness for my incarnation as Hugh-Grant-Loving-Wine-Swigging-Northern-Girl. Whilst I still wouldn't say no to Hugh Grant, if I'm honest then Pretty Jude Law [to give him his correct title] may have surpassed him in recent months. And, after a particular incident with wine which left me spending 12 hours becoming intimately aquainted with my stomach lining, I don't really tend to swig wine anymore. Indeed it was probably swigging that got me into that position. It's a valuable lesson I'm sure you'll all agree. Funds allowing I'm more of a Baileys drinker now. I'm still Northern if that counts.

Further to yesterday's comments, it's a good job that I'm starting to get a hold of SSoB as it turns out there's a bit of a preview thing going on in Borders in Oxford in a couple of weeks time and I have to go and speak. Eeek. "Well, this is my play...there are six characters...and an implosion. Please enjoy the preview, maybe even buy a ticket, and if not, I'd recommend buying something by Virginia Woolf, or if you're not feeling that adventurous, then a copy of Marie Claire". It'll have them rushing to the theatre box office, I can tell that now.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

If it's good enough for you...

Today started with Chris Moyles's voice emanating through my room, talking about Star Trek. Always an interesting way to start the day, I'm sure you'll agree. After such an odd beginning I fully contemplated staying in bed, blowing off my morning lecture and surfacing some time around mid-day, when I'd then get to wander around my house in my Miffy pyjamas and be accosted by an American student looking for Seminar Room C. I let this thought settle for a bit, the notion of more sleep outweighing the embarrassment of the American student situation, and the guilt of missing what is the only lecture series that I'm attempting to attend this term slinking away. Then Comedy Dave's* tedious link track turned out to be Dodgy's 'Good Enough' and suddenly I was singing along, and couldn't even pretend to be lolling back to sleep. So I got up and went to the lecture. I'd request some brownie points for that were it not part of my degree and probably actually expected of me.

I ended up talking to someone about SSoB today which is, and I'm somewhat thankful about this, getting easier. It's not that it's a subject that I don't like talking about, it's just that I really don't have the answers in a way that's uniquely embarrassing when you're the writer. "It's well...erm...about these six characters and...erm..." "Thank you for that insight". I believe that I use the word implode a lot when describing it. Six characters and an implosion. Snappy. But it is getting easier, and I'm glad. Harold Pinter always claims that he knows nothing beyond what is written in his plays, which I'm beginning to understand, but it's not something I'd feel satisfied with. So I'm kind of glad that maybe, albeit after over 18 months of living with this play, things are slowly starting to make sense.

It also hit me today of something that should be in the play but isn't. It's rather annoying that I've managed to solve a problem that's been bugging me for a while now and now I can't do anything to fix it because the play belongs to so many other people too. Maybe after the production's over I might make some changes, if not because I'm going to send it round the literary managers, then for my own good. I'm probably focusing on this because I'm starting writing another play, and I haven't got a proper handle on it yet so it's easier to think of something I'm starting to understand than something I have absolutely no idea about. Well, when I say no idea that's not exactly true. I have a title and a final line. Technically I do have more than that, but they're the only bits that I'm sure on. And no doubt they'll both change. As I said before, beginnings, in any shape or form, are not my strong point.

*If you don't know who Comedy Dave is or what on earth I'm talking about then I apologise. I've been sucked in. It's probably terminal.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Ivan Noble

Ivan Noble died yesterday.

I had never met him, or had even heard of him prior to stumbling on what was to all intents and purposes his blog. It only happened that this particular blog was on the BBC website and dealt with his battle against a brain tumour. I've followed his journey for a while now, just like hundreds of others, and now that this particular journey is over I'm not sure what to say.

For all the subject matter however, Ivan's story was witty, uplifting and - possibly the biggest compliment I could give - honest. I'll miss him.