Friday, September 30, 2005

Now Is Not The Time To Cry

Now Is Not The Time To Cry


Over the past few months I've blogged about Griffin quite a few times. Or, possibly more specifically, about the 'Griffin Experience' which has been something of a rollercoaster of not always positive emotions. And whilst I know that there are still things that may irk me - thankfully not Griffin's deck shoes which seem to have dissapeared - there's a reason I hauled myself round the country for a year. As I listened to Griffin singing 'With Or Without You' in a pub in York this week I believed in him so much that it actually hurt. Because he's fucking amazing. In his stripey jumper he was also rather cute too. But the cuteness wouldn't have kept me coming back for this long. I may be shallow but I'm not stupid. After all, think of how many pairs of shoes I could have bought with the money I've spent. I need more than cute to justify that.

Due to half a cheese sandwich and a chocolate biscuit being the entire contents of my food intake I was rather on the drunker side of tipsy before Griffin had even arrived. Which, combined with my tiredness [I'm sorry but 45 hour weeks do not add up to part time], meant that I was somewhat giddy. No, actually that should be I WAS GIDDY. Jump in the street, slide down the side of the bar giddy. I was ready to be blown away. And I was.

As I listened whilst Griffin busked his way through a second - impromptu - set, getting chords wrong, missing out words, sounding achingly beautiful, it seemed like we might have all reconciled ourselves to the situation, Griffin included. I loved it that Griffin felt relaxed and happy enough to sit amongst twenty or so fans and sing. It's not always going to be like that, even with the level of fans he currently has, but that it was possible - just this once - finally bannished once and for all the misgivings about what felt like fairly shoddy treatment towards the end of last year. And anyway, what did it matter?

It's all about the music.
And the piranas.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Coza: Spokeswoman For The English Language

Coza: Spokeswoman For The English Language

"Soirette. Is that a word? [pause] Where's Corinne?"

[waving whilst propping up at the bar] "Yes, it is now!"

"Soirette!"

"I'm Not Your Fool, I'm Your Corrupter of Words"

"I'm Not Your Fool, I'm Your Corrupter of Words"

Me: They're treating me like I'm a pariah.

Griffin: [with concern]I don't think you look like a fish.

I'd Better Put The Glass House Up For Sale

I'd Better Put The Glass House Up For Sale

"You understand"

"Yes, I do; I'm just about clinging on in there".

"Don't laugh. You were the one wearing Boho Festival Chic. In a tent. In Castleton".

(Beat)

"Point taken".

The Drunk Leading The Drunk

The Drunk Leading The Drunk

"I don't normally walk. I use a rickshaw".

"Cool".

"Well, when I saw that, what I actually mean is that I've got two men who carry me around" [mimics holding action]

"Wow, are they expensive?"

"I don't pay them, they do it because they want to"

"For the love of it".

"That's right. Of course, they can't feed their children..."

Thursday, September 22, 2005

How To:

How To:

Drive me insane:

Put up a sign reading "Tonights [sic] show is a preview performance" and then make me stand opposite it selling programmes for over an hour. If I managed not to go find a marker pen and add the apostrophe to the official sign for Twelfth Night then one of my co-workers wasn't quite so lucky with his homemade birthday drinks sign. There was no way I was letting him get away with "Im". My inner pendant couldn't deal with it.

Make me happy:

Tell me to go and sit in the bar whilst waiting for my free taxi home [WYP fact fans, any show which finish after 10:30 entitles the attendants to a free ride home. Ha, ha, lobotomy bus guys].

Make me giddy:

Be Ian Brown (WYP's Director) and have your post show discussion sitting at the table next to me. I was rather sad when my taxi arrived and I had to leave.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sponsored By Disney

Sponsored By Disney

There are times when I find myself talking about the writing thing more than I spend actually doing it. I'd put the last few weeks into that bracket, what with explaining to the fifty million other attendants at the WYP what I'm currently doing with my time and because I'm spending so much time explaining there or building what is becoming an increasingly intimate relationship with the office scanner, it all adds up to one thing. Not writing. Which is not a good thing when I've got a self imposed deadline for Four Chords to adhere to, a Live Theatre imposed deadline for my, as yet un-named, ten minuter and a Screen Yorkshire imposed deadline for applying to take part in their shorts program in the New Year. Which all adds up to lots of deadlines and not a lot of action.

Yesterday, though...

I think raising the subject of Four Chords with Griffin the other week, however jokingly I did so and however jokingly it was responded to*, maybe mentally freed me up a bit. In short? It doesn't scare me that I'm diving off of chunks of the Griffin experience. The more I muse on the subject the more I realise that I have to write this play as it wants to be written. And, currently, that means that Griffin's in focus.

So if that doesn't scare me any more, it's allowed me to include him in my research more than I'd intended to. Seriously, when there's a wealth of before, during and after interviews at my finger tips it seems foolish not to. It was something of Griffin's that I wasn't actively looking for, that I stumbled across when clearly out the videos, that inspired me. In an interview for the Disney Channel of all places. And it struck me because all though I've heard him utter similar sentiments in the past year, it was rather startling to hear him say it in the midst of the experience:

"It's not quite everything you think it's going to be".

And so I'm not taking him out of context, or making the Studio Disney interview with Griffin seem more deep and interesting than it actually was, Griffin was specifically talking about fame and he immediately undercut it. But the rest didn't matter. It was the questions that it raised in my head, the question that it struck me that Ben and Jude** have to answer.

24 hours later, as I sat at the WYP prior to my shift starting, I pulled out my notebook and started some dialogue with that sentence. In fifteen minutes I had the last five pages of the play written. And it felt rather wonderful.

Which points to two things. Firstly, the research lark. A very good idea. I'm going to have to do some more in the areas that I might otherwise have chosen to ignore for being too close to home. Secondly, at this rate Griffin's going to be entitled to his percentage share even if he's not in it.

*I'm hoping it was a joke, because otherwise I agreed three times that Griffin can play the lead. And I don't even know if he can act.

** They'll be my leads.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Well I Said What About Dawson's Creek?

Well I Said What About Dawson's Creek?

After something of a minor collapse, no doubt threatening the structural integrity of the dining room ceiling, I thought it wise to at least make a start of sorting through the random crap which has accumulated in the area that used to be my desk. But because sorting through bits of paper and Get Along Gang minatures isn't that exciting, especially given the fact that I seem to have slipped into full time work at the moment, I settled instead for sorting out the pile of videos that were spilling on to the floor. I'm not sure how much this is going to help the whole desk-asthetic problem because, let's face it, dealing with the videos is like pouring a bottle of water on to a house fire. The difference it makes is pretty negligble. But it is out of small steps that giant leaps are made, so the videos seemed as good a place as any to start.

And, if I were to reduce myself to stereotypes, then I think the pile of homerecorded videos would be a good a place as any to create a stereotype. Indeed I was worried that there wasn't a single curve ball in there. In no particular order I located:

1. The film Wilde. One of my all time icons and Pretty Jude Law. It's like all my Christmases come together.

2. A couple of episodes of 'What Not To Wear', because I am not ashamed to say that I LOVE THAT SHOW. It's pointing and being smug about other people's clothing. On national television. What's not to like?

3. A tape of 'Will & Grace' episodes. I've always been on the edge of being a W&G fan proper, I mean that whole 'Just Jack' business was hilarious, but never quite made the leap to the big league. Possibly I exhausted my tv series addiction on Friends. Possibly I never got over the fact that no one in W&G is Chandler.

4. Dawson's Creek. Which probably goes to show how long it has been since I cleaned out my videos. I loved DC. In fact I need to state that again. I loved DC. It escapes me why I didn't go and stalk Joshua Jackson when he was in London. Sadly the video concerned was of episodes from season five just when the show turned into The Joey Story. And it didn't even have the one where Dawson's dad dies whilst picking up his icecream. I doubt there's ever going to be a better tv serial death than that one.

5. The second half of Richard II at the Globe. Now I love The Globe. And I love RII (it even made its way into my Desert Island Shakespeare list). But the reason that I only have the second half? Well I couldn't watch the second half live, which had not a little to do with...

6. Griffin. Or rather, two episodes of CBBC at the tortuous reality television show, one of which had a clip of Griffin's hometown which weirded me out as I recognised everything, a tape of random Bring It On promotional stuff, one of You & Me stuff and a tape that just had his (and indeed my) Radio Five Live appearance on. Please keep in mind that I once had Ant and Dec tapes in multiple figures. Griffin got off lightly.

Damn how predictable I'm becoming.

Monday, September 19, 2005

It's A Good Job They're Friends

It's A Good Job They're Friends

"I hope Corinne's aiming higher than Alistair Griffin...James Fox for example"

Next time Fox does a post chest-wax topless picture for a weekly magazine purchased by my mother, remind me to hide it.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Ten Minute Warning

Just under two weeks ago I went to a BBC Writersroom event in Middlesbrough. It was all structured around the 'Short Fuse' competition that Live Theatre in Newcastle is running with the BBC, which is basically asking for ten minute 2-5 person theatre/radio/tv plays. The ten minute thing did bring up some issues - not least because, let's face it, brevity is not one of my strong points - but mainly because the requirements of a ten minute piece are radically different from the demands of a full length one. How much character development are you going to get in ten minutes? Very little, even if you only use two characters. So you're looking for story with a little bit of character development thrown in. And I'm not sure how much that plays to my strengths. As a writer, as a reader, as a viewer, I prefer the journey to the arrival. Don't get me wrong I'm all for twists and turns and a plot that can hit you in stomach - it's probably one of the reasons that I'm currently obsessed with Lost (the bit when you saw that Locke had been in a wheelchair prior to the crash? I actually squealed with delight)* - but the fact remains that I'd take a Ginny Woolf novel over pretty much anything else. And let's have no bones about this, Ginny constructs an entire novel around a trip to a lighthouse. If you're looking for twists and turns, mad passions and painting the sky red events then you're going to have to look elsewhere.

Conversely, if I look to Ginny for some of the problems I have in my head with writing a ten minute piece, then I have to concede that Ginny wrote some great short stories. She wrote some crap ones too, but I wouldn't like her as much if she didn't get things wrong some of the time (as one of my other great female writers once wrote 'perfection is sterile'). But her good stories, the ones that can stand on their own feet away from the novels, they're interesting and just as 'Woolfian' as any of her other writing. And even in those, the stories that cover maybe five or six pages of my non-Penguin edition, Ginny cares more about the journey than the destination. It's not what the mark on the wall actually is, but what the narrator thinks it might be; not the reality of the woman on the train but what can be conjured up about her. Henry James's 'Turn of the Screw', which may or may not be about supernatural happenings, equally stands as much on the character of its rather odd narrator than what happens within it. There has to be a premise, a story arc of some sort, but not one that has to overide everything else. And I suspect - and indeed hope that the writers don't bow down to any sort of pressure - that my new tv obsession will prove to be equally about the journey. I don't want to know ultimately what the island is - real or not - or what's in the bushes. I love it that Lost's writers are playing with my head regarding it, but I don't want there to be an answer or resolution. It would only dissapoint.

I suspect my own dissapointment of too neat endings means that I'll never be able to write one. I had it voiced to me on a few occassions that the ending of SSoB wasn't conclusive enough. But equally I had several different opinions voiced to me on what happens to the characters afterwards. And I liked that. The writer isn't God. They don't - and shouldn't - have all the answers.

Which is all probably a very long winded way - I did mention brevity not being a strong point - of saying that I've come to terms with the ten minute thing. My piece - which I'm not sure yet whether it's for radio or the stage as it stands half written, half in my head - doesn't have some neat, head in hands twist. It has a question. The end is simply the beginning.

Or at least that's what I'm telling myself...

*I'd apologise for people who haven't been sucked into Lost and therefore don't know what I'm going on about, but I shan't because it's such a brilliant programme that no apologies are necessary.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Reflecting Reality

Reflecting Reality

As has happened so often I knew exactly how I was going to start the blog entry:

There's some saying about you knowing you're getting old when the police (the law enforcers rather than the group) start looking young. I'd like to ammend that to you know you're getting old when the Policeman in your living room says the following:

[holding radio upside down as it makes a collection of increasingly random noises] "These new radios - they're pants".

Pants? As an adjective? By a Policeman? What is the world coming to?

But if I knew that was how I wanted to start the blog entry, I also knew that I couldn't leave it standing as it was. It's one thing for me to drop in an annecdote about a dummy named Malcolm, it's a whole other issue entirely to drop in one which has a subtext like a Policeman in my living room. And if I dropped that in, I knew it would be unfair to dangle it and not explain. And I also instinctively knew that I couldn't explain. I can't explain. Not because I don't want to, but because it's not my story to tell. But if I'm being honest, if I'm going to keep DA as a reflection of my life, then it deserves its place in here. Because I suspect that Wednesday's events - and I would press that of the story that I'm circling the policeman (and his pants) were only a tiny, not actually that important part - will live long in the memory. And things will be ok, will get better, simply because I believe that they always do. But that doesn't stop me worrying.

But the pants story isn't the only thing that's made me think about what I decide to write on here. Jen told me that she thought that my blog on Castleton's Summer Dance was "restrained for [me]". I wasn't even aware of the restraint when I wrote it, but when I re-read it, possibly in the light of the over exuberant account I'd written to Jen, I saw exactly what she meant. I'd censored, held back, for a combination of not having the appetite currently for my blog to be picked over on the personal message system of a-g.co.uk and through the Griffin protection code. I thought that I'd dispensed with that on here, that I could be honest but, maybe because during the life of this blog my contact with Griffin has been minimal and more often than not refracted by other people, I'd forgotten how the Griffin code emerged. It wasn't about hiding fan trouble or pushing to one side the negative experiences and feelings. It was, at least orginally, about being discreet about Griffin in the face of him at his most indiscreet. It wasn't that I was hoarding from other fans, but that there's a line - even from the very first time I met him - that had to be drawn. I wrote the blog entry I did because I knew there are a group of readers here who would want to hear what I had to say about the experience. Who would want to hear a bit about Griffin and because I've always been a sucker for an appreciative audience it was my instinct to give it. But the whole jist of the evening wasn't really in the style of one of those reports that I used to write. It was more relaxed, Griffin wasn't the popstar, there weren't signing queues, there was simply Griffin singing Brown Eyed Girl as people danced, not even aware of who was singing. Had I been blogging objectively I'd have blogged a conversation I only alluded to and probably nothing else; it had enough of the comedy, of the ridiculous and a little bit of wonderful, to - in any other circumstances - have made its way as one of my half over heard blogs. But I couldn't. Because it was Griffin. And I do wonder why I feel like that. Why I should feel like that here, when I've never been asked to sign the official secrets act. But I did. And I still do.

Maybe this is simply symptomatic of a larger issue I'm having at the moment. I couldn't blog about the inccident five minutes into my first night at the WYP that had me reaching for all the Malcolm training we'd had because I'm sure there's something about confidentiality in there (though I don't think it extends to ice cream confidentiality). And I like the WYP. It smells of theatre. I'd like to work there for at least the next year. Equally I didn't blog the events around my dispensing with the day glow orange jacket out on a building site part of my admin job, despite the fact that this made me very, very happy indeed because i) the building site had a funny smell and ii)I was properly beginning to hate going there. Whilst I have no desire to work for any longer than what I'm contracted to at the Construction company, they are paying me and were good enough to move me to the office full time when I said there was no way that I was going back to the site in question. I read Dooce. I know it's not a good idea to bitch about your boss.

So I think, I need to realign what -or how - I write in DA. I'm never going to be able to blog about everything that's going on, little or gigantic, but maybe I needed to write this entry to assert to myself that I will continue being as honest as I can. I've never wanted anything fake or half felt to appear here.

Next time I want to blog about the Policeman and his pants, or Griffin and Edinburgh, or binning a day glow orange jacket, I will do. I might not be able to explain everything, or give everything its proper context, but I will be honest. Let's call that the DA Code*; just like a supermarket price promise but without the cheap beans or buy one get one free offers.

*Ah, there's something else to put under my 'Team DA' aspirations. **

**You know I'm going to make DA mugs one day.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Dedicated Follower of Fashion

Dedicated Follower of Fashion

Who knew that one bald guy with a lobotomy and an absense of manners would start a craze?

I'd like to take credit but this belongs to Jen and her mounting cafepress obsession. Who needs team Aniston and Jolie?*

*Actually me. And you know I'm so on Jenifer's side.**

**I'd quite like a Team DA top though. I hate to think what the rival team would be called (answers in the comments box...)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Realistations

Realisations

If there's a reason - other than total unbounded fear - that I haven't learnt to drive yet, it's undoubtedly due to the fact that I've been spoilt with other forms of transportation. In Oxford if I couldn't get there on foot, then my bike would do it. In Leeds my purple bike is considerably less appealing (unless I fancied seeing whether the polution or an irrate driver would get me first), but I live less than five minutes walk from a train station and bang smack in the midst of at least three major bus routes.

In Leeds my public transport of choice is most definitely the train. Yes, you may get squashed, almost end up in Selby and/ or be treated to the disco version of all-the-trains-are-delayed ah-ha ah-ha but it has three things in its favour. One: assuming a train eventually arrives and you don't get stuck just outside Sheffield for over an hour, trains are quicker. Two: I have a young person's railcard. It still remains as my best purchase of the past decade. Once you get out of full time school the bus companies abandon you to full price hell. And I do not like full price. I like discounts. Three: due to some unknown social factor people who travel by train are less scary (or at least people who travel by local train are).
Given that the advantages of train are scientifically threefold when I started at the WYP I'd intended to travel into Leeds by train. This was until I'd finished my first shift and my bargainous black pointy flat shoes from Asda had started to gorge holes in my flesh. Suddenly the ten minute walk to the station seemed less than appealing when there was a bus stop right outside the theatre. So the journey itself would take longer but at least I wouldn't come into contact with the bones in my foot.

And as the bus was near and as I'm lazy, I ignored the threefold reasons of the train and embraced the bus. Last night was no different. Bronte finished around 10:25 and by 10:40 I was waiting for the bus. As usual (if usual can be defined when there's only three lots of statistics to go on) it arrived vaguely on time and I bounced on board. There were slightly more people than normal, but it was still empty enough for there to be plenty of free seats. Five minutes into my journey a bald headed man came down from upstairs and plonked himself on one of the front seats. Now I noticed this because changing seats on a bus that is half empty is an odd thing. Once you're over the age of eight the invisible rules of bus ettiquette state that you stay put. No one likes sudden movement, afterall, least of all those who are on a bus in the middle of Leeds at 11.00pm. Bald guy continued to jiggle before asking what the time was to the couple seated behind him. Nothing particularly odd, except that the second he asked he got his mobile phone out and double checked their answer.

But I forget Bald Guy because I've got a job application to plan in my head and I've ten minutes on the bus to do so. This is why I only notice Bald Guy get up again out of the corner of my eye. But he doesn't just get up, he kind of leaps. And the next thing I know he's standing in the aisle looking at me. I look back and notice he's got a large scar running across his head. I wonder if it's the mark of a lobotomy.

"Can you move..." Bald Guy gestures to my bag which is on the seat next to me.

I look back at him. There's no way I'm moving the bag. I'd rather poke myself in the eye with Lego Snape's foot.

"Why?"

"Because I want to sit there".

I think we can all agree that wanting to sit there, when the bus is half empty and you've got a lobotomy scar, is not a good enough reason.

"There are plenty of other seats to sit in".

Bald Guy looks at me. And because I don't think this situation is up for debate I look back. Ten seconds during which I'm incredibly aware of the silence on the bus elapse before he moves.

And everything is ok for about a minute. Until once again he leaps up. Then he's moved to a new seat, then another, then another until he's in the one opposite me.
"You're right" Bald Guy says "There are a lot of seats".

"I know". But I sense that I don't want this conversation to go on any longer. I don't like the guy. I don't like his lobotomy scar. I don't like how quiet the rest of the bus is.

The Bald Guy gets up again and walks to the end of the aisle, turning to look at me.

"When you have an opinion back it up".

There's a pause.

"Yes, I can see you and you can see me".

"When you have an opinion back it up. Remember that."

I'm no longer looking at him, as I don't see why I should dignify him and his lobotomy scar with a response. And once again it's silent. Then I can half hear him talking to the driver, a murmur, something indistinct.

The bus stops. Bald Guy gets off still making noises at the driver. As the bus begins to move, he hits the window. Once. Twice. Dull thuds that ressonate across the floor.

The couple in front of me exchange looks. They turn to look at me.

"Twat" the man smiles at me.

I nod back. But I don't want to smile. Not because of Bald Guy and his lobotomy, or being on the bus, or even because I ignored the threefold train rules. But because of the silence.

Downstairs on the bus there were seven male passengers excluding Bald Guy and a non-driving Bus Driver. All were bigger and older than me. And it made me wonder at what stage would they have stepped in. How uncomfortable would I have been made to feel before they stopped burying their head into their girlfriend, or listening to their ipod or studiously reading a paper. How far will people simply pretend that they're not witnessing something?

And you know what? That scared me far more than Bald Guy did.

Monday, September 12, 2005

I Have Mostly Been Learning

I Have Mostly Been Learning

Tonight's my third shift at the WYP, and last one as a trainee. Which means that it's probably time to reflect on what I've learnt.

1. When ice cream tubs (one pound twenty girls and boys) don't have a spoon in you can't seel them. And if you can't sell them there is only one thing for it. Yum.

2. Dracula shouldn't do jazz hands. It's distracting.

3. Even big playhouses have problems with their t-shirt printers.

4. That Bramwell Bronte was a bit odd.

5. That the closest to a heat spotted I've come has been a member of the Emmerdale cast. Apparently there were 'ballet people' at Dracula on Thursday but I don't have the skills the recognise them.

6. That, one day, I will get lost in one of the fifteen million corridors. Hopefully I won't be carrying ice cream.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Wonderful Tonight

Wonderful Tonight

After four days admin work, two evening shifts at the WYP and an impromptu trip up to Middlesbrough for a Northern Exposure workshop I'd planned to have a quiet weekend. Sort out the growing mess that has accumulated by my not doing anything when I've had five minutes at home this week, maybe work on a couple of applications and catch up with Lost.

At least I thought this until just after 11:00 yesterday morning. Suddenly, unexpectedly, Griffin was bashing out a few songs at his village's summer dance. I didn't have to think twice about it. I was going.

What I did have to think about though was what I was going to wear. Not because of the Griffin aspect (if that were the key requirement then I'd permenantly be wearing my black 'Derby top') but because I'm generally obsessed with clothing at the moment. I'm blaming having let Vogue back into my life. And if something can shake fear into the wardrobe of a confirmed city girl it's a summer dance that has been tacked on to the village show. My one experience of a village show involved more mud than I have ever seen in my life. And mud is not compatible with any of my myriad of outfits. I suspect that even my pink wellies aren't made for mud walking. But the marquee dance description of this event threw up the possibility of something beyond mud - you can't dance in your wellies afterall, even if they are pink ones. After all of several minutes thought I decided that if I were to look to a fashion guru at this point it would be Kate Moss. Whilst I don't think she's ever had to negotiate the delicate balance of clothing required for the Castleton Summer Dance, I think we can all agree that she knows one or two things about festival dressing.

One black shirt dress (circa topshop 2000), a brown belt, some dark jeans and a pair of cowboy boots later I was ready. Or at least almost ready, because boho festival chic really needed an early September 2005 twist. So on went the silver bangles and, finally, a black headband. I don't think I'd worn a headband since I was about 12, indeed I'd forgotten how they make the hair at the base of your head stick up, but boy was the black headband a catwalk trend and, really, boho festival chic was the only way I was going to get to try out this trend.

When Cat, Shona, Val and myself arrived in Castleton some time after six the most pressing question was no longer footwear but what the technical difference is between a tent and a marquee. In my experience you see marquees at Oxford garden parties or peoples' weddings. They're often white/cream coloured with doors and - crucially - flooring. If you can see grass then what you've got is a glorified tent. The debate continued to rage as we went for drinks in the Downe, as we fell about laughing over the grass verge carpark and even as we negotiated our way through the field to purchase tickets.

Given our relatively early arrival - and discovery that grass was very clearly visible within the tent - meant that the party hadn't really started we got the man selling tickets to direct us out of the field ("we don't have to climb do we?") and spent the next hour or so drinking in the Eskdale. Shona, Val and I also had a bit of an impromptu Harry Potter conversation which left Cat and Gayle not so subtly shifting towards the table next to us.

Fed, watered and, at least in my case, slightly giddy (blame the very large Baileys in the Downe) we rolled back to the tent to discover that the band were playing, Griffin was drinking by the makeshift bar and, most importantly, if we were to sit the only place we could do so was on one of the bales of straw*. I've never sat on a bale, hay, straw or otherwise, so this amused me somewhat, something that was a good thing given the not-at-all-amusing makeshift bar prices.

After the first set from the Colin Holt band and an interlude of music on the CD player which included my all time favourite REM song, Nightswimming, it was Griffin's turn to sing. I'd already noticed how tiny he seemed, something which couldn't be disguised by the bulky jumper and hoodie (washed slightly out of shape) which he had on. Good jeans though. But, as has happened so often in the most unusual of places, his voice was again simply beautiful. He can almost effortlessly break your heart. And in the tent, with the distant rumble of chatter and the comedy-value bales, there was a little bit of magic.

Once Griffin finished his trio of songs it was time to get up and dance (something i'd been not-so-secretly itching to do all night). After some rather impressive booty shaking from all concerned Griffin was brought back on stage and proceeded to sing 'Brown Eyed Girl' and (Is this the way to) Amarillo? And it was all rather wonderful as he messed up the words, and some drunk women danced around us, because it wasn't complicated or open to analysis. It simply was what it was.

Then the band wanted us to dance again, as we belted out 'American Pie' and I discovered during a rather over-enthusiastic 'jude, jude, judey...' that headbands don't really stay in place when you're rocking. Slightly out of breathe as the band neared the end of their set I went to talk to Griffin, mainly to get some tips on my guitar playing and my chord changing problems (get a copy of an Oasis/ REM [Oasis is easier but I prefer REM] songbook, don't worry too much between chords, sing along and don't look at your fingers. I'll apologise to Oasis and REM in advance). Maybe because of the beer, maybe because of his second place in the Lemon Curd category at the show, Griffin was wonderfully relaxed, witty and slightly cheeky. And, inexplicably, I ended up agreeing that he could be the lead in my play:

Me: Which one?

Griffin: The one that's about me.

I'm also laying the blame firmly at Griffin's door that I want to take something up to the Edinburgh Festival next year - despite the fact that I know from friends' experiences that this is the quickest way to lose money ever. Rather endearingly, given the lack of concrete information around him at the moment, as his sister rather pointedly told him that he had to leave, he left us with "Watch this space. No that would be pointless" [cue blank faces] "Because there's nothing here" [cue weak laughter]. It might have been a joke but I think it acknowledged something important, on both sides of the equation.

Maybe because of the speed, maybe because of the nature of the event and the fact that all of the people there as 'fans' had been impeccably behaved leaving Griffin to enjoy his evening, maybe because - selfishly - of the small number of people there, I enjoyed the night more than I've enjoye Griffin gigs for a long time. I've never stopped enjoying the music, laughing at Griffin's jokes or even having a good time. But it's a long time since I've felt like I did last night. Everything felt special. And I knew, in that instant. I'd do it all again.

*See, I did take note, Val.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

How To: Be Flakey

How To: Be Flakey

Confirm my place on a workshop taking place in Middlesbrough tomorrow night, five days after I sent my request; the time delay meaning I'd assumed that the list was full and yesterday afternoon agreed to work tomorrow in Wetherby.

Then when I come to blog about this, tell me that my computer no longer accepts cookies and that you won't be letting me log into blogger any more desipte the fact that I know my computer is set to accept cookies.

Bah.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Getting Down With The Youth

Getting Down With The Youth

I like to think that I'm open to new experiences (remember that I was voted 'most likely to trya anything once' back in the days of navy school uniforms) so on Saturday night I did something a little leftfield for me. By leftfield I mean it didn't involve the Evil Eye or kleptomania of any sort which, let's face it, is my Saturday night staple. I went to see a youth choir. Seriously. Well, maybe not entirely seriously, the real reason I went to see them was that Megson were playing with them. I've only seen Megson play on their own once, on my first visit to the Bedford (which also holds the distinction of being the first time I heard Riccardi play on their own too). But it has to be said that they were overshadowed that night (though who wouldn't be by a Griffin/ Shakespeare combo with added Fox?). I gained their album at the start of this year, however, and it kind of gained a connection with the run up to SSoB. The album's rather folky-pop (and some times out and out folk) and, with its preoccupation with loss and the reality of long held dreams, it touched a chord.

But I should have expected it to. Whilst I think I will always believe that Griffin's version of 'More Than Me', the source of both SSoB's epigraph and the very title of this blog, is the definitive version it remains that the song actually belongs to Megson. And - as my stealing of its lines - my punishment being that I cannot listen to the 'distant aggravation' line without smirking - in my writing, in this blog, even in one of my essays - I'm rather in thrall to it. I suspect it has cemented its place in my life for reasons beyond any association it might have. Simply, I love 'More Than Me'. I'd love it whoever sung it. It's the kind of song that breaks your heart.

So the numerous plays of the album and the borderline obsession with 'More Than Me' meant I was quite keen to see Megson again, away from the Griffin circus and without references to Cymbeline. And they didn't dissapoint. Stu, who I'd gone away from the last gig thinking that his voice was a little weak, was absolutely tremendous. Understated but totally captivating in a rather unexpected manner. And 'More Than Me' shone out; really as I should have always known that it would. Even the youth choir proved to be noticeably talented and - crucially - enjoyable. Which goes to prove that stepping outside the saturday night comfort zone can be incredibly worthwhile. Next time, though, I think I'd like to see a fully fledged Megson gig, the songwriting alone would be worth the ticket price.

When the audience participation bit was over the night was still young. So we took a couple more leftfield decisions, first of all ending up in Billingham - which smelt overwhelmingly of smoke and didn't seem to be a rockin', even given the Saturday night fact - and then, with some incredibly cheap and fantastic chinese food, watching The Karen Carpenter Story at Cat Towers (***). Up until this point my knowledge of Karen had been pretty much limited to the fact that she died a few weeks after I was born. With the aid of some questionable scriptwriting and some even worse wigs I got a York Notes version of Karen. And it's odd because though I mocked - you would too if you'd seen the wigs - and I didn't get sucked in enough to cry (remember I cry regularly at Neighbours) I must have been touched enough for it still to be pretty vivid 48 hours later. It strikes me that it would make a great play if the writer zoomed in on Karen towards the end of her life and made it retrospective. Or flipped about with the time scheme, like Hare's Plenty, just giving flashes. Tunnelling, Ginny Woolf called it. Tunnelling and better wigs would be the key...But I suspect that if any of those in the room in the early hours of Sunday morning are to write about Karen, it may well be the owner of 'The Karen Carpenter Story' video. Things like that tend to be a pointer.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Next Time I'll Skip Coffee

Next Time I'll Skip Coffee

Along with my new diary (it's either buy a new academic year one even though I'm no longer a student* or have no idea what's happening until January. I took the former option) has come the urge for new beginnings. Tuesday will mark a double one. First night working at the WYP (which also means that I'll get my t-shirt) and, possibly even more momentous, the first day of my writing career proper. Not that I am being paid - even in t-shirts or actual pound coins for that one. But I cannot keep uttering the 'I want to write'** sentence every time someone asks me what I want to do. After all, how difficult is it to write? I'm writing now. Blabbering possibly, but writing nontheless. The difficult bit is being paid to write. But you don't get the latter without the former and I haven't spent the last few months getting to know the ins and outs of foundations without some higher purpose. Going part time in a job that I don't care about was always a means to an end. And that end was most definitely writing shaped. So on Tuesday I start my 9-5 writing.

But if that is a big beginning - at least in my head and what it makes me think about myself - then I'm excited about smaller beginnings too. And I've got a couple for DA. The first of which doesn't actual belong to DA, but is more like a sister to her. If you can follow that, then well done. There's probably nothing of my ramblings that will baffle you. But to return to where I was, sister DA. Or as she is properly known: A Year In The Army. If it were a soap powder it would be a NEW! IMPROVED! VERSION! for whiter than white laundry.

When I re-read this later I'll probably wonder if I've been drinking.

*Though in a supreme switch around, Daddy Furness now is courtesy of a work related course at Leeds Met.

**I didn't say that to the lady at Barclays today when I was sorting out my graduate account. On balance I thought 'I want to work in theatre' was marginally less likely to make her withdraw my overdraft facility than 'I want to write'. I also managed to hold in the answer of 'shoes' to the question 'what do you spend your wages on?'.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Malcolm

Malcolm

"I never work alone - this is Malcolm"

Only there's one thing about Malcolm which makes him stand out. He's made of plastic.

"Imagine he's got arms and legs"

It's a bit of a leap, but I can do it. I used to imagine that fairies lived in the bottom of my garden. After that, giving Malcolm working limbs is no problem.

"Now, you walk into a room and see Malcolm on the floor. What do you do?"

Wonder who left a plastic dummy with no arms or legs on the floor? Return it to the props department? Plan to shove it in my handbag and sell it on ebay?

Sadly, it would seem that the answer is none of the above. And suddenly I'm wishing that I hadn't stopped watching Holby City when they killed off one of my favourite characters without warning.

Thirty minutes later, with the aid of Malcolm, the entire room knows what to do. Heart massaging, fits, bumps, cuts and all.

Which, regardless of how useful it may be in a theatre, should come in useful the next time we're in the fountain.*

*Ooo, do you think I'd get to cut off the clothes like in Casulty?