Friday, August 31, 2007

"All These Things That I've Done" [Part One]

"All These Things That I've Done" [Part One]

V Festival was...

Wristbands and bag searches, almost falling over with my rucksack, managing to not put any of the tent up, debating potential levels of food poisoning, laughing at our camping neighbours (and their accents).

Seeing Seth Lakeman because we wanted to stay dry, dancing to Mutya's version of 'Naive', not quite catching Captain, shaking our bottoms to 'Murder on the Dancefloor', watching a good twenty five minutes of James's set but not managing to see either 'She's a Star' or 'Sit Down', perfectly timing Just Jack's 'Stars in their Eyes' for a moment of supreme festival singalong.

Rocking it up in the new music tent with the Rebecca boys, deciding that I really quite like Ghosts, jumping up and down and yelling myself hoarse with The Holloways and being rather proud (and just a little smug) that we knew all the words.

Spending sixty pounds on t-shirts (and breaking the credit card machine), talking to randoms, spotting one other girl with the same wellies as me and shooting her evil looks when she stood in front of me, getting my rucksack stuck on the bus and becoming quite attached to my waterproofs.

James Morrison setting the tone in the middle of the afternoon by proclaiming "you're all wet - just as I like it", Mika bringing an umbrella on stage and yet managing to stop the rain, Gary Snow Patrol's reaction to Dave Grohl hugging him being a stunned "that doesn't happen every day" and my understanding only every fourth word uttered by PYFB.

Still not quite knowing what Kanye West looks like (but hearing some of his set whilst sat in our tent), not being able to go to the toilet after 3.30pm on the Sunday because of the stench, being convinced that I was going to fall over in the mud and laughing at everyone who persisted in wearing their sunglasses even though there was no sun.

Singing the guitar sounds in 'Chelsea Dagger' with thousands of others, not quite reaching the notes in 'Grace Kelly', having a collective moment of hysteria during '500 miles', going insane for Pink's cover of 'Piece of my heart', bouncing so much during 'Generator' that I almost stopped breathing and remembering just how amazing the other Corinne is during 'Put Your Records On'.

Adoring how much love their was in the Foo Fighters' room, jumping up and down like a crazy person to 'Best of You' and finding Dave's potty mouth altogether rather too amusing.

Getting to use my 'I heart Harry' catchphrase, loving how packed the tent was with 'serious' music fans when McFly came on and feeling the hairs on the back of my neck stand up during 'It's All About You'.

The spontaneous singalong of 'I've got soul but I'm not a soldier', realising just how much I still adore The Killers and finally forgiving them for disappointing me a little with Sam's Town.

PYFB being unable to hide just how fucking amazing it was to perform on the main stage to thousands of people who knew the words to all of the songs but still deciding to get gloriously drunk anyway.

Deciding that I wouldn't let anyone past me during [The Mighty] Snow Patrol's set unless they could tell me the name of the song they were singing, almost crying during 'Chasing Cars' and realising just how much of my life I mark in their songs.

'Last Request' sung by a disparate choir, filling the late afternoon air and soaring.

Brandon Flowers saying "I've got something that belongs to you" before launching into 'Mr Brightside' and unfurling a moment of total magic that I will play and rewind in my head for the rest of my life.

Raising my arms in the air in unison with thousands of others to those chords that haunt me, to the words I have laughed, bantered and argued about, to the sound of the voice that is odd and broken and to which I could listen forever, my brain assaulted with images and memories and the intensity of the moment and hearing those beautiful final lines of 'Run' reverberate around the site.

Closing my eyes and singing until I could sing no more.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Once Upon A Beer Garden

Once Upon A Beer Garden

"So it's a dress - and the new underwear" Stunning Rower smirks.

I nod, caught out as I am.

"Ah, the La Senza is coming out" J says. "Just add the chicken filets"

There's a pause when we look at each other. I wonder if she has looked below the level of my chin.

"No, that's not you; I'm thinking of me" J concedes.

There's a pause before Rower deadpans:

"Well, you could put a whole Turkey down mine".

We laugh, throaty, hand over mouth, with only the smallest of concessions to the fact that we should be quiet.

Afterwards we go to the pub, the ever familiar beer garden, filled with the smoke I associate with actors, where - even though I feel a pang as, tonight, he is not there - I laugh until it hurts.

It strikes me - as I sip my full fat vodka and coke, bonding with Irish Actor and recovering from Former Soap Star teasing me - that I do not want this to end.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

On Entering Arden

On Entering Arden

There is some times so much in my head that I want to blog that I cannot force it all out. The sheer assault of words would drown us all. And so I will start, and not finish them, or not know quite where to begin. Phrases. Words. Moments that I want to scoop up and share for ever which languish instead as half ideas, existing only in lists in my head.

There are also those times when the words do come out but end up sitting on my computer, perfectly formed but ultimately unbloggable. These blogs - and in the past 12 months there has been quite a collection - are ones that I have written hard and furious, that I have been compelled to write to complete the story. I periodically return to these, polishing, editing, preparing them for a readership which they may never have. One day, when I am feeling brave and distance has reduced their pull, I hope I will put them here.

The past few weeks have been a combination of both. What might I like to blog if it didn't weigh me down?

I would blog of beer gardens and double vodkas, of vans and police, of sharing chips with Former Soap Star and of being head-butted by a fainting man. There would be something about the bruises and sunburn and getting soaked when filling the water tank. There would be rolling eyes and shushing and the banging of swords. There would be giggles and laughter and things which make no sense but to those involved. The blogs would smell of mulled wine and hot chocolate and have bits of straw stuck to them.

There would be the stench of the boy's dressing room, the crunch of the gravel, the moment of awe I get every night walking through the Abbey. There would be missed cues, mis-pronounced phrases and missing props. There would be Shakespeare's words, a cloak around me, opening out freshly every night.

There would be the things I cannot quite touch on, but which I will talk about at length if you should corner me in real life. A riverside walk, the darkness, wilful destruction.

And the softer things that - if I didn't lock them away - would bother me more. An indistinct figure reading on the grass. A dark blue jumper. How knowingly transitory this whole experience is.

More crunching gravel, a silent smile, a returned newspaper. The intense, delicious, stomach lurching excitement of it all.

It would, of course, not quite live up to the experience. Words, as even Shakespeare himself acknowledges, slip away from us. But it is important that it is here.

A whisper.

A secret.

A Summer.

Friday, August 10, 2007

"So Gather Up Your Jackets, Move It To The Exits"

"So Gather Up Your Jackets, Move It To The Exits"

I walk through the doorway, all sunglasses and maxi-dress, Paddington on my right arm, Tate Modern bag over my left shoulder, large La Senza bag swinging. Preoccupied with the weather and my purchases, I look up only at the last minute -

We almost collide, my La Senza bag nudging him slightly.

"Hello" he says.

"Hello" I say back.

There is a split second of indecision. The notion, on my part at least, that it is not quite right for us to pass in this manner.

And then - I feel the bag in my hand burn though I do not know if he has even noticed it. And if he has - would he realise? I do not need a reason to shop, he is aware of that much.

It is enough, as jokingly as they were bought, that I know.

We do not stop.

As I lean on the desk for support I hear the door close gently behind him.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

And we managed to outlast the actors.

And we managed to outlast the actors.

It is 2.30am.

Techie Chris, Vintage Queen and I are sitting in the front of a beaten up van in a car park in the centre of Leeds.

I am drunk, the kind of drunk you get after a weekend of almost concussion and harsh realities, after having eaten only a sandwich all day and then drinking mulled wine and riccardi and vodka (though not at once). Vintage Queen has a pizza balanced on her knee, Techie Chris a kebab and I have settled for my drunken staple of chips. Volume control having disappeared some time around the second drink, our words and sentences trip over each other. Old jokes. New jokes. In jokes.

Even with my Shakespeare Boys (and indeed Girls) replaced by a gaggle of comedians I knew it was to be a good night when PYFB's 'New Shoes' came blasting out of the speakers during the interval. For there is nothing like a blast of PYFB to get you dancing around the bar, even if you probably shouldn't be dancing for health and safety reasons what with all the liquid and the glass and whatnot. But I doubt PYFB would have such concerns, so dance I did.

Afterwards we giggled and gossiped, of drummers and actors, of penguins and hobbits. We decided to spend the CSA money for Baby David on shoes and handbags and beer and fireworks. Vintage Queen and I vowed to go out drinking together more often. Techie Chris decided he is to handcuff me to him when we go on tour to Oxford, to stop me getting into mischief. His guesses as to who would be my favourite actor this year were good, knowingly accurate, though in reality - as we all knew - the position had been filled some time ago. I even managed not to flinch too much when Vintage Queen looked over the table and asked: "Why aren't you and [History Boy] together?".

But sitting in the van it all seems to hardly matter. I feel a surge of affection for my companions, for my extended Shakespeare family.

Filled with such affection I move to take our empty takeaway packaging out of the van. I half stumble out and then - it scatters across the floor, littering the early morning air.

Unable to do anything else I stand and laugh until it hurts.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

"You and I had to be the standing joke of the year"

"You and I had to be the standing joke of the year"

"Are you coming to the last night party?" Techie Chris asks, a marked snigger on his lips. From opposite us N laughs.

"No, I am not" I retort with as much dignity as I can muster. "I already have plans".

N mumbles something I can't quite hear.

"That's what?" I ask.

"A coincidence".

And though I know I should probably walk away at this moment, with the last shreds of self respect still intact I still ask the question: "Why?"

"[C]'s not attending either".

I am a little confused as to how long the subject of C and I has remained gossip worthy. I had expected some degree of mockery, a remnant of everything they didn't quite get chance to say last year after our rather public display. But the joke? It is beginning to wear thin.

"He's going to film in Morocco" Techie Chris offers.

"Right". I am not quite sure what they expect me to say to this.

"You'll be able to get a tan" N responds.

"Yes; it'll be nice for you".

I wonder if I have stepped into some parallel Universe.

"I'm sorry?"

"Morocco. It should be nice this time of year".

I glare at them, knowing they are deriving altogether too much fun out of this.

"I had a great conversation with [C] about Little David" N says, lighting another cigarette.

I have a horrid feeling as to where this is going.

"What?"

"Little David. Your baby".

The relief that C is being ribbed about this as much as I am mingles with the horror as to what N might have said, supremely convincing make-believer that he is.

"He was quite indignant; saying that it wasn't his baby".

The horror wins out.

"That is mean" I splutter, playing the conversation round in my head. I remain unable to detect exactly which bit is funny for either C or myself.

"I think he had visions of the Child Protection Agency catching up with him".

Both myself and Techie Chris do a double take.

"You mean the Child Support Agency, the CSA, not the CPA" Techie Chris asserts.

"Well, this is [C] you never know..."

I glare. N looks directly at me; I wonder, for a second, how much he understands.

"He has matured a lot in the last year".

I sense that for the first time when it comes to discussing C, N is being honest.

"And he's no longer the whipping boy - that's [Well Scrubbed Actor]"

I realise that we have been joined by Well Scrubbed Actor. I know from the look on his face that he hasn't been here long.

"Yes" he says "I've taken [C's] mantel this year".

There's that split second of silence before laughter erupts. Even I cannot help it. Well Scrubbed Actor looks bemused at our collective mirth.

"[Well Scrubbed Actor] " N says deadpan "Have you met Corinne?"