parcels of dog shit like runes,
their meaning obscure
Friday, 29 June 2007
When it rains all the time like this, it is not much fun to go outside and collect dog shit. OK, it's never going to be fun but it's a task that's much easier when the weather is dry and the stools are firm and easy to grasp. If you leave it for a couple of days, they soon add up. I mean, we take her for walks every day but even so, you'd be surprised.
When there is a lot of it and the task of harvesting it is especially grim, we lighten the mood by pretending to believe that Jessie has been writing messages for us in the garden, spelling it out in parcels of shit because she has no other material to hand. Imagine that - imagine the larks and jokes in our house. Don't you wish you could be here with us, sitting around all day talking about dog shit?
Tuesday, 26 June 2007
See also Tickorrelation: The relationship between time spent tickling others on Facebook and loss of productivity in the workplace.
See also Effluent (adj): Rich and covered in shit. As in 'a combination of high ticket prices and poor sanitary conditions at the Glastonbury Festival has seen a rise in attendance of the effluent classes in recent years.'
Monday, 25 June 2007
When I was a small child, I thought that I was good at running. I used to watch the Six Million Dollar Man, in which scientists marvelled at his bravery and skills and helped to rebuild him so he could run really fast and see really well and then they marvelled at that, too. I wanted to be the Six Million Dollar Girl and I wanted scientists to marvel at how fast I could run.
My dream has changed but not the essential quality of it. Now, I would like people to admire my writing. I don't know many other writers but I read their blogs - the more successful ones complain of script editors who rewrite and ruin things, of producers and editors who don't really understand them. I had always thought that people who deal with writers for a living and who actually like what they read were mythical creatures - a nice idea, like unicorns, but not to be found alive on the face of the earth.
And then I saw these three directors talking about spending weeks and weeks in rehearsal with the actors trying to uncover the meaning in the text and find the best possible way of playing it. Sure, they weren't talking about my work - they were talking about plays they had recently directed; My Child by Mike Bartlett, The Pain and the Itch by Bruce Norris and Alaska by D C Moore - nevertheless, the effect was like walking in a forest one morning and hearing that tumbling sound of hooves and then getting closer and seeing the little point of a horn poking out from behind a tree and thinking No, it can't be...
When I had my daughter all those years ago, I was little more than a child myself, and blessed with all the sophistication of a medieval peasant. So while I was giving birth, I must admit that I prayed to God.
It is (and was then) my opinion that God doesn’t exist. I believe, unquestionably, that God made the world – look at a humming bird and tell me that you disagree. Or watch someone who has a talent for it playing the piano. I simply can’t accept that all the beautiful things in the world crawled out of a swamp. But it is also my opinion that God has since quit the world or perhaps even died, leaving us to get on with things by ourselves.
Nevertheless, sitting on my hospital bed, in pain, I prayed to God that my daughter would live and would be alright. I didn’t know whether she was a boy or a girl but I said If this baby is OK, I promise I will believe in You. (I do remember that I actually formulated a capital letter for ‘You’ as I thought it.) So, she lived, she’s lovely. Now I am stuck with a capricious God of my own invention – the sort of God who would enter into a meaningless pact with a silly girl in pain in a hospital in Whitechapel. This is a God who doesn’t actually exist but who I am obliged to serve, according to ancient rules and logic that we’re all quite familiar with from fairytales, so I’m not going to go into it here.
Which brings me at last to to the point of this. Yes, we all know that blogging is horribly vain. It is, to put it in terms that God would understand, an act of hubris. And so God (who doesn’t even fucking exist, mind you) has recently punished me for it. I won’t go into details for fear of provoking You Know Who any further but as you can imagine, the punishment fits the crime.
If this was a musical, I’d stand up and sing a song of defiance and others would join me, forming a chorus of defiance. What sort of song would be suitable? Well, I do think that Jennifer Holliday’s And I am Telling You I’m Not Going is one that suits every occasion (see earlier posts, below). I’m even going to have it at my funeral. And no, God, that is NOT an invitation to strike me down.
Saturday, 23 June 2007
Indira Khan and Simone (daughters of Chaka Khan and Nina Simone) are joined by Nona Hendryx, Sandra St. Victor and special guest Deniece Williams.
Doors open at 6.00 pm, show starts at 7.00 pm Monday 25th June.
Tickets 17.50 or Gala Tickets for 32.50, to include champagne reception, show and after party. Gala Tickets must be booked in advance - call the box office on 020 8985 2425 and quote Circle Gala Ticket.
Friday, 22 June 2007
Anyway, that's enough of that. Here's a a photo of Jessie in a wig.
By the way I've had this blog for two months now. I haven't had much to drink in that time because I've been too busy writing. I suppose that my first drunken post will be the next milestone. However, this is not it.
Half Price (£7.50) for
Call the Box Office on 0207 565 500 and quote 'Facebook Offer'.
Thursday, 21 June 2007
Also, as my stats have spiked* since I mentioned Matthew Macfadyen , I thought I'd say a little more about him. I like him because he's a good actor but also because he reminds me of an old boyfriend of mine. His mouth has that slight tremble to it, as if he's on the verge of confessing some huge emotion that will change both your lives forever unless you lean forward to kiss him and stop him from saying it. To anyone who is considering going to see the show purely because Matthew Macfadyen is in it, I would say this: the seats are comfortable, he's on stage the whole time, he's very good in it, he does not get naked. It's only £25 and if you sit in the middle near the front, I reckon you could stand up and get through a good few bars of Jennifer Holliday's And I am telling you I'm not going before they manage to haul you away, although I don't recommend that you do it.
*No, it's not painful, it doesn't need antibiotics and it will eventually go away by itself
Even before the show began, a member of the audience was sick on the floor, although this did help to build a certain 'esprit de corps' among the audience, most of whom were well-dressed Americans of retirement age who had rather gamely climbed four flights of stairs for an evening's entertainment in which the word 'cunt' was to feature heavily.
Fortunately, the play was excellent and more than matched the dramatic intensity of the pre-show vomit and subsequent 'bio-hazard' clear-up in the row behind me. The cast was outstanding. Rafe Spall** was in the lead role and he was extraordinary - but everyone who was in it was very good.
* This is not a review (I gave up reviewing earlier on today, after three hours in the game). This is a recommendation.
* *He was so good that I feel I ought to write a poem about him although unfortunately, like Matthew Macfadyen, he has a name that lends itself better to the limerick than to any other form, so I'm not going to do it. Are there any leading men out there whose names don't suggest the limerick as the preferred form of tribute? You could probably do something with Simon Russell Beale - although it might turn out a bit Betjemanish. However I do recommend that tributes to Steven Berkoff only be attempted by exceptionally gifted and skillful poets.
Wednesday, 20 June 2007
The performances were excellent. The play itself was one of those drawing room comedies with a serious underlying message. It was well-written but not really to my taste**. Most of the audience seemed to enjoy it - one woman in particular was honking away at every joke like a goose trying to save Rome from attack by the Gauls.
I'd like to go and see Floating at the Barbican (1 April 1982 the Isle of Anglesey broke free from the Welsh mainland and drifted into the
Charade in Trafalgar Square on Sunday 2.30 - 6.00 sounds interesting (Television's over. Networks are down. The radio is silent. All files erased. Imagine every book, film, play or song is about to be destroyed. What would you save? Choose a book, film, play, song, advert, poem; learn some lines and come be the network in Trafalgar Square.)
* I would write a poem about my admiration for Matthew Macfadyen but his name is very well-suited to a limerick, which would be inappropriate.
** God that sounds pompous. I just mean that I like mad stuff and Shakespeare. I go to the theatre a lot and I never really like anything that you might call 'a play'. Anyway, I feel so mortified in case Bruce Norris, the writer, should have trawled the internet for any mention of his play (as we all do) and come across this post suggesting that his latest oeuvre is not to my taste that I've decided, after this false start, to give up reviewing altogether.
Tuesday, 19 June 2007
My horoscope in the Sunday Times Style magazine had this to say: "On Tuesday, Venus, the planet of romance, superbly aspects your ruler, Jupiter, which means that developments on the romantic front could turn this from a remarkable month to one that transforms every element of your life."
I'll let you know how it goes.
Monday, 18 June 2007
After seeing a naked man in a play at the Barbican a few years ago, I was advised by an actor in the bar afterwards that the best way to greet the person concerned, if you should meet them socially, is to stride up to them and say ‘what a magnificent penis.’ By chance, at a party recently, I met a man I had seen naked on stage about five years before. As realisation dawned, however, all I could manage was ‘Oh, I’ve seen your, er…your Rites of Spring’. My all time favourite on-stage nudity was during a solo dance by Mark Morris, enfant terrible* (he’s 50 years old) of the New York ballet scene. He’s a beefy man but his deportment is beautiful. He danced to a spoken soundtrack about (as I recall) a pig and a hot air balloon. He wore a white nightshirt and he was naked underneath it. As he leaped around the stage, his nightshirt would billow up and you’d get one of those ‘oh, hello there’ glimpses of his penis. The performance was both elegant and witty. But that’s the avant-garde for you.
* not to be confused with Michael Clark, the enfant terrible of British dance, who is only 45
Sunday, 17 June 2007
It doesn't do you any good to look at the computer for hours on end and my head still hurt so much when I woke up this morning that it felt like I had just come back from a rave and eaten ice cream straight from the freezer. I spent most of this morning lying in bed with a scarf tied 'firing squad' style round my eyes. I didn't carry on like this when I finished my novels.
Is there, I wonder, any sort of internationally recognised standard of behaviour for playwrights that I should try to conform to? I have watched Shakespeare In Love but it doesn't provide any information about this, beyond suggesting that cross-dressing for the purposes of making love to aristocrats is perfectly in order.
Thursday, 14 June 2007
Wednesday, 13 June 2007
Monday, 11 June 2007
- Early Morning - When I get up, I feel that the house might have a strange smell about it. Regular readers will know this is a recent preoccupation of mine. Quite a few people find this blog by searching with the words 'strange smell'. Hello to you if you are one of them. My latest theory is that a fox has been scent marking in the garden and the smell is floating in to the house through the floorboards. I've been putting wedges of citrus fruit among the pebbles in the garden outside my office. This is supposed to deter the foxes.
- Mid Morning - When I go to hose down the pebbles, I find fox shit on them and on the citrus fruit. I transfer the shit to the bin, which wasn't emptied by the bin men as usual on Friday. The reason for this becomes clear when...
- Late Morning - The police are searching through the bins for discarded weapons following a double murder in the neighbourhood. Our bin is full of dog shit as well as fox shit. The police decline the cup of tea offered them as acknowledgement that theirs is a rough job. It is, perhaps, not quite compensation enough.
- Midday - I don't go to Body Combat at the gym.
- Early Afternoon - I sit in the garden and enjoy the sunshine. Every now and again I get up and hose down the pebbles again, this time using bleach.
- Late Afternoon and Evening - The kids have visitors. This is quite unusual (probably no-one comes to the house because of the smell) and I don't know how to react except to sit in my office and look busy by starting to write my new play. I write 1089 words, which is great. Except that it's not a play, it's a novel.
- Evening - I remember the story about Ridley Scott telling Peter Mayle - his neighbour in Provence - to write a book about his life in France and then Ridley Scott would buy the rights and turn it into a film. Marvellous - I will emulate both men. I will write the novel and then turn it into a play.
- Evening - And tomorrow I will go to Body Attack at the gym. I expect.
Sunday, 10 June 2007
bitter green fruit strewn about
by careless squirrels
I never actually intended to harvest the slug-kissed fruit in my garden , although I'd have preferred the birds to have it than the squirrels as I know from Springwatch that the birds have young to feed . I would leave a note to that effect somewhere near the strawberry pots if there was any evidence that squirrels could a) read or b) were capable of feeling remorse.
Wednesday, 6 June 2007
Friday, 1 June 2007
Snorkel - the sound made by one who attempts to suppress a chortle when reading something clandestinely on the internet at work.
See also stench - the clenching of body parts in an attempt to staunch a snorkel, usually in vain.