Saturday, 10 November 2007

Nights at the Tobacco Factory

Time to question some prejudices, I thought. Time to go see some [shudder]PHYSICAL THEATRE[/shudder].

There, I said it. Now, I know these sort of artform subdivisions are always clumsy and mean different things to different people, but for this purpose it's a useful shortcut. Maybe I'll write about where I draw the lines another time. Draw a map or something.


But not right now. It would be way too boring. So I hope you can deal with the generalisation for a teensy bit longer. Just in case you can't though, here's an alternative, but related venn diagram I found on the internet:

Generally speaking, I DO NOT like what is commonly known as PHYSICAL THEATRE. But not having seen any professional PHYSICAL THEATRE for a while, I thought I'd better make the effort and check I wasn't missing out on lots of spectacular stuff by making such broad sweeping judgments. So I asked a friend who's more tuned in to this kind of work, to recommend me a few things from the Tobacco Factory programme. Then I made the decision and bought the tickets, so I couldn't wuss out at the last minute.

People Show 118: The Birthday Tour
Wednesday, 31 October 07
Created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the People Show, this felt like a good opportunity to at last see a show by the grandaddies of British experimental theatre. I know I said I wasn't going to go into artform distinctions, but seeing this show, I was struck by how far British experimental theatre has shifted in shape - with People Show now sitting more clearly in the "physical/visual theatre" bracket than the "experimental theatre" one.

It's always good to see really well-honed performance skills on stage and there were some lovely, clever touches in the writing and the staging; but overall, I was never drawn into it. There was a lot of clumsy, unnecessary moving around of the audience. I think you have to be so careful when you start giving audiences instructions - it's immediately distracting as a tactic. I think it works much better if you can make the audience feel like they are choosing to move with you, rather than being herded around (which is kind of how this felt). From what I could gather, some of the audience enjoyed the novelty of moving through different spaces... which reminds me how lucky I am to see the range of performance I do. It would be fair to say that at least half of the performance work I see doesn't involve me sitting in a seating rake, in the dark or even in a theatre. Whether that's a good or bad thing, it certainly means that the gimmick of simply displacing from the 'stage' is just not enough for me anymore.

There were some beautiful, lush staging and set design at the end of the show, but the pillars in the Tobacco Factory prevented me from seeing the whole picture at any one time. But for me,
the real problem was the constant "Did you get what I just did then? >>wink-wink<<" at the audience. I'm really not a fan of the kind of extended gestures that seem to characterise physical theatre (yeah, thanks Lecoq, thanks a bundle...), and to my mind, this is made about a MILLION times worse when the actors give you that little look, or that little pause as if to say, "Did you see what I did just then?>>wink-wink<<" AAAAARRRGH. It really frustrates me that some areas of theatre still thinks it's ok to do stuff that's 'on the nose', in a way that you'd never get away with in film or TV. Although, if you're into that kind of thing, it still seems to be running rife through radio comedy drama. The People Show are nowhere near as unsubtle with it as a company like Told By An Idiot (I'm sorry, I hate them. I know they're good at what they do, but I hate what they do). It just frustrates me that the clever, subtle elements - of the writing in particular - were overshadowed by the performance style and clumsiness of the structure.

Jo Stromgren Kompani: The Convent

Thursday, 1 November 07
4 mad Norwegian women with crazy faces doing great slapstick dressed as nuns.

I really enjoyed this show. It was exquisitely put together. The vocal work was fantastic, ranging from weird gibberish conversations to a capella choral harmonies, all mic-ed up to resonate thickly in the space. It was like watching a good old-school cartoon. It was all in its own world, and all played with complete conviction - despite its absurdity. I know it doesn't work for everyone, but I'm a sucker for good slapstick and this made me laugh a lot.

It was useful to see it right on the heels of the People Show and it really helped me clarify why I didn't engage with the show the night before. Sure, The Convent was light and inconsequential, but it was also a world richly realised and clear with its own rules. It was a great ride. The People Show piece seemed all about undermining its own conventions as the main point of the show (using the company's experiences/history as a loose backbone), which I think is a pretty dated concept now, and not very interesting in itself.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Kettle of Fish: Tequila Mockingbird

Wednesday, 24 October 2007. Wickham Theatre, Bristol

Firstly - thank you to the company for inviting me and for sticking a comp aside for me. It's always much appreciated and I don't take it for granted.

This is the first show by 'Kettle of Fish' , a company of recent (2007) Bristol drama dept graduates. It was up at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer and is showing to the home crowd at the Wickham. It was an all-female company, which still seems to be a rare thing to see.

The show was loosely set up as a kind of game-show or 'reality' experiment show, with two 'presenters', five 'competitors/experimentees' and the odd 'expert'. As the audience enter the space, we're asked whether we consider ourselves a "success" or a "failure". The show starts with the two presenters introducing themselves as failures (aspiring to success) before listing the top five characteristics of successful people. Apparently, "successful people" are: Confident, Funny, Loving, Well-Connected and Ruthless. These characteristics are represented(?)/ embodied(?) by five performers who play out how inadequately they fulfill their label. Sometimes an "expert" is brought on to advise, sometimes not. Some of the 'competitors' get better at their characteristic, some don't.

In my experience, there are a number of traps that graduate shows tend to fall into, and this one fell into the "light comedy for Edinburgh" one. As you can probably tell, I'm far too jaded to expect anything at all from a graduate show, but I find this works as a good strategy for keeping me in check, so that I a)spit only the appropriate level of vitriol at the rubbish bits, and b)get pleasantly surprised at anything that shows a glimmer of potential quality.

Well this had a couple of glimmers going for it - there weren't any outstandingly bad performers (the material was so patchy though, that it was difficult to tell how good any of them actually were); and they were clearly unafraid of using humour in a 'ballsy woman' kind of way. I think it's the impact of Smack the Pony and Spaced.

My main criticism is about the lack of rigour in its writing and structure. It called itself an experiment, but then played fast and loose with that frame (findings presented before the experiment took place, complete lack of clarity as to what the objective of the experiment was). I know it's NOT A REAL EXPERIMENT, but if you want me in the audience to pretend that it could be, I need you on stage to act convincingly like it could be. But there was barely any reference to any of the conventions of an experiment, so the whole framework became a distraction and a bit irrelevant. It's possibly the secret science geek in me, but I hate it when artists do that. I feel like I'm being cheated by someone who doesn't think they have to try very hard to cheat me. Make more of an effort to cheat me, you artists!

I also found the writing quite lazy. Its points of reference seemed to be comedy sketches rather than anything with a more sustained dynamic. Everyone on stage was a cipher. Everything pointed to the gag.

Towards the end, they introduced the experiment... Eh? What? Didn't you introduce the experiment already? Isn't that what we've been watching for the last hour?... which involved blindfolding the experimentees/competitors and challenging them to find and eat 5 doughnuts hung loosely in front of them. What worked here was that the performers were going at the task with real conviction - it was simply more convincing than anything else that happened in the entire show. The 'presenters' were genuinely watching out for the blindfolded competitors, genuinely making sure that they didn't fall off the edge of the stage. It was a bit of genuine excitement in a show that was otherwise very very fake. Unfortunately the section ended with a musical routine (I think it was that song from A Chorus Line that you'll recognise even if you don't know the musical), which basically acted as the punch-line to the section and, to my mind, undermined it.

Most of the audience enjoyed it, and for a graduate piece, I don't think they did too badly at all for themselves. It was a show made for a cabaret space in Edinburgh, and some of the decisions which would have worked for that context, were a little out of place in a black box, proscenium arch studio theatre. I hope the next piece thinks a little harder and runs a little further with an idea.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

iceandfire/actors for refugees: Asylum Monologues

Wednesday 24 October, Barton Hill Settlement, Bristol

I got into work this morning and one of my colleagues had just heard that this was on at midday, so we decided to spur-of-the-moment it across there.

Briefly, this is how Asylum Monologues works: the script is constructed from first-hand testimonies of asylum seekers and contextual information about the process of seeking asylum in the UK. This script is then read from the page by actors, accompanied by a live score. It's not a fixed work. The script is regularly reworked with different stories and updated information about the UK asylum system. The performers are found through Actors for Refugees, a UK-wide network of professional actors.

The stories are truly horrific. Everyone should hear them, because there is no way you could imagine the extremes of trauma or terror that has driven these people to leave their homes and seek asylum in another country. And when we're so regularly asked to have an opinion about "asylum and immigration" (as if they're the same thing... they're not), it's important not become complacent.

What's perhaps more shocking is the intractability and brutality of the UK asylum system. The case made here is that it is designed to be practically unusable by the asylum seeker. The script also suggests that the wording of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, designed post-WW2, does not anticipate state crimes against the individual which are often cited today; and that the UK government regularly exploits these dated parameters of how to determine the threat posed to the individual in their home country, in order to find against the asylum claim.

As you can probably tell from what I've just written, my main problem with the script was with these statements about the asylum system. Don't get me wrong, I find the information presented here much more convincing than the mixed up bag of stats that tends to get wheeled out in the media. But by relying so heavily on one source for its facts (Amnesty International), it gave me an uneasy air of oversimplifying the issue, and sounding just as reactionary as the 'opposing' arguments. Personally, I think Amnesty International is an amazing organisation, and I was a fully paid up campaigning member when I was younger, but I know good people, in my family, who perceive Amnesty to be biased against any government in power - supporting terrorists if they have to. It has become a complicated subject - full of confusion and misunderstanding. By falling into "them and us" territory with "the system", I think the project undermines its very real potential to change people's minds.

As "theatre", Asylum Monologues is all about getting its point across. At first, I felt really uneasy about the fact that the stories of three African asylum seekers were being told by three very well spoken and probably very middle class, white actors. But it didn't take long for that unease to drop away. In fact, the notion that these could be anybody's stories probably came across more strongly as a result of the obvious displacement. And even though the stories were told in first-person, it never felt like they were being appropriated by these actors or by the production as a whole. Other than their being introduced as such, the main way you could tell they were proper actors was that they constantly spoke with that actors' cadence (I don't know how else to describe it, but you'll know it when you hear it - emphasis on the end of sentence...)

I can't say much about the music, I'm afraid. Multi-skilled musician, but it was mainly just filler when a pause in the narrative was needed.

It was good to see this in a community hall, attended by a lot of local residents. I was surprised by how attentive the audience was, considering how many distractions there were around the space and how un-showy the piece was.

I'll say it again, these are powerful stories and everyone should hear them. I think the impact will stay with me for some time. They are such important words.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Quarantine and Company Fierce: Susan & Darren

Tues 23 Oct 07, Brewhouse Theatre, Taunton

Without a doubt, one of the most wonderful shows I've ever seen. There was something so very open, genuine, warm and sincere about it. It did what all the best live art does, which is to make you feel part of a singular event. It has the "I was there..." factor.

Here's how the copy starts:

"Susan Pritchard is Darren Pritchard's mother. She is fifty-two and he is twenty-eight. Darren lives at home with Susan, in the house he grew up in. Darren is a dancer. Susan cleans, for Darren, and professionally. They dance together at home to John Holt, Althea and Donna and Diana Ross. You'd spot that they were mother and son instantly."

It's interesting - typing that copy in, I realise how far it sounds from the usual live art/experimental theatre copy. You could read that and assume you were in for a traditionally scripted, fictional play: "This is the story of Susan and Darren...", and to some degree, that's what you get: the story of Susan and Darren. But it's not a traditionally scripted, fictional play. And Susan and Darren aren't just characters in this performance. They are the real Susan Pritchard and Darren Pritchard.

And this isn't like being told the story of Susan and Darren, this is more like getting to know Susan and Darren. It doesn't start at the beginning - or maybe it does, if you take the beginning of getting to know someone as the moment you first meet them. We see Susan and Darren dancing together. We have their front room described for us in minute detail. We hear about Susan's spot on the sofa. We see Darren dancing by himself. Susan asks a couple of audience members to help make cheese and ham sandwiches.We see Susan and Darren dance together again. We hear how Darren can't fuck on his Mum's spot on the sofa. We see them talking over each other and telling each other no, that's not how it happened. We watch Susan washing Darren's prone body.

In between we hear about how the fathers of both Susan's children met untimely deaths, whilst Susan was pregnant with their children. We hear Darren avoiding and then answering Susan's question of what he'll miss about her when she's gone. They're both so incredibly attentive to each other - and to us, in the audience. It's full of love. It's heartbreaking. It's very very funny.

I should make clear that this isn't like a Mike Leigh film. You might find subject matter for a Mike Leigh in it, but that's not how this show works. It's much more conversational than a film could ever be. The audience sit around three sides of the performance space - only two or three rows deep so we can see everyone on the other sides. At some points, Susan and Darren talk over each other, so you can only really hear which ever one is talking directly to you - or you're straining to eavesdrop on what is effectively someone else's conversation. At one point, Barry White starts over the PA and five or six very disparate members of the audience join the stage to perform a routine with Susan and Darren (it turns out, they've learnt this in a workshop immediately prior to the show).

Most remarkably, the performers 'pause' the show about three-quarters of the way through and hold a Q&A session with the audience. What might seem like a slightly embarrassing, over-earnest gesture (I mean, come on, who's going to ask the first question? Don't be shy... [awkward pause] etc etc) becomes a startling reminder that, although we're at the theatre, we're part of something far from interpretive. Given how much live art I see for work, I forget that most people go to the theatre to see plays. At a distance. In this case it's important to remind the audience that this isn't a fiction, despite being so tightly constructed as a show. It's not confrontational, it's just a refocussing.

There's a wonderful moment in the Q&A, when someone asks Susan what she'll do at the end of this final tour of the work. A collective 'No' goes round the audience when she says she'll go back to cleaning. Darren says, "I know, I keep telling her, she's wasted on cleaning" and Susan says, "Oh, I love my cleaning." And when, later in the show, she takes a cloth and washes Darren's body carefully and patiently from head to toe, the whole audience is completely silent - you can barely hear a breath, just the hum of the electrics.

I could talk about this show for hours. It's probably the only show I've truly loved that I wish I could have taken my parents to see. Despite a lack of linear narrative and some slightly insalubrious content it was so unpresuming and full of love. I can't imagine how anyone could avoid coming out of that show without a smile on their face.

As everyone knows, the one thing we can say for sure is that "it is a sad and beautiful world." And boy, does this show celebrate that. Oh yes, and afterwards, we get to eat the sarnies, talk some more and have a good proper dance.

Here's the Quarantine website

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Last Night's TV

I can't believe I'm writing about telly, but I really want to write about some actual thing that I've seen (as this blog was intended for), even if it's not exactly live performance (as this blog was intended for).

Firstly, I should declare my prejudice: I love TV. I particularly love TV now that we have a house, with a proper sofa and a hard drive recorder with a freeview box. My OH has band rehearsal on Monday nights and from time to time, if I don't have work to do, I like to treat myself to a full 4-5 hour evening session of whatever happens to be on.

I seem to be lucky, as Monday nights tend to have a bit of variety going for them. There have been some excellent BBC4 documentary series over the last year and of course, there's always University "Danny Kendall died in Mr Bronson's car you idiot! Don't you remember? When were you born, you foetus?" Challenge. And also the guilty pleasures of Five US.

So here's how last night went:

7.00 - 7.30 This World: India's Missing Girls (BBC2)
Focusing on the illicit practice of aborting, abandoning or murdering baby girls, simply because their gender paints them a burden to the family - primarily because they lose the family name and wealth (via dowry) on marriage. I'd heard about this story on the World Service, months ago and it still really freaks me out. I just cannot imagine the utter hopelessness you must have to feel to be able to abandon, abort or or kill your own daughter.

It was a extremely sensitive documentary, which neither patronized the people it documented, nor shied away from the brutal horror of what this sacrifice meant. The thing that pulled it away from any notion of 'poverty tourism' was that our main guide was a lady who ran a home for these abandoned kids, loving them, teaching them to value themselves and each other, and visiting mothers-to-be to try and convince them to keep their daughters. It was such a valuable lesson to watch this impossibly kind, strong woman maintaining such conviction that society has to, and will change, even if it's just one person at a time. Equality is not something to take for granted and, I suppose, is as much a question of culture as it is of politics.

I don't often watch the This World series. I don't know whether it's the irregularity of when and where they get scheduled... perhaps my instinct is not to give so much weight to a documentary strand which the BBC feels able to shunt around the schedules like filler. Shame.*

7.30 - 7.45: Not the advertised show about swords but some sort of animation about the plague narrated by Kenneth Branaaaaaaaagh (BBC4)
Well, I'm really turning over because I need to set the recorder for Doctor Who 'The Daemons' - I've been dying to see this one for ages and it's not out on DVD yet, how excited was I when I found out they were showing it on BBC4. To quote Russell T Davies, "Hooray!" Anyway, I hadn't yet watched the first part so it couldn't form part of yesterday's viewing but that was rectified this morning. I really enjoyed it, despite all the to-ing and fro-ing (maybe running up and down a country road is a bit more watchable than running up and down a corridor), and it's got some lovely odd bits of dialogue. It also has the best last line of a Doctor Who episode ever - Brigadier: "I think I'd rather have a pint."

Anyway, the animation was good to look at, but I missed the beginning and couldn't really get into it. Something about the Branaaaaaagh's voice I think. It always makes me feel like someone's reading me a really dull - worthy, but dull - olden daye storye. Which, given that it was based on Defoe, he probably was. Reminded me how much I used to love Dope Sheet though, and how much Channel 4 seems to have lost it's proper fucking cool, recently.

7.45 - 8.00pm: Mastermind (BBC2)
This is filler, obviously, and I mainly read the Guardian Guide article about forthcoming fantasy films. The fact that it takes me 15 mins to read such a short article tells me that I must be spending a good proportion of my time trying to answer the questions. I worry that I'm no longer much younger than most of the contestants.

8.00 - 9.00pm: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Five US)

OK, OK, OK, OK, OK. I know it's wrong, but I love it. I'm not a huge fan of the Miami/New York fakerz, but I could seriously watch CSI Vegas for hours on end. Weirdly, I don't think I'd ever watch any of the box sets. I'm not interested in going to the trouble of choosing to watch CSI, choosing which episode to watch, putting the DVD in the machine, scrolling through the copyright etc. But if it happens to be on, and I'm watching, I get totally sucked in.

I think what lifts original CSI way above Miami and New York is that there is definitely a sense of humour tucked in there somewhere. It's Las Vegas - they can open about how weird, ridiculous and unbelievable the crimes are, because hey, it's Vegas. I also think the team characters are much better drawn out in CSI Vegas than the others, though I've probably seen too few CSI: NY eps to properly form an opinion there. Basically, if I had a crime scene to investigate, I'd DEFINITELY call on Gil Grissom (thoughtful, geeky, possibly somewhere on the autistic spectrum) rather than Horatio Kane (states the obvious... but slowly, dubious attitude to women, dependence on sunglasses) or Mac Taylor (troubled, way too troubled).

What makes me slightly embarrassed about enjoying CSI, is that it has no shame in it's exposition. Even extreme sci-fi usually makes an effort to hide it. Instead, I'm supposed to believe that Sarah really needs to tell Warwick that she found this fingerprint by using yadda yadda powder under yadda yadda specialist light gun after pulling the blah fragment out of the monkey's trousers. It still makes me cringe a little, but it's just such a frighteningly watchable production. There's absolutely nothing British-made I could compare it to - I'd say precisely because I can't imagine any British production really carrying off that outrageous exposition with conviction.

Last night's was season 1. Serial killer trucker kidnapping women from supermarkets and putting them in the freezer. They didn't really have enough time to tell this story properly because there was some ruckus with a day trader killing his brother for inheritance and some random back story business with Nick Stokes and prostitute accused of shoplifting. See what I mean? It really shouldn't work. When I put it down like this it sounds rubbish, but it's so damned watchable!

9.00 - 10.00pm: Fanny Hill (BBC4)
I don't think I've actually seen that many Andrew Davies adaptations. I haven't read "Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure" either. I don't really know how to assess this. It was ok. It wasn't exactly a rollercoaster, but it didn't drag too much. I just didn't find it especially interesting - there wasn't anything extraordinary in it for me. It was a bit too "nice" I suppose. It wasn't properly filthy or harsh or, to be honest, sexy. It was more basic about the sex it was having, which is refreshing on one hand, but just a bit dull on the other.

I also found the blokes to be really uncharismatic throughout. There was just something a bit ordinary about the whole thing. I mean, I've generally thought James Hawes' work on Doctor Who had great scope and dynamisim, but this seems very uninspired. I think I was expecting something with a lot more cheekiness and energy. That'll teach me to watch too many trailers.

I dunno, maybe the second part will be better. The bottom line was that I felt like I was watching a literary adaptation, rather than a TV show.

10.00 - 10.30pm: Californication (Five US)
Speaking of trailers - when this was being trailed on 5 at EVERY single opportunity (I'd love to know how many minutes of trailers this show took up prior to broadcast), I thought, "hmmm, doesn't look as bad as I thought it might be, but I'm not sure I can be arsed to watch a man sort his life out via women."

But tonight I was going to watch TV right up until the boyf got back, so I thought ok I'll give it a go. Actually, what I really wanted to catch was '30 Rock', as the trailer for that looked proper funny. Given the timing, the most sensible option was to fill the gap with 'Californication'...

...which was ACE! As I've said, my expectations were by no means Himalayan, but I really didn't expect something that was so funny, engaging, well-written, uncompromising, surprising, foul-mouthed or well-performed. You can always tell that something is really funny when it makes you laugh even though you're watching it by yourself. And this did it a few times. And it wasn't just the gags that were funny - it was the way people looked at each other; or sometimes just the way people looked. It was full of swears, properly rude, and wonderfully unafraid to show characters with some individuality - no matter how impolite. It was way sharper than I expected it to be. I can't wait to see it again.

10.35 - 11.05pm: 30 Rock (Five US)
I think '30 Rock' is a good sitcom. Alec Baldwin is extraordinary - it would be easy to play his character as out and out grotesque. but he plays it with so much charm and subtlety that it's always funny when you're reminded what an utter twat he is. But ultimately, '30Rock' is a sitcom, and one of the generic motifs of sitcom is that you're always just getting to the punchline. And for me, that's never going to be quite as satisfying as a dynamic which is driven by character. Unless it's an amazing punchline - but that's rarely going to be more than once in a show. You can tell it was written by someone who was good at writing gags. This was definitely a comedian's show. But there's a slight theatricality to it - almost like playing to the floor - that for me makes it less absorbing TV. Having said that, it is funny. It is in no way pompous. I had a good time watching it and I'd certainly recommend it - if only for Alec Baldwin's performance.

*Edit: I've since realised that This World is actually pretty constant in the schedules. I must have got confused with it's moving between digital and terrestrial telly. Sorry BBC. My bad.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Reading not Writing

OK, so I fell for that whole "start a blog with good intentions and then don't post for ages" thing that seems to happen to so many people. Since my initial post on 4 September, I've seen live work by:

(The legendary) Foreign Muck
Yara El-Sherbini
Stacy Makishi
Marcia Farquhar
Richard Dedomenici
Bobby Baker
Roza Ilgen
Qasim Riza Shaheen
Jiva Parthipan
Tim Brennan
Alex Bradley & Hetain Patel
Steve Robins and Shi-Ker
Duncan Speakman
Harminder Singh Judge
and 5 artists at the You and Your Work platform... a couple of gigs and one of WORST films I've ever seen at the cinema.

Most of this stuff was well worth seeing and some of it was pretty extraordinary, but I think I'd even bore myself about the extraordinary pieces if I tried to cover all that ground now. I hate reviews that sounds bored about their subject so I'm determined not to succumb. Ah well, at least I got as far as writing the list.

What I have been doing is a lot more reading on the internet, as opposed to writing on the internet. I love the internet. I also love trivia. And opinion. Which is probably why I love the internet. It's only over the last few months that I've really started to enjoy reading blogs. It took me a while to get to grips with a) what constituted an interesting blog, and b) how to find other interesting blogs. Of course, it's just like anything else - get recommendations, search for writing on a subject you're interested in, follow your instinct, suck it and see etc.

What I've learned recently, and why I'm now suddenly really into blogs, is how conversational the whole experience can be. It's all about the digressions in the hyperlinks. I managed to go from screenwriting to an article by Neil Gaiman on Fairy Stories, to Hebden Bridge, back to screenwriting, how important it is to hear harsh criticism and how pro-active you need to be if your aiming for success at all as an artist. (These are some of the links but not the complete route)

Some of it was useful professionally, some of it was fascinating generally, all of it could arguably be called a waste of time. All of it was interesting in some way or other.

In summary, me needs to sort me links.

Back soon
Back sooner

Tuesday, 4 September 2007


So, here we go.

Three months ago, I wasn't even considering starting a blog. But then three months ago, there were loads of things I wasn't considering doing. Three months ago, I was also getting a bit down about about all the things I wasn't doing.

One of those things I wasn't doing, was keeping decent notes about the shows I was seeing. It's useful for me to do this for work, but it's also much more enjoyable for me if I get to think about these things outside of work too. After all, I started working in the arts because I loved seeing shows - even the really bad shows - not because I "fancied working in the arts". Besides, I turned 30 last year and my memory's starting to give out, and I guess t'internet's the safest place to write stuff down. You can't put the internet in the recycling by mistake.

Just to remind me why I should have started this years ago, here's a list of all the shows I've so far this year, according to my diary:

[EDIT:] I just tried doing this and I keep writing excuses for why I can't remember all the specifics of each artist I saw at each festival. I got too embarrassed to get past February without hunting down programme notes.

So I could try and dig out those programme notes and continue the list...

On the other hand, why look back before I've even started.