Ah but it's been a while, Thompson fans... This soft bulletin finds me in Cork, doing a last few Quirkafleegs before the show is given its long-awaited Viking burial. Three shows so far, and the first of them, on Tuesday, was possibly the best performance I've done since I began. Which hasn't done anything to arrest the usual pattern of dreading the show all day, doing it in the evening, surviving it, then trudging home in the grip of a kind of full-body existential cringe. The only part of my waking life that doesn't feel dominated by fear and loathing of the show is the couple of hours when I'm performing it. What a weirdo. Yeah.
Cork's such a beautiful city, and the weather's brightened up since we got here. In fact we trundled down to Cobh yesterday and I came back with some full-on sunburn. (Proudly upholding the tradition of the Englishman abroad by going the most appalling livid puce colour within an hour of being exposed to the sun, while retaining beneath my clothes the delicate lilac-white skin colour that only matron is allowed to see.) There's a lot of walking to do, which is probably a good thing, though the long main road that I go up and down twice a day is already getting a bit boring -- the tedium of doing the same last year hadn't fully dissipated, I think -- boredom has such a long half-life. (At any rate, I feel inclined to up the pedestrianism after an experience last night with a cab driver who was plainly drunker than a poet on pay-day...)
The festival programme is really strong this year, there are all sorts of folks over here now or about to be: Rotozaza are coming next week, Stan's Cafe are already here with Of All The People In All The World which I think I'm going to drop in on later. No Fit State are here too -- but I think I'll wait and see that in Edinburgh, when I haven't got my performance anxiety goggles on.
I'm here with J, who is good company as ever, easygoing and challenging at the same time, full of searching questions. I guess at the moment I'm taking those questions a little harder than I normally might, I feel like I'm a bit out of focus with everything I'm doing and my confidence is a little shaky; and of course this is totally self-perpetuating, so I'm kind of stuck in a slow feedback loop... I don't think I can be very good company for him while I'm this drearily self-absorbed, but he hasn't yet slapped me so maybe we'll get through the week OK. We were talking yesterday about our respective upbringings: very similar in some ways, but surrounded by quite different worldviews -- and one begins to see how the theatre that each of us makes, its terms and conditions and qualities were all in place by the time we were six or seven years old.
We talked too a couple of days ago about this 'blog' voice, the strange hybrid of private journaling and the performance of intimacy to an unknown public. I quite enjoy the ambiguity of it, but of course now, today, I'm starting to feel self-conscious. Not least because I'm still not writing well, I appreciate this is all pretty dull today. But is this for an audience? I dunno. I don't think there's anything in it that's dishonest but that's probably not quite the right answer anyway, it's not about honesty, is it? ...Hmm... Might come back to this when I'm less rubbish.
All The Real Girls was on TV late a couple of nights ago. I can't think of a narrative film I find more beautiful -- David Gordon Green is a straight-up-and-down genius. It was odd to just happen across it. I have it on DVD but I've been too scared to watch it, I just find it too... something. Much. So I submitted to it through the static haze of badly-received RTE and yeah it's very very beautiful in ways that are sooo not what I do and that's always a funny sensation. Particularly when one's feeling a bit doubtful about everything anyway.
Oh, brother, this is awful, I'm going to shut up now. There's a story still to tell about how I got really bullied on the Saturday night bus from Camberwell last week by a bunch of savagely cruel and remorseless teenage girls who were evidently overstimulated by my (admittedly extremist) Kermit sneakers. But that's for another day.