Saturday, April 25, 2009

You and me and the continuum

I'll tell you what this isn't: this isn't part 2 of the post I've left hanging. (Hopefully that'll emerge next weekend.) This is just me, in an apartment in Manchester, at 2 in the morning: yet again unable to sleep despite being awesomely, stupidly tired, and having paid upfront £30 for the week's wi-fi access, of which, it probably goes without saying, I've used about 75p worth. So here I am, trying to make myself feel, at one stroke, both less exasperated by my tedious wakefulness, and less idiotically profligate. Please don't expect anything more than a grumpy and uninspired post. (Grumpy and uninspired emoticon goes here. It looks like Van Morrison.)

I might as well, though, tell you these things, before I forget:

First of all -- forgive the reiteration, I'm pretty sure I've said this before but it bears repeating: no, The Adventures of Wound Man and Shirley is not coming to London. Who knows, it may do, one day, but at the moment -- to borrow a phrase -- no such undertaking has been received. I know a few London-based pals are planning to see the show in Bracknell, and that will of course be delightful for me: but can I also give a sparky plug to my gig at Newbury on June 4th? If you get the right (direct) train, Newbury's no more challenging a hop and skip from the capital than is Bracknell -- less so, even -- and, somewhat more compellingly as reasons go, I've been bumped up to the main stage at the Corn Exchange; you may have chilling recollections of trying to get out to New Greenham Arts to see my previous work, but the Corn Exchange is right in the centre of town, an easy ten minute amble from the train station, and it's a proper theatre and everything so you can get a drink and rotate leaflet racks and such. Obviously I'm saying all this partly because the Corn Exchange is quite a big venue and a merely modest phalanx of attendees, no matter how warm their aspect or how chunky their cardigans, will look awfully meagre and woebedragglesome in that auditorium.

Let me say in passing that Wound Man has now had its first two previews at Contact in Manchester and I'm pretty pleased with how it's all come together. It certainly looks beautiful, despite my lunkish lumberings all over the high gorgeosities of the set; actually performing the show is no walk in the park, at least not yet, and tonight I certainly fell foul of the frequent curse of second nights: it's more secure than the first night, but less energised and consequently less energising. I was incredibly tired today, after a long haul of early mornings and long intense days, and I never quite managed to get myself into top gear in the show. (Also I switched to sugar-free Red Bull and I think my body -- sensibly -- rejected it.) In a way I can't wait to get out there and do it again tomorrow -- which is a sentiment I very seldom feel in relation to my solo work -- but whether I'll feel that way in the morning sort of depends on whether I sleep as much as I need to between now and then: it rather looks as though I won't. Great, though, to know that the show basically works and, once I hit my stride, will actually be good fun to do.

The full tour schedule is over in the side bar to the right. I haven't been as diligent as I should in providing links to all the different venues but a little Googling will take you to each I'm sure.

Second thing I wanted to mention, while we're on the subject of that list of upcoming shows, is that, oddly but quite pleasingly, my very early play Weepie, from 1996, is having a couple of outings at Lincoln Drill Hall in June, under the direction of Donald Pulford, who seems, bafflingly but very gratifyingly, to have devoted half his professional life to staging and touring Weepie, in Australia till now. I'm pleased to think I'll have a chance -- as will a few others -- to see at last what Donald's take on the play is. Despite it being thirteen years old now, and its wetness behind its ears increasingly apparent, I feel fondly about Weepie: its determination to plonk itself right at the end of the limb and bounce up and down there with reckless, self-harming elan, while at the same time forcing everything important to go unsaid, to be subtextually intimated through the most elaborate tremors. I slightly wonder whether Don's approach is a bit more balls-out, literally as well as figuratively; well, we'll see. I've directed Weepie twice myself: the first time with Finlay Robertson and Corrin Helliwell as the two boys -- Corrin died in 1999, just a couple of years after we took the show (not-unsuccessfully) to Edinburgh, and I still think about him, very fondly and pangfully, pretty much every day; the second time in 2004 with the brilliant Tom Lyall and Greg McLaren. Weepie remains very close to my heart, and to the bone.

Three quick literary notes, and then I'm going back to bed for another stab at this shut-eye malarkey:

There's a Perdika Press reading this coming Tuesday, 28th April, in the Old Combination Room of Trinity College, Cambridge. 8pm. I'll be there. The readers include the sublimely, spitroastably excellent Tomas Weber and Nick Potamitis, and a small handful of others who I don't know but who come feverishly recommended.

J.G. Ballard is, of course, dead: if I was in any way up to it, I'd say a lot more about this, about him. I'll say this only: had he written nothing but his output between 1967-1973, he would still be the greatest British novelist of the postwar period: and he wrote ever such a lot more than that: including, in "Report on an Unidentified Space Station" (in War Fever), what I think may be one of the half-dozen best short stories of all time. Sam Ladkin points out the existence of the gruellingly comprehensive Australian fan site Ballardian, of which I had been unaware. I'm hoping a suitably erotic car accident might confine me to bed for a few months so I can properly investigate the resources there gathered.

And finally, quickly, the text that my eye's most gratefully snagged on at the moment is this, new(ish) from Peter Larkin. My admiration for Peter's work just grows and grows. There's a terrific interview with him, too, at Edmund Hardy's indispensible blog 'Intercapillary/Space'. You won't go out whistling the showtunes, true, but you might be able to feel interior parts of your body at work that you previously would have thought of only generically, if at all.

OK, well, I'm going to see what happens now if I lie for a while on my side in the dark with my eyes shut. ...In a way, the terrible thing is, how few are the possibilities.

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