Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stop Press: World's shortest pipeline

This isn't the post I've been waiting to write, and certainly not the one I really want to write which is now being held in a queue (but is important to us and will be dealt with as soon as an operator is available, meanwhile please listen to 'Chung Kuo' by Vangelis until your ears retreat defeated into your skull and your glasses consquently fall on the floor). But it is the post that needs writing now because it concerns activities of quite vertiginous imminence.

As a result of a very recent flurry of conversations and emails, I'm delighted to say that I'm going to be reading some poetry this coming Friday in Cambridge, along with one or more others. The definite one is the brilliant young poet Tomas Weber, whose work can be heard somewhere in the swirling collages of Hey Mathew (and of whose blog I am a big fan). He's still in his teens but you better believe he knows how to time it so that he can hit you out of the park.

So, if you're in or near Cambridge on Friday, or nowhere near but feeling like a blast of pre-winter air direct from the Urals and a little literary scuffle for All Hallows Eve, and prepared to travel for both, please join us:

Judith E. Wilson Drama Studio, Faculty of English, West Road, Cambridge
Friday 31st October   7.30pm
Free entry. Refreshments.

Meanwhile, normal Thompson's service -- or at least, that slightly abnormal version of normal service wherein I actually post stuff here - will be resumed in less than the metric twinkle of a glaucomatous eye.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Not here but there

Dagnabbit. It is a matter of the most blitherous malconsequence that I haven't linked from here to the Hey Mathew blog. Early on it was because I was feeling coy about the whole palaver. Since then it's just incompetence and forgetfulness. Now, I want everyone there, hanging out, toasting marshmallows, enacting obscure Viking rituals. (The reference is to the swarthy chaps with the horny helmets, and vice versa; not to the corporate stationers, whose only ritual appears to be to send me three catalogues a week promoting cheap toner cartridges for printer models I do not own and never have or shall, attempting curiously to entice me into making entirely redundant bulk purchases thereof by offering me a free tin of biscuits: a strategy which I cannot deny has given me pause more than once.)

Please feel at any rate very warmly welcome to come down on that fold: ladeez'n'gennelmun: the Hey Mathew blog. (Not the most surprising web address, no.)

O since you ask so nicely. The Klinker reading was a blast. Lovely to see those who were there. (How is it possible that Malcolm Phillips just gets more and more beautiful? To whom should I complain? -- Which reminds me of a lovely story in today's Popbitch mailout: AQA, one of those text-your-question services, apparently recently received the enquiry: "Why does ur nan have intercourse with penguins?") And I came perilously close to being picked up by an inebriated 40-year-old woman, who formed an inexplicable attachment to me and was, somewhere behind the fumes, rather sweet. And I liked the band Team B very much, once they hit their stride: some great No New York riffery and cheap harmonizer thrills.

And a round huzzah for the appointment of Sean Holmes as the new artistic director of the Lyric Hammersmith. A good choice, I reckon, and evidently a popular one.

That's all I'm saying. There are a hundred and nine things that need doing. A hundred and ten if you count actually doing any of them.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Incidents will happen

As Pete Burns was wont to sing (twenty-four fucking years ago -- Werther's Original, anyone?), it's "been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely time" since I last donned my Thompson's headgear and terrifying inflatable regalia. Didja miss me, didja didja?

Thing is, I'm posting almost daily to the dedicated blog for Hey Mathew -- and that project is anyway SWALLOWING ME WHOLE -- it's one of those projects in whose honour a whole fridge full of food goes rotten because one's never home to eat it -- so there's not much leftover time for my usual soigne wittering hereabouts: and if there were, why in the name of all that's decent would I choose to use it for that?

There's not much to report anyway, having been, as I say, very much making my own entertainment over the past couple of weeks. I dipped a toe back in the waters -- or, no, gravies, surely -- of the poetry scene by taking Jonny to a Veer booklaunch last week. This was the first time I've heard (and seen) Jow Lindsay live and in person; goodness gracious me. My teeth still go wiggly at the thought. He is an antic superhero wrapped in a lab mouse. Those who insist this is hyperbole can kiss my breakfast muffin.

And, well, so, look, some weird distorted version of what goes around eventually bewilderingly comes around, and partly this post is to say: I'm reading at the Klinker, next Tuesday, the 14th, and please, please, will you come? This is the Stoke Newington branch, which is at Maggie's Bar, 100 Stoke Newington Church St. It normally gets underway about 9, and it's £5 to get in or £3 for those who prefer to pay sixty per cent of the admission where possible. Other acts on the bill are, or at least include, Team B (from Brockley) and Frottage Go French; one of these, if I was hearing Hugh correctly on the phone, features a gentleman being whipped while he plays the piano. Who could bear to miss that. Seriously though, (a) it's a nice bar and a nice intimate performance space and everyone should love the Klinker, and (b) I'm always nervous about these readings and the only thing that makes them OK is the company of a few friends to drink with.

The other outing you should treat yourself to, especially (but not only) if you haven't seen it already, is Paperweight, which has returned in award-besprinkled glory from Edinburgh and reinstalled itself in the bosom of its mothership, viz. CPT, for the period of the next three weeks, or two-and-a-half I suppose by now. It's a wonderful show, not to be missed, and deserves large rapturous bouquet-hurling audiences.

More generally, what am I to say, what am I to do? I'd quite like to stay up and write about sadness, which is a theme that keeps recurring at the moment, and which I'm finding fascinating. I know some Thompson's readers wince when I get personal: they are excused the rest of this paragraph. I'm fairly recently out of a three month period of pretty intensive hypnoanalytic therapy -- which I want to write about more fully in due course, not least with regard to an extraordinary provocation that arose very early on -- and I feel I suppose somewhat changed as a result; some friends report a quite marked difference, which I don't altogether feel, but they would know I think better than I. One outcome of which I certainly am aware is that I haven't, by a long enough chalk to excite the attentions of Norris McWhirter's ghost, dispelled or diffused my sadness, which is kind of what I thought I might be signing up for; on the contrary, really, I've just brought it much closer to the surface, rather than contorting myself into a gruesome alphabet of human pretzel shapes in my efforts to suppress it with strenuous ironies and wild performances of self-disgust. Hey Mathew is, or will be, I think, a sad show, really sad: and I'm really fascinated by the response even of close friends and colleagues to that sadness, to my sadness. Odd, I suppose is all I think, that the sadness of others should make us so uncomfortable, that we experience it quite often as aggression or hostility or blame. I don't blame anyone for my sadness and I don't want to use it violently against people. I'm just pleased, in I guess kind of a relaxed way, to be sitting with it, to be feeling it rather than wrestling it down and trying to tape its mouth shut. I'm going to imagine that this is a transitional phase, and that I won't feel so raw in a while. It seems I appear to most folks to be calmer and happier and more open than I previously was, and I think I am, and that a less bottled-up sadness is quite easily compatible with those positive things. I hope so: it was a lot of money to spend if this sense of change is illusory. At any rate, I now can't tell if this is the post about sadness that I wanted to write, or simply a trailer for it. I must be turning into my late mother, who never could tell the adverts from the programmes.

Well, I'm sure I won't be back here until after Hey Mathew is done and, in a very real sense, dusted. Not long now -- I mean, frighteningly not long. But it's all good. All, as Bjork reminds us (and she should know), is full of love. ...Actually right now I am full of pizza and a little bit of useless tearful lovesick dismay: but what is love if mostly not those things, yeah.