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Category: Writing (page 1 of 8)

Notes From My Life

Should be writing a review of Translations but too hot.  So here are some more diary entries:

29 May

I’ve suddenly hit inertia at home. I’ve done nothing for two days (three if you include today). I seem to go through periods of time when I have so much to do I end up writing lists, to times like this when  I have nothing to do. I made a completely failed attempt to start writing a play. That lasted all of ten minutes or less (the attempt, not the play). And yet I can write till the cows come home in this book. This writing is just my unfiltered thinking, and also I have an hour or so to write – or alternatively watch the play, which I do occasionally. Maybe I need a special place to write creatively.

2 June

(Finally that £5.50 Swiss-made Caran d’Ache ballpoint pen, I bought especially for use with this notebook, that has blotched its way through these pages and which I have battled on with because it was £5.50 Swiss-made Caran d’Ache, has finally run out of ink. )

Listened to In Our Time on Henrik Ibsen this morning. I learned that Ibsen continually changed tack, maybe to challenge himself, maybe because  people’s minds and behaviour are all complex. They talked about how complex his women are. And I didn’t realise he’s the most performed playwright after Shakespeare.  He was happily maried, and in his daily habits very conservative. He lived many years out of Norway. A Doll’s House was seen as shocking but no banned – it became a serious talking point. Even today the thought of a mother leaving her children, let alone leaving them in the hands of a man (her husband) she didn’t think capable of looking after them, has a feeling of taboo about it. Unlike Hedda, Nora doesn’t kill herself.

4 June

I’m going to be spending the performance watching a woman in very bright patterned trousers. She’s spent a long time chatting up a male FOH who brought her something.  She’s probably in her seventies. She’s moved herself, coat and bag into the seats opposite me and has made herself at home. She’s been stretched across the Dress Circle ledge but has been gazing back around the auditorium. Then a mobile went off, some way behind her, so she spent some time looking around at them – glaring I should imagine. Now she seems to have settled into watching the  play, possibly the reason that most of the audience are here. She’s just taken her top off to reveal a spaghetti strap vest. I’m now wondering if she’s a man. Very thin, short dyed blonde hair. Came in wearing one of those oversize “golfing” hats and large 1970’s sunglasses. I now can’t decide if they are a man or a woman. Whichever, they now seem gripped by Michael’s and Andrew’s acting onstage. Now they are fumbling in a bag. Food? The scream sound effect made them jump to attention. They are starting to fidget and  look around again:  I’m wrong about the top. It has thin but not spaghetti straps and seems to have a low cut at the side. Middle seems to be ruched horizontally. Large dark watch on right wrist. Definitely a woman as I can now see the front has a very low cut. Polka dot pattern. She’s swaying to the interval’s Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. I like her.

19 June

Heard The Film Programme.  There was an interview with  Michael Smith, the first autistic director to make a feature film. He said something like, ” I don’t just want to think outside the box, but smash the box and remake it in my image.”

Sky Marbles

I love and am proud to work for the Foundling Museum which I think is one of the most important museums in London.  It is a place of heartbreak, sadness and hope.  It is a beacon of how important the arts are for changing lives.

Even though I am used to being there amongst its paintings and objects telling their silent stories, occasionally I still get overwhelmed. This work done with the children of Thomas Coram Nursery, inspired by Tom Railton (the Museum’s 2014 Artist- In -Residence) brought tears to my eyes.  As you look at their Sky Marbles you hear their voices talking about why they have made toys for the foundling children, and what types and colours of weathers they have in the marble they have made.

Sky Marbles – The Foundling Museum

Tom Railton – Cluds

An Unforgotten Life

I recently went to the superb exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery about Charles II and his art collection.  There were four magnificent full length portraits hanging together, all of which were fascinating but this one I found very moving.


Welcome To My World

Spent the afternoon visiting some squares and gardens as part of London’s Open Squares Weekend. Here are some snippets of the conversations had during the afternoon.

1.  [Context: On tube platform.  Station Manager announcement being broadcast]

“You don’t need to put on your sunglasses here.”

“They help me hear the announcement better.”

2.  “Part of me really wants a dog.”

“How much part of you?”


3.  “Have you done your diet days this week?”



It is a bit tricky writing about the theatre from the perspective of someone who works on live performances but who also cares  that the magic of theatre is untouched, but it’s a balance I am striving to achieve.  Forgive me for any failings.

Some of you folk may be wondering about my flicker.  Well it’s very important, but I can’t say very much more about it, as it is part of a play steeped in  theatrical history, and I can’t give away its secrets.  What I can say is that I have the weight of that theatre history heavy on my shoulders.  The irony is if you were to watch me at work you’d probably think I had the easiest job in the world, but I have an enormous responsibility and with one twitch of my finger could bring about disaster.  I’m exaggerating, but only slightly.  My job adds to the reality and the mystery – the atmosphere, the magic – of  the performance.  Not one person in the audience will be thinking about the little factory of operations going on behind the scenes – without which there would be no show – because they don’t know about it.  As previously written on here I have the privilege of stepping through a portal (through the wardrobe, down the rabbit hole) into  a world that is a unique mixture of magic and the utmost banality.  It’s a world that has to run like clockwork, and yet it is at its most exhilarating when it doesn’t, for whenever possible the audience must not know that the cogs aren’t turning smoothly. Then the magicians has to summon all their powers to keep the illusion intact.  That may be a member of stage management or an actor improvising.  It may be me rethinking which button to push.  In each case the thinking must be fast and accurate.  At worst the theatre is a dangerous place where accidents can and do happen.  Many theatre traditions are in fact what we now call Health and Safety.

I’ll be flickering twice today.  Joking about it is a way of not thinking about it too hard. Deep down I am a little scared because these two numbers are watching over my shoulder.

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Notes From My Life

In the spirit of the great David Sedaris, here are some (recent) notes from my diary;  some of it written at work:

23rd May

To write or not to write.  That is the question.  Spent the morning writing to my parents as usual but as I was describing the play I ended up writing ten A4 sides, so I’m not sure if I can keep up more writing now. (A friend described my weekly handwritten letter home as “an act of love.”)

Applied for a very small job this morning – an ASM [Assistant Stage Manager] to cover one night at a  pub theatre.  £150.  Watch one night, shadow the next and work the third.  You never know.  Decided to presume there’s not going to be a job next in here for me.

I’d quite like to have a quiet doze now but for the actors talking on stage.

19th May

Watching this play, very much in the mould of a traditional repertory play, reminds me of a play I saw with my parents when I was a child.  I think it was in Cheltenham – we must have been on holiday.  I remember it was very nasty with horrible images at the end of each scene or act.  I specifically remember a character having his head hammered in – he was lying down, maybe on a table as the  lights changed and dimmed and he screamed, probably a sound effect.  We also saw Rattle Of A Simple man at the Savoy with John Alderton and Pauline Collins, married in real life, a comedy about him failing to have sex with her – they were client and prostitute.  And then there was Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus at Harrogate Theatre, I remember being astonishingly rude as only Alan Bennett can.  I wonder what my parents felt, thought or said about these plays and how I would react to them at such a young age.

25th May

I’d love a bespoke suit.  My own tailor even more.

27th May

Looking out the Green Room window and saw two homeless people totally drugged up and moving their limbs in the repeated “mad” manner that you almost expect people in their state to.  Later on between shows I bumped into a friend in Covent Garden.  Whilst talking to her a homeless man came up to us with his “last” Big Issue.  My friend opened her bag and purse in front of him and gave him £2.50.  He was obviously an addict and made a joke as a way of saying thank you which caused me to laugh out loud.


To Do Or Not To Do

Today I feel as if the laptop is glued to my lap despite the fact the sun is shining and I should be outside.  Also the laptop is making me feel hotter than I already am.  I hate this  inertia.  It’s the lure of the internet.  Far more easy to clear out my bookmarks and emails than do anything constructive.  Like cleaning or tidying or looking for a job.  I never actually clear out my bookmarks and emails because I just get led into a spider’s web of web browsing.

I quite fancy going to a film but it’s sunny outside and the Northern Line is out of service.  Excuses.  Excuses.  So instead I sit here and am forcing myself to write a blog post because at least that feels a bit constructive – which it isn’t it’s just alleviating my guilt.

Soon I’ll feel hungry so I’ll have lunch, then a mid-afternoon hot drink, then go out for Tea, then have an evening meal, then watch the TV and go to bed too late.

I could be writing some play reviews here as I have a backlog.  I could I could I could.  Do I really want to write or am I just lazy?  What do I want to write if I do want to write.  I can’t continue with these self-indulgent ramblings.

I don’t feel any the better for writing this.  I need a kick up the backside.



Interestingly (well I think so) I have been working on two plays that have both had intense parts for two actors mostly on stage together alone for the whole time.  Beginning by David Eldridge was a 1hr 45 minute real-time conversation (no interval) between a woman who had just held a flat-warming party and a man who was the last guest to leave.  Mindgame by Anthony Horowitz, a dizzying

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A couple of summers a go I read Robert Macfarlane’s book Landmarks about how both our language and  a handful of writers he focuses on have shaped our relationship with the landscape of this country. The last chapter is about a project by Deb Wilenksi with Caroline Wending observing a class of Reception children (4-5 year olds). Over ten Monday mornings they went out into a local country park and were just left to do whatever they wished with

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Just realised I never wrote this post.

It was one of the happiest times of my life.