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Episode 33 – Bags of Bags

MR BERT PODS carries on as normal here thank goodness but you can find the official website for NOTHING TO SEE HERE at

The Space Within


Nothing To See Here is back

It’s the start of the second series and Darren has upset Stephen. (And everyone else in Muswell Hill.)

(And his Mum.)

Stephen continues to listen less and get more confused.

The sex facts continue to be annoying.

How was Stephen’s holiday?

Is Arnold Holey still listening?

Find out all this and more from Sunday 25th October!

An Explanation

Mr Bert should write more. But he is unfocused and ill-disciplined. Or simply lazy. And he goes through phases. Now he’s making podcasts as well:

Mr Bert Pods – since lockdown in March 2020, he’s been surprisingly regular posting this:

or on the above top left MENU: MR BERT PODS

Nothing To See Here – a separate podcast with my friend Darren which isn’t the nice little chat I intended it to be.

Because of Darren:

HOME will bring you back here to all my written and podcast posts.

The beginning of the end.

22nd November 2018

Now well and truly into Switzerland. Rather a busy Thursday matinee. Reviews came out a couple of days ago. Mostly 2 stars which is a great shame. I really like it. I’ve seen it from tech rehearsals onwards. Everyone has been really lovely. The director is very friendly and treats everyone equally. Her husband is one of my champion theatre set designers. The lighting programmer is very helpful and the lighting designer had to come in late because of prior commitments and I was reassured to see he was not that familiar with the board.

The two actors are very down to earth, though I think I managed to slightly overwhelm Phyllis when I first met her with my enthusiasm, explaining I had seen Honour at The Park. I like Calum as he is quietly observant, but very warm and friendly. He was very nice to my two friends who bumped into him after they had seen the show. Apparently he got a shoulder rub off one of them. I may have to apologise,

The DSM is extremely nice and very funny. And she has a cat. She’s quite chatty on cans which is going to annoy someone who is still here. Talking of which the FOH Manager had a words with them about our “situation” and said it’s not to go on. I gave them some cakes as a peace offering and nothing more has been said which is fine by me. We’re being polite to each other.

Home life. After the huge traumas of replacing the windows and getting the flooring down, it’s all complete and the front room and hallway look really good now AND it’s so much easier to clean up after Weebag. This has alos been helped by a marvellous new floor mop (thanks to IK and LG on Twitter) which squirts and mops. Front room has been tidied up and now looks like a room to invite people into. Also cleared all the stuff piled up by the bannister, and tidied up my room. Still a long way to go and it’s all been very stressful (I buggered my back in the process) but we got a lot done.

Writing. Finished my play To Dream Again. Had a read-through with The Mousetrap gang plus one of their friends. All were very enthusiastic about it and I have to say it read beautifully. I was so surprised and pleased. A friend has also sent me an invite to a session run by therapist he knows well, though I’ve never heard mention of him before. Apparently he is a therapist and a theatre company director Darn (sic) Cheek. He’s been lovely and said to send the play to him. I’ve signed up to London Playwrights. they send out a weekly newsletter with submission opportunities so I have sent off to a number of theatre companies, so a few irons in the fire.

The main news is Mum fell last Thursday and was taken into hospital. Nicholas was there over the weekend and I went up for the day yesterday. She seems to have rallied a lot yesterday morning and ate a good meal just before I left. I had a long talk with the consultant, with Dad. The consultant was very careful talking to us and listening. She said Mum may have to go to Ripon for “halfway” rehabilitation but Dad not keen as he couldn’t travel there. Dad said he gets a lot of help and she suggested the possibility of a big care package. Mum talked quite a lot. the staff on teh ward seem to love her. “She has a smile like sunshine” one of them said. The woman in the bed next to here is desperate to leave hospital, crying on the phone to someone. She has Parkinson’s and I heard her say her daughter has cancer and that she had buried three people in three days earlier in the year. Dad must have heard. He held Mum’s hand a long time. Mum looked deep in my eyes just as Elisabeth had which I found hard. Dad said they were married in 1949. That’ 69 years ago. He spoke so lovingly and respectfully of her to the consultant. The subtext wasn’t hard to read. I’m more upset for them being apart than for myself. Dad talked of there not being much time now and wanting Mum to have the best quality of life possible now. He started talking about how Mum set him off on his career having showed him an advert when they were having lunch together. I managed to record him. I wrote a brief letter this morning. I remembered the ide from the Oceania exhibition at the RA of a people who believe we walk backwards in life. We face the past which we know but move forward into the future which we can’t see. I mentioned this in the letter. It seems appropriate.

New Podcast update

I am endeavouring to keep my personal Mr Bert Pods weekly 20 minute podcast going. Added to this I have joined forces with a friend and we have started – but not yet published – a new Podcast which is to be entitled Nothing To See Hear. We have sat and chatted in a Zoom room with a vague topic to hang our rambling conversations on, and I have then edited the audio file into a podcast. The Pilot episode was like giving birth to the universe and only just finally complete because he is very difficult to work with, as will become clear when you hear the podcast. We have recorded Episode 1 and I am in the process of editing. Realistically with are thinking of publishing as a 30 -40 minute episode every two weeks, though I still need to look into a publishing platform which is another major task. We may get a few recorded and edited before we put them out. I just want to keep the embers glowing for you all as I know a lot of you are having difficulty containing your excitement.


24th July 198..

(at top of page in pencil I have written “sent letter” – probably sent one home on my first day in Austria…)

For context, Gunter had already stayed with us in Harrogate. We were like chalk and cheese. He was very confident and self-assured. I wasn’t. The family were very cultured, economically very comfortably off and middle class.

I realise now that the Austrian city of Graz is astonishingly beautiful. I cannot believe how much we did in one day…you can see all the sights on Wikipedia’s Graz page.

Ich I am here at last! the irony of that bit being I didn’t speak a word of German the whole time I was there. Woke up at 7am and got up at 9am after reading my book. Note the complete lack of description of house or people. Mrs Reinitzer who is very kind drove us in to Graz. Gunter needed his licence for his motorbike and we went to the huge police headquarters but there was a queue. Then we went to the Schlossberg and saw the whole of Graz. There were many paths all over the Berg and I took many photographs. Then we collected his driving licence which delighted him! We walked through City Park. Then we saw some weird pictures in an Art Gallery by Hundertwasser which were certainly different. “certainly different” is the sort of phrase my mother used of something she didn’t like but was too polite to say so. Then we got a tram and a bus home. The we went for a ride (!!) and then to the Cathedral which was very beautiful with loads of statues. Then to the Mausoleum of Kaiser Friedrich II which was very austere and cold and very big. We saw a house covered with paintings all over the front and Gunter bought a lamp for his fish tank!! He was going for a game of football with his friends and I did not want to go but relented at last and sat and read. His friends also had motorbikes and they all haired around heavens knows where with me terrified on the back. Then we went to one of his friends house on Viktor Gerambweg to see his new stereo but Gunter’s mother came and was very angry because he was late. I met his father without realising who he was!! Then we went to a Church high on ‘mountain’. It was Gothic and Baroque and they tried to get me to play the organ to my horror! Then we went to see his Grandmother who lives without water or electricity so I could not see her as there was no light. I also met his aunt and a Siamese cat called Ghengis Khan there! There was a terrific thunderstorm, the lightning like day light. when I was in the bathroom the light went off with a crash of thunder but soon came on again thank goodness!


20th October 2018

Last day. this morning went to a writing session at the National Theatre taken by the playwright who’s written a truly wide ranging amount of stuff including a big community-centred version of Pericles for the National. She divided the time into three sections. First was Conflict, integral to pretty much all stories. She got us to retell something which had annoyed us and then to re-tell it with protagonist, explanation of the problem and what was stopping the protagonist getting what they wanted.

My response: At home one person had been standing smiling, whilst I had been dashing around trying to get out the door but having to clear up cat wee under a plastic sheet by the cupboard door, and chop up lettuce for my lunch which I thought had been done the previous day. I asked said person what they were doing, and I got the reply that they were enjoying standing in different places in the newly tidied up/rearranged/new floored room, as it was a beautiful morning and the sun was streaming through the windows. My reaction at the time was extreme annoyance but in re-telling the incident to the woman I was paired up with, I realised the real (subtext) conflict was inside me that I love the fact that someone can stand and be so happy in the moment – it’s just that, that was the wrong moment.

The woman then told me her frustration had been with the District Line, which is never good, but particularly the previous day when the train had stopped at every stop for longer than normal, which she said then made her annoyed by everything going on around her, including a man who had sneezed much further down the carriage, which would probably mean she had now got a cold. This made me laugh and we agreed that what we found here was humour underneath the negative feelings. So that what as simple but useful exercise.

Then she went through a basic pictorial image of Structure, showing it doesn’t have to be linear. If it’s a play/story without a linear narrative, the structure can be created through themes, which is how my Dream Play version works. She said a simple way of thinking about a linear structure is where the songs come in a musical, which made sense to me. What I am beginning to see in myself is bringing my musicality into the writing. Strindberg describes A Dream Play as being like music with themes, variations etc. This is what I love about it and it’s those elements taht are coming to the fore in my writing of it. I’ve written scenes where I’ve used meter and repetition in a musical way. She talked of using internal rhyme in some of her own writing – she seems to have done such a wide range of styles.

Lastly she had written a short scene badly and she encouraged us to analyse the faults in it, focusing on how to write exposition well. I liked the fact that she took something which needed improving as a way of demonstrating through discussion how it could be better – what is the best way of doing it.

I thanked her at the end and will definitely follow what she does next.

So back to work – one door closing and another opening and fortunately although one person is continuing there will be a new DSM thank goodness. I went to Foyles to see if I could get a copy of Switzerland but it seems out of print over here. I noticed the playwright has also written a play called Honour which is the next show at the Park with Henry Goodman. It’s been done twice before with Eileen Atkins and Corin Redgrave at the National in 2003, and in the West End in 2006 with Diana Rigg and Martin Jarvis. So that bodes well.

I ended up bonding with half the cast – typical as it’s the last day – who’ve I barely spoken to during the run. There’s FOH drinks in the bar after the show I should go to though I’d rather go home.


The 10% off over £50 code has been well received by customers and has generated a fantastic number of sales since being live so it’s well worth one last push before it ends Saturday.

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Branching Out

I am going to continue writing up my diaries and some other things here but in order to keep myself occupied I am going to start a podcast, which will be linked to this blog, and which in theory will me rambling on. It’s an experiment for now.

I am hoping it will be up and running today.

Watch this space.

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