Pantno…

Usually around this time of year I’m generally putting off thinking about writing a panto. For the last four years, I’ve been in the lucky position of writing the festive fayre for those young whippersnappers Middle Child, and those pantos are now firmly established as the city’s now annual affordable offer at the downright sexy warehouse venue Fruit, and it pisses all over what’s on offer beneath proscenium arches up and down the country. And summer usually involves me not writing anything for them, and telling them it’s on the way when it isn’t, and director Paul Smith reminding me what the story of the chosen panto is, and us agreeing on a deadline that I then let sail past, and then agreeing another deadline, and me ignoring that too. Then summer ends, the leaves start falling off trees, Paul reminds me what the story of the chosen panto is, gives me an update on cast size, I get round to writing a blurb for the back of the flyer, then the deadline passes, I negotiate another, and, with my summer tan fading and the cast and musicians standing on the doorstep of Middle Child’s home at Darleys, I eventually deliver something that they turn in to something magnificent. And I thank them for it, I really do.

By mutual consent, though, we’re breaking up the band. Which means that I can pretty much spend the summer months that are almost upon us doing what I normally do when I’m supposed to be writing a panto (actually, I can’t. I’d love to sit in beer gardens doing fuck all but I’m a bit busy with the Amy Johnson Festival).

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being involved, and Mr Smith sharing his panto insight, and his passion for this centuries-old tradition with me, and working with those annoyingly young, energetic and brilliant sods, and marveling at them in the rehearsal room.  Before they asked me to write the first one, I hated panto with a passion, mainly due to having to see around ten a year when I worked for The Stage and others. So it says something for MC’s powers of persuasion that they squeezed four out of me. I’d love to say thank fuck it’s over but, actually, I’m going to miss it enormously.  Aside from the trying to write it bit – thank fuck that’s over.

I’m really looking forward to rocking up as an audience member this year and, outside of their ongoing efforts to reinvent pantomime, what else Middle Child get up to in the coming months, years, and decades. I genuinely love ’em, the little rascals, and you should too. Cheers guys, thanks for putting up with me and my Douglas Adams’ attitude to deadlines – it’s been an absolute blast.

Supply & Demand…

Here’s a jolly little poem for you on a Friday afternoon, ’bout a corner of Hull, along with an attractive image of said corner. Have a nice weekend.

Waterhouse Lane

Supply & Demand

She was standing under the streetlight

No idea who Septimus Bromby was

And no desire to wade through some early 19th century census

To find out the name of the pub he ran.

No desire to be here, either

Standing under the streetlight

Of one of the city’s most famous streets

Built on a demand for fresh water

Giving those of a different era

What they wanted

Long before sewage

Flowed through here

Cash in hand.

This storm…

Murakami is the man…

“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

An you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

Haruki Murakami – Kafka on the Shore

Existence…

“There are only two worlds – your world, which is the real world, and other worlds, the fantasy. Worlds like this are worlds of the human imagination: their reality, or lack of reality, is not important. What is important is that they are there. these worlds provide an alternative. Provide an escape. Provide a threat. Provide a dream, and power; provide refuge, and pain. They give your world meaning. They do not exist; and thus they are all that matters.”

Neil Gaiman – The Books of Magic

“It is cognition that is the fantasy…. Everything I tell you now is mere words. Arrange them and rearrange them as I might, I will never be able to explain to you the form of Will… My explanation would only show the correlation between myself and that Will by means of a correlation on the verbal level. The negation of cognition thus correlates to the negation of language. For when those two pillars of Western humanism, individual cognition and evolutionary continuity, lose their meaning, language loses meaning. Existence ceases for the individuum as we know it, and all becomes chaos. You cease to be a unique entity unto yourself, but exist simply as chaos. And not just the chaos that is you; your chaos is also my chaos. To wit, existence is communication, and communication, existence.”

Haruki Murakami – A Wild Sheep Chase

“If something burns your soul with purpose and desire, it’s your duty to be reduced to ashes by it. Any other form of existence will be yet another dull book in the library of life.”

Charles Bukowski

Aristotle told us this…

“All drama is about lies. All drama is about something that’s hidden. A drama starts because a situation becomes imbalanced by a lie. The lie may be something we tell each other or something we think about ourselves, but the lie imbalances a situation. If you’re cheating on your wife the repression of that puts things out of balance; or if you’re someone you think you’re not, and you think you should be further ahead in your job, that neurotic vision takes over your life and you’re plagued by it until you’re cleansed. At the end of a play the lie is revealed. The better the play the more surprising and inevitable the lie is. Aristotle told us this.”

David Mamet

Wind…

Hmm, I went on a bike ride. And it was very windy. And I haven’t been on a bike in an age.  But it was fun. Even the wind.

“On a day
when the wind is perfect,
the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty.
Today is such a
day.”

Rumi

Sit quietly…

“If you have time to chatter,
Read books.

If you have time to read,
Walk into mountain, desert and ocean.

If you have time to walk,
Sing songs and dance.

If you have time to dance,
Sit quietly, you happy, lucky idiot.”

Nanao Sakaki