Sports Day

I don’t have one of those things on my phone that keep track of steps but I feel like I’ve walked 500 miles today. I’m on King’s House School sports ground in Chiswick. There’s an international consultancy firm that has an annual sports day. I googled them and the average salary is something like 80k. None of the staff are over 40. It’s like children of the corn. They probably burn out. Work hard. Play hard. Make money. Retire aged 40. Live on a yacht thereafter, hoovering up coke to recreate the feelings of stress that have become a way of life. Die a decade or two later of an overdose in a dark room somewhere hot.

They’re having fun today though. Competitive fun. It’s a big event. Extremely busy. Staff from 30 countries organised into teams competing bitterly at volleyball, touch rugby, 6 a side football and (with highest stakes), 11 a side football.

While they injure themselves and each other they are cheered on by living topiary, unicycle jugglers and Ghanaian acrobats. They have brought their own entertainment as well. Horns, helmets, cheerleader costumes, camel costumes, loads of flags, ridiculous mascots…

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(I have no idea what this guy was even supposed to represent. I pretended I was his biggest fan. He followed me around afterwards asking for money.)

“I feel like I’m at Wilderness,” says Helen, my friend and fellow festival denizen who is working alongside me. It’s because we are exhausted and mildly confused in a field while a DJ plays music and random things occur.

People stand on each other’s heads. A strongman tests his strength with a mallet and rings the bell. Young women hand out free popsicles. “Chilli and Mango or Strawberry and Mint.” Two men encourage us to take pot shots at coconuts. Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head! I need water and suntan lotion. The topiary asks me for a hug. My feet hurt. At some point I think I eat lunch. One of us lobsters in the sun. I’m in a black suit. Everyone not working is in shorts. I’m boiling. Oh look, The Red Arrows. Not for us though.

They are throwing their rubbish all over the place these people. It’s unbelievable. They’re scattered across the playing fields and every one of them is casually hurling their crap into the grass. There’s an army of caretakers litterpicking and we managers are joining in when duty allows, but still it keeps mounting up. Nobody gives a shit. We surround them with bins. They ignore them. They take one sip out of a water bottle and throw it on the floor. If they want more water they get another bottle and do it again.

By 5pm I desperately want a sports massage but the masseurs have been backed up all day. Four of them. They literally haven’t stopped. I go upstairs for five minutes to put my feet up. The door bangs open and in comes Robbie. “I’m the forklift driver. I need the keys to the forklift. Got to get the portaloos out.” “It’s five. The guests are on site until 6.30. You can’t move the loos until then.” He is not happy with this. He wants the key badly, I’m imagining him lifting up loos with clients inside them. My manager tells him no. The venue won’t give him the keys anyway. He gets very physically anxious. I go back on site just to walk around and ask people if they’re ok again as that’s a major part of this job.

An hour and a half later I find the key to the forklift and give it to Robbie. He is almost dancing with anxiety. I assume he’s just in a hurry. He goes and gets the the thing. Brings it round slowly. Then after an extremely uncomfortable twenty minutes where he very nearly upends a cludgie on himself he gets out red faced and sweating. “I can’t operate THAT forklift.” he announces like it’s my fault.

I end up sending him two big lads from the derigging team. They use leverage and bulk to get the loos onto the trailer without anyone getting spattered in anything horrible. No wonder “Robbie the forklift driver” got there so early and so anxious. He wanted to sit in his cabin and Google how to operate that particular forklift. We’ve all winged it from time to time.

I’ve been writing this piecemeal in snatched breaks throughout the day. The sun is almost gone now and it’s starting to rain. People are loading big piles of wood into vans. Brazil won the volleyball. London won the 6 a side, I think. I wasn’t really paying attention. I know Germany won the 11 a side because they all wanted a beer after the match and were asking me for one while the bar staff were shaking their heads and making neck-cutting gestures in my peripheral vision to the extent that I had to shrug my shoulders and fob them off with generic moaning about the arbitrary nature of licensing laws.

I thought to check the forklift and the keys were in the ignition. Apparently this site is regularly broken into at night. I may have just stopped a slew of drunken atm robberies. Although to be honest I doubt drunk South London kids would be able to operate the thing any better than poor Robbie.

When I’m finished I have to decide whether or not to go to a party. I’ve been walking since 7am. I can’t feel my feet. I might still go. Burning out at 40 is for chumps.

I sit and finish this during a snatched break. The cleaners are sitting near me. They’re done. “I’m not picking up any more shit today, we can do it tomorrow. I’ve never seen a group litter like them before. Apart from those South Americans in the yellow and green. They were lovely.” Well done Brazil. You won more than just the volleyball.

 

 

 

 

Giraffes

This morning I woke up naturally at 5.30 so I bounced around the flat thinking about my audition. Had eggs. Chanted. Fed the cat. The audition was in Southwark which was a happy coincidence. I was working there anyway in the morning.

I say working. I put on my ringmaster coat and Scrooge’s top hat, and grabbed a riding whip. My job?

First of all I met two delightful women who were dressed up as giraffes. Back in the mists of time there was a circus in Southwark, and the giraffes lived north of the river in a warehouse. They would be transported northwards over the bridge in the dead of night. Back then the Camelopard was an unfamiliar and intimidating creature and the shadows of the night were considered the best time to move the strange beasts in order to minimise consternation. A few drunken spouses might have returned astonished from late night boozing. “There was a spotted horse thing. With a long neck like a serpent, but with horns. And a black tongue.” “Go to bed dear. You’re drunk again.”

Every year at this time Southwark council spills a load of actors out onto the street with things loosely connected to the district, as part of Merge Festival, in an exercise purely designed to make people smile. This year, for today only, I was the ringmaster. I have now passed the baton, and the costume, to another actor who is more reliably available than I am. I’ve got stranger fish to fry.

So I was on the street with two giraffes. Two wonderful actresses dressed as giraffes. And we were “playing” in the truest sense of the word. We were finding out how to get grown ups outside Southwark tube to behave like children, and positively encouraging them to do so. It was beautiful and surprising. For me the highlight came with Jenny, who must have been eighty and clearly hadn’t had silly fun for a long long time. She sang to the giraffes, who honked back to her. Then they all danced ring a ring a roses. It seemed right. She was so thrilled and confounded and charmed I found it very moving. She stayed with us for ages, grinning from ear to ear. It made my day. All you need is one encounter like that. And we had many more than one. We went from joy to joy. The giraffe-women were simultaneously extremely inventive and remarkably charismatic, and people were drawn to their hilarious costume and endearing behaviours. All I had to do was put on my bombastic idiot hat, and hard-sell how glorious the beasts were, whilst occasionally whipping myself, or gathering people together to celebrate some other aspect of the circus – The best cyclist in the world was fun when the lights were red in rush hour. I have no doubt someone has me on their helmet-cam announcing their prowess.

In the midst of this I changed my clothes and went to a lovely audition, 5 minutes from the crossroads where I’d been working. My first note in the audition was essentially “Shall we try it again without you being a ringmaster?” Oops. We did so. Half an hour after the meeting I was back in the top hat and green tails and whip rolling up the crowds.

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I love my life. More random stuff tomorrow. So much random tomorrow. Must sleep. Zzzx

 

 

 

Beanbag

“When are you going to pick up this giant beanbag? My dad doesn’t like it in the living room. He keeps kicking off about it.”

Sometimes I agree to things and then forget. My friend bought a giant beanbag to lie on between shows. When the run came to an end she had a beanbag, no room in the living room, and a dad who doesn’t like new things anyway. “I’ll take it. The amount of people I have round my flat. There’s always use for a beanbag.” That’s what I said a few weeks ago.

Then I forgot I’d said it, and went to a festival on the day I said I’d collect it. My friend has been keeping it for me  whilst I had forgotten it existed. I wasn’t working today so I zoomed up to Primrose Hill and loaded it into the back of an uber. “What is that thing?” asked Bashir. “It’s a beanbag. Like a big bed cushion thing. It’s really light. But it’s huge. My friend didn’t want it.” Bashir wasn’t impressed. He just grunted. At the end of my trip he shook my hand and said “5 stars, yes?” 2 minutes later I watched my rating drop by 0.03. Bastard 4 starred me. But now I have a beanbag.

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It’s a hit with Pickle. I’m lying on it right now and she’s curled up by me purring like a train. I expect it will be a catastrophe of moulted hair before long. So I’ll make use of it before she claims it entirely.

And now as evening falls I’m lying in my comfy beanbag writing this so I can get on and swot a scene for a meeting tomorrow. Theatre auditions. Should you be off book, or just very familiar? Answers on a postcard. I didn’t actually realise there were sides until today despite the meeting landing a few days ago. I just assumed they’d ask me to look at various sections and talk about them. I’m glad I noticed. Better late than never. It was one of the sections I assumed they’d want to look at anyway so I’m golden. And at least now I’ve got a wide angle on the piece. It could be the answer to the “What the heck am I going to do with my summer now?” question. Although I’d have to weedle out of my obligations at Wilderness Festival. But that’s a fair exchange for a paid August at The Underbelly.

I haven’t been back to Edinburgh for a very long time. I crashed through it in a 5 star show about 15 years ago, and then bounced back a few times as van driver / free ticket rinser / enthusiastic drunk friend. I have wanted to go back for a while now but it’s punishingly expensive. This could be a good shot, and depending on the Showtime I might trial my one man show on the free fringe in the last week, and see if I can get a few rotten tomatoes to cure my festival malnutrition. Of course, I’ve got to get the part first. But that’s just a formality. 🙂

The apparel oft proclaims… (How often do you look at a man’s shoes?)

I’m walking through the streets of Chelsea in an immaculate three piece suit on this perfect summer evening.

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I have a tattered brown canvas bag, a flat cap, and a pair of 20 year old Brasher walking boots, more frequently used for dancing than walking, falling apart, absolutely covered in mud. None of this would have occurred to me to share with you had I not just walked past a woman and wished her a good evening. Her eyes measured my suit, then dropped to the footwear. Her cheeks sucked in and her lips pursed, fixated on the boots. She remained statue still as I passed her. Her disapproval was palpable, unless she somehow mIsheard “Good evening” as “I’m going to kick you.” I’ve got a four pack of beer in my tatty bag. Had I been a split second quicker off the mark I’d have pulled one out and offered it to her, just for giggles. Probably for the best I didn’t. She’d have called the police.

I remember as a small boy a friend of my parents told me by way of a useful titbit : “You can always tell the quality of a man by the quality of his cufflinks.” Aged 12 I stored it in the “How to be a grown-up” section, along with “One day you’ll like kissing just as much as they do in this film,” and “When you’re older you’ll wish somebody was offering you whisky this good.” I do now. Feel free to offer me. Unlike the other two things, that started to make sense eventually, the cufflink thing never did. How can you tell the quality of a man based on something he has voluntarily dressed himself with? But then I started to see how many people never leave school. Binary options. Right and wrong. Enforced over and over again.

You can wear the wrong shirt with the wrong hat. The wrong hat with the wrong watch. The wrong watch with the wrong trousers. Even the wrong branded ski suit in the wrong resort. “This is St. Moritz darling, not Aspen.” Drive the wrong model of car. Walk the wrong dog. Do the wrong exercise. Marry the wrong type of person. Live the wrong type of life. To make sense of the endless palate of choice that we have, people navigate narrow journeys through a flowing cornucopia, and lavish judgement on everyone who does it differently. I was wearing the wrong suit for the boots, I suppose. In the wrong area. And my shirt doesn’t even do cufflinks because I bought it in Primark. If it did they wouldn’t match. They’re all in singles these days. I usually wear a scrabble piece and a silver tiffany. I suppose that means I’m the type of person who doesn’t give a crap about cufflinks. So maybe there’s that…

The trick is to make the thing you do into the right thing to do. Most people who make that sort of judgement – they don’t have much will. Just you wait. In a years time everyone will be going to society parties in a three piece with walking boots and mismatched cufflinks.

Volunteering

Deep in The Amazon, there is a refrigeration unit. It’s hot in the Amazon. Too hot. The unit doesn’t refrigerate properly. It got carried there by a tidal wave. There’s no power. Still, it’s home for some steam. The steam wishes he was an ice cube again. His family is all melted. He is calm, but there he is still he still stuck in his broken fridge home in the Amazon, making the best of it, growing vegetables. Until suddenly an angry visitor arrives… What does she want?

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I’ve been mentoring again, teasing creativity out of kids who might otherwise go unheard by getting them to write plays. I’m being an adult – as far as I’m capable – in their company. Sadly I think this is the last time I can do it for this season. I’ve just booked some work over the writing weekend and I have to prioritise that work. I need to clarify with the guys I’m working for about exact dates, but I think it takes me out of the picture for the writing weekend. Shame. I’ve enjoyed it immensely so far, and I care about the kids now. They’re great, and bonkers.

It’s pleasant to volunteer. It came out of the same thinking that led me to the last few blogs. I sometimes have too much time on my hands. In this feast or famine work it’s either no time to think or endless time to overthink. If you spend that endless time vanishing into bad patterns you can burn yourself out. Two routes that won’t kill you:

1: Obsess about self improvement. “Look at my muscles, I only eat kale now, my spiritual sister is an emu, I’m reading Tolstoy backwards in Russian.” That’s not my crack.

2: Occupy yourself with other people’s stuff, and thus forget about your own bollocks. Spend ages worrying about other people’s shit. Help them out with it. Work through it. Years down the line notice how your previously broken friends are unbelievable zen warriors kicking the world in the balls. End up hanging out with loads of amazing people who know things deeply. Win.

It’s been working fine so far. I love helping sort through people’s crap with them. It’s so much easier than sorting my own. I’ll help do things with others that I won’t do for myself, and I’ll find it easy. So, volunteering is a joy. I want to do more of it. But also as I write I find myself telling myself to remember to try and allocate time to myself too. Maybe I need to go towards #1 for a bit and learn how to break metal with my abs and eat less crap. Especially since I’ve got the spiritual stuff largely sewn up even if I don’t directly blog about it often. Never fear though. No emus involved. And I don’t think I can see dead people.

 

Dolphin

That felt great, having a good old moan yesterday. Meant I could see the colour of the crap inside. Like all the loogies I’ve been hacking up lately with this endless hayfever yuk, it’s better out where I can see it and make sure it’s not got blood in it.

I read an interesting treatment and work in progress today. Satire is one of my favourite forms, but it’s a form that develops and deepens with familiarity.  This is a modern working of an old satirical fiction. The original has great charm but it’s a bit on the nose by modern standards and gets more and more laboured as it goes. There is much that the original book has given to our culture and language, but with any classic work remade, the question is “Why this now?” With Shakespeare it’s easy: “He just … gets us.” I get jumpy when I see a classic text remade. I worry it might just be the fan fiction of someone who loved it at school and hasn’t really progressed since then.

Reading the treatment, though, I found my imagination jumping around Brexit and patriarchy and privilege which are undeniably talking points at the moment. Enough so for me to want to find out more with this one. And lovely after yesterday’s ranty blog to be reminded that people are interested in collaborating with this irascible.old git. Moods are momentary. Tempers are temporary. Sic transit.

It’s because I’m not dayjobbing this week. Normally I’m changing my clothes on a train while mumbling to myself in verse, or I’m cramming a PowerPoint into my head on a rush hour tube with a suit on and a costume in my bag. This week I’m waking up when the cat gets bored and then skittling around my local area trying not to buy shit like clockwork mice for Pickle (awnly a pahnd). Too much time to think. By the end of this week I would like to have organised a little desk area and sat it in for long enough to flesh out a couple of chapters. It’s all going to explode again soon with dayjobbing plus a run of Macbeth so it’s a good opportunity to chill out and learn another part – maybe Malcolm. What went wrong that I wind down by learning lines? Still, Crouch End Festival fast approaching and I wanna be firing all guns for that.

I stopped by the Boy with a Dolphin statue near mine. By David Wynne. My mother used to love it. As a kid I remember seeing a pod of dolphins with her on the horizon at Cable Beach. I remember it because she was suddenly a kid with me. I was only ten. She loved the things. Dolphins and seagulls. Very sixties, but the message of flow and freedom. Flowing is not about banging your head against something until it smashes. It’s about changing with the current, freedom, vigour, speed and joy.

Back to the classic, good old Hamlet puts it best to his old friends: “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

I had a moan, a good read a good walk and I bought a clockwork mouse. Now another read – in honour of my mother I’ll see if I can dig out some Richard Bach – and a sleep. Pickle will be nibbling my toes in about 6 hours. Here’s a boy with a dolphin, being dynamic, flowing, rolling, shifting. And possibly drowning.dav

Venting. Sorry.

I shot back across town this evening to make sure the cat wasn’t starving after spending last night with my friends and their baby. Lovely to hang out with them, and that baby… She’s a joy. She is just entirely present, reactive and responsive. A reminder to us all to be like that.

Now I’ve got Pickle sitting on me paddling into my belly. Nutrition. Affection. Distraction. Repeat. Basic needs are pretty easily met across species. I’ve been feeling pretty emo recently and it’s been leaking into the blog. What’s the deal?

I don’t like writing about disappointments in my career because I frequently find myself in conversations with actors on that subject and I never want to be in them. It’s fucking boring. “Should should should. Want want want.” We pretend to be other people for a living for God’s sake. It’s fun. Some people stitch up knife wounds. We just want to hold a mirror up. But everyone is the star of their own life. And this latest season is no good.

This early summer has been what can only be described as an absolute complete and utter shitstorm career-wise. I could look for reasons. I could look for patterns. In the end I have to convince myself it’s arbitrary. But it’s hard to keep maintaining this daily record when I’m having to sit on disappointment after disappointment. I keep wanting to go off on a good old rant. In terms of what I’m used to it’s off the scale. So I think I will. Entitled actor twat rant. Maybe it’ll lance the boil. Maybe reading back over my first world problems and my charmed life presented negatively – maybe it’ll help me concrete how lucky I am…

Since I’ve started this blog I’ve hit a desert of pencils. It can’t be connected but it feels that way. It’s always down to the wire. I’m fucking livid about the last few. I went to a field and danced until I dropped because I smashed the crap out of a recall for a lovely tour of Hamlet, waited two weeks on a heavy pencil while unknown machinations took place and eventually found out while walking down a street near my old drama school that I’m not going to Miami and California because *insert reason* *there is no reason* *ABORT ABORT*

So here I am looking at a desert of the unknown, as ever, despite having had some beautiful opportunities to pin my hopes on, all of which turned out to be balloons. And it’s the same in the love life. Vanishing hope. Repeated. With friends asking me “When are you going to fall in love,” while I’m standing open hearted wondering the same thing.

So I’m going to put my skin back on. But this is me shaking it out first. I’ve tried not to vent here, because I actively dislike people whining when things aren’t perfect. I’ve got loads of good things happening. Loads. Absolutely nothing to complain about apart from not being able currently to expand the list of interesting practitioners to collaborate with. “Make your own work,” yes yes of course. But I love working with new people and that’s how we grow. “Go on a load of dates.” No. I hate it. “Hide in a hole?” Now you’re talking. *digging*

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China

My best friend has a relatively new baby – (7 and a half months), and the opportunity for her to go and work at our old drama school part time (directing a second year show) came up. What a lovely thing, to be able to bring her deep practical understanding to these people just starting out. It works for her in that it’s not as all consuming as a rehearsal process into a run, so she can look after the little one and keep soliciting for telly work while giving back to the beautiful college that encouraged our kindness and presence. It works for the kids because they get an opportunity to work alongside a practitioner steeped in her craft and robustly validated by her industry, and one who has never shifted into a habitual “teaching” groove. It’s lovely to run workshops from that practitioner headspace.

I hauled myself over to Catford to spend the evening with her, as weekends actually mean something for her at the moment. I’m still recovering from the emotions and the dancing but I’m pretty much square with things now. Seeing her helped round off the remaining edges. We’ve always helped dig each other out of the dumps.

Last time I saw them, her boyfriend was seriously considering going to Shanghai to visit one of his best friends who is doing Punchdrunk out there. I said he should probably just do it. It’s not often you have a good friend you can stay with in Shanghai. I missed one shot a few years ago. My friend didn’t. He went and impulse booked the whole trip coming off a job, blew the whole job on it, and spent 10 days in entry level China. Based on the conversation I’ve just had with him it was even worth the horribly expensive last minute visa. He played me some audio of an “angel” singing in a passenger tunnel in Fu-Jing. It made my heart stop with soaring human-yet-alien vowels. It was just some guy practicing. Not even busking. Using the tunnel’s acoustic to check his form. Gorgeous and unusual.

I found myself yearning to go somewhere unfamiliar again and spend some time out of the groove. I could get behind the idea of a trip to China. I don’t speak a word of the language but if you’re looking for a culture that is utterly unlike the familiar, I reckon you can’t get much better than that. Plus I’m not a fussy eater. But anywhere will do. Who has a house somewhere unusual that I can crash in for a week?

I’m lucky that I still can travel relatively easy. I’ve kept myself unfettered. Very few obligations apart from Pickle. I can just pick up and go. Money or the lack of it and the obsession with keeping myself available for acting work are the only things that have been hobbling me. I take my hat off to my friend’s boyfriend, for just booking a flight, working out a visa and sodding off to Shanghai. Maybe I need to make a show that can travel and book myself a world tour. Maybe I need to just sod off to China and work it out when I get there…

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Gin and Xanax

Quiet today. Last night I had a friend round late for a restorative evening. It was lovely but involved a surprising amount of gin. I knew I wasn’t working today though which gave me the luxury of a slow morning, of which I took full advantage.

The best use of my empty day that I could possibly arrive at in my slightly impaired mental state at the moment was to go for a walk in the local area and get distracted by expensive kitchen implements in shops. I wasn’t feeling the writing. My head is full of ants. I went to Muji and looked at things I’ll never buy. Then I went to Peter Jones and did the same. Then I ran into a neighbour as I was aimlessly walking up and down the Kings Road coveting things. The next part of the plan was a trip to Holland and Barrett to look at things and buy none there too. I had it in my mind to get some 5htp. My friend intercepted me and seemed to think that a Xanax would do instead. It’s Chelsea after all. We can be 1950’s housewives. So I gave it a try because that’s what I do. I’ve never eaten Xanax before. I don’t think I’ll make a habit of it. It was a bit too floaty.

I then wafted into town for the early evening meal with Tristan and Tanya before he kicked off working in his late night hellhole of a job. We went to Dirty Bones in Piccadilly. I could’ve been anywhere for all I cared. I was surfing a wave of genial indifference by this time. I got lost in Piccadilly Circus and ended up in Carnaby Street confused and discombobulated in a familiar area by the Friday night drunk-or-bust lot who had just been disgorged from their vile offices where they trade happiness for curved televisions. They were seeing which of them could shout the loudest. I eventually worked out where I’d gone wrong and ended up in the restaurant I had been looking for. There I met a burger that had macaroni cheese inside it.

I shoved my new burgery-friend down my gullet which put paid to the remains of the Xanax incompetence, and I think I participated in some form of conversation. Then I decided to walk home.

On the way home my late night friend from last night panicked by text that she had lost her wallet – passport and all, and thought it might be in my flat. “Of course it’s in my flat,” I tried to assure her. We rendered ourselves incapable of anything but monosyllables and then passed out watching Harry Potter. Her stuff is likely to be everywhere.

But I was in no hurry. Beautiful evening tonight, and I wanted to look at pretty things so I did. I arrived home wondering what the hell I’d be able to put in a blog, found the wallet (and a packet of slims), felt like a hero for doing nothing, changed the cat litter and sat down to write this.

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Kiwi Christmas

I’m still wearing my festival armband. I think I need to cut it off. Normally you only continue to wear them if you’re 17 and you think it somehow makes you cool. I’m not 17 anymore, despite nth behaviour. And looking cool is pretty far down the list.

I don’t want to cut the thing off yet though. It’s a reminder of the sensation of all that weight falling away as I was bouncing around in that field. It makes me smile when I look at it. I need reminders of lightness in this heavy city. Especially right now when it’s so hot and sweaty and everyone’s short tempered.

It’s not like I overextended myself today. I phoned a few actors and booked them for a job. I got a bit of work for some friends and a bit for some strangers. Then I chanted with my neighbour. Now I’m off across town for Kiwi Christmas food and perhaps a bit of prosecco.

Tomorrow it’s June. The debt that originally sparked this blog has been paid. In the process there have been more than 500 of these blogs. Sometimes they’ve had structure. Sometimes I’ve discovered things as I wrote them. Sometimes they’ve made me chuckle. Sometimes they’ve just been dashed off so I can get back to living again.

Technically there is no reason for me to carry on. I could wind this up and go live in a forest for a year with no signal. I could get on the good ship Picton Castle and fuck off around the south seas for 6 months, hardening my body and getting much better at the accordion. I could do many things.

Or I could try something similar but new… Brian likes to set me challenges. He knows I like to have them set. On his birthday he suggested : Why don’t you do a month where you make the blog a vlog? He got me to shake hands on it. I’m a man of my word… “it might take me a while to get the kit sorted. June or July.”

I don’t really know how to edit video, what platforms or bits of software will help, how to sort out sound and lighting to make it look good and make it interesting. Maybe I don’t need to. I have a few ideas of fictional theme including one which has tickled me for a while. All recommendations welcomed re software, points of reference and cheap kit. I reckon June can be a month where I quietly learn and practice in my spare time. And then in July, God help us all, I’ll try and put something out there daily. God knows what. And I reserve the right to chuck it all in as a bad idea and get back to just scratching out these overly candid or entirely evasive daily journals with nothing more than word pictures and an arbitrary photo because they’re familiar and easy.

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And now I’m traveling home humming Christmas songs to myself. We’ve had a kiwi Christmas. The weather is right for it. And pleasant if odd to be immersed in that world of sounds, flavours and symbols without having to put the old sweaty nightie on and prowl around humbugging. Merry bloody Christmas. Seems it never ends.