Some sort of day

Sometimes I settle down to write this blog thinking “Which aspect of my terrifically busy and successful day should I focus on?”

This is not one of those days.

This is one of … the other days.

What the heck did I do today?

I slept under two duvets last night. Should’ve thought of that weeks ago. It did make my bed a bit too hospitable though. I was still there at 10am. Then I got up but…

I must’ve done something…

I wrote an email. It hasn’t had a reply. But it’s sent. That’s a thing. It was to a lawyer. She reads them on the clock. I don’t like writing to her so I’ve been avoiding it. Now I check my spam every five seconds to see if she’s responded.

Oh and I corrected an auctioneer. I’m selling some vellum. It’s continental, fifteenth century, a page from a monastic book of chant, “Tenebrae factae sunt …” There were shadows ….

On good Friday one of the monks reads a bit of scripture then all the rest sing a response. I imagine the whole thing takes hours and sounds lovely and echoey.

This is the fifth such sung responsory for Good Friday. Sure, the auctioneer didn’t need to put all that info. But “possibly for Good Friday” doesn’t cut the mustard, frankly, especially considering that’s just remembered from when I dropped it off. So I sent them some info and a link to some dudes singing it on YouTube. You can find anything these days. Hopefully they’ll adjust the listing accordingly. If they don’t I reckon I’ll pull it and sell it myself on eBay with a better description. It likely won’t go for more than £150, but why sell it short? Especially after I went to all that work to identify it. And by “all that work” I basically just sent a photo of it to my mate Joxley who taught me how to sing and now does it for the lucky boys of Rugby College. He knew what it was immediately because he’s bloody marvelous at that sort of thing. Still, knowing who to send something to is part of the skill of research. It’s like knowing which book to look in first. I’m kind of chuffed I “out-knew” the auctioneers. In fact, if they don’t correct it, I’m gonna pull it, take the hit, and post it to Jox for Easter. He gave me an understanding of the deep bass I dropped into when my soprano voice shattered. For years I just thought I couldn’t sing anymore, and strangely Guildhall didn’t help. They were only interested in tenors. Jox helped. Glory be.

Anyway yeah. That’s it. Email to lawyers. Email about vellum. Moved some stuff around. Bath. Cup of chamomile tea.

I’ve finished the chamomile tea now. National emergency. I’m going to have to leave the house tomorrow. If I get to evening tomorrow with no chamomile tea I’ll be up all night with bloodshot eyes mumbling and howling in ancient languages. Probably snippets of the responsory for Good Friday.

Oh and on the subject of mumbling and howling, I started assembling material for Dan to cut into a showreel. My showreel as stands almost certainly loses me work. I don’t need much but I must change what I’ve got. In a world with so many actors, you need a short bit of visible shenanigans so somebody on the other side of the world can go “I like his voice. His hair is funny. Get him in.” With no showreel they might go to the guy they can see moving. With a bad showreel, they might go “Jesus, he’s still got a montage? Get me the other guy, the guy with the feet!”

So yeah. Hard email, geeky email, collating data, moving furniture, tea. It’s starting to look like a day. Even when it’s a nothing day there’s still something. I haven’t looked at the news after yesterday got dominated by it. I don’t like the news right now…

This Capitol affair

This is what can happen when you spoil a child.

Millionaire by 8. Bought through college. Bought out of military service. Grasping grasping grasping. Mean little cruel little boy. You only have to look at him to see the pig-eyed kid he was. If he lost, it didn’t count. He didn’t like the game anyway. You were cheating. He’ll tell his daddy on you. His daddy is rich. You’ll be sorry.

He was prefiguring it for ages. All those talks with Putin : “How did you do it?” “Just try it. If you’re strong enough they’ll let you.” But he was banking on a second term to put in place enough structure to derail the system and stay in forever. The job’s not done in time. And now the game’s over prematurely. He’s lost. And he’s going to smash up the board because it’s a big loss, and on the world stage, and he has no clothes.

But yeah. Lots of angry people who miss America when it was “great”, wave Confederate flags, dress up like Davy Crockett and – after a few Pabst Blue Ribbon – will tell you how you’ve been brainwashed and that the earth is actually flat or otters are dogs or Helen Keller was actually Bill Gates or whatever. They can’t debate around the topics they choose and they mistake examination for disagreement and get hostile. And there are lots of them. And they’re angry because they did a vote but the vote didn’t go the way they wanted. And they are all the experience they’ve had, and so 100% of their experience voted for Trump so it’s impossible that the hairsniffing old weirdo could’ve beaten their favourite TV piggywiggy.

“Stand back and stand by”. Not anymore. But who are these boys and girls? It’s oversimplistic to call them dangerous idiots. They’re angry, they’ve latched onto him because even if he isn’t helping them, they recognise the need he has to grasp everything, because many of them have nothing. They had other shit going on when people were learning sophistry and forensic examination, and debate and science and reason. They rightly associate school with programming but wrongly associate any form of reasoning with programming as well. It doesn’t help if reasoned people dismiss those less used to critical thinking as “stupid” – it pushes us apart. You learn through listening, processing and experimenting. Not by rote. I learnt none of my critical thinking in lessons. I learnt through having the time and privilege to exercise curiosity. And I’m still shit at it – partly because I’m too curious and very easily sidelined. The Trumpies mostly haven’t had any time or privilege to make thought experiments (even though their demagogue HAS had it and hasn’t done it). They have clearly worded websites that give you hints that can quickly train you to think you’ve discovered something clever enough to make you feel just as clever as all the people with the time to call you stupid. It’s why you hear people repeat processed soundbitten phrases to you in sing-song voices when they think you believe something wrong. It’s a world of absolutes. It’s ugly and as somebody who is increasingly certain that everything is wrong, it offends me. The truth, if it exists, is not in absolutes. Or is it? It shifts. Or it doesn’t. The truth is kind of not the point. Unless it is.

They all went to The Capitol today. They weren’t shot by police. They broke windows and jacked doors and stormed right up to the dais and said dumb shit that wasn’t their own and brought international shame on a culture and democracy that was once renowned.

It goes without saying that there’d be more than one dead if they’d been a different type of recent protestor. This is America. And somebody did die, which is a further tragedy. I’m sad for her loved ones. A brute way to leave this plane.

And it happened at The Capitol! The meeting place of Congress? I think this was my only photo of it from last October – in the distance.

I’m imagining these wazzocks breaking in and strolling about with their hateful flags and ideologies because the piggy doesn’t want to admit he’s lost and thinks if he shouts hard enough daddy will fix it. I’m trying to find fellowship with them still and not dismiss them as just plain dumb. But I keep just going back to thinking they’re idiots. Especially since somebody died.

We are looking to America for partnership now we’ve burnt bridges with Europe. We’ll have to buy their medicine soon. It’s kind of comforting that they’re even more fucked than we are. But I’m sad about it all because there’s so much hate in the mix, so much rage. We are still popping up out of the pressure cooker all over the place. Be kind, properly examine all sides and then check in with yourself, listen and be willing to shift. Certainty is usually zealotry. And so to bed.

Ghibli and animism

I’m really enjoying watching my way through the back catalogue of Studio Ghibli on Netflix.

These are feature length animated films that could be interpreted as being childish but they’re doing something important in the way they tell stories. The baddies aren’t bad, the goodies aren’t good. It usually ends with a question. There’s a vein of shinto running through them that encourages us to respect and love nature, and to take care of little things. It’s not quite as egregious as Marie Kondo asking us to treat our socks as if they have preferences. I think it’s useful to think that things have spirits that can be injured. It was in our culture with names we still know – Goblins and Faeries – Naiads and Dryads – Heffalumps and Woozles. In the Isle of Man there were faeries in the garden. In Jersey the sea is full of sprites. Even London has the river Gods.

I still bunch up my socks, and maybe the sock spirits moan about me while I’m sleeping. Maybe that’s why my boots are falling apart. They’re in league with the elves who help the shoemakers… Or maybe Marie Kondo is an extremist for telling us we must lay our socks flat or they’ll be unhappy. (I’m assuming most people by now have been given The Life Changing Magic of Tidiness, but that might be an overestimation based on the number of times it’s been given / recommended to me.)

I’ve heard some people express great distaste and even fear for animism. But if we were culturally steeped in it we wouldn’t need extremists like Kondo to anthropomorphise our socks, and Greta Thunberg to tell us to all be a little more mindful before we drop that bottle cap.

I find animism helpful, the idea that we are here with permission, as part of some ancient bargain, already taking more than our fair share, tending the fire and fighting back the darkness, tolerated and maybe even loved by the vast force of everything that we all have so many names for. I clapped at a small fly and stunned it just now. I did it without thinking, apologised to it thinking I’d killed it, and then saw it start to move again. I was relieved. If I think like that I’m a bit less likely to smash all the flowers with a stick. I quietly believe that actions like that have consequences. I’m going to try not to kill something mindlessly. Apart from clothes moths. They get the pinch. One day there’ll be a knock on the door and a huge clothes moth spirit will squish me with its fingers and it’ll serve me right.

I still eat meat. I’m not espousing a monkish existence here. I just always think we can try harder to be more careful and less selfish. We do the most damage to ourselves and our surroundings when we put our momentary pleasures at the front of everything. This individual spark of human existence we are experiencing is a mere flash, but we can be a fatal gunshot flash or a beautiful photograph flash or a needed warning flash … or just a meaningless lost flash of troublesome static.

We are encouraged to forget the coexistence of light and dark – of life and death in the same moment. Of ambiguity. We must stop forcing ourselves into boxes that fit other people’s ideas. If we can be sorted it’s easier to sell us things. But we are all a lot more confusing and unpredictable than the algorithms – and frequently our laziness – would have us believe.

These kids stories that have helped me express some of these ideas about how we should look after things – they were made in Japan. I’ve never been but I have the impression that in Japan they are pushing cows and chickens into industrial grinders while deliberately piping nuclear waste into the oceans by the tonne, attacking whales with chainsaws and mugging unicorns. The same culture, bringing thoughtful treatises on our responsibilities to each other, to objects, and to nature. The same culture that forged a latter day Buddha – Nichiren – who flew against all the animism I’m referencing here, and whose distilled and simplistic teachings I follow in daily practice. Because I’m a mess of different things, as we all are, and that is permitted. Or it should be. We don’t have to be extremists. Identity doesn’t come from monomania and denial – that’s just a mask. It’s ok to go wide.

But yeah, you could do worse than watch some of these lovely movies.

And while you think about it, do something surprising and kind to nature or to even an object in a way that is unobserved. You never know, there might be a spirit.

BURN THE WITCH. Be good. God Bless. NMHRK

Another lockdown…

Oh well how lovely. I just tuned in to the news and it seems that we all get another opportunity to guiltlessly hibernate. I still have lots to do in order to make my home glorious and this looks like the perfect opportunity. Clean up my launch pad so I can catapult myself into the stratosphere at the first opportunity. Anybody that usually suffers from fear of missing out will be in heaven at the moment when there’s literally nothing to miss out on.

Last time Captain Twit announced a full lockdown it wasn’t this cold. Everybody was going into the parks for “exercise” and sweating into each other’s beer. Now it’s freezing. People will still be squeezing all the avocados in the supermarket but the Battersea Park won’t feel like Stamford Bridge.

Mostly staying home at this time of year can’t be bad so long as the boiler’s working – and mine is. How many times have we looked out the window at the sleet with that neutral resolute dread that prefigures pushing out the door – even working long long hours outside for me in sleet – especially when I was on the boats. I’d come home almost hypothermic from winter shifts and lie in the bath for hours. Now there’ll be no winter shifts. I’ll still lie in the bath for hours.

I’m here on my own by the river. Kitcat my erstwhile flatmate lives in Scotland now so she won’t show up suddenly and annoy the bejesus out of me by asking millions of questions and not listening to the answers. It’ll just be me and silent Hex and the fishies and tons of random objects, beds, books and pictures. I might get to see Lou from time to time because of bubbles. That’ll be nice. But I get the feeling that from Wednesday we’ll have to explain journeys if we take them at all.

The road behind me is already easing back. It’s five to midnight. I just timed a full minute and counted four cars and a motorbike going down one of the major through roads in London. That’s nothing compared to a normal night. Of course in April I could have had a picnic on the white lines. But in a normal April I would’ve been a picnic within seconds if I’d sat there.

Lockdown isn’t official until Wednesday. Then we dive deep for over a month. No point getting foul about it. We can still go out, so long as we aren’t idiots. Exercise. Mental health. Work. That’s pretty broad. I had some extremely long walks in the summer. Looks like I’ll be pounding the streets again. Maybe I’ll shift myself back up to Hampstead. More likely I’ll finish what I’ve started here. I’m going to think of it as a gift. I know for certain that any opportunity to do anything other than this flat and I’m all over it. So this enforced hibernation is a good thing. I’ve got movies to catch up on, walls to paint and books to read. Bring it.

Chippy the weather loach. He’s still my favourite. Apart from Hex

Jumping around all over the place

I’m tired out. But damn it’s been good just to have a little bit of work in this wasteland of a January. That’s it for now with the business of jumping around with different heads on. It’s been fun.

After work I rushed over to Hampstead. I haven’t been since it was warm, but I still have the keys to my friend’s flat. And she is still in New Zealand. She’s been paying rent for a year now to keep the flat through Covid, even though she’s stuck on the other side of the world. Terms of the lease disallow subletting, so if I’m not there it sits empty. Her landlady keeps coming in unannounced and moving stuff around though, and she told me she was just about to start some building works a few months ago, which is why I haven’t been. She hasn’t started the works. Shame really, as all the walls are leaking, the taps are dripping and the carpets stink. The bedroom is still good and it wants to be lived in to prevent the damp. But after a day of Joybomb I wasn’t going to sleep there, I just wanted to check that the heating was working as I’d had loads of anxious messages from the landlady. It was all completely fine, the pipes weren’t frozen, I took a load of photographs of the carnage wrought in my absence without any actual positive change.

That achieved I got an uber back home to my flat which is also part home and part building site. Now I’m done JoyBombing I have to overcome my bizarre pathology of enjoying the process more than the result. I have to get this flat good enough to rent when the world switches on again. There is still much to do. I can’t stand still for a long time to come. I can enjoy the process of making decisions, but I’ve got to keep stoking the fire. First thing: sort out all of the damn pictures. Then beds, carpets, walls, showers, water pressure, cracks, surfaces, etc etc

For this evening though I’m just winding down in front of a film. Now I’ve cleared space in my living room I’m enjoying the humongous telly in here for the first time in months. I’m stuck into Howl’s Moving Castle at the moment on Netflix, but I’ve paused it in order to write this before my brain dissolves entirely into this unusual, ambiguous and hypnotically soporific animated schmaltz fairy tale thing. The week starts tomorrow, if that means anything anymore. Hopefully I’ll start with it in some way. It’s time to see what ’21 has to start cooking.

My weird mug / life

Despite the fact that we’re all doomed somehow I ended up dancing in a window with a silly head on – once again – for art. For profit. For fun. For joy. For all these things.

It was another varied day in Al-Town. In the morning I undercut Addison Lee and couriered a chair across town from eBay. Then I drove to Brian’s venue which is slowly getting bashed into shape for his Doctor Who show. I loaded the car with (the last of the) Victorian plates, left it there full, wandered around the corner, stuck a bear head on and started dancing.

It’s slow on the streets where I’m dancing. No surprises there. Everybody has had to chain themselves to their houses like werewolves at full moon. Another reason for me to take the car in to work and avoid the tube, despite punishing congestion charges. No contact.

Once I’m dancing I’m behind glass, not in contact with anybody else. That’s safer for everybody concerned really. When I’m dancing I should be shut up like a rabid animal. They tell me it’s part of the concept, keeping me safely behind that thick sheet of glass, but I reckon word has got out about my windmill moves. It’s never been proven that I killed everybody in that club with my ridiculously enthusiastic flailing…

At lunch I went next door with Caroline. She runs the venue I’m in, and one down the road. Temporary tenancy of two buildings on one street – a huge amount of space. An arts venue.

Right now I am a precious work of art, in my silly head, prancing like a tit. The other building carries an equally precious work of art. It’s by Jimmy Cauty of the KLF. I like it enough to comment on it. I like it enough to covet it.

Two riot shields, one of them adjusted.

Caroline and I look at the rooms and we think about functionality. She’s got the place for a year. It used to be Vidal Sassoon. Now we weirdos have moved in and who knows what will come at the hands of her extensive stable of benign whackjobs. I’m certainly getting my thinking cap on as there’s a whole lot of room in there for things.

I only get half an hour for lunch. I chose my own timings too. Bastard. I’m a demanding boss. But work is fun again so it’s ok.

I rush back from next door and put my Lego Man head on. It’s back to the heavyweight. Dancing as light falls and darkness grows.

At 8pm I emerge slightly crosseyed into the empty street, trying to remember how to look at the world without gauze and reflections. I walk back to Brian’s work, and let myself in to get the car full of plates.

I packed the car in haste. Plates were mostly just stacked every which way with no padding. As I’m driving home I try to call Lou on speaker phone but discover that the plates are making a sound like a small ocean at the slightest bump. Thankfully the roads are empty enough for me to stagger home at ten miles per hour. I only heard about half of the conversation, and I didn’t see one pothole in time so it might be Greek-Wedding in there. Nobody honked me. I left them in the car. I’ll find out what state they’re in tomorrow. I’m knackered today.

I brought a mug up to my flat though. Caroline gave it to me after I told her I was an actual fan of Jimmy Cauty. He’s her mate. It says “LIVE WORK DIE”. He made it, so I guess if I was a jerk I could get him to write something on it and then put it on a display case and bore all my guests. It’s a mug though. It feels like it wants to be used. I’ll likely just have tea in it and smile – and get all my bragging done in one go by writing about it here. I’ve got so many weird mugs already. It’ll be right at home.

More boxes

A great big box full of dusty Irish linen. Curtains, and four pelmets. I had to look up pelmets. They’re the things that go above the window.

I’ve got four windows without any curtains. Now I’ve got four reasonably attractive curtains that are not meaningless to me. Another project, methinks. I might try and convince Lou to help me out, as her specialist subject on Mastermind right now is curtains. She made 54 of them in the few weeks over Christmas. “Don’t put them in the washing machine,” she has already advised me, knowing my propensity to successfully trust precious things to my appliances in a sort of “kill or cure” arrangement. I’ll be careful…

Three big boxes full of old books. They just don’t have value at the moment, old books. Amazon has mostly killed it by offering postage discounts to paying vendors who can then sell their books for a penny and see about forty pence profit per book. To justify the monthly fee and to stand still they have to sell hundreds of books a month. So the internet is flooded with amateur second hand book dealers wedded to Bezos, buying and selling books from one another frantically as more and more of the world’s energy floods to this implacable man who seems to generally dislike other humans. You can get virtually any book in 48 hours if you don’t particularly mind about condition, and you’re happy to murder the bookshops.

Nevertheless the boxes have to be sorted and emptied somehow. Maybe we’ll donate them. We’re getting closer and closer to the bottom of the storage now, but time’s a ticking.

Suddenly, at the bottom of a book box: “For Alexander,” in my grandmother’s distinct hand. Her poems. Patriotic eulogies, nostalgic callbacks, jaunty doggerel. She was proud of her poems. She had reason to be. Her epitaph for Churchill got a response from his widow – (framed now of course), and she wrote a poem about Rotten Row that won her name on a bollard in Hyde Park – for as long as it lasts before erosion. She’s buried in Jersey so the bollard is the best way I have of directly communicating with her when I’m in London. Peggy MacDonald. Sometimes in September I’ll go pour some sherry on it and have a catch up.

Tonight I just put the poems back in the box. I might share some of them here in time. Her ghost would be pleased with me if I did. She was very proud of her poems.

I’m still searching for treasure. Scanning for things that mean something. Seeking out things that are lovely. It passes the time very effectively in these dead days. And the more I process the more efficient I get. Everything seems hard if you’ve never done it before. The first time you make a journey is often the longest. Sure I’d love to find the lost Rembrandt, but I’d still have to deal with the rest if I did.

If I’m clear of this lot by the end of January and my flat is rentable, then I’m ready for Chelsea Flower Show in May – ready to spring into a roaring Spring with a sexy flat with decent curtains and the right number of interesting antique items and working pipes. There’s a lot to do first but I’m really starting to enjoy myself doing this now. Onwards!

Into the future

2020 is coming to a close. By the time this is published we will be out of it, into another calendar year. Perhaps a kinder year. It’s only an arbitrary change – a shift of the calendar… But there has been a shift in the heavens this month, and now perhaps we can allow the possibility of goodness. Let the light in.

The last calendar year has brought huge change for the world and for the business where I make my living. The virus and the sociological effects thereof, of course. The continuing radicalisation of virtually everybody online about one thing or another. Catastrophic fires in Australia and in California. Dangerous blonde haired idiots in powerful positions. The smash of Brexit, now inevitable, bringing whatever it will bring. All we can do is hope for the best now, and start to pick up the pieces of what the fires and the smashes and the changes have left behind. I wish for a brighter year for all of us amidst the wreckage.

There’s a fog down low in London. If we had fireworks they’d be obscured. A wet gray freezing mist over where I live, just the final “screw you” of 2020. We all wanted to get shot of 2019. If only we had known. If 2021 is worse than this I’m getting in touch with the manufacturer. We’re old mates. If it’s gone off piste it’s probably just cos he’s taken his eye off the ball the old fool.

I’ve been reading tarot on zoom and now I’m going to have a bath and maybe burn something. I’ve filled the bath with Badedas. Last year I thought I was going to have a quiet and restrained night like I’m planning and then the phone rang and I ended up getting mashed up until dawn. This year the phone isn’t going to ring. This year we are hibernating. And now we will really collectively get to the meat of this hibernation. The old and the vulnerable are vaccinated now, so they can all swan off and break into the boarded up clubs and have a proper rave up. For the rest of us, it’s gonna get worse before it gets better. Let’s stay connected and lead with love. Let’s do some positive work in the cold and dark, and come out better than we went in, and stronger and kinder and happier.

In all this hibernation I’m having a lovely time. I’m writing to you from my little cushion fortress in the corner of my sofa. I’m surrounded by boxes full of very old and flammable papers, and loads of candles that are haphazardly stuck to their holders just above the boxes. I’ve already knocked one of them over. No harm done. Just a lot of wax and fire. But never fear, I’m about to blow them all out and get in the bath. I will likely see the new year in immersed in water, wishing you all a happy peaceful hibernation, and a good reintegration in the year to come. Xx

Candles, incense, palo santo, game controller, biscuits, tea, empty bowl of tiramisu, tarot cards

Cissbury Ring

Cissbury Ring, North of Worthing, is the site of an iron age hill fort. It’s well situated with stunning views of the surrounding downs. It was a hive of activity until the dark ages. Back in the iron age people were mining flint through the chalky soil. The Romans didn’t make full use of it but they had a temple there. All dust now, of course. Chalk and scrub. A destination for a walk.

It’s just a few miles from Chanctonbury Ring, but feels completely different. Chanctonbury feels holy and still. Cissbury feels busy and practical. It doesn’t have the scent of a place of power. Just geography.

There are ponies up there, free to wander the hillside biting back the scrub. Apparently they are a reintroduction after the Romans ate or put the original ones to work. Their munching and their wandering is helping the ecology up there. I’m not sure we were though, trudging through chalky mud in our great big clumpy boots. We went the wrong way, so ended up vaulting fences. By the time we were on the right track we had mud everywhere. The chalky mud has a good squelch to it. Eventually we hit the ring. At Chanctonbury the ring is around a stand of trees – oxen and mushrooms and something ancient in the dark. This ring tracks round the foundations of the iron age fort – it was built up back in the day like Offa’s Dyke, and modern councils have opted to shore it up with chicken wire rather than put fences around it to stop us walking. Good on them.

You’d never normally find it so crowded on a Wednesday. Fuck all else to do these days. Lou and I would likely have been there anyway, but it was surprisingly good to see so many families enjoying a walk in nature. That’s an effect of this shitshow that could be described as positive. Much as I miss the cinemas and all the joys of indoor fun, some people will have good ingrained habits of getting the hell out of the house and looking at a tree. The kids seemed to be actually enjoying themselves, absolutely covered in shit and gleefully howling at each other. We enjoyed ourselves too, also covered in shit, also howling. You can see Lou’s flat from up there. It’s good to have a car – invaluable in this bollocks.

I guess when everything gets a shot in the arm some groups will look back on the simple things that have come out of this. The parties on Hampstead Heath in summer that would normally be in pubs. The long walks with family without anybody moaning because they’d rather be indoors doing whatever. There’s plenty of beauty in the world around us, and we can get there without anybody shouting at us. Ok, getting out of the UK might be about to get much harder, and we’ve already got enough on our plate. But going to the ancient sites near your home – (there’ll be something) – even if they aren’t that magical they can be a powerful way to take your daily permitted exercise and connect with the past. Maybe you’ll find a portal to somewhere better…

Early days and Oz

Lou has been getting up before I go to sleep while she’s been at this Vipassana. Now she’s out and we’re in the same space as each other we’ve found a kind of circadian compromise. She’s rising a little later than she was – like about half five. I’m swept up in it, but it means I’m fading already and it’s not even half past four. It’s not so bad at this time of year, living this way round. The mornings are shocking with a light that you wouldn’t even believe had happened if you were up too late.

We walked down the beach before sunset – around about half three, rolling the pebbles around. I prefer the sandy beaches but I’m enjoying being by the sea right now. Some people were swimming in it, the maniacs. I have done that madness in the past, but my nipples are burning even at the idea of it. Instead of leaping in, we sat on damp pebbles for a while. That didn’t last long. I’m not doing too well in the cold. I miss summer. In a normal year I frequently get the hell out to the sun around now. Not an option.

It’s still so hard to countenance that this pandemic really is everywhere. But there really is no escaping. We are all clinging to our respective rocks until this is over, and I’m seeing “September 2021” as a date where some theatres are planning on opening again. What the feck are most of the people I know going to do with our time and earning capacity in the interim? And NO, I can’t imagine any of us are going into cyber.

Lou and I are gonna tune in to Wizard of Oz at Creation Theatre online tonight. Friends forging forward into new forms and actually making things on zoom that aren’t dead. Considering its barely five and I’m already sleepy, seven o’clock start feels late!


I’m knackered and that was hilarious. Family friendly Wizard of Oz on Zoom with all the tricks and more. A very clever design decision to bring classic computer games into the world palette. These weird jumpy blocky games were a new technology and the best thing ever to the small version of me. With all the conscious reference it allowed me to put my brain into the simplistic fun mode that allowed me to spend all my pocket money on Bubble Bobble even though the pixels and colour jumped all over the place and half the buttons didn’t work. To channel that frontier period of computer gaming is smart when they are continuing to push the boundaries of what can be done in the livestream theatre medium. As with Macbeth, so with Oz I was wondering how they pulled some of it off, and marveling at how adeptly they did the stuff I understood. It’s been a surreal night at the theatre, and we got to do it without leaving our comfy sofas. Perfect for tier 4 and all the trapped sadness we are feeling. We even got to cook a meal in the interval instead of shouldering our way to the front of a queue for a beer that costs as much as a bottle of wine at the supermarket. Loved it. Love Creation. Chapeau. And I don’t even have to travel home. I’m off to bed. Early I know. That’s how I ROLL these days…