Weasels

The good thing is, the show finishes early. It’s just gone ten and I’ve been done for hours. The adrenaline is processed. I’m getting ready for bed.

I love this little attic room. It was oven hot when I first arrived, but those days are not representative. Mostly it seems to be just a haven, on the edge of the wild. The meadow where I work is just a scream away. I haven’t yet found a way to come here for a nap between shows, but today is just the first day. It’ll take me some time to find my routine, if I ever find it. All that is clear right now is that it’s gonna be hard work and fun.

We made a show in like five days. And it’s delightful. Hard work though. Very like the thing I was doing in The Tempest with these guys. Get a bunch of people, do a load of random stuff, keep a close sense of the passage of time, move them on when it feels like the right time. In The Tempest though I would just have time to make ten little boats out of leaves and twigs. Then I could count down the audience, boat by boat, and know how many groups I had left. I need to find something like that for this one, as I’m constantly losing track and it’s really good to know how many more times I’ll have to do the thing I’m doing. Budgeting energy is a fine art. And I’m not very good at it as I like to just spam everything I’ve got every time.

It’s a good company though. It was Lola’s 20th birthday tonight. She’s the youngest member. She’s great. We went to the pub to celebrate with her and a little bit of me remembered what it was to go from 19 to 20… I think I might be the oldest. I’d sooner not think too closely about such things. I’m still free and able to pretend to be a badger in a meadow in Oxford every day. Lucky me.

Since I started writing I’ve got into my bed. It’s so comfy up here, and they’ve got three cats! Only one of them dares come in to my room so far. I don’t know the name or gender, but such arbitrary labels are meaningless to cats. We snuggle and they go at my hands for stroking somewhat obsessively. Current arrival time is about 8am, which is entirely manageable. Arrival comes with shouting and the immediate insatiable desire for strokes.

Two shows tomorrow, followed by a day off but the shows are not instinctive yet. They still cost. I’m going to drift off to weird dreamy sleep until my very odd cat friend wakes me up with a “yark”.

Here’s a posed photo of Badger and his little mini practice weasels. My point of reference was Sandman. “I will show you fear in a handful of Weasels”

Here we Go…

Tech run and then dress rehearsal. It feels like we’ve just started. We HAVE just started. And yet I just badgered it up for a fair few loosely representative audiences. They were tame compared to what’s to come. Because THEY ARE COMING! THE CHILDREN! THE CHILDREN ARE COMING! BE AFRAID!!

But the heat is beginning to ease – hopefully not bringing another fortnight of deluge. If every day can be roughly like today I’ll be over the moon. Not too hot. Not too cold. I was very happy with the temperature so if you’re friendly with God thank him for me and tell him I’ll resist coveting my neighbour’s ox for 40 days and 40 nights if he’ll keep it roughly like this for the run.

I’m beginning to see the pattern of this. Shows like this are about careful allocation of energy and it takes a while to learn. I like to spam as much as I have whenever possible, and it sometimes takes a week or so for me to properly budget myself, and to work out when I can recharge. The showtimes are pretty relentless. We show up at half ten to start showtime at noon. Then we are back in the evening. Every day but Monday.

I got organised though so I’m able to retreat to my digs and power nap between shows if necessary. I reckon come Friday that’ll be part of the process after the matinee. A long hot or cold shower depending on the weather, and shut down and reboot the computer. I’m not the immortal twenty year old I was for the whole of my thirties. I’m the guy who organised his digs early and arrived on site with a sensible car and more than one pair of pants. I’m approaching middle age fuck-it-all. But I’m not above doing a high energy immersive mostly made up live show for kids in a field by a river. “We were talking about how much energy you send out – it’s brilliant,” says one of the lovely youngsters and I hear the unspoken part of the sentence: “… for someone your age.” Yeah I spam energy. I’m just having to be tighter with the budget, and there’s still a lot in the tank. I’m unfit post Covid. I doubt it’ll take me long though before I’m firing big guns every show. Although apparently I should stop using such military language.

I’ve missed the company aspect more than I realised. I’ve missed the immediate togetherness. Here we all are, new friends and old, making a thing together. There’s still a lot that isn’t possible. We are all doing scenes alone. Normally we would all hug each other before a show, with all the nonsense of superstition and ridiculous avoidance of saying “Good luck,” which is one of the clichés still joyfully upheld by the idiots that do this for a living. “Smashy smashface, break a leg, kick it in the dick, have a whale’s arse!” I miss that hugging so much.

We sing together and that’s how we connect. But touch is a huge part of it too. We are a company of actors. We are doing hard hot work together. I want a hug.

Day off Willows

I’m not gonna keep counting these Willows days. Rehearsal will be a flash and then suddenly I’ll be a workhorse in a meadow in Oxford dehydrating and laughing and badgering.

Today, obscurely, we were given a day off. Thank God though. It couldn’t have rolled better. Three self tapes just came in. Two of them were due this morning and one of them tomorrow morning. Normally you get the whole weekend, but the casting Gods knew that today would be my day off, and they decreed that I would be able to send the tapes at an otherwise very busy time.

I have a Badger beard. For the most part I’ve sent the tapes unapologetically bearded. I’m not sure which photos my agent has been using. Fuck it – they’ve asked for the Barclay. That’s what they get. Sometimes there’s a beard and sometimes there isn’t.

For one of the roles I was clear in the tape that I can shave the beard on August 8th. The others just get what they’re given. One of them has a moustache in the script. The other fits the beard I have and it’s not specified. He’s just a job title.

The heartwarming thing is that these were all interesting projects, even if not all the deepest parts. Props to my agent. Good to at least be in the mix for some interesting material again after the Covid desert, and even if my facial hair might get in the way.

The parts were mostly functional so personality and individual takes are less important than just basic efficiency. If your photo on the mood board doesn’t match an existing cliche of the job you are named for, then somebody else’s photo will end up on that mood board.

Only one of the roles I read for today had a name – an excellent name – and a personality. That’s the one I’m most likely to get, I think. I don’t do well with functional parts. I’m a character lead by instinct, by experience and by attack. Nevertheless, there’s not much going on out there and I absolutely have to flex my muscles. Get me on the major set playing “Job Title” and the next time the director is looking for somebody like me to do something with a bit of heft, they know where to find me. “You gotta be in it to win it,” and lots of these casting directors haven’t looked at me in twenty years, so I’ll joyfully come in for a spit.

Tomorrow is my last day for a week without two shows. Aargh. Glad that all the distractions are away on WeTransfer and in the lap of the gods. Maybe I can just relax into being an Akala Badger for a while…

Wind in the Willows – Day 3

Only three days… Ha. We open on Saturday. Tomorrow is a day off. I love this sort of thing though…

It’s so hot. I’m not allowed to complain when it’s hot – my own rule – but man, it doesn’t get much hotter in this country. Today I tried on my costume, which involves woollen mittens and a plastic mac and a big hat with ears. It’s a sweatfest. The mac is, thankfully, optional. English weather doesn’t like you to feel relaxed, so it’s perfectly possible that it’ll shit it down with rain for every show, and the temperature will plummet. Right now though it feels it’ll never be anything other than boiling. We all know how quickly that changes on some level, and yet we can never think past the immediate.

Today I spent a lot of the day in a riverside meadow, thinking about how to manage a simple bit of storytelling when swarmed by children. It’s all very well for me to geek out about Pan, but this is a children’s show and the major thrust of the work will be making sure they don’t run headlong into the river or start punching ducks. I’ll have to try to find a way to get the tale told and deal with the logistics at the same time. It’s the old balance in immersive shows – to what extent do I just become a shepherd? How can I give them the sense that their actions affect the world? Is it really necessary to do so? It’s probably not necessary with kids, but when does it start to just be on tracks and steal all agency from the audience?

Frankly I just have to be Badger and get the troops whipped into shape somehow. The audience will have some form of an experience and more agency than the adults in large scale shows I’ve witnessed with the word “immersive” on the ticket. We’ve got a team looking after all the bigger things with Willows. There’s the joy of just being an actor for me. I can just think about physicality and seek to be clear about my choices and organised on my beats, and the overarching narrative and all that category anxiety – that will look after itself.

It’s hot though. Man it’s hot. We had a photoshoot while I was swimming inside my full costume. “Where do you think Badger wants to be to have his photo taken?” “As near to here as is humanly possible.” I stood and pointed in a little hedge. Maybe there was a shot they can use for publicity. Sweating in a hedge in my woolly gloves I felt more like Grandpa Steptoe on an unwanted holiday in Spain than a denizen of the wild wood with wisdom to impart. I’m going to have to wear that costume for hours most days. Then I’ll have to put it on again, the inner layer still soaking from the previous show’s sweat. I’ll bring my own towel…

And this evening I’m back in London. Day off tomorrow and we need to let things settle, and I’ve had a bunch of meetings come through all at once. God love my agent. This is how it goes. The world is switching back on. I’ve been round at Emma’s, nailing down the first two of three which have just been sent to my agent. I’ll need to be online tomorrow morning to make sure they went through ok. Self-Taping made it more possible than it would have been if I’d had to come into a room. These short videos of me are off to America. Fly, little pelicans. Bring me the work. That’s all I want.

That and sleep. Which is where I’m off to now. To dream of badgers and all the things I’ve been pretending to be while under NDA…

Wind in the Willows Day 2

I’ve been thinking about chapter 7 of Kenneth Grahame’s book today. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

You’ve got this book about middle class animals. There’s a lot of anxiety about the rise of the motor vehicle, and a vague sense of foreboding about the weasels in the wild wood and how they want our stuff. Then a baby otter goes missing, and Ratty and Moley go looking for him and search all night.

As the dawn breaks they hear ethereal piping on the wind and something really odd happens in the context of this book. These two animals – they have a transcendental moment. They connect with the power of nature full force. They have this huge spiritual experience in the presence of Pan. It feels like an overlooked central part of this tale. It was written in 1908, as the Industrial Revolution was accelerating into the wars and we were forgetting everything of the old ways. Kenneth Grahame suddenly shows us these two creatures utterly cowed by a realisation of the sheer size of nature.

Pan returns the lost baby otter to our heroes. He is just there for a moment, the child at his feet, vast, magnetic and benevolent. The animals are drawn to him – they are in awe of him. And his final gift is for them to forget, just leaving them with a sense that something wonderful has happened.

“As they stared blankly, in dumb misery deepening as they slowly realised all they had seen and all they had lost, a capricious little breeze, dancing up from the surface of the water, tossed the aspens, shook the dewy roses, and blew lightly and caressingly in their faces; and with its soft touch came instant oblivion. For this is the last best gift that the kindly demi-god is careful to bestow on those to whom he has revealed himself in their helping: the gift of forgetfulness.”

“The irrelevant bit about Pan,” somebody said. It’s the heart of the book. No. It’s not to be forgotten. Raises it from just a kids book about animals and suspicion of technology into something about the shift in the world away from nature. We could not live the life we live if we had honestly encountered the truth of the nature spirit – the Pan energy. We would be destroyed by the mirror. We are monstrous without intending to be monstrous. Pan’s forgetting is a mercy.

Pan stands for nature – a demi God, a faun, the myceliac extrusion of Gaea in recognisable form. I’m bringing mushrooms into it as I’m fucking with the fact that, with a world of choice, Grahame chose one of the only male nature Gods. That’s why I’m basically characterising him as mother Gaea’s detachable cock. I think he’d be happy with that.

Pan. Nature God. Much maligned. Precursor to some images of Satan, lightning eyed and cloven hoofed. He was declared dead on the island of Paxi in the reign of Emperor Tiberius – his death was howled on the wind to Thamus the helmsman and recorded by a surprised Plutarch, not used to recording such mysteries. He plays on the wind. He shows up when you’re not looking, and never when you are. He’s charismatic, terrifying, inexorable, gorgeous. You can never fully kill a God. He only died in so much as somebody cut a vine that day the helmsman heard a cry of mourning. The ascendance of Pan died with the ascent in Rome of a nature-averse monotheistic doctrine repurposed for conflict. A new age followed, but snatches of Pan blow through that world still. Maybe he’s piping the dawn again somewhere.

A part of the splintered Pan energy stuck to Kenneth Grahame for him to tell it in this little tale that has somehow beaten the years. I am connecting with it in a similar fashion, through his words, and through the fact that I’m working outdoors at this time of year on this text but in the rushes. If Grahame had never written this, it would be some other text. But his love of nature – his touch of Pan … it facilitates our love.

Bring it on.

Wind in the Willows Day 1

And so it begins. Echoing the frantic Spring Cleaning at the start of Kenneth Grahame’s sweet dated little tale of English animals, we are putting something together as swiftly as we possibly can. It surely was the hottest day of the year so far as we all sat in a distanced circle by the banks of the Cherwell and did the first week of rehearsal in a morning. Now we probably know each other’s names, and we are aware of things that might have an impact – such as one of us being phobic of dogs in a park that is full of them all day. We even have a sort of kind of script type affair type thing. Even if it’s really just a melange of beats and ideas. And we’ve all learnt four parts of a song.

My job is now to absorb all those animal studies we did so exhaustively under the guidance of Wendy in our leotards when we were young and strong at Guildhall. Then we have to forget it all, put on a decent costume, and try and entertain a whole load of shrieking children and their adults as they rampage through a hot meadow. My homework today is to read two chapters of the source material looking for useful quotes, and to watch videos of badgers doing things.

One thing worth noting, for our transatlantic friends – we do badgers very differently on this side of the pond. Over in the Americas, the mustelidae are complete bastards. Honey Badgers and Wolverines. They’ll bite your testicles off if they can and then come back for whatever else you might have hanging off you. Our Meles Meles variety is larger than your American equivalents, but temperamentally they are completely opposite. They would much prefer to run away than to fight. This is for the best as they are absolutely riddled with fleas and disease. Like a Komodo Dragon, if they scratch you you’ll likely get badly infected. But they won’t and don’t scratch. They just hide. Nonetheless various paranoid types insist they spread tuberculosis and should be regularly shot in large numbers.

The first and only time I have seen a Badger was more or less four years ago today when I got drunk and wrote while walking through Osney Mead, predicting Covid. Now I’m back in Oxford to be the Badger during this damp and uninspiring Apocalypse type scenario. It’s all going to be over before it’s begun, but I’m going to enjoy the humanity of it.

We went to a PUB after rehearsal, some of us. It was Paella night so we definitely all had Paella. It is so hot but it felt the right thing to do. They’ve run out of lime cordial for the soda. I’ve consumed so much liquid today and still I feel like I’m empty. I got cloudy limey soda water and guzzled it. I’m a conduit for liquid. It goes in through my mouth and out through my face.

I’m quickly dizzy when I stand up fast in this heat. The met have issued an amber heat warning. I sleep in a garret and in the daytime I’ll be running around covered in fake fur… Early beds, long sleeps, good food, hydration. All the things one doesn’t normally associate with an acting job. ’twill be fun though. More so once it settles, but already it’s a joy just to be back working live with other humans. Some old friends. Some new faces.

I’ll go to sleep with the song in my head. The Wind in the Willows.

Oxford digs

I’ve just arrived in a little attic room, up the top of The Banbury Road. The ceiling boards come across at just a tiny bit above six foot, so I’m *just* not gonna clonk my head if I bounce excitedly out of bed in the morning. That’s a relief, as it was my silent concern when I saw the pictures that I’d end up knocking myself out. This little room will be my home for the next three weeks, and I like it.

The blinds have been handmade – I’m sure Lou would have things to say about them. There’s a little bit of light wooden furniture including a nice old desk. Opposite the bed on the shelves there’s an old replica Absinthe poster, a deco clock, and a selection of children’s books. “Where’s my rabbit?” – perhaps an infant version of the great Kit Williams Masquerade book from the 1980’s. The bed itself is double with a decorative metal frame. This is better than my beige Jersey hotel room, despite the heat.

It’s rotten hot up here. They’ve given me a fan, thank God. It’s chuntering away on top of the chest of drawers as I write. I couldn’t sleep with it on as it raises hell as it works. But I’m gonna cook tonight if it’s off.

Thankfully there’s a little ensuite shower for morning cooldown, and looking on Google Maps I am right next to Sunnymead Bathing Place. If it’s open its the perfect solution, first thing in the morning, if the hot weather holds – a plunge. So long as it’s open, what with Covid. I’ll investigate tomorrow. As it happens I actually have my swimming trunks.

Bergmann took me up here from Brighton, smoothly all the way. He blew cold air on me and played me radio 4. It was hard saying goodbye to Mao for a few weeks, and double hard to know that I’m just going to miss seeing Lou, especially as her birthday is coming up. She’s back from a festival just as I leave her flat to come up to do this silliness. Mao gets to hang out with her instead of me. I’ve just got Bergmann up in Oxford for company tonight, and he’s not allowed inside.

I’ve given him a parking pass for tomorrow and he seems happy to rest here a little bit and wait. The digs owners are happy to give him permits for every weekday he’s waiting. He has seagull shit on his door, and he’s not happy about it so I’ll probably have to get that off for him before long. But I’m tired right now and the heat is making me dizzy. I’m not gonna be washing down a car no matter how proud it is of its bodywork. He will just have to go to sleep with shit on him. On the other hand, I’m getting in the shower. It’s one rule for people and another rule for cars.

Wheels within wheels

It’s a beautiful sunny day in Brighton. Opposite Lou’s flat there’s heat haze over the sea stretching out to the army of giants that make up the Rampion Wind Farm.

My charging plug is broken so I’m writing this in the car. Honest guv that’s the only reason I’m down here sitting in the XTrail. Not because it’s my new toy, my portable room, my workhorse.

I rarely name my vehicles. In some circles there is a loose social pressure to do so, but I don’t like to. It usually feels a bit twee. Occasionally though if a name insists itself I will adopt it. I had a bike that knew it was called Ahmed. I just rode it and the name kept surfacing in my mind. This car, for some reason, seems to want to be called “Bergmann”. I honestly don’t know why, but there it is. I’m sitting in Bergmann charging my phone and writing this. Ingrid or Ingmar? Maybe a bit of both. It’s not even a Swedish car. But it feels like it’s called Bergmann.

Bergmann and I went to the East Jetty at Brighton Marina today. With the sun hammering through all the windows I was glad of the very efficient shock of air conditioning that I have rarely encountered outside of rental vehicles in the States. Within seconds you can be too cold. I’m having to adjust it constantly as I write, just because the sun is blazing today, but if the Aircon didn’t exist I’d be cooking like a Sunday chicken as I tried to charge my phone. Brighton Marina was for a little favour. Just a happy coincidence. A friend bought a scooter in Brighton. I’m driving through London tomorrow.

Sharon was Stage Manager on a touring Twelfth Night fourteen years ago, and they lost their Malvolio one day before a big show in Eastbourne. I drove down and stepped in after a long day of remembering my lines from playing it at college, and so began a journey that took us up to Edinburgh Festival and roundabout the country on a crazy tour of Doom staying in all kinds of bonkers places and having a fine old time. I used to do that last minute thing the whole time. I like it. It can be joyful just stepping in like that. It turned into a fun job although there was a lot of hooey about money and working hours. I think of it fondly now.

Sharon and I are still in touch and she has purchased a scooter. I introduced the scooter to Bergmann, and we will all be driving up to London together tomorrow afternoon. This is Bergmann meeting the scooter.

The weather is too nice for me to continue to sit in an air conditioned car just to charge my phone. I just ran into a friend of Lou’s as well, in her summer hat. The last thing I want is to look like I just sit in cars all day with the engine running…

Halfway to Bristol again

Two days ago I drove halfway to Bristol when the phone rang and the puppet wasn’t ready and I had to turn back.

Today I drove halfway to Bristol. The puppet WAS ready. I was stationary in a car crash queue when Jo phoned me. Moving goalposts again. The puppet was suddenly needed for the evening show. I was an hour and a half out of Bristol. It was half past four. They were going to put it on the train as it wasn’t physically possible for me to get it there in time. I got turned back again.

Two days ago I was turned back in a van rented for another job. No harm done and not much extra fuel. Made the day shorter. No trouble.

Today I was in my brand new (to me) Nissan Xtrail and it was my only mission. (I didn’t take a photo. When will I ever learn?) I was enjoying getting to know it.

The reason I was so slow to Bristol is because Arnold Clark – the huge inflexible dealership – were having a bloody nightmare. I went back to pay the balance on my Amex and they declined it. Calls to my Amex and much vacillating led to us establishing that it was definitely on their end which led to them essentially announcing that there was nothing they could do. I was dealing with poor Jim in a portacabin in Lingfield with nothing but his prodigious patience and certainly no ability to affect anything. “We’ve only got one card terminal. We’re just a tiny click and collect”.

We took ages and he stuck with it, and eventually we established that £500 payments would go through, so we made a load of them. He stapled all the declined transactions and all the smaller accepted transactions in my book and he kept a tight log calmly despite me getting more and more pissed off with everything. The next customers were fuming in the parking lot by the time I left. “This is our lunch break!”

I had no battery left and realised I couldn’t charge from the car USB adequately in heat without a cigarette lighter jack. “8 hours until charged”. You know, when the charging barely matches the demand…

I sat in the parking lot with the air con on, fighting the battery as I tried to get myself insured. I’m not making that mistake twice and just driving home where internet works and chargers are many. Six points is enough thanks. With 2 per cent left I clicked “pay” and it was declined. “Sorry but there’s been a problem.”

They didn’t like me much when I angrily reappeared in the portacabin and wordlessly plugged my phone in by the photocopier so I could just try to pay this damn insurance and get the damn car on the road. Thankfully they didn’t kick me out, but a guy who came in after me was told very firmly to sanitise his hands.

Fraud prevention. That’s why my insurance was declined. All the little payments Jim and I had to make because they wouldn’t accept a large payment. I find myself having to answer questions about my earning capacity and it’s all taking SO MUCH TIME and it feels like it’s because I’ve never made a purchase like this before so obviously I’m not supposed to make big purchases because KEEP DOWN KEEP DOWN STAMP STAMP STAMP

But we got there. Now I’ve got a car that is useful for production driving. It also has a good carrying capacity. Or it can take up to 7 passengers. It is currently unblemished. It only has 28k on the clock and it’s smooth to drive. Pay me to drive your things!

My aborted trip to Bristol gave me a chance to give it some head, and after the Audi it has a disappointing lack of grunt which is probably for the best. If you floor it in third gear it isn’t gonna jump for you. You have to change down. Still, it’s economic and big and grown up. And believe it or not it’s cheaper to insure with 6 points than the Audi was with none.

I didn’t want to go the extra mile and have a battery car as I think that nobody has really thought about disposal for those things and there is a whole world of nasty chemicals rotting their way into the soil just waiting to happen.

Now I’m back with the lovely pussycat. I’m going to wash the filth off in the bath. All is right with the world.

Old friends and old jobs

Towards the end of my doomed stint shouting at people on boats, I would tell the passengers about this train platform at Blackfriars where I’m standing. It’s the only station on the underground that crosses a river. “When you’re waiting for a train you can see over this ancient waterway while you wait. But it’s Southern Rail, so you’ll be there until you die because the trains are always delayed forever. You’re better off on this boat, frankly. At least we’re moving and the skipper showed up for work. We’ve even got twin engines.” Ha ha etc.

This is the first time I’ve actually stood on the platform since it was built. Grey sky and this is my view. The train will take me back to Brighton. It’s nice to be here.

I’m thinking about old dayjobs. I used to be that river tour guide. And before I came here today I was in a school in North London, running probably the last workshop I’ll ever teach about getting year 10 to write their first CV. The company has dissolved. We did it anyway for our relationship with the school.

It was carnage. They learnt something. I said at least one “fuck” and one “shit”. I connected with them, sure, and they definitely learnt something. But I’m not a traditional teacher. “I don’t often get to go into schools and do this kind of work … but I’m here now and I hope I can leave having helped you maximise your chances of a happy and successful working life.” Who knows? The students were ace.

I’ve done some random shit over the decades though. Frankly I love doing random shit. Random shit just makes me happy. But I never thought, having gone in quest of random, that I’d be a careers adviser. I answered a million questions to a computer at university back then and it told me I should be an architect. “Architect” was pretty much the only creative profession considered legitimate enough by the people who programmed the career machine back then so I guess it was as right as it could’ve been. Even if architecture is mostly maths and the drawing ain’t creative drawing… I tell you, there would be some very odd shaped buildings if I’d obeyed that machine.

But I threw in my lot with the randomers. If I have a tribe, that’s my tribe. I could never recommend the quest for chance to anybody that isn’t me. This unpredictable working existence – when it’s functioning it suits me very much. The last two days have felt like a return to the adrenaline kicks that make me feel like myself.

I sat with friends after work who have similar perverted predilections. I was in a hurry, as my train was booked and the cat will be very hungry for food and snuggles. All too short. John is an old friend from Factory days, on Bankside for his birthday at late notice. A joy to hang out in a pub with a friend. Normality? Closer.

When we did our swansong run of Factory Hamlet, John learnt the part, worked it in his spare time, got in the mix for it, and won the audience game for it. He learnt the whole part of Hamlet just to maybe play it for one night only, and he got to play it. I remember it well, in The Norrington Room of Blackwell’s Bookshop in Oxford. I ended up as his dead dad that night. As far as I remember I gave him some rope. I can’t really remember the choices, the casting or the audience props though – those Factory Hamlet shows all blur into one huge mess of wtfness now, and we are growing more ancient.

Apparently all the show reports were gathered on a wetpaint site – this huge archive of our shared venture – and the site went down. Pages and pages consigned to the void. We weren’t doing it to be recorded though. It’ll happen to this blog too, less than a year after I kark it. John spearheaded a campaign to copy and paste the lot, so now it all exists still, on a USB drive, to be forgotten anyway. It’s how it all goes, these glories that we paint. They get painted over. I love to write on the waves. But maybe occasionally I should carve in stone. Meanwhile I’ll just keep seeking the random.