Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Ideal Teapot in Galway

I haven’t done anything or seen anything of late, (not even Toms), and so I shall report vicariously through a friend of mine, who was in Galway for the weekend and actually did stuff. The friend shall remain un-named. My friend’s report was verbal, my translation of it is as follows:




Galway’s different. It just is. Not better or worse just different. Anyone who hasn’t been there in a while would probably notice a slow and unfortunate process of ‘Temple-bar-ification’ which is what happens to an Irish town with a good-time reputation. ‘Tis a pity but there you are. As an Irish person there’s only so much didlley-eye you can take.
Anyway;- I went to ‘An Ideal Husband’, by Oscar Wilde and ‘Midsummer Nights Dream’ by Shakespeare himself.

An Ideal Husband was presented by the University of Galway Dramsoc. It could have done with a bit of merciless editing. At one point the characters attend a show and the show they attend is the final scene of The Importance of Being Earnest. A great scene, and well acted, but its’ inclusion stretched the play’s length beyond what I personally find comfortable. Some of the delivery was less than clear and the directorial decision of having everyone whisper at the same time that two actors were trying to deliver dialogue didn’t help matters. I did something I never do; I left early. I still feel bad about it but it was already an hour and a half into it, with no sign of conclusion and I had a prior appointment. In my defence, when I left the majority of the cast were outside the building chatting away to each other and obviously as disinterested in what was happening on stage as I was.

The following night was Midsummer Nights Dream by The Blue Teapot ( who, I presumed from the name, were a split-off from ‘The Red Kettle’ in a Judean Peoples Front/People front of Judea stylee). It was on in a strange, low-ceilinged garage-type theatre; a little off the main drag, but close to the Blue Note, in a place which locals call ‘Silkes’.

A bit of a shock in store for me when it began; I may have been the only person in the room who didn’t realise that this was a play performed by a ‘special’ group, ie: a group with a variety of learning difficulties.

I had been selfishly looking forward to a nights entertainment; I hadn’t planned on supporting anything ‘worthy’; I wasn’t relishing the idea of some incompetently performed Shakespeare, however well-intentioned; and now I was stuck. How were they going to manage?

How do you perform Shakespeare under these circumstances?

How hard is that?

(When after all, Elizabethan language is a ‘learning difficulty’ all of it’s own?)

The truth is I don’t know how hard that is, and perhaps I’ll never know, but perform the members of Blue Teapot did; they performed so well that I was dumbstruck.

With a project like this there is a bit of ‘sure aren’t they great?’ about anything achieved but honestly and absolutely this was great.

On its’ own it was great.

Yes, its’ a great idea, and isn’t-everyone-involved-great-for-even-trying-it, but no people this was great. This was great nights entertainment. The actors did as all great Shakespearean actors do: they made sense of the text to their audience by first making sense of it themselves. It was fun. It came alive.
It wasn’t a creation of perfection; as with an ideal husband, the diction of some of the actors wasn’t clear and that, combined with Elizabethan language, went against constant comprehensibility, but it was so very alive and real and hilarious.
We all have prejudice of some sort. The deepest ones are of course the ones we do not think about, this play showed me something about myself I wasn’t aware of, and am delighted to share with you; up until last Saturday, I thought only certain types of people could act. ‘Actores’ – well they’re a type aren’t they?

Well no, actually.

Some people are better than others at acting, this was as true of the cast of ‘Midsummers’ as it is of the cast of anything, but it had nothing to do with any level of learning difficulty, some people just have it. The members of Blue Teapot who had it, had it in spades. As luck would have it, I was there on the last night and there was a very brief speech of thanks. In this speech it was revealed that the group had spent eight and a half months rehearsing. It must have been difficult, thank you so much guys; eight and a half months of work for you = an hour and a half of absolute pleasure for me. I would tell everybody I know to go and see this, but tragically I saw it at the end and imagine its’ unlikely to tour.

You would have had to have had been there.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A midsummer nights Liam

Last night, if you were fortunate, you would have been in Limerick City at the Loft and you would have been listening to ‘Midsummer nights swing’, a night of music presented by Liam O’Brien and friends.



‘Twas a very special evening altogether. It felt like this photo.

Not only was there great music, but there was even a bit of Shakespearean drama as well!-( I was in this drama, playing a key role, so I cant really comment on the performance except to say that the guy playing ‘The Wall’ in scene 2 was really very good).

As for the music; Liam was great, Cormac(not actual name) was great, Aedin (not actual name)was great, Lisa was great and Kathleen was something else again. Woman gotta set of pipes.
There was a lot of talent in the room, and a lot of love. As a matter of fact, it was a very warm audience in every way and it’s an equally universal truth to say that the performers were totally totally hot.

On a midsummer nights eve, that’s exactly as it should be.

Going to my happy place

The Monday night in Toms seems to be turning into something very special indeed. Or to put it another way, it’s gone back to the golden age, craic-wise. Why this is or how long it may continue, I can only speckle-ate; certainly the recent influx of talented flip-top heads has something to do with it; of that there can be no doubt.

There are many new faces, new voices, new instruments and new songs, as well as new ways of doing old songs. ‘Tis a Seshoon and a half!- I kid you not.
Also it seems that the Nordy-man has two different voices; the quiet one for the more subdued evenings, and a big belting room-filler for the nights when he’s playing with full cacophony of guitars.

Go on the Nordy-man y’good thing!

I've got soul but I'm out of solder.

Body and Soul

Having just finished the run of the thing-like-as-what-I-wrote, we were off to perform at the ‘Body and Soul’ festival in Meath.. I don’t go to festivals meself; large crowds (and plastic paper-less portaloos) freak me out a bit to be honest. The loos were as I expected, but as for the general vibe- I can only say that the Body and Soul was a very special and salubrious happening indeed. The weather was fantastic, and in truth, everything else was so well-organised that I started to suspect that maybe somebody had organised the weather too.

As strolling players, we only got a taste; we drove up Sunday morning: me good self and The Cheeky Chappie picking up the Dreamygirl en route. The play was performed at 5:30, we hung about a bit and then reluctantly went home.


The day was special and lovely and nice.


The only un-mellow vibe in the whole place was coming from some muscular bloke in the Rose Garden shouting his head off about poverty and misery and waving an iron bar around. How he attracted an audience, I’ll never know. Why that audience hung around, to be ranted at, for a full hour is another puzzler: but they did and now we have been invited to the Leccy- Picnic!

Huzzah! – We shall have a picnic, with lashings of ginger beer.

Not one of these things

THIS POST COMPOSED LAST MONDAY.
I have the fear.

I have the furtive fear. It’s all happening; and the sense of dread as an opening night approaches is one of those especially discomforting sensations. The script has been learned and relearned, the performance is attaining polish, the words have become so familiar that I can use whole sections of the script in my own conversation.

Nothing to do now except sit and feel the fear grow. ‘If you build it they will come’ the voice told Kevin Costner but I don’t know about that, nine times out of ten,- cats just be lyin’ to themselves. The truth of puttin’ stuff on seems to be; ‘If you build it they might come- but then again they mightn’t’. I have a small feeling of: ‘If they don’t come that would be no bad thing’.

How can I say that after a million moments of typing into computers and printing and stapling and work and rehearsal time; says you.

It was only a small feeling.

Well folks if you act in something, and you’re any good, people are going to feel your heart. If you write the thing, even if you’re not any good, people are going to feel that they can into see your mind. That is, not only the way you think, but also the way that you want people to think you think; which is much more revealing. The plainest way to put, it is in terms of the classic embarrassment dream: i.e. you go to school and realise you’ve no clothes on and everybody’s laughing. Waiting for your own show to open is like knowing in advance that that public-naked-schoolday is actually gonna happen.
This overwhelming sense of dread increases and increases and then reaches it’s zenith usually at about the exact same time that you’re supposed to be promoting the damn thing.

People want to talk about, it people want to ask about it. Can you write a few lines for the press release? Can you write a few lines for the programme? You must talk of it with confidence and charm and verve and enthusiasm. You have no choice. It must be done for this is the very business we call ‘show’.

If you’re a real idiot you might even have started a blog to record your thoughts on the subject.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

play dedication

This play is dedicated to Atomi the cat; a little black and white shagball, who ‘came from the streets’, and was my constant companion during its composition; a feline muse, whose serene presence lent a calm pleasure to the act of writing it.
She made many direct contributions to the original text, by walking over the keyboard, (and in the same fashion managed to delete entire passages that she felt weren’t up to scratch). She continued this collaborative role into the rehearsal process, providing an attentive, if uncritical audience, and even sharing the stage with Zeb from time to time.
Atomi has been quite subdued of late; anemia and jaundice have led to a sudden dramatic weight-loss and the vet has recommended her humane destruction. The appointment is today and by the time you read this she will be buried. She is only a cat, but she’s my cat and I’ll miss her terribly.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sans salt I tell you

Today I read ‘House of splendid Isolation’ by Edna O’Brien. I’d never heard of it, but then I don’t hear about much and I don’t have a list of the ‘important’ books I want to get through before I die or anything. It’s been around the house for a couple of weeks, but I’ve been eyeing it suspiciously for fear it might be dreadful; which wasn’t really fair.

I don’t really know anything about Edna O’Brien except that she wrote ‘The Country Girls’. As a kid I saw an adaptation of it on telly that really stuck with me, (mind you, that was ages ago, and anyway it was telly) apart from that,- all I know about the woman is that she’s Irish and she’s a woman and that’s what put me off.
Now let me just explain.

There was a series of books given away free with a newspaper a couple of years ago; and the series was called ‘Irish Women Writers’ or something. I saw one of the series in Oxfam for 50p and figured I’d give it a shot. The book was called; ‘Falling for a Dancer’ by Deirdre Purcell. I , personally, found it twee, trite and instantly forgettable and would have actually dumped the damn thing, were it not for a hard and fast rule in the back of my head that ‘you CANT put a book in the bin’.

So it’s still in the house, but in a ‘Memento’ stylee, just in case I ever suffer from Alzheimer’s or amnesia or something; I wrote ‘SHITE BOOK’ on the cover with permanent marker as a warning to myself and burglars with taste. It must have had an effect. Whatever ballet of firing synapses that was triggered in my mind, by writing ‘SHITE BOOK’ where ‘Irish Women Writers’ had been, I think may have left me with the subconscious impression that one=t’other.
I wouldn’t of course consciously hold a prejudice like that, but upon reflection, I do think that it was there, because it took me ages to get round to reading Edna and I wasn’t looking forward to it.

For shame Darren, for shame. You could have gotten run over by a bus last week and you’d have totally missed out, y’big eejit!



I can only say that I enjoyed this book like I imagine one enjoys good fresh food prepared specially for one by an absolute Masterchef at the peak of their powers on the same night that one is so wretchedly hungry that one could eat a scabby child without salt. If one knows what one means.

I cant believe I haven’t heard of it before


When I finished it, as is my habit, I read the blurb on the back to see if my feelings were reflected in any of the comments; this is what the Literary Review had to say:

‘This is a book which is so well written
that you won’t be disappointed whatever you are looking for’


Well done Literary Review! I concur.


‘Hey wait a minute! What are you doing reading masterfully crafted works of fiction?’ I hear you cry. ‘Shouldn’t you be doing rehearsals? For Gods’ sake,- the play’s on in less than a week!’
Well er... um...yes and I all I can say is that the writer turned up, as did the director and even the web-page-manager (and his cat) but the entire cast was unavoidably detained.
What are the chances eh?

Monday, June 7, 2010

It or something like it.

“It’s all about relationships!” is the thayture equivalent of ‘That would be an ecumenical matter!’ and ‘It’s all about relationships!’ is what I have been advised to tell anyone who ever asks me about a play.
This advice came from an experienced director, who pointed out that the phrase is appropriate to all plays at all times and sounds engaging to potential-bums-on-seats… “Just tell anybody who asks you about an up-coming production that 'it’s all about relationships' and you’ll never be stuck”.

Begob he wasn’t far wrong.

“It’s all about relationships!” has stood me in good stead over the years but unfortunately it wont work this time. Taint all about relationships this time, no sireee. Neither is it an ecumenical matter. The Cheeky Chappie gave me a great compliment when he read it; he described it as ‘A new kind of writing’ which was lovely to hear but I’m a little scared of. The fact is that there’s a big world out there with a lot going on in it and the style of this thing is hardly a great departure from traditional theatre so it doesn’t seem it likely that it hasn’t been done before. It’s a lovely idea though and nice to hear. Thank you Chappie.

Now you and me both know Chappie that the monologue is a bit different all right and that does put one at a loss when people ask you about it, because it’s hard to put in the context of something else. You can’t say that it’s ‘Jaws-meets-Trainspotting’ or ‘Death of a salesman-meets-Hamlet’ or any of those handy combination descriptions. The thing that we’ve been calling it, ‘A Stand-up Tragedy’, is probally not exactly accurate either but still maybe it’s as near as we’re going to get.

However, I did think of a way to describe the writing style today that I like and think fits, and thought I’d share with you.

In his book; ‘McCarthy’s bar’ Pete McCarthy meets a woman (somewhere near Shannon, I think) whose conversational style leads him to the conclusion that the pioneering work in literature and theatre by Joyce and Beckett respectively; i.e. their ‘stream of consciousness’ style, is simply the way a lot of Irish people think and talk.

I think I know what he means.

I think the old ‘Spinal’ is going to take some work yet before it’s anywhere near finished, and this outing should be a great opportunity to see where that work needs to be. There was a ‘stream of consciousness’ element to the writing process which probably provided it with strength and weakness in equal measure but at the same time the script is very self aware so; here’s me new handy glib phrase to describe the text:

‘Stream of self-consciousness’

Eh?

Eh?


Whaddya think? Clever eh?




Oh right then.

Well in that case let me elucidate one more comment that I feel encapsulates all you need to know about both the play, its’ genre, theme, the narrative arc of its’ protagonist and its’ subject:


It’s all about relationships lads.

Honest.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I have programme blurb to write. It’ll come as no surprise, to those familiar with me cantankerous curmudgeonly ways, to discover that when it comes to programmes; I’m agin ‘em. I feel like they’re a hidden cost and I almost never buy one and then feel irritated when I’m surrounded by folk busily garnering snippets that I’m not privy to. In other words, I’m cheap. Cheap and resentful mainly but also I don’t want to get any of the story before the story starts to tell itself. I don’t watch trailers or read video blurb for the same reason: not always wise but there y’go. Either way, opening night approaches and there is to be programmes and I am to write summat.

Not easy. For example there’s the fact that some folk like to read their programme before the show and some folk after (or perhaps even during if things have gone really bad). You have different things to say to people before and after, (and lets not forget the ‘during’ element; what do you say to someone who got so bored with the play they started reading the program?).

Should your words be preparatory, informative or apologetic? Should you provide a sudoku and a pen? I could adopt the tone of all the programmes I’ve ever read but- because I’m agin ‘em; I haven’t read that many and I cant remember what the tone usually is.

It’s probably best with a monologue, as potentially confusing as this one, to keep things simple, in other words: ‘A basic thank you list Darren and none of your oul’ rameis!’ which I’m sure is what will do, but just before I do that, right here on the interweb is a wandering bit of self indulgent palarver for you.

Spinal Krapp programme blurb- The Directors Cut:


‘Spinal Krapp’. It’s all in the name isn’t it? With ‘Spinal’ the name came last. It was the very last thing and I still don’t know if I’m happy with it. Names are important; it’s not that people judge a book by its’ cover, (or a ‘Stand-up Tragedy’ by its’ title); but names do affect the way we approach things. With this play the problem has been that, in conversation, ‘Krapp’ sounds just like something else, and as a result it is entirely possible that people might presume this monologue must be vulgar and that it takes neither itself nor its’ subject seriously.

Well the monologue is vulgar,( insomuch that I’m vulgar: and you will find me vulgar or not, depending on who you are; vulgar and refined are relative positions,) but, as for seriousness, it’s as well to tell you now that ‘Spinal Krapp’ most definitely does take itself seriously. It has a playful element and there are a lot of jokes in it, (some, I have to admit, from the ‘old-jokes home’ that you ‘fell off your dinosaur laughin’ at’) but it goes to some dark places too and is really so demanding of it’s actor that it couldn’t be more serious.

The name seems like a joke but on closer examination isn’t really. Here’s what the name’s about: the play has a mock-documentary element, like ‘Spinal Tap’ (although not in the same way) and it does have an element of the existential trapped soul talking to himself that you find in ‘Krapp’s Last Tape’. So it’s fair enough that a title should suggest elements of the two. Also, it’s all about a back and therefore ‘spinal’, and it’s all about personal baggage which is one’s ‘krapp’.
Voila! So now y’know.

I think it fits.

{I stand to be corrected. To facilitate any attempts at correction; I offer you the reader the use of the comment box at the bottom of this page. So just throw your opinions into the correctional facility.}

Incidentally, if people want to know how much of it is actually me and how much of it is true, the answer is it’s all me and it’s all true but you have to remember that if there’s one thing true about me it’s that I’m a complete liar.

I told you the jokes were old.

It’s neither joking nor lying to tell you that we’ve both worked very hard on it and we hope you like it. I have my problems with monologues as a form( see rival to plays proper) and I’ve always preferred the ‘stand-up comedy’ type of one person show, so I did try hard to write something that could be accurately described as a ‘stand-up tragedy’.
The version of it performed in the unFringed festival, though well-received*, didn’t get enough rehearsal time for meself and Zeb to take it where we felt it should go and as a result, we’re eternally grateful to the Bottom Doggers for inviting us here to the Loft and giving us the opportunity to perform a version of it that we feel is much closer to our vision of what it should be. Whether that vision will work, connect or mean anything at all to you the audience, we have yet to find out.

But we’re SO excited!

* reviews of the show at http://www.mydr4ma.com/ both contain spoilers.



Images stolen from b3ta

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The only good Injun is an edited Injun


A while ago, before I discovered the joys of bloggery, I wrote a Letter To The Newspaper. The subject was the ‘Regeneration’ project and the newspaper was the Limerick Leader. I wrote it out of exasperation, because I don’t understand how the project is supposed to work. I took the trouble to write as clearly as I could on the topic, and say everything that I had to say and then I sent it, and forgot about it. The editor rang me up to say that he’d read it and he’d like to print it, (hurrah!) but could I condense it down to about a third of its length?

This was quite a challenge. I began by cutting back any thing I could, unnecessary adjectives went, descriptions, phrasing, everything was cut away until finally I was left with a bare skeleton. In terms of writing, it was an interesting and informative exercise, but the result was an absolute pig. Basically, it had become so simplistic that I felt I was talking like a caveman. Then I thought of a device that would enable me to speak in a stunted vocabulary and still get the point across; I decided I’d write in the style of a stereotypical Red Injun from old cowboy fillums. I thought the result was lighter and better than the original, while still getting the point across. I also thought that there was no way that the editor of the Leader would ever print it.

He didn’t.

He did print a chopped up version of the original, and I’m still not sure if he did me a favour or a disservice. Anyway it’s his paper and he only has so much room in it so there you go. Happily, there are no limits on the interweb except for a reader’s endurance, so just in case anyone’s arsed; here are both versions:

VERSION ONE
Original Letter to the paper 1333 words.


People who speak slang do not wish to be understood by the general populace.
The words are deliberately chosen to hide the meaning.
It is not only teenagers and criminals who play these tricks with language: ‘Spin-doctors’, advertisers and estate-agents all constantly strive to find new ways to hide meaning with unfamiliar words: lay-offs become ‘downsizing’, strips of cornstarch pulp become ‘fries’, and a tiny bedsit becomes a ‘compact self-contained apartment’..
It’s a fact of modern life, and we’re all used to it by now, but sometimes it worth having a look at words and clarifying their meaning.

Regeneration is a nice vague word with positive connotations. It suggests life and re-birth. Demolition is not a nice word, nor is it vague. Demolition means knocking down houses. The ‘Regeneration’ plans are demolition and redevelopment plans. Houses, streets, shops and communities are going to be demolished to make way for developers. People are to move to make way for all this. Moving people out of their homes, (with no guarantee of re-housing them in the new community that you’re building,) is displacing them. So ‘regeneration’ means: displacement, demolition and redevelopment. This is what this word ‘Regeneration’ stands for.

I don’t think that the people of limerick and their representatives are really fooled for one minute by this word ‘Regeneration’. I think in our heart of hearts we all know that it comes down to getting rid of everyone there and knocking it all, - so why is there so little objection? Why are people going along with this? Why are people walking away from their homes to completely uncertain futures? People are accepting this because their present situation has become intolerable.

It has been suggested that the level of crime in Limerick city is exaggerated by the media; loyal defenders of the city point to statistics that clearly show that there are higher levels in other parts of the country. This is true, but it is of no consolation to the victims of violent crime here. Unfortunately, to talk about Limerick, Cork and Dublin, in terms of population size and crimes reported, while showing the city in a favourable light, also inadvertently suggests the notion of violent crime at an acceptable level. Violent crime does not exist at an acceptable level. No level of violent crime is acceptable. The geography is irrelevant, nationwide or citywide. But for those who live in a ’bad’ area, violent crime is why so many people are reluctant to go out after six. The fact that there are others in the same situation in neglected housing estates all over the country is of little consolation.

So-called ‘bad’ areas are just a tragic indictment of the nations failure to protect its citizens. Most of the people who live in them live like people who have been conquered and occupied. Most people in ‘bad’ areas stay at home at night, keep their mouths shut, keep their heads down and pray that they won’t be targeted next. They are the vulnerable majority and you won’t find them standing up for their rights because where they live, the nail that sticks up is the one hammered down.

The word ‘regeneration’ means their displacement. It means the demolition of the homes that they have held onto during the criminal ‘occupation’ that developed in their communities. It means re-development of the area, where they used to own their house, but now, if they are lucky, they might one day return and be able to rent a smaller, cheaper-built, home in a yet more densely populated area.

It is inferred that their displacement and the demolition of their homes is the solution to all problems. As if the actual structures somehow encouraged anti-social behaviour and that replacing houses and gardens with higher density apartments and duplexes will solve social and policing problems. I can’t say whether this is either extremely na├»ve or a deliberate lie. It does not seem logical.

Consultation is a word. It means something very specific. It empowers even inanimate objects. We all know that ‘I’ll have to consult my diary’ for example means, ‘I can’t agree now, I’ll have to check’. There is power there. The diary might say no, and the diary must be accommodated. That is what consultation is. What consultation isn’t is simply condescending to speak with people. If somebody is going to ‘tell you how it is’, and call that ‘consultation’ then, at the very least, you might think that you’re entitled to hear what you’re being told in a public arena, or if not that, then to make a record of what you’re being told, otherwise, the only honest way to describe what you are doing is not by saying ‘I will consult with you’ but by saying ‘I’ll tell you what the rumours are from time to time, so you don’t feel left out.’

People in Limerick were told that they would become involved in a process of Regeneration and that there would be ongoing consultation with the residents as part of this process. They were not told that their homes would be demolished, and that they themselves would be displaced to make room for redevelopment. Neither were they told that they’d be hearing rumours about it from time to time, so that they wouldn’t feel left out. But that’s exactly what’s happening, sadly.

There are many people whose job it is to point out what’s happening.
It can only be concluded from their silence on this issue that they believe that displacement, demolition and re-development are what these areas need.
Perhaps they feel that after all, its just houses: houses in places where nobody goes, (unless they have to,) houses surrounded by half-burnt refuse and broken glass. Some of these houses are already destroyed or abandoned and boarded up. It’s easy to feel that demolition and redevelopment is a good thing here. Move the people out and start over. It is a desperate situation, so perhaps if a place has such a ‘bad’ name then surely the solution is to change the name, change the layout and change the populace. Problem solved, and thank you for calling.

The problem with this attitude (apart from it’s assumption that by living in a ‘bad’ area, residents have foregone their right to protection) is that it never addresses where this ‘bad’ name came from, or what’s to stop the exact same problems re-emerging. It is hoped that the new area will have a greater mix of incomes and economic backgrounds, we can all hope, but realistic town planning is neither based on hopes or dreams but on expectations based on current trends, and previous project experience. If there is a new trend whereby comfortable Irish people are actively seeking children from more economically deprived backgrounds for their own kids to grow up with, I applaud it and think that it’s wonderful, but I haven’t heard anything about it yet and I’m not expecting to.

In the early days of ‘Regeneration’, there was still money to be made from demolition, displacement and redevelopment. So the large-scale removal of unprofitable people from profitable land, under the guise of a social project, made sense. Morally reprehensible, but at least it made sense. It made economic sense in that it might well have made sense to a developer’s bank manager, (so long as neither the bank manager nor the developer was expected to move in themselves and contribute to the diverse economic mix that we’re all ‘hoping’ for). Now it doesn’t even make sense in terms of profit. The destruction of perfectly sound buildings continues. Try as I might, I cannot see the socially beneficial motive in this. I cannot even see the profit motive anymore. Without a motive this destruction can only be regarded as absolutely mindless, and returning to the topic of clear language, there’s a word for mindless destruction: it’s called vandalism. Surely, the residents of the Regeneration areas have enough of that already without the state contributing.

VERSION TWO Revised letter to the paper 305 words


I think that the basic premise of the Regeneration project is one of an architectural solution to a social problem and fundamentally flawed. Sometimes, in American movies, terrible things happen in a place and the reason turns out to be that someone has defiled an ancient Indian burial ground. I think blaming the structure and layout of the buildings for the anti-social behaviour of a minority of residents is akin to ‘Ancient burial ground’ argument. It must be on my mind more than I realise because last night I saw an old Indian chief in my dream. This is what he said:

Regeneration bad. New houses not fix problem. Problem not houses. Problem people, problem neglect. Plentymany good people live in bad area. Be quiet. Hope for change. Now good people move out and lose house. Only small money for house in bad area, not enough buy new house. People move anyway. No-one protect them. People before, own house, now pay rent. Regeneration say;’ We build new houses-fix problem!’
Who live in new houses? Regeneration say: ‘New people, better mix,’ Me laugh. Regeneration make big joke. New houses smaller, have no garden, plentymany duplex. People close together like herd of buffaloe. This not solve social problem. Nobody want new houses. Only poor people come. Not better mix. Same problem again.
Maybe Regeneration lie, maybe Regeneration stupid. Me not know.

Now recession come. Developer hide from bank. Who build new houses? Nobody know. Regeneration smash up plentymany good house. Why? Houses not problem. Problem people. Problem neglect.

Probably my own fault for eating cheese late at night. Still, I’m worried he might come back; if he does, what shall I tell him? Because at the moment the chief seems to think of the Regeneration project as a blanket that’s been deliberately infected with smallpox.



You would have had to have had have had been there!

Tom Collins Monday night sesh,
Ole! Ole-Ole-Ole!
I feel like I’ve been following a crap football team for years and tonight they bet Man U by 5-nil.

It was glorious brothers, let me tell you that much. It was one of those great, great nights. Why?- I do not know. It seemed that between myself, ‘the psychic gangster’ and the ‘man-who-is-gateswide’ there was little by way of energy and enthusiasm to begin with, but the people listened, liked, applauded and, best of all joined in; and, were so really good that ‘the craic’ as they say, snowballed into something magnificent, special, and wonderful. You would have had to have had been there and everybody in the room knew it. Highlights included a tin whistle player who was a session unto himself, and a version of ‘working class-hero’ that would put John Lennon to shame.
So what’s the secret of a truly, truly great seshoon? A brilliant musician or two and an open approach to willing participants, (this is also incidentally the secret of a truly awful seshoon depending on the ingredients). I think basically that all fields of human endeavour can be crystallised into either the Steve Davis or Alex Higgins camp; either you are a decent nice guy who plays it straight because he knows that the final scoreboard is the important one, or else you are a talented but irresponsible asshole who will throw away everything for the sake of a special type of glory that might only last five minutes.
The Tom’s seshoon is a Hurricane Higgins if ever there was one, it could be managed like many’s the other session, with a closer eye on consistency and quality, and a few more tried and trusted crowd-pleasers; but if it was, we would never have the craic as was tonight. Yes! Yes! Yes! This is what I love and this is what I believe in.

You would have had to have had been there. I think that is the special thing about ‘live’ stuff. Seshoons vs Recordings or Thayture vs Film/Tv it all boils down to the same thing: transience. I love the transient forms of expression, maybe because life itself is transient. This is probally why I hate to have anything theatrickle recorded.

In attendance tonight, but unfortunately not singing, was the unbecoming lady and he had much relevant to say on the subjects of ‘readings’ vs plays and the state of thayture today which I will be expounding upon (basically robbing all of his points for this blog) but not tonight as I’m most definitely the worse for weather.

EDIT: I wrote this last night when I came in, and I’ve cleaned it up a bit this morning for legibility, but I haven’t bothered doing anything to this last bit because I think there’s something quaint about the way I finished up.

My cat is crawking all over ne inan irritating but nonetheless comforting wat as I write this. And that is also nice and cool while at the same time discomfiting. And that’s’ a good enough sign to sign ogfff.