Unwanted water: lazy wizards


Hey hey. Above, a photo from the production of and the line goes dead at Battersea Arts Centre. Apologies if you were in the audience either night, and were unlucky enough to get ‘rained’ on. The NY-based artist Ann Liv Young was taking a post-show shower upstairs, and… what can I say? — apparently the sealant wasn’t up to much.

A shame, as I got the feeling that much like Astronaut, my show last year at Burst Festival, this was a story which you had to watch uninterrupted. It’s a quiet, ominous sort of piece and I can’t imagine that the pitter patter of someone’s ill-sluiced ablutions did much for the atmosphere. Given that rehearsals had been extensive and emotionally draining, I spent a few hours immediately after the show feeling pissed off and / or upset in a sort of see-saw motion. Then I went back to Bristol and calmed the fuck down. Hooray!


Week goes: phones, birds, speaks, tunes, scribbles, listens

This is the first image from The Dead Phone, a stageplay I’m writing for the Inbetween Time Festival 2010.


It’s been a scattershot week. Good and productive for it. But to give you a picture, woven in and around the day job, I’ve had -

Thursday: Writing the first drafts of The Dead Phone. It’s a series of conversations, conducted on a stage, empty and blank but for 1) a table 2) a succession of performers and 3) a telephone connected to the afterlife. Currently drafting an extremely upsetting and foul-mouthed exchange, full of violence and regret.

Friday: reviewing Forced Entertainment‘s Spectacular for Venue Magazine. An amazing show – succinct, unexpectedly affecting, totally focussed. Remarkable in that it even survived constant interruptions from a self-obsessed tosspot of the highest order (the link is for Ed Rapley’s description of the event — I have to stress, Mr Rapley is by no means the tosspot in question.)


Time Out: interview

Questions, questions, questions.

So here’s my emailinterview (einterview?) with Time Out, all about DVD addiction (Deevadeection?)

PDF of the actual item here: Time Out DVD interview

And below, the full unexpurgated version of the original Q&A, unedited due to reasons of space.

How many DVDs have you got? And how do you organise them?
This question is blatantly an aide for potential burglars. I’m not answering it. Plus: I don’t organise them.

What do you tell people your favourite DVD is? What is it really?
The films of Yuri Norstein, animation genius.

Tale of Tales

If I lost it I’d scream like a toddler. Wanky but true.


Astronaut: descent pattern

How to fake an astronomical image with 1) a profile spotlight and 2) my big bald heed:


Little. Furry. Planet.

Yeah, so, Astronaut at Battersea Arts Centre? It all went very well, thanks for asking. The BAC is an immensely pleasant place to perform in, lovely people, great vibe… even with the rather spooky remnants of Punchdrunk‘s production of The Masque Of The Red Death hanging around here and there, prompting the feeling that Vincent Price might be stalking the corridors, just around the corner, about to glide towards you with his HAUNTED EYES.


Janet Gaynor: godspeed

Last weekend I performed at “I Am Still Your Worst Nightmare”, a platform of experimental theatre, live art and other bouncy fun stuff hosted by Arnolfini and Theatre Bristol. I did a quiet sketch called Janet Gaynor. It was 13 minutes and 44 seconds long.

Astronaut, the work I presented at the same event last year, apparently made people cry (in a good way, I hasten to add. They weren’t tumbling bleary-eyed and snot-nosed towards the fire exits, screaming to be released.) Seems as though Janet Gaynor might have done the same. Fellow performer Ed Rapley even gave me an award, bless ‘im. Little nods like this are all the more gratifying given that this field of work tends to thrive on the unquantifiable and oblique; immediate reactions are rare, sometimes even unwanted. On top of which, at an event like “I Am Still Your Worst Nightmare” most artists are trying out something new and untested, lighting out ill-equipped and without a map. But by most accounts Janet Gaynor managed to a) create an atmosphere and b) tell a story… and those were my principle concerns.

Another fellow performer, James from Action Hero, gave me my favourite feedback of the weekend. “I liked it,” he said, “But I’ve absolutely no idea what it was about.” Reminding me of Samuel Beckett. When Mr Beckett was asked what the hell Waiting For Godot meant, he replied “If I knew, I would have said so in the play.”

Janet Gaynor was inspired by a hefty old scrapbook I uncovered in the back room of a second hand bookshop in Littleborough, Lancashire. It was hidden amongst biographies of Hitchcock and whole swathes of those generic “Hollywood Greats” hardbacks (you know, the oversized ones. The woods are full of ‘em.)

Amongst a room packed full of similar uncatalogued, unpriced volumes, you can imagine a cover like this one standing out:

Janet Gaynor scrapbook