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!

The good news being that I think the format of the and the line goes dead works a treat; and some lovely comments and suggestions by people after the performance gave me a good springboard for the next stage of the project, a longer version of the show with multiple performers and wildly varying stories. Roll on 2010.

In other “roller coaster of emotion” news, I was straight back to London three days later to take part in a workshop led by Tony Jordan, a man I’ve always pictured as a screenwriting version of one of those laughing Buddhas that crop up in Taoist temples. He didn’t disappoint – although he did swear constantly, effing and jeffing in a manner which I imagine would be beyond the Bodhidharma.

The ‘workshop’ was actually a pep-talk from heaven, directed at a smattering of screenwriters who had impressed with their entries for the Red Planet Prize, so I knew I was in good company from the start. True to form for the profession, a small party of us went to a Kings Cross pub afterwards and got wasted. The good news being: a month later, we met up in the same pub and spent a whole day yakking our way through TV drama ideas, and deliberately not getting anywhere near as drunk.

It’s great to chew the fat with people you sense you can collaborate with from the outset; as well as a bunch of eminently workable (and sometimes wonderfully exciting) concepts zipping around the table, there was a healthy dose of knowing sarcasm present by the end of the day — in particular my own predilections for “making any idea 25% better by putting a Wizard in it” became a running gag. What can I say? It’s much like Brian Eno’s assertion that any problem whatsoever can be solved via the application of a) oyster sauce or b) backing vocals… it’s a fact of life, people. It just is.