This blog is in a state of suspended animation
some of my favourite paintings happen by accident. these are a few of the boards i use to protect the floor of my workroom, to clean brushes, test colours... as soon as i start thinking of them as pictures and consciously adding to the design they no longer work. but as long as i can see them only out of the corner of my eye...
I’ve written very little here over the past few weeks because most my energy has been taken up by polar bears and the forthcoming art exhibition (of which more later).
older audiences are good, too, but younger audiences are fantastic. they come to the theatre with fewer expectations and fewer preconceptions. they are louder and more outgoing and less embarrassed about reacting spontaneously to what they see and hear on stage. and they very rarely fall asleep.
there is always someone who falls asleep in any show. invariably they will have bought tickets near the front of the stalls so that they are visible to the actors. you’d think, if you were prone to doing this you might choose a seat at the back of the circle or off to one side, but there seems to some ancient and immutable law at work.
i recently did an interview with the poet paul farley. it's in the guardian this weekend. i really do think you should read it and then go the nearest good bookshop and buy a volume or two of his poetry.
actually, i think you should buy more poetry of all kinds. i think we should all buy more poetry of all kinds. i've been commuting to rehearsals of polar bears recently and it's struck me, once again, that i have never seen anyone reading poetry on the train or the tube, even though it seems the perfect form of literature for the kind of life in which there are brief moments of respite between long stretches of busyness. it really is the only way you can experience a masterpiece in its entirety between baker street and southwark.
it seems odd not to have written anything about polar bears over the last two week. the reason is that i've been in rehearsals, which has a been a fantastic experience, but also a tiring and time-consuming one. here's an interview from today's observer. i dislike doing interviews (it's hard having a pleasant, relaxed conversation whilst not forgetting that you're also simultaneously talking to ten thousand strangers). i don't much like reading them either. but a copying link to this is easier than writing something new.
(despite appearances that's not a photo of me in the stairwell of a victorian urinal but in the jerwood rehearsal space)
a couple of the cast have given interviews, too. but they're not much keener on them than i am, and we're trying hard not to give away too much in advance of the press night on 6th april, so i'll leave you to track them down yourself if you're feeling obsessive.
this is rather fantastic. popular science magazine is now archived online. 137 years of it. the interface is ugly and the google reader clumsy but the content is fascinating and funny and addictive and edifying. from articles by darwin and pasteur to, well, stuff like this...
here come the painbirds... sad, sad news. mark linkous of sparklehorse committed suicide at the weekend. he was a genius. i've played vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot, good morning spider and it's a wonderful life over and over and i have never, ever grown tired of them. exquisite melancholy tunes that burnt little tracks inside my head and lyrics that always seemed to have been plucked straight out of some weird faerie darkness. we used a couple of his songs on the soundtrack for coming down the mountain and people who didn't know his work always wanted to know what it was and where they could get hold of it.
a wonderful exhibition at the wellcome collection. 8 rooms about 8 lives (samuel pepys, the groundbreaking transexual april ashley, the artist claude cahun, the scientist francis galton, fiona shaw...) each of them examining the question of who we are from a variety of different perspectives and all of them a revelation in some way (i'd never seen fiona shaw's astonishing performance of the wasteland; i'd never considered what it might be like to be one of a pair of identical twins, born three years apart as a result of ivf). the most moving story was that of clive wearing, the subject of a famous bbc documentay some years ago (sections of which are available to watch on the website below) who believes repeatedly that he has just come round / woken up after 6 or 7 years of amnesia. his diary is an obsessive, repetitive list of entries recording his delight at suddenly getting his memory back, each one separated by several minutes. he has lost many essential abilities and is cared for by his devoted wife, deborah. however, he used to be a gifted musician and choirmaster and when given a keyboard and a baton and a group of singers these skills come flooding back and he can play and conducted exactly as he once did. most movingly - and it was this that made me cry, while standing in front a glass case in a museum to boot - was his continuing and overwhelming love for his wife, so that every time he saw her he felt as if he was seeing her for the first time after a long absence and was filled was joy.
there is also a very good book accompanying the exhibition from black dog