Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"Let me not mar that perfect dream
By an auroral stain,
But so adjust my daily night
That it will come again."
Emily Dickinson, Complete Poems, 53
I’ve had a busy week with some wonderful nights out with wonderful people. While the Western world has gone through a variety of new and frightening changes - the BBC falling into little hysterical bits after the Hutton enquiry, WMDs or the lack of causing yet more trouble and a barrage of suicide bombs in the Middle East, I have been re-establishing friendships and getting out and about. It's been too depressing and bewildering to stay in and watch the news. Even with the onset of snow and the unending cold and harsh winter nights, I got out and about because it is pointless to hang around at home, toodling about doing domestic things, letting my current dismay at the state of things grow as I sit about, alone, wondering how things are going to turn out. I am particularly upset about the effect of the Hutton report on the media and how things will turn out regarding freedom of speech and also the kind of intervention we are to expect in news reporting - in these times of sophisticated spin, it's the subtlety and the guile of intervention which is ever more sinister and suppressive than any outright monitoring of the media.

So... because it has reached the time to re-establish contact with certain people and because it would simply be fun to do so, I have been to The Bush Theatre, to see a new play by called Christmas by Simon Stephens, my tall wild-haired writing tutor from The Royal Court. A good play, very simple, focusing on a handful of downcast men in an East End pub just before Christmas, each of them harbouring some deep-seated dissatisfaction with their lives. In the middle of the play, in a stunning literal and figurative central performance, comes Charlie, a cawing, nasal Northerner postman with a cello, a fantastic performance that frankly put the other performances, that were far from poor in themselves, into shadow. His edginess and extremely realistic drunkenness was intimidating, edgy and very empathetic, his strained stillness of the “if I don’t move, no one will know how pissed I am” variety rang truer than the raucousness of the other three men and the slow, subtle revelation of how he went from professional cellist to postman was a real theatrical treat: real quality acting and writing. Boatie Flatmate was impressed by it too so a good evening all round.

Two nights later, I was tramping through the snow and cursing my godawful day at work to get to The Gate Theatre, feeling dreadful and stressed and frankly pissed off with the stream of crises, disasters and last minute panic that had plagued me from sun-up to way beyond home-time. However, the jazz night I had arranged to go to was superb, featuring the fiancĂ©e of a Post-Graduate Diploma friend I hadn’t seen for over a year. Amazing stuff, very eclectic – a bit like an evening spent browsing through a friend’s record collection and getting her to sing certain numbers. It was a chilled out night, with the opportunity to catch up with old friends from the PGDiploma and hear some new songs. A really great way to chase off the fury my day at work had set off in me and a really nice way to see old friends once more. Awww.

Then on Friday, I was scuttling back to West London to see my fellow resignees from the Office of Doom. Everyone is remarkably happier, calmer, more optimistic and healthier than when we were working together for the Witch-Boss and all of us are doing well in different areas, all still bearing scars and bad habits and paranoias from That Place but moving on nonetheless. We were meeting because The Chilean has finally found a new job to move onto and is fleeing as he has always wanted to – huzzah! There are now 3 full-time members of staff remaining (and one of those is the Witch-Boss’s son…) so not long now before total disintegration, I reckon.

Oh, so much alcohol was consumed and so many happy and not-so-happy times recalled! It’s all over now but it’s good to know the friendships remain.

A busy week for me in a busy week for world affairs, though I’ve had considerably more fun than some as the days went by. How are you?

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