November 30, 2006

Things I Learned in November


  • It is possible to write 50,000 words in 30 days and create a (somewhat convoluted) story with a beginning, middle, and end.

  • Some of those words might actually be salvageable. But I won’t know till I give it a proper read, and that’s not gonna happen till after Christmas.

  • I can finish something I begin, within a designated timeframe, and not have it be for someone else.

  • When you shove a ball gag into your inner critics’ mouth, shove him in a body bag and toss him into the Anne Frank room, amazing things can happen.

  • Starting over where you left off is only slightly easier than starting on a blank page.

  • When you stop thinking about what you’re going to write and just write it, interesting (and sometimes amusing) things end up on the page.

  • Picking up where you left off two days ago is much harder than picking up from yesterday.

  • You can get 100 words written in a notebook within 5 tube stops. You might not remember what you scribbled, but it adds towards your final word count.

  • I type much faster than I write, and counting handwritten words is boring.

  • I end up with very dialogue-heavy scenes, which makes me wonder if I should try my hand at playwriting.

  • When in doubt, introduce a journalist character who wants to interview existing characters about their hopes, dreams and desires.

  • I finish bigger chunks of writing in coffee shops and pubs than I do at my kitchen table or upstairs in the always-too-cluttered “writer’s loft*”.

  • It’s easier to watch CSI reruns than write fiction.

  • I have a new story idea that’s been swimming around while I’ve been writing the nano novel. The folks in my writing workshop think it’s a really good idea and I’m starting to flesh it out it this Monday.

* You might remember that as the “job search oasis.”

November 28, 2006

Tuesday 200 - #21

“So Cynthia, how was your ‘Come On Get Happy’ workshop?”

I told her it was amazing and then the waiter sauntered by. “Excuse me, this is tap water. We ordered bottled. Sparkling. No ice, lime wedge. And we’ll both have the partridge special.” She dismissed him with a flick of last year’s Rolex. “Darling, your seminar?”

I started telling her about discovering your values.

“They had you do a financial statement? Tres gauche. How did you compare to the group?”

“ValUES, Claudia, not my value. They asked what I would do if I were Prime Minister.”

She picked up a roll. “Ah, carbs,” she said, and put it back. “I’d rework the NHS so all these foreigners couldn’t just come into the country and get free medical care. It’s ridiculous. Just show up from India or Poland or wherever to have their babies. These people just walk right into any GP, without living here, say ‘I’m sick’ and they’ll get care. A travesty. I’d clean that mess right up. Excuse me, idiot, these are lemons, not limes. What else did they ask?”

“More values probing, like choosing one quality we’d like to instill in our children.”

“Oh that’s easy. Compassion.”

November 27, 2006

A Whole New Name

Has Katie/Jordan Price-is-Right's big hunk of love (Peter, not Harvey ... bless) decided to join ranks with his wife and take another name?

I really meant to buy their new album today, but I got stuck working on immigration issues. It's that time of the year again. Already?

Found this at tonight:

Andre ... Andrew ... Andrex ...

I'd probably use an alias too if I had to sing with her, live, at Butlins.


PS: Derek, can we go?

PPS: Now watch, I'll go out and buy it tomorrow and it will be my new favorite CD ever.

November 26, 2006

Blood-Eyed Jacks to Open

Dinner and a movie tonight, not in that order.

On the way home from one of Balans'* better meals (doubtlessly due to the charming pre-Scissor Sisters company and our adorable and funny Laplandian waiter), Larry starts chatting up the world's oldest taxi driver. As we near B2, the cabbie says, "have you heard the joke about women?"

"Dunno," says Larry.

"Well I'll tell it to you and if you can come up with a better one, the fare's on me."

"Fare enough (geddit?), go on."

"What does a woman have in common with a hurricane?" the cabby asks.

Larry gave up. I'd given up a good while before, when they started discussing Watford's football season. Ugh.

"A woman's like a hurricane because when she comes, she blows hot and cold and when she leaves she takes the house with her."

The cab driver thought it was the funniest thing he'd ever heard. We paid the full tariff.

* Normally not a big fan of Balans, but the new menu (at least my cassoulet) was very good and the service didn't suck tonight.

:: :: ::

Prior to dinner, we watched two and a half hours of Bond James Bond.

Liked it, didn't love it and, well, spoilers ahead ...

It was way (a good half-hour) too long. Most of the middle was a really rubbish card game sequence with the old goat slash I'm-your-only-friend (Hmmm, is he a good guy or a bad guy? well if you have to ask ... ) giving a ri.dic.u.ous color commentary on "the tell" to the accountant slash love interest (Hmmm, is she a good guy or a bad guy? well if you have to ask ...)

Hey Mathis ... we were there when Bond James Bond figured out the tell, you don't need to keep telling us about it, or count the money on the table for us.

Oh! And always remember the rules of storytelling, people ... steely blue eyes will prevail (in the long run, not on the first big hand) over gammy gray eyes that weep blood.

Don't you kinda sorta wish that one of your eyes, just the one mind you, shed a tear of blood every now and again? Very nice.

The first chases sequence, while most exciting, and perhaps only 5 minutes too long, was a speed-through of level 10 of a video game that would have given Lara Croft cause to pull a groin muscle. That said, it was much more realistic than jumping out of a burning plane to pull a pair of skis out of your ass and then slalom into an innaugural ball in time to diffuse a bomb, have a 3-way with two blondes from the cater-waiter staff, and shoot your poisoned cufflink into the hideously deformed, yet inexplicably sexy, bad guy who's eating salmon tartare with the Archduchess of Montepulciano.

What do you mean that never happened?

Craig Daniel Craig was nice enough to look at, and captured the necessary Bond tough-guy I'm-cooler-than-shit arrogance. And, yes, he looks good in square cut swimwear and/or a tux. We were surprised however, well ... disappointed, that we didn't get a full-on ass shot. Vesper did after all inform us that it was "perfectly formed". Let's have more showing and less telling. Honestly, my husband Rupert Penry-Jones gave it up in Spooks this season, surely Craig Daniel Craig could have dropped trou in this. For the ladies, of course. If it's good enough for the BBC ... I'm just sayin'.

I haven't seen the past few episodes of the 007 franchise, but this one is a good romp, if not a little drawn out. It's not the lack of gadgets that bothered me, just the lack of pacing.

Then again, if you get bored, you can always play product placement bingo. Sony Erickson. Ford, Sony Vaio, Virgin Airline, Sony Bravia, and Rolex Omega will easily fill your card in no time.

Special note to CBT enthusiasts, you'll be giving this film two big thumbs up, and Craig Daniel Craig looks very cozy strapped, all nekkid, into a seatless chair. But again ... no glutes?

Oh, and parents, please don't take your 7-9 year olds. It's not a film for kids, and once *you* realize there's going to be some naked knotted-rope-on-bollocks torture, your son's caught on too and it's a little too late to play concerned parent. Whisking him out of the movie theater saying, "don't look Timmy" is just going to put him into deeper therapy.

When we were talking about Casino Royale tonight, someone said that "all the Brits I know loved it, the Americans thought it was only okay."

What did you think? (About the film, not about the taxi driver's alleged joke.)

November 24, 2006

Hans Brinker and the Missing Leftovers

I didn't cook enough.

Oh sure, everyone left more than full, and there's a lot of turkey left in the fridge, and I have a pie and half sitting on the kitchen counter. Trouble is, I'm out of stuffing. And I'd really like some reheated stuffing right about now. It was sooooo good. Only had a small bowlful left, and that was this afternoon's lunch.

Gee, Bob, how did you work up such an appetite today, after all that gobbling yesterday?

Well, since you asked, I'll tell you. I kicked off the Christmas season tonight with a bit of ice skating at the Tower of London. One of last night's turkey boys had passes for tonight's press preview, and it was really lovely. I even got the beefy, albeit probably only 1y years old, East London ice marshall to help me skate backwards. Old dogs can learn new tricks.

Watched the new French and Saunders sitcome, Jam and Jeruslem tonight (yes, an early evening of skating ... how grown up we've become), which had a few chuckles but was sort of hit and miss. Then again, the first show of a new season is always a little dodgy, what with the exposition and new character development, eh? I wonder if Jenniefer Saunders sat down with John Plowman and said, let's just get everyone we know to get together in Devon and have a piss.

Joanna Lumley is nearly unrecognizable, but does ride a bike remarkably well and has a brilliant silent Patsy moment at the end of the episode. Dawn French's Rose is the new Bubble, sort of, and we didn't see enough of Margaret (Ms French will play two characters). I'm sure we'll see more of her as the season goes on.

Best line of the show: "Have you given death a color yet?"

Hopefully, this won't be a new Mirrorball, and J&J won't need a freshly knitted coffin anytime soon.

November 23, 2006

T Minus Two Hours

Ah, turkey looks and smells perfect, has a little over an hour to go. Veggies are coming along smartly (except for one aborted batch of candied yams ... came out too soft, but very tasty ... made a nice lunch).

Still haven't conquered the perfectionist thing.

I'm worried there's not enough food, that it's not festive enough, and that the new batch of sweet potatoes will be a disaster.

Larry reminds me I'm like this every time I cook a big meal, and that there's always too much food and that the theme of this year is "Thanksgiving Simplicity."

Oh great, and I went and bought Butterick patterns for the Pilgrim drag. Wouldn't that be a great pre-dinner activity? Have everyone whip up a costume?

Instead, I'm offering blank paper, pens and crayons. Everyone gets to trace their hand and create their own turkey drawing.


Life is just a pale extension of kindergarten.

Guests arriving soon *and* I knocked out 1,600 words on the Nano project (still behind, but I'll be fine). Was going to try to get a run/workout in, but it's a holiday, well not here in London, but you know what I mean.

Enjoy your tryptophan.

November 22, 2006

Today I am a Pastry Chef

Two creamy pumpkin pies and one beautiful apple pie are baked and cooling on the wire rack. My flat smells so good right now.

It'll be olfactory overload tomorrow afternoon, when the stuffed turkey's roasting and the candied yams are bubbling ... sage, thyme, onions, butter and brown sugar. A pilgrim's perfume.

:: :: ::

Hey, you know what would make me really thankful? Go vote for me at the Verve Weblog Awards. What? You already did? Well thanks. Have you voted from all of your email accounts? Have you told your friends to vote?

I know, it's silly and all, but I'd love a little year-end validation.

Happy almost Thanksgiving everyone.

November 21, 2006

Tuesday 200 - #20

You’ve left it hidden.

25 years ago you buried a box, promising you’d return and dig it up, no matter what. Neither of you believed it would happen.


She’d emailed … “I’ll see next Thursday. Under the oak tree on the southwest side of the Quad.”

You tell your wife a business trip came up and book the flight.

“Seems like a million years ago,” she says. Should you agree or tell the truth? It seems like yesterday.

You dig, pretending not to compete to find it first. You can’t remember what’s inside.

A Polaroid. You two in the rain. Her boyfriend shot it.

The red Devo hat you’d found her singing in, soaking wet, tripping her brains out.

A blue disk from Tip-It. You’d taped it to a curtain rod named Henry. It was his hat. He told hysterical stories. You’d been tripping harder.

A dried oak leaf. A guitar pick. The screen from a ceramic bong named Gandalf.

She slips the blue disk into her purse. You don the Devo hat. You hold the leaf just a little too tightly. It crumbles through your fingers.

You both swear you’re truly happy.

And slowly it begins to rain.

:: :: ::

Last week's Tuesday 200.

As Mimi Said to Roger ....

Won't you light my candle.

Light a candle and Bristol-Myers Squibb will donate a buck to AIDS research. They cap out at $100,000, but have only had about 20,000 hits as of this post.

Are we all lit?

(thanks George)

November 20, 2006

Bear Bait

Shadia is the lovely lady who comes to our house once a week to do the cleaning we're too lazy busy to do ourselves.

I love her. Well, I did untill this morning.

She's like having a mom around. She tells me I'm ordering too many fruits and vegetables from the organic delivery people. She calls to make sure we finished the laundry she started. She worries I don't have a regular job.

Today she might have crossed a boundary.

We were talking about this and that, as we do ... the poisoning of the Russian spy, what a "stupid asshole" (her words) W is, her 12 year-old daughter's woes in school, the cats' dislike of the vacuum cleaner, etc.

All of a sudden she looks at me and gasps. "Oooh, you've got stomach."

I tell her yes, and with my graying beard I'm working on a whole Santa Claus get up. She tells me she doesn't think so.

A little while later I'm getting ready to leave.

"Where are you going?" she asks.

"I'm off to some meetings and then to my writing workshop."

"Okay darling, bye bye. Don't eat so much."

:: :: ::

I guess it's time to get serious about the running again.

November 17, 2006

Get This (Christmas) Party Started

For the American readers ...

A Bond-influenced M&S (a UK department store) holiday ad.

Bassey, Shirley Bassey covering P!nk in an ice fort. Twiggy holding, then tossing, a cat-cum-boa. Fabulous.

Don't be jealous ... I'm sure Kathy Lee will have a US-only holiday commercial out for you guys real soon.

November 16, 2006

Lynch Mob

I was meandering through the [title of show] blog this afternoon and found this clip of Stephen Lynch.

He's cute, he's funny, he can sing *and* write comedy. What's not to like?

Seems there are loads from him (er, not those kind) on YouTube.

Why did I not get the memo earlier?

We'll Only Watch *American* (alleged) Murderers

Have I understood this correctly?

American television providers won't air the new English AlJazeera, but they're fine with O.J. saying how he "could" have killed Nicole, "if" he were to have done it?

Way to go Fox, you'll really setting the benchmark for credibility. You just keep on reaching for the stars.

That's just, erm, oh gee, what's the word I'm looking for? Um ... dire? No ...

Oh, yes, I remember ...


November 15, 2006

Compassion on the Barbie

Riding the tube home from Hammersmith this evening, group of trackie- and sweatpant-clad Australians jumped into the carriage at the very last minute.

Once they pushed a pensioner out of the way so they could all cluster next to and across from each other, they held a charming conversation, shouting over the train's rumbling screeches. Here's what the blonde girl (sitting across from me) had to say:

"So she leaves this photo on my bid (ed: that's my rubbish Australian dialect for 'bed'; sorry, I won't do that anymore), with all this writing on the back saying I was being an unfeeling bitch and I'd really disappointed her and wasn't being compassionate at all and that the least I could do would be to leesten (ed: oops, I did it again).

"I just crumpled it up and through it on her bed and left. I mean, what does she want from me? The bitch."

Sitting next to me was her ruby-faced mate (ed: sunburn? Fosters allegery? pigmentation problem?) who said she should have put it in the bin, leaving her roommate to wonder if Blondie had any reaction. Wisely he advised, "this way you've put it back in her court. If you'd binned it, she'd wouldn't know anything."

Photo crumpler went on to report, "I've been ignoring her for the past 3 weeks. It's what she said she wanted, ever since that guy kept texting her saying he was going to shoot her. What was I supposed to do, find his number and ring him to say leave her alone?"

Then her mobile rang and she recounted the whole story again to the caller, but louder this time beacuse it was 'sheet' connection.

November 14, 2006

Tuesday 200 - #19

You hide it on the top shelf. Way up in the back, beneath sweaters you’ll never wear. You only keep them because they were gifts. You know Mom would be upset to learn you’d thrown them out, those V-neck polyester blends she said looked so nice on the mannequins at Target. You’re waiting for moths to eat them, but even the insects have taken against the synthetic fibers you grew up in.

You never speak about it. You couldn’t bear him finding it, and probably laughing, then droning on about how clearing things out creates space for the new. You don’t want to have the packrat argument again.

You know it’s just a faded photograph. A gangly teenager with horrible hair, an ill-fitting suit, braces on his teeth, and broken eyeglasses. You’re standing next to one of the popular girls. You figured she’d only said yes on a dare. You were self-conscious the entire night, thinking that everyone’s laughter was so much snickering behind your back. And yet you danced.

You know it’s the last vestige of a distant memory.

You hope it’s only you who still thinks you look like you did on prom night.

You leave it hidden.

:: :: ::

Last week's Tuesday 200.

Really Top Drawer

I just hosted a viewing of Auntie Mame for several lads and lasses who'd never seen it. Jambalaya, baked ziti, and non-microwaved popcorn included.

Once it ended, one of the comments was "you didn't even get a credit in your documentary." I'll take that as a compliment. Even though I've never stepped on a ping pong ball in my life.

Or am I the sponge?

:: :: ::

Confidential to Milanese Vera: You were missed.

November 13, 2006

Holiday Spirits


I still think it's too early for all the Christmas marketing merriment we're being bombarded with. Alas, if you can't beat them, join them.

A new holiday cocktail was concocted last night.

May I introduce you to The Noël, a none-too-distant cousin of the Jasper ...

  • Vodka
  • Cranberry raspberry juice
  • splash of fizzy water
  • sprig of holly and/or mistletoe as garnish, if available


The Jasper, as long-time associates (ie fellow Betty Ford alumni) will recall, is a similar labor of liquid love ... just take out the cran/rasp, replace with orange juice, and ditch the garnish. Also quite lovely.


November 12, 2006

Poppies Will Make them Sleep

Oh my, I've been remiss. Here it is the end of Remembrance Day (well, one of them), and I recall I have a blog. When is Alzheimer’s Day?

Not that they’d remember.

So what's been going on ...

There's been a lot of Nano writing. I'm a little behind, but I’m having fun*. I have reached 16,000 (out of 50,000) words to date, and am slowly discovering the slightest hint of a plot line. Would you, as a reader, be bothered by a pair of bickering Noel Coward-esque gay ghosts as a connect-the-backstory-with-present-day device?

You hate it, right?

Oh well, too bad. I'm going forward with it anyway. It's my silly story and this month is all about quantity not quality. At least that's what they tell me.

Besides all the rubbish writing, I'm closing in on a possibly big-ish career change which I've been contemplating for a few months. Haven't been blogging about it 'cause I'm afraid I'll jinx it, but I'm really excited. Fingers crossed.

So, what else can I tell you?. Despite how much I loathe the poster, The Sound of Music is way better than you'd think, or at least than I'd have thought. Even if Sir Andrew Lloyd Muppetface (and one of those scary, LSD-induced muppets at that … Hi Janice) did fire the leading man two days before we had tickets, we couldn’t have been more pleased with the production. The replacement Captain Von Trapp is, well, fine (bless, he went on with no dress rehearsal after being hired 48 hours prior and needed to be fed more than a few lines). The winner of the Graham Norton hosted travesty "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria" turned out to be fabulous. All hail Connie Fisher.

No ... really. She rocked, as much as a guitar-playing whiskers-on-kittens nun-cum-nanny can rock. Amazing. Especially when she fed the Captain his lines. I bet 98% of the house didn’t catch it. She’s a star.

I'd planned on starting the review ... "Climb every mountain, then throw yourself off it." But I can't be mean. It's really a good show. Go. See for yourself. See if Freidrick isn't a pre-teen friend of Dorothy. See if Rolf isn't the cutest Nazi wannabe this side of an anschluss. See if Leslie Garrett can't sing (almost unmiked, thank you very much) louder than the orchestra. She’ll knock down the Abbey’s walls, I tell you.

Ethel Merman would be so proud.

What else ... Oh! It seems that most of the homoxuals I know in London haven't seen any of the films required to earn a basic Gay 101 card. In a concerted effort to rectify this abhorrent situation, I'm screening Auntie Mame (light dinner included) this Tuesday night. If you'd like to join us, please let me know (email is fine) so I can order the correct of pies from Dominos. Yup, we're a classy lot here in Marylebone.

Speaking of pre-ordering: If you'd like to attend the second annual Bob-cooks-Thanksgiving-dinner-in-London, let me know soon. There are a few empty chairs this year, due to childbirth (not a result of last year's stuffing, I assure you) and travel restrictions.

* I'm aiming for 2,000 words a day, and I gave him grief about hitting 500. It's madness, I tell you.

November 8, 2006

Looks Like a Blue Christmas

Tom Delay just said, in a Fox News interview, that "the Democrats didn't win, the Republicans lost" and that "there's no way we'll win the war on terror now." Huh?

And the spin continues. I stayed up till 4am last night flipping between CNN, CNBC and Fox. Some random thoughts ...

  • My fellow Buckeyes made me proud. Ohio is blue. Sorry about that, dad.
  • A female Speaker of the House. Very cool.
  • Brit Hume is atrocious. He mumbles, he doesn't have many coherent thoughts, and I think he almost cried a couple times.
  • Chris Matthews is like a mediocre comedy sketch. Entertaining for a bit, but wears thin really quickly.
  • Rick Santorum's family is almost as frightening as he is. His poor geeky daughter, holding onto her doll, sobbing like her dad had just raped her puppy. His two Pugsley-like sons, in their too-small matching crew neck sweaters, also weeping. I wonder what made them sadder, their horrible clothes or the thought that Daddy was going to make them all look and and hold his miscarriage of a political career.
  • Hillary is almost as engaging a speaker as her husband.
  • Tom Browkaw is classy.
  • I bet Tim Russert can sock away the bourbon and cokes. He'd be fun to go out drinking with. And I didn't see one white board.
  • Rummy is so gonna be out of work soon. I wonder if he'll call me for ideas on how to restructure his time. I say a resignation will be tendered by Thanksgiving.
  • Rhode Island voters are just pissed off. Chaffe voted *against* the war and he still got canned.
  • There's a chance for real change now. I hope the new leadership doesn't screw it all up and make 2008 a cakewalk for the GOP.

We now return to our regularly scheduled Nano writing. 10,000 words down, 40,000 to go.

November 7, 2006

Tuesday 200 - #18

Ever the director, he arranged a special wig. “Noir will be perfect,” he said. It was the final gift he could ask of her, the man she’d loved since she was a teenager.

She gently opened the antique box, uncovering a raven-black cascade, a dahlia clipped to its side. “Drama queen,” she smiled. Her hairpiece collection had been his doing. Until now they’d been red, fiery as autumn leaves.

She kept her promise not to cry, holding his hand while he swallowed the tablets. They shared a bottle of Bordeaux.

“Euthanasia as theater,” he whispered, eyes sparkling in a morphine haze.

She squeezed his hand and he slipped away.

Her mask of calm dissolved when she slipped off the wig. She bellowed into the tresses, stifling her screams with hair, choking on the rage of loss and unrequited love.

The next morning, she restyled the wig, swathed it in black tissue, hid it on a back shelf, and went back to the theater.

She mourns once yearly. Unwrapping the coiffin, the heavy grief compresses her scalp. His memory brushes her neck, where her cropped hair never reaches. She pulls a strand from her mouth, savoring the taste of her pain.

:: :: ::

Last week's Tuesday 200.

What is this Tuesday 200 thing?

November 6, 2006

I Will Eat This Meat

This spot started playing over here, but without the "Texas" tag. It's just about the Double Whopper.

Now I have to go dig around in the Helen Reddy archives.

Arty Face

I went to see the Holbein exhibit at the Tate this morning.

I admit I was confused at first, because I thought it was the Holstein exhibit. You can understand my curiosity as to all the hoopla around portraits of 16th century cows.

But anymoo ...

I was looking at Holbein's sketch and subsequent painted portrait of Sir Richard Southwell. The lady on the audio guide described him as the "most malevolent man in Henry VIII's court."

Do you think he's any relation to Simon Cowell?

southwell.jpg s_cowell.jpg

November 5, 2006

Holy Fawkesin' Fireworks, Batman

Kerboom! Kabang! Kerpow!

Last night's fireworks may not have been the most spectacular show I've ever seen, but I had a 6-year old boy's permagrin on my face the entire time. We were at at Alexandra Park, walking around with good friends amidst tons of revelers, and standing almost underneath the display, on the side of a hill overlooking Eastern London.

The best part was that, while the bursts were expoloding beneath the full moon and then raining down directly ahead of us, countless little mini-explosions scattered across the parks and gardens all the way to the horizon. Really magical, and I'm not Joker-ing.

November 3, 2006

With Every Door that Closes ...

... a window slams down on your fingers.

Got feedback today from Monday's interview with the world's largest insurance market ...

"Excellent interview. He has a solid understanding of our brand and what we need to do to move our strategy forward. He was exceptionally well-prepared and we really liked him."

So did I get the second interview?

Nope. They want to move forward with someone "less senior who can grow into the position."

I'm a little confused. One of the main roles in the job is to sit down with senior management of the corporation and its franchises and sell them on the benefits of their internal, employer brand proposition. I guess there are loads of 20-somethings that regional CEOs will listen to.

Dang. I thought I'd at least nailed a call back on that one. Although when I complimented the line manager on her excellent "how-to-write-in-brand" brochure ("you found that on the web? Wow, you really dug in," she said) and then showed her the web pages that were not in line with her guidelines, I thought maybe I'd stepped too far. Seems she wrote the web pages too.

Hey, they wanted someone with a "critical eye for detail."

Oh well, looks like I'll be pulling pints soon. Or am I overqualified for that as well?

"Sorry mate, you know how to make proper cocktails, and we're afraid you'd be bored serving draft beer." I'd go to Bar Acuda and be their martini mixer, but they've closed down.

No doubt because they couldn't make martinis.

And now, I'm off for a martini with the lovely gentlemen of the Barcelona Temperance Society.

I'm attending a workshop tomorrow on "How to Build Your Ideal Life." I let you know what I learn.

Have a great weekend.

Dear Father - Writing as Performance

Can the act of writing be watchable art?

A few months ago, after watching Sunday in the Park with George (a musical about a painter creating his art), I wondered if you could pull off a performance about the process of writing. Seems to me that writing's an art more focused on the end product than the artist's creative process.

This is especially true when compared to films. DVDs often have"making of" footage, deleted scenes, alternative endings and perhaps some bloopers/out takes. Television shows run blooper reels and behind-the-scenes specials. Art exhibitions often inlcude preliminary sketches and/or studies of final works. In theater, the process (writing, discovering characters, rehearsal) is often more interesting than the actual performance. Some works (eg those of Mike Leigh and Woody Allen) are built primarily, if not solely, based on process.

But you don't see this in writing very often. There aren't many special edition reprints with deleted scenes, uncorrected POV shifts, and alternate endings. We don't see the "shitty first drafts" that turn into Pulitzer-winning fiction. Would the public pay to read anything less than the final draft? David Sedaris' bloopers? Jane Austen's early character sketches on Mr. Darcy? John Updike's chapters that ended up in the shredder? Famous Author Rob Byrnes' scribblings after a night out in Hell's Kitchen?

Would anyone want to watch a writer create?

Turns out writing can be a perfomance. Or at least performance art.

I popped into Compton's on Wednesday, and there was a screen hanging from the ceiling, with a projection of man writing in longhand. The hand belonged to an artist named George Chakravarthi, who was upstairs composing the final epistle in a collaborative letter writing project, "Dear Father/To the Man of my Dreams", sponsored by Artangel.

The project has been going on for a couple of years now. George worked with members of SW5, a group of male and transgender sex workers, creating a series of letters between a fictional "Father" and "George".

I was speaking with Sarah (I think that's her name) of Artangel. She's not sure where the project is going next, or if the letters are going to end up being published. There was a discussion the previous night led by Neil Bartlett. I can easily imagine this turned into a theatre piece.

November 2, 2006

The Verve!

Wow. Surely this must be some Carrie-like prank.

I've been nominated for Best GLBT UK Blog in The Verve Weblog Awards.


Thanks very much to Lewis for the nod.

He's set up a cut-and-paste e-mail ballot, instructions are on Verve website.

And the raven was called sin.

Harry Potter and the Blinded Stallion

This is one of the most interestingly designed theatre posters I've seen in a long time. I just wish it looked more like a horse and less like a steer. Although, if you make the Daniel's armpits into the horse's ears ...

Very nice design indeed.

It opens in February. Advance tickets have been purchased.