We will be at Zoo Southside (Studio) from the 16th – 28th August, 4pm. Woop! Woop!
There have been preview interviews here and there too. This from Edinburgh Fringe Previews is a good one.
So it fast approacheth, like a truck steaming full tilt down a gun barrel highway… and even though we are only there for 2 wee weeks, it still seems to be generating an avalanche of work to do.
Gun barrel highways are things that we Australians perhaps know better than most English folk. We have a need for traversing long distances, you see, across vast swathes of relatively undifferentiated landscape. Long straight roads that fire off horizon-wards, seemingly forever until eventually losing definition in a mirage of dust and rising heat. These roads projectile out for hundreds of miles across harsh baking landscapes with not a curve, bump or shrub-bigger-than-a-salt-bush to break the monotony.
It makes me think passingly of a conversation i had with a friend recently about the trajectory of the Y chromosome through life, Nick Cave and his Death of Bunny Monroe… but that is best left for another blog.
As a child, we would make great family pilgrimages in little cars across the vast Nullarbor Plain to visit Mum’s family in Perth. Crammed into mobile hot metal tins like sardines. Travelling shoulder to sweaty shoulder in the family Renault / Peugot / Tarago for upwards of 8+ hours a day.
Adelaide – Perth: A 4 day drive with 5 of us in the car.
Brisbane – Perth: A 6 day drive with 8 of us in the car.
I marvel at the tenacity and pioneering spirit of my mother travelling first with my father and three of her own children, then again as that marriage was falling apart with the same brood, then a third and final time (or was there also a forth?) with my first step father, Don, his three kids, plus hers. Three times with feuding boisterous children, once with 6 (!) of us in the back seat and each time in unhappy marriages.
Sometimes you don’t know how unhappy you have been until much later. You have been too busy surviving to properly see yourself. I think it is often the same with happiness (sadly). Anyway, it must have been hell for her.
I was 7, 9 and 12. I assume these trips were made out of budgetary necessity, rather than a spirit of adventure, as there were so many of us and air travel was expensive.
I remember arriving at a ‘camp site’ – effectively a patch of hard dry sand with a 360 degree horizon – just as the sun was escaping from view, or sometimes, if we’d timed it wrong, in the pitch black. The tent pegs driving into dry earth making the sound of a blacksmiths’ iron on stone.
I remember watching the fuel gauge scraping ‘empty’ and feeling my parent’s anxiety about how we’d manage the next few kilometres to a service station. Sometimes there were hundreds of kilometres between petrol stops. Break down out there and you are in serious trouble.
I remember in the days before air conditioned cars, hanging wet towels over the open window, to soften the ferocious heat (45 – 50 degrees celsius) and after only half an hour, the towel baking snap dry like a biscuit.
I also remember strange solitary creatures: Men, mostly, on various forms of improbably fragile looking transport: bicycles, a monocycle. We once saw a man on roller blades. I kid you not!! Hundreds of miles from the nearest service station and hundreds more from the nearest town. I recall him wearing crazy clothing; something high tech presumably; reflective to avoid the sun, aerodynamic, yet encumbered with devices and contraptions.
He looked like he was from another galaxy.
Maybe he was.
Or perhaps I have imagined him.
I’m not sure now…
The Great Sandy Desert
The Great Australian Bight
The Great Dividing Range
There is a pragmatism to many Australian place names, a dead-pan prosaic-ness; a determined lack of poetry and metaphor. I imagine some long suffering and inappropriately attired 19th century white explorer, delirious with heat, thirst and exhaustion, struggling to cartograph an exotic and extensive coral outcrop and thinking, ‘Fuck it! Its a great big reef and it acts like a barrier. THE GREAT BARRIER REEF???!! That’ll do. HAVE YOU GOT ANY BEER??!’
I only noticed this once i moved away.
Gertrude Stein maintained that only in exile one could truly represent one’s country and although i don’t hold it up as Truth, the idea does certainly hold something for me. Australia unfurls for me with distance. Its colours shine brighter and its shadows darken.
I wondered if there was a tendency in British place names towards the opposite: A desire to make things sound more poetic, dramatic or intriguing than they actually are? (A bit like how just one night of snowfall in the South of England can provoke national rail closures and apocalyptic news headlines). I looked for evidence to support this theory and found it largely nonexistant. Damn! There is Devil’s Dyke, in East Sussex, which holds none of its suggested danger: Just a rolling hill, with a pleasant view overlooking the gently rolling Sussex Downs that taper down towards the gently lapping sea. But one example does not a case make.
I guess the great delight with UK place names are the ones once innocently named, now cuckolded by history: Giggleswick, Shittington, Crackpot, Little Piddlington, Hen Poo and of course the creme of the crop: Cocklick End, Dildo, Buttock Point and Cockup Bottom… But now I’m straying onto Ken Campbell’s hallowed turf.
And by christ i have massively digressed. I was intending to speak of Edinburgh and its rapidity of approachment! Anything to distract me from administration!!
Erm, so briefly, some info:
Steal Compass, Drive North, Disappear
runs from the 16th – 28th of August at Zoo Southside
Which incidently, if you are in the market for excellent physical theatre, is the home for you this fringe.
Show runs from 4pm – 5pm
Tickets are £9 full price, £7 conc
You can book here or call the fringe box office: +44 (0)131 226 0000
If you’d like to help us on our way, we have set up a crowd funding site through the brilliant WeFund platform. If you feel inspired, in exchange for donations, we’re giving away things like free tickets, merchandise, program mentions and lovely A2 posters.
Tell your friends!
Which reminds me; if you are looking for Edinburgh recommendations amidst the totally overwhelming field of possibilities, here is a hand picked list of few other Brighton based artist we’d highly recommend you check out while you’re up there:
Inconvenient Spoof with their funny, raw anarchic and brilliant Naive Dance Masterclass.
August 14th – 29th 6.50pm
Flying Eye with their intimate, beautiful and intriguing Cutting the Cord.
4th – 27th August 6.45pm
Big Belly, Underbelly.
The Two Wrongies. Don’t miss these ladies. Nothing will prepare you for this show, suffice to say it is very rude indeed and you will be wronged, wronged and wronged all over again.
3rd – 29th August 10.30pm
Assembly George Square
Il Pixel Rosso have a trip of a show on offer. And The Birds Fell From the Sky. Immersive video goggle/sound and sense experience with mad clowns.
14th – 29th August
many different time slots
C venues C-eca
Enough writing for one night!
I guess the thing of all this is the seduction and delight of falling into memory and reflection when your face is pressed hard up against a deadline. Recalling all of this tonight when i really should be getting work done has almost felt like holiday.
Certainly, the relative calm before the quite exciting storm!
x Rachel B