Stillpoint Theatre


Here is a letter i wrote to my family in Australia this morning that i thought might be fun to share.

Dear family, a little newsy update from the crick in my neck of the woods! A kind of blow by blow diary if you will. Hope it is of interest.

Today I caught the horrid, populous commuter train to London. October gloom ameliorated by glints of unseasonal sun shine sharding through windows and warding off the dying of the light. A huge day ahead. Training all the way out to Gunnersbury with massive blue suitcase.
‘…Where?’ I hear you ask.
And well you might!
Gunnersbury is to London what Paramatta is to Sydney.
There to collect the physical where-with-all to enable my shows to happen. Performing 2 of my shows tomorrow at Merge Festival Bankside:

So collecting those bits, then toting them across town in bin bags and wheelie airport bags to Bankside / Tate Modern with the kind assistance of my lovely new flat mate, the hirsute and frequently be-jeaned and be-headphon-ed Dave W.

Dave W has an exceptional line in hip hop and free style MCing* (please see the glossary addendum for an explanation) and is an expert collector of vinyl discs of yesteryear. He is also, unexpectedly a financial journalist and man on a mission.

Then the day will be spent rigging and focussing The Art of Catastrophe & The Growing Room. Bit of rehearsal. Then back to Gunnersbury for rehearsals with Geoff, my equally hirsute, though-beleaguered-by-hip-issues-and-may-soon-be-the-youngest-man-in-British-history-to-have-to-undergo-hip-replacement-surgery, * project manager. Geoff is exceptionally talented lighting designer with the bonus of having an MA in sound design for film, which nicely off sets the inconvenience of his sometimes over committed and under-resourced lifestyle.

After rehearsals Geoff travels back to the Firestation at Windsor, where he is technical manager, to rig a design for Hull Truck theatre company over night for a show that opens tomorrow.* Crikey.

If he added up the hours he puts in he probably earns about .05p an hour.

Then i go to sleep.

Tomorrow I meet the strapping, languid yet vibrant and unquestionably gorgeous cousin Victoria Z * for a relaxed brunch, then a borough market walk.

Victoria, as you know has recently landed with her splendid Cal to be greeted by the grimmest of months and the bite and gripe of recession. Actually perhaps it isn’t the grimmest of all, as February surely tops it: with all the winter celebrations done, the bright snow melted into relentless drizzle and mush soup grey and the return of the light still not felt.

I shall be warming Victoria up with family love, good coffee (which England has learnt to administer more decently of late) and probably jokes. The jokes are likely to be of reasonable quality as the mixture of stress and exhaustion generally fosters a lovely giddiness and free wheeling idiocy.

Then I leg it to Bankside again to perform the 2 shows back to back with Geoff wheeling in with just one hour to spare having never seen the rig, with no time to rehearse and likely 2 hours sleep. In industry terms this is known as a ‘busk’ or ‘busking it’. Me and Geoff will be busking it like there’s no tomorrow, adrenalised by coffee and hope.

Do that. Then travel home at midnight on the train with all my shows strapped down in several ill appointed oddly shaped bags like some mad woman: standard lamp, swivel chair, glitter ball (yes, TGR now has a glitter ball) blackboards, a whole swag of costumes.

So just an ordinary few days in london then.

Meanwhile, I moved house last week, between gigs in Newcastle, Liverpool, Horsham and London. At the new pad, things are slowly coming together. It feels at a glacial pace, though when i turn around, i am surprised to find that yet more has been accomplished. I have been working so hard and so frequently away from Brighton, that is has been hard to get down to it.

Still sleeping on an air mattress with clothes hanging on the windows for curtains, no drawers and no desk to work at. It is like i am 21 again in all the worst of ways! BT is unable to install wifi until the 10th of December; they say this is because of the recession and the Olympics (…!) but at least we have got the heating working now and it is clean and warm and dry.

And ours.

Today Briar H and I are sending off for curtains, which will be made up and should arrive by the end of the week. In England, it is a now a fire hazard for land lords to leave curtains in unfurnished properties, so one inherits these places as pure skeletons. We require permission even to screw in curtain rails and yet even a screw will be deducted from our deposit. Being a tenant in this country reduces your rights exponentially: no wonder everyone is desperately clawing their way towards the property ladder.

On Saturday my new desk arrives.

It’s all happening.

Love you all.

Your pilgrim in the north,


* MCing in the Urban Dictionary is described as ‘Self expression in hip-hop’. There you go, that clears it up, doesn’t it Grandma?

* Geoff has found out he actually has Ankylosing Spondylitis. Bummer.

* Geoff got it done today, so doesn’t have to go back. Now we are listening to The Civil Wars, talking about our new project and getting ready for kippage. Maybe even 6 hours of the stuff.

* Victoria Z is a very talented photographer. Check her here:

Merge Festival Bankside
18th October 2012
London SE19DE
The Art of Catastrophe: 7.45pm
The Growing Room: 9.45pm

This event is sold out, but free, so might be worth the risk of elbowing your way in!

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