Saturday, 13 December 2008

Moon Alert!

(originally posted on myspace here)

Yes, moon alert: Tonight's full mooon will loom larger in the sky than it has since 1993, although peering through the blinds tonight all I see is cloud. Actually I should put some curtains up. Venetian blinds are all very well for a two-fisted man of letters keeping faith with Ridley Scott's vision of 21st century living, but it's getting quite cold now, and the bonsai tree by my brass bed's beginning to smell ill. Seriously it took me ages to locate the garlic odour.

On the subject of the moon, here's a short animation made by Paul Barritt accompanying a story by Suzanne Andrade; she stands in front of it, looking eerily like Jean Charles Deburau but with sexier hair, in their show "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" which I saw last night at the BAC:

They don't do cabaret any more. That's a shame because an hour of this on its own can look a bit phoney, whereas a fifteen-minute invasion of the stage of the Battersea Barge, say, is awesome… That's a terribly ungracious judgment for me to make however because I was sitting right at the front on my own, with a bad neck, and hadn't even paid and paying always gets you in the mood. But this was a Big Christmas Treat from the Battersea Arts Centre, you see, who'd invited me along to a "Brainstorming Session". I felt like a real player. After the show there were probably about two-hundred of us sat around tables with crackers and lasagne, two-hundred who had all, we were told, been "put on a list". Lewis was there (of "Alf and…" fame) and personal favourite Julian Fox. Crackers were pulled and tiny pairs of nail-clippers sent flying across the hall. And then the time came to "round table" some subjects, and I joined the round table that read:


… firstly because of The Books of Soap and Interview Room H, but also because I found the name very pleasing to the eye and couldn't quite work out why. At this table the BAC's joint artistic director tabled the notion of a "one-on-one theatre festival" which sounded great. Then he suggested this festival might answer a demand from a public finding themselves in a "post-capitalist, post-Blairite, post-spin" era, hungry for honesty and "energized by Obama" etc. and I thought "Who? What? Oh no..." But it prompted Lewis to make what I thought was the most interesting and important point of the evening, namely that this demand for "one on one" theatre wasn't in fact coming from the public at all, but from us artists. It's us who want "the house-lights turned up" as he put it, far more than our paying or non-paying house. I love Lewis. And it seems to me a very important distinction for an artistic venue to make when deciding on its focus, and indeed for commentators in general. Art doesn't change direction because the public want it to but because the artists do; but artists are also of course the public - they're seeing stuff as well as making it, and chances are they're making the stuff they want to see. In other words, you don't necessarily need all these feedback forms. And the idea that the Battersea Arts Centre is somehow a barometer of national public interest is, when you think about it for a second, bonkers; what the BAC can I think genuinely take pride in is the interest they generate from the large number of artists wanting to produce work there. Dedum.

So anyway I walked home well-fed, clearly knowing everything there ever was to know about my chosen medium, found a DVD of "Planet Terror" in the living room, bunged it on and was immediately reminded how much I clearly wanted to DO THIS! THIS! MOVIES NOT THEATRE! THIS!!! Gah:

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