Friday 2nd August 2013
2013 has been a quiet year so far, but it’s all about to change: exit complacency; enter a woman, with daft dog and yapping pen.
Three summers ago, when we both turned sixty, Jo and I wrote a play called Still Kicking, with which we toured garden sheds, cafés and similar smaller venues. Solid writing partnerships benefit from having two critics on hand. Them pesky words need both our approvals if they’re going to be allowed to stay.
A later piece, Restoration, failed to get beyond one performance, as a work-in-progress, in February. We never quite found the right 18th century voices. The dressing-up was fun, mind:
More often than not, Jo comes over here on the bus. We have a cup of tea, take Peggy for a walk in the park, and have a leisurely natter over a leisurely lunch. All three of us have been known to fall asleep instead of doing any serious composition.
Here Today reflects where we’re at: semi-retired, occasionally cynical, embracing the quieter life… but still ballsy and bolshie enough to want to take risks, to question, to entertain, and to do something different. This isn’t a play or a show, but more of an oldies’ version of a student revue: where Two Ronnies meets The Moral Maze meets I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue meets an evening in the pub. We think of it as ‘a gig’.
I’m not allowed to give anything away about the content – some of which won’t be penned until the week before – but we’re going to do these gigs on the first of every month (no matter what day of the week) starting in September.
They’ll run for about seventy minutes and include a couple of guest appearances, one a musician. The Star Anise Arts Café and Black Book Café in Stroud have kindly agreed to host the first two. 8pm. Tickets £7 on the door, £8 the day after. Arrive early, grab some refreshment, make yourselves comfortable, and expect the unexpected.
Working with Jo has given me a healthy prod.
As a writing tutor, I often quote Kingsley Amis – ‘the art of writing is the art of applying the seat of one’s pants to the seat of one’s chair’ – conveniently forgetting that his axiom also applies to me.
I’m too lazy to work on second drafts of unpublished novels; too laidback to bother editing long-buried pieces of poetry; too fond of re-watching Game of Thrones to research to whom I should send the synopsis of a potential blockbuster.
But Here Today has made me pick up a pen again. And maybe brought this blog back to life.