Hey chums. I’m in a funny place right now. Not a bad place, by any means. Certainly a busy place. But not one that lends itself to explicating in an entertaining or inherently satisfying way.
When an actor or screenwriter says they’ve ‘had a lot of meetings this month’ it’s basically shorthand for ‘I am unemployed’. A bird in the hand, etc, etc. Still, right now my bush is positively infested with dozens of birds. Err, so to speak.
You wouldn’t believe the number of emails that have gone whizzing back and forth, the phone calls I’ve had, the plans I’ve discussed, the drafts and press releases and group emails. It’s good, really. If I wasn’t so snowed under I’d just be waiting, anxiously, walking a ten pence piece up and down my knuckles and pondering oblivion. As it is, I am an effing jammy bastard. My life is an embarrassment of opportunities, and I’m super-grateful.
In case this just sounds like smug humblebragging, I’ll start pinning some of this nebulous flatus down (I’m not sure if flatus is recepetive to being pinned down, but I’ll do my damnedest).
Next Wednesday is this month’s Homework. For those of you who’ve never been, Homework is a monthly literary cabaret at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, where the rest of the Homework residents – Luke Wright, Joe Dunthorne, John Osborne and Ross Sutherland – and I write and perform new material on a theme each month. We also invite guests to bring work on the same theme. The theme this month is Monologues.
Each time we do Homework, it feels like a risk – despite, or perhaps because of, our lovely audience – but this month’s genuinely feels like the toughest, riskiest night we’ve attempted so far. Some of us are having our work performed by actors, some of us are performing it ourselves. There are bits that are meant to be funny, and there are serious bits. We’ve experimented with form. We’re going out on a limb.
This season of Homework has been my favourite ever. I’ve enjoyed every show so much. They’ve felt magical. The audience is so great and supportive, you feel you want to try your best, but you also feel safe taking chances, pushing yourself. Theoretically, we’re open to the possibility of stacking it, of trying something new that doesn’t work, but most shows, most of the material works (not all, of course, but plenty). Next week’s show feels so different to anything that we’ve done before, I’m not sure how any of it will go down. But between then and now, I’ll work hard on my piece. I’m really lucky to get to try out new things in a safe environment. Sorry if it’s a bit shit!
On a completely different topic, it looks like me, Mark Grist and Mixy will be ready to start announcing the first dates of our Poets’ Graves tour tomorrow. We’ve confirmed some of the main gigs, although if any fall through we’re prepared to just head out and perform wherever, and we’ll be adding smaller stops around the main performances – little half hour, 20 minute gigs in cafés, people’s houses, etc. We’ll be selling merch throughout our journey to help us cover the considerable costs, in the hope that we still have roofs over our heads when we’re done. Once the gig dates start going up (and I’ll update the page they appear on as and when new ones are confirmed) it’d be ace if you could help us by posting links on Twitter and Facebook, maybe looking to see when we’re in your area and thinking about finding a mate with a car and organising a roadtrip to come see us. If you make the effort to come and watch us on our weird and idiotic quest, we’ll make the time to say hello to you before or afterwards and thank you.
I performed at BANG Said The Gun last night. It’s a spoken word night that’s on every Thursday in London. I’m always surprised when I meet people who haven’t been. It’s amazing. You should go. They’re a lovely bunch, and if talent was illegal, they’d all get the gallows.
I have a few other irons in the fire that it would be precipitous to discuss yet. One of the lovely things about working in different worlds is that projects progress at different speeds. While something bakes slowly, like a splendid golden loaf, something else is ready immediately, like a fistful of crisps. And yes, sometimes that means your loaf burns while you were distracted then you binge on crisps, sobbing. But the change of pace can also be relaxing. It’s nice to know that, while you work on other things, cogs are turning in the background. Especially when their slow and patient motion is almost complete.
Does that make me sound like an evil genius? Well. Maybe I am.