Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A fan hits the Schnittke, &c.

Hi ho, grapple fans. Sorry to have been so silent here of late but it's been one of those silent-but-deadly times. I have two posts half-drafted and apparently stuck, one on Miranda July and the other just a sort of free-range mess: but spirits are pretty low here at Schloss Thompson and it's incredibly hard to believe that my opinions on anything are worth sharing. I just seem to go on and on, wah wah wah. I'm sick of the sound of my own typing. The moral of this story is that people with bipolar disorders make bad bloggers. Exactly half the time, at any rate... I'm afraid just at the moment I've got a touch of, oh, whatever. Sclerosis of the narcissism.

I will try and do a little Edinburgh preview some time this week as there's a few things worth making a fuss of. But obviously I can't tell you about them until I've booked my own tickets :)

For the moment, I have to admit my cultural life is largely being lived indoors and half under the duvet, but -- so that this post at least points a little bit outwards rather than simply sitting here completely inertly like a black dog beanie baby -- I may as well drop some art-kids off at the pool, I guess...

So:

I am mostly listening to: Daniel Hope's gorgeous recording of the Schnittke Sonata for Violin and Chamber Orchestra (quite obsessively I'm afraid); Rhodri Davies & Ko Ishikawa, Compositions for Harp and Sho; Flash Hawk Parlor Ensemble, Plastic Bag in the Tree; Pan Sonic, Katodivaihe. Also some great radio: Oliver Postgate's superlative Desert Island Discs; Paul Whitehouse reading Robin Cooper [a.k.a. Robert Popper] 's Timewaster Diaries -- with theme music by Moondog, astoundingly; for the eighteenth time, a daily dose of Paul Temple on BBC7.

I am mostly reading: well I've just finished Neil Bartlett's Skin Lane -- hokey and a bit self-conscious but quite, quite beautiful on the page. (That's my novel for this year.) And continuing to jump around between: Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others (brilliant); Pierre Guyotat, Eden Eden Eden; Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology; Slavoj Žižek, Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle. Also the slow excruciating drip of news on Chris Langham, poor sod, and the hive of provocative activity over at Postcards from the Gods.

I am mostly watching: massive slabs of The West Wing, natch; Larry Sanders on YouTube (there's loads); both series of Look Around You; and, just now, on 4oD (which is a bastard application btw, don't get it if you don't have to), Kevin Elyot's Clapham Common -- brave, complex... A jarring mix of tonalities and registers, which I dare say was largely deliberate, but probably let down in the end by not being quite well enough written or sufficiently coherent to amass a really powerful body of usable evidence. But there were some good performances: Rupert Graves, Paul Nicholls, and above all, quite stunningly good, Luke Treadaway. And it did a lot to expose the trauma and desolation that lies at the heart of metropolitan gay existence for very many people -- though I suppose not much more than is evident every time Graham Norton opens his fucking mouth.

There, that's enough. Not least because actually I am mostly asleep or immobile and there's not so very much to say about that.

Two quick plugs and one, er, unplug.

Plug one: I will be doing my second and final London preview of Hippo World Guest Book this Thursday evening at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden. Details and online booking are here. Do please come along, if you can, and cheer me on my way. I promise I will be in far better shape there than I am right now. Doctor Theatre, don'tcha know.

Plug two: after eighteen years, five broken marriages and a triple bypass, The Salt Companion to Geraldine Monk, to which I contributed, has finally hit the streets. And I have to say I'm awfully pleased with the look and feel of it and I think most of the essays, if not quite all, are really excellent. Even if you've never read a word of Geraldine Monk's poetry (take the shame!), there's surely a lot of pleasure to be had in discovering how other people read it. An essay like Elizabeth James's, on the visual in Monk's work, is in and of itself a bracing adventure among bold and delightful ideas.

Unplug: partly because of the straits I find I'm once again in with my health, Lucy and I have decided to pull our pipeline show Henry & Elizabeth from the Edinburgh schedules. It was miserable to arrive at that point, doubly so when almost the next morning the Guardian picked it as one of its fifty 'hottest' Fringe shows. But also weirdly reassuring; the world continues to turn. We'll get back to making the piece when we're both back up to something resembling par, probably for a London launch this year next year sometime never, and of course I'll keep y'all posted on developments.

OK, well, thanks for bearing with me. Soon, I hope: more better lovely. (...Ahhh, Nick Hallam, where are you...?)

1 comment:

Ben said...

If it's any inspiration, I'd be eager to hear your thoughts on Miranda July. I only know a little of her work and opinions on her seem mixed from "didn't she have a really helpful family background and isn't she twee" to "makes you look at art in a whole different light".

Have you read her stories? I've only managed a couple. One I liked. One was so-so.