I've been very busy with work, family matters, and self-abuse. In-between this trio of fantastic pursuits (especially fantastic for the 18-30 demographic, according to Fantastic Pursuits for People Aged Eighteen to Thirty Weekly), I have been lucky enough to do some illuminating things what I enjoy. The main thing what I've enjoyed is the third Morecambe Fringe Festival, which ran from the 4th July to the 20th, and already seems like it was months ago... I managed to see four shows, and the quality was high, as always.
The first one I saw was my good pal Jim Lupton, and June Metcalfe, who are part of the 'West End Players'. I'm so happy for Jim, who expanded on his work at the last 'Scratch Festival' in Morecambe - a series of spoken word pieces. He'd put so much effort in to remember lots of material, and one of his newest characters - the Cooler King - involved a lot of dramatic acting, which he really sold. He made us laugh, cogitate, and cry, with his tales and poetry centring on the theme of solitude. I can't wait to see what he gets up to next. June was fantastic, also, performing some of Alan Bennett's 'Talking Heads' monologues with real flair. I was genuinely laughing out loud, and, as a comedy snob, that's an achievement in itself.
The next one was Dean Tsang, who is a rising star and a half. He's an experimental poet who used a variety of forms and voices to explore the theme of 'awkward questions'. He looked at some genuinely touching personal issues in his work, which I thought was very generous, along with more universal things, and yet there was lots of humorous wit, too, so as an audience member, I felt my emotional muscles were getting a good workout. In the context of the local scene as I know it, it's even more amazing that there's such a bright, innovative, and mature talent. My abiding memory is of one poem where he basically performed multivocally, layering different sentences and sounds over each other (well, that was the effect, at least), a very impressive facet of his performative skill. I was even luckier to get to speak to him afterwards, and chat about his work.
Then I saw Rowan Padmore, whose show was about "bereavement, loss and loneliness in Morecambe." It was a powerful show, and, honestly, I felt depressed afterwards. Not that it was one-dimensional at all - there were laughs aplenty - but the sense of loss was quite relentless and stuck with me afterwards. My imagination was in overdrive - perhaps aided slightly by being set in my home town - with the rich characters, and the driving through-narrative that tied the performance poetry together, which all speaks to Padmore's talent as a writer.
Lastly, I saw the last show - Laura Monmoth's 'Trans Vision Scamp'. I don't know if I've ever mentioned the fact that I'm a comedy snob before, but Laura broke through all of my silly hubris, and I was crying with laughter at points. Being sat at the front, I was picked on a couple of times, but it felt warm, which is key - as Mr Rickles will tell you. I'm not sure what else to say! I don't want to ruin any gags - especially not the multimedia ones - in case you go see her (which you should, given half the chance), but just know that it gets five hilarity stars out of five from me.
I got, and took, the chance to review Dean and Rowan for the Lancashire Evening Post. It was an honour to contribute, alongside a number of other volunteers, and be published with what I'd normally enjoy writing during the Fringe anyway. I think this was part of the reason I didn't review them on Blogtastic before now, as I had used up my reflective impetus somewhat. I'm not sure if I'm able to reproduce the reviews here, but I'm going to assume so, until such time as I am told otherwise :)
More recently (three days ago, in fact), I was lucky enough to take part in doing a bit of setting up the Make My Day festival that the Exchange Creative Community organises and executes annually. I was working through the festival itself, so couldn't attend, but it was lovely meeting up with the other volunteers, having a laugh, getting stuck in and helping out, y'know. With the way my life's going at the mo, it felt like a holiday, and was most replenishing, even though I was knackered afterwards haha. One lovely memory from the day of the festival itself; from my window at work, I saw a family walking down the prom - a parental couple and two children - and the dad was faithfully clutching a pair of wooden dogs that they had crafted at the festival, and I knew that they'd had a lovely day together, with memories that'll last a long time. Look out for it next year, and make sure to keep up with what's happening through their mailing list, or Facebook, or whatever the hell your preference is.
I was going to talk about other things, such as what I've been reading lately, how the writing's going, and whether I've finally set a date for the wedding, but my editor's giving me a look, like, "Oh god, he's at it again... If you have to go on another interminable solipsistic ramble, at least break it up and put it in another post. You do this all the time, writing all these long, drawn-out pieces that, y'know, might be excusable if they were only on a decent topic, or, hey, just written in a fresh, exciting way, like, had an engaging tone. But no. It's like trying to eat your way through so much sawdust - bland, nutritionless, hard work. Could you imagine what he's like outside of work? I bet it's 'me me me'. All. The. Flipping. Time. We should fire this guy. Seriously! I know he's been sneaking out with office supplies. I'm not just talking about a pen here, and a pen there... I caught him last week trying to load one of our photocopiers into his mate's van. He tried to shrug it off with a joke, but that was as pathetic as his blogging: unfunny, poorly-structured, and leaving me questioning why I bother. And would it kill him to put even just a penny into our monthly charity nominations box? How can you not want to help puppy amputees? I won't even go into the whole rant he went on when I questioned him about it, 'charity begins at home, we need to stop giving money to foreigners and take back control'... How he ever landed head writer at Blogtastic, I'll never know..." so I suppose, I'll sign off for now.
Peace, love, and light,
|From The Lancashire Evening Post.|
|From The Lancashire Evening Post, also.|