It was slightly surreal but extremely pleasing to be contacted by the BBC over the weekend requesting my services as a Michael Buerk “expert”. As you may be aware, I once co-wrote a musical about him and played him on stage, and Ol’ Buerky is now in the jungle, taking part in the reality television show I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, winning over a whole host of new fans. After all, the stalwart BBC legend has traded his comfort zone of high brow broadcasting (and narrating Pinapple Dance Studios…) for his usual rivals: populist ITV programming.
You may think I’ve been quiet of late, BUT NO!
Exciting things have been “afoot”. I have been recording a brand new podcast with my tall chums Tom Bailey and Samuel Payne (we have a combined height of in excess of eighteen feet). You may accurately describe us as “The Complete Menagerie (Almost)”.
We’re gassing about Doctor Who, though not the remake, we’re only interested in the proper series. Though, of course, with three cultured intellectuals such as me, Sam and Tom in the same room, and with the booze flowing, we end up talking about all manner of crazy shit, from Roger Moore’s finest performances to where Alan Bennett’s An Englishman Abroad was filmed to Sam’s driving test on the island of Jersey.
I don’t know if manners and consideration for other people are declining, or have changed as a consequence of living on top of one another as populations, especially in cities, increase exponentially. Try driving down a street that was laid out before the advent of the motor car. Both sides will be forced into deadlock and perpetual games of chicken in the no-man’s land of the middle of the road, thanks to cars parked on either side. Families living in houses with no drive think nothing of possessing three, four, five vehicles… and parking permanently outside their neighbours’ property.
It was great to be able to interview Clive Merrison recently. He’s reprised his role as Bomber in the West End transfer of Land of Our Fathers, an incredible piece of theatre. It runs at the Trafalgar Studios until 4th October and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Clive has a wicked and dry sense of humour, and it was a really fun interview to do. I’ve followed his work for many years with great admiration, so always meaningful to speak to someone who’s made an impact on you.
The photograph of Clive was taken by Alex Harvey-Brown of Savannah Photographic.
I’m really pleased with this feature I wrote for Entertainment Focus about the world of Psycho, and how different interpretations have added to the mythology. Ultimately though, it’s always going to be Anthony Perkins’ gig… but follow the link to what I said:
I recently described being fourteen as ‘a fantastic age’, and my other half silently shook his head. It’s true that the teenage years are difficult; laden with the weight of expectation and rife with conflict. Learning to stand on your own two feet is even harder than learning to walk, and the painful experiences of the teenage years can scar you for life.
Check out the August 2014 issue of Gay Times Magazine for my article on teen scientist Jack Andraka.
An Ordinary Genius was a lovely article to write, and it was great to speak to someone so pragmatic and focussed. I’m delighted it all came together, and I’ve hopefully done my bit (through Gay Times) to increase knowledge about Jack Andraka’s pioneering work in medical research.
For the first time in over two years… I’ve produced a painting.
I’ve had a couple of writing projects reach a point where I can’t, for the moment, push them any further: and rewrites on another are still happening in my head rather than on the page. So, whilst I’m taking a (very) brief hiatus from writing, I thought I’d crank out a painting.
I was, putting it mildly, thrilled to see my name connected in any way, shape or form with Oedipus Retold, a show that runs at the Tristan Bates Theatre until mid-February.
Written by Jeremy Kingston, directed by Robert Gillespie, and starring Jack Klaff, Clare Cameron and David Shaw-Parker amongst others, it’s a terrific production with considerable talent in every department.
At the show, press were given a copy of the play text, published by Playdead Press. Flicking through it the following morning as I started my review, I spotted this:
Occasionally worlds collide, and I have a love of theatre and cult British TV. When I heard Sally Knyvette was directing a piece of new writing to be shown at Theatre503, I wasn’t going to turn down an interview.
Now an established director, Sally is also an actor, and she had played Jenna in the first two series of Blake’s 7 (one of the seven!).
Again, she was a real pleasure to interview, very insightful and intelligent. You can see the results here.