Update…

As regular readers know, I keep a journal. This week just ending… let’s say if my journals were ever published, it would make for one of the most detailed and enjoyable weeks ever documented so far in this thing called “my life”.

Funnily enough, Monday was of no real note being generally a day off from things, meeting up with friend Laura and discussing some serious business. Ever being the gentleman, it’s not my business to go into any further detail about that.

Tuesday was the latest choir practice where a whole bundle of new numbers were given to us to try out. Some rather odd choices in there! Singing within the choir it’s impossible to tell how it all actually sounds. Still, always enjoyable to meet up with various chums from the drop in drama group.

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Thursday had me dealing with some boring bits of business before meeting up with Laura and heading to St Anne’s for the latest edition of Dead Good Poets. It was a rather slow painful journey due to heavy traffic so wasn’t at all amusing to arrive at the venue to discover it was closed. There was no notice in the window. Organisers Steve and Adele arrived a few minutes later utterly mystified as they had had no notice or warning either. Three other poets arrived on the scene and most of us had travelled a fair distance… Adele had a word with a nearby Greek Taverna restaurant owner and as a one off were permitted to perform there.

Straight away that gave the event an unusual flavour and the weirdest thing was, it turned out to be the most enjoyable edition I’ve attended so far. It was much more casual and laid back plus the poetry on offer was of a high standard. The guy pictured above did some amusing material, most notably a piece centered around Hare Krishna’s which had him singing his own take on their chant… with the accompaniment of a bell! I performed two pieces, “Anorexic” dating from 2004 and reprised “Spare The Agony” this time recited as opposed to sung. Unfortunately the video footage of my performance is a bit blurred. Yah boo! Still, we did get some charming footage of most acts so this unusual edition is now preserved in the archive. Dead Good Poets are taking a break for August and aim to resume operations in September. After that, I went over to Urban Arts, having a great catch up with owner Jay, making sure he’s being kept in the loop over my open floor plans. Their weekly jam night was in progress. The Lytham Festival ensured it was quieter than usual but it did start to fill up by the time I departed.

Friday was a rare “day off” in that I had no commitments to fulfil. I got on with various things, starting work on a new backing track, revising on what I would be doing the following day and generally getting prepared for that.

Saturday was a long day, mainly spent on North Pier where with a bunch of Electric Sunshine Project drop in drama colleagues I was performing a 12 minute collection of vignettes entitled “Postcards From The Past”. Three times. There was a whole host of things going on elsewhere on the pier and was fun watching Linda Hampton’s latest creation, a character called Violet with her own take on postcards aimed at children. I wandered about taking photos – as you do – soaking up the vibes.

The performances went well. I was Albert, some grumpy middle aged geezer married to Edna and I based Albert on my own grandfather, and also wore a gold ring my grandmother gave me, to use as a wedding ring for extra detail so in essence my beloved grandparents were with me in spirit. It was a very basic setup props-wise and there was initial confusion during the dress rehearsal before the doors opened as to where certain items and people needed to be but that was all sorted out. What was interesting for me personally was working under Melanie Whitehead’s direction and watchful eye. I’ve worked a lot with her in various situations over the last year but this was my first time in the role of an actor and she was amazing, constantly making sure we were all OK, getting us at ease and so on. The thing that struck me personally was at no time did I feel nervous during the day which is very unusual. I shot the second and third performances on my phone attached to a tripod and fair to admit there were lighting issues due to a large window space directly behind us which couldn’t be covered. However, I shot from two very different angles and being in HD quality…

 

I’ve worked on a lot of projects over my life but this one stands out because it was the most joyful one to work on. During the whole course of scratching out ideas, rehearsals and performances there was zero antagonism, egos or problems that blighted too many projects. From start to finish, it was an absolute pleasure and plenty of fun. The entire cast get along great and we’ve been working together for several months so gotten used to one another so we’re really supportive and encouraging. I loved working with them and trust and hope they did likewise with me! Melanie urged us to relax, have fun and we sure did! This also marked the stage debut of the Donkey puppet, painstakingly created by a lady called Courtney over the last few weeks which was christened Jaynie (in homage of Jayne Mansfield) after the show. Nice to see various familiar faces coming along to give us support and yeah… a very happy lively day all round. Tom Wright said it all perfectly when he said afterwards “I really loved the show but I feel sad I couldn’t be involved” to which I replied “now you know how I felt about the St George and the Dragon show!”

Been fascinating seeing the various photos taken during the day by Claire Walmsley Griffiths and Gaz Cook. Claire captured a brilliant one of me in full character. My own photos – as after all I was busy performing – were mostly candid behind the scenes type shots some of which are wonderful. Editing those ate up much of the remainder of the day.

Today… I started work on piecing a film together out the footage I captured of the show. Thanks to the wildly different angles, everything has been captured… some bits on one angle, other bits on the other and it’s weird watching it because for instance I was in a scene set in a B+B dining room presided over by a grumpy landlady. I had absolutely no idea until now that the entire time, she was busy behind us, miming away doing cleaning duties! There were a few little subplots throughout the show adding extra detail and colour and fun to see all those, the funniest being a dancefloor sequence where the greasy teddy boy played by Andrew gets slapped and staggers backwards in comic fashion! Editing the footage though is proving to be a challenge as the sound quality differs wildly on each source and there are picture level issues to deal with as well. The first four minutes have been completed, pieced together carefully so it all fits and no doubt will be finished over the next couple of days. This is the sort of stuff I do for “fun” instead of relaxation!

The beauty of keeping a journal is that it enables me to capture the FULL picture and all the tinier details. Yesterday for instance, I’ve barely scratched the surface here on this blog as to what went on as I chatted with a lot of people, had some little adventures and so on… and isn’t the journal where we first came in?

 

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