Life is made up of lots of beautiful little moments. Sam was in the bathroom and, as he was finishing, having noticed there’s no flannel in there, he turned to me and said: “I’ll leave my Bart Simpson flannel here for you when I go home so that you can get a wash.” Awwww.

Wind up

Finished Murakami’s Wind Up Bird Chronicle in the bath this morning. There’s nothing quite like reading in the bath. And nothing quite like Murakami. He’s got me through the last 18 months. And, tho I know there are millions of other readers who’ll think the same, he’s got inside my head with his dreamy works of fiction, all of which are about me. It was a sad event finally closing the cover – so I went out and purchased Sputnik Sweetheart so I can stick with the guy for a while longer.

City centre of York was a real nightmare. Full of tourists who like nothing better than stopping in their tracks right in front of you. They should be banned.

Bought today: one truly ace Atari t-shirt. Going back asap: one truly ace Atari t-shirt that, despite the XL tag, was designed for someone that weighs 3 stone. This, more than anything else today, has made me feel depressed.

Last full day of the kids visit today. Just like old days, Danielle was a spoilt brat, Scott teased Sam and Sam was just Sam. Shame to go out on a low 🙁


A day of new discoveries in York. Waterworld is more than a swimming pool. It’s a swimming pool with a wave machine, lots of slides, McCains microchips and a muddy swamp that doubles as a car park. It also has a queue that snakes several hundred metres out of its doors. But then, it is half term. Is it the norm now to have unisex changing areas in leisure centres? I so rarely do ‘leisure’ that I’m not sure. But it felt all wrong. Mainly because I was fully clothed and only in there to help Danielle, Scott and Sam out with the complexities of the lockers.

York City Knights (surely on of the daftest names in rugby league?) play round the back of Waterworld. Not a sign of Kevin Costner anywhere on set during our five hour visit.

I read a hefty chunk of Murakami’s Wind Up Bird Chronicle in the noisy, echoing surroundings. A woman to my right was reading George Orwell’s Down and Out… I couldn’t fail to notice because the words ‘George Orwell’ totally filled the cover, and she seemed to be reading in a rather peculiar ‘look at me, I’ve moved beyond Animal Farm and am studying for an English Lit A Level now the kids have grown up’ manner. There were lots of other readers in too. We could have formed a reading group if only one of us had been brave enough to instigate it. Although I’m not sure I would have invited the woman sat at a table to my left along. She was stuck into a Kate Adie biography and had ‘Can I just bore you with the bit I love where a camouflaged Kate is filming while gunshot flies right through one ear and out the other one and she doesn’t even blink – but then she is a consumate professional’ right on the tip of her tongue. I wonder what they made of me. ‘Japanese populist nonsensical shit’ no doubt.Some child in the queue kepy banging its holdall into my leg while we waited to get in. I wanted to tell it to fuck off. Its parent was talking to another parent for 30 minutes about how they hated being in a queue for 30 minutes. And the holdall assualter kept muttering that they wanted to go home. Go on then!

GTP phoned while we were in the queue. Did we enjoy the rehearsals? He sounded nervous as he awaited the response. I guess he’s going through a moment of insecurity as the first night gets closer, which is something I didn’t even consider that directors suffered from. An interesting revelation.

Whaleback rehearsals

Got in on rehearsals to Under the Whaleback today. Shame, really, in that they are almost there with the play. It would have been better to have seen earlier rehearsals when everyone was working things out. It looks very good indeed. We were the only ‘outsiders’ present, which felt neat but also more than a little awkward. Pondered whether to whoop and holler or give standing ovation at the end. But politely clapped instead. And then off we went on our merry way, thanking the actors for letting us into their secret world and probably no wiser about this mysterious thang called theatre.

Week off

I’ve just written the following for the HDM. But I like it. So I’ve posted it here. Still no cheque from you-know-who. I really am a struggling writer….

The ultimate in rest and relaxation: a week off work. Only, it never quite works out like that, does it?Certainly not the week that was. Half term. Wherever you go, there’s no chance of getting from A to B because of all the feral kids, moving in packs, riding through the streets on their skateboards, ramming their decks into your legs as they practice their heel flips and ollies before tripping over their oversized, chain-attached filthy jeans.

The problem with a week off is that other people dare to take a week off at exactly the same time. Just what are they thinking? Don’t they know that this is your week?

Patently not. You head to the cinema to find an inordinate amount of people there, battling for tickets for the same screening of School of Rock that you wanted. Searching for a hasty alternative, you head to the bowling alley only to find that every single lane is in use. No problem. You’ll go skating. But, because you apparently have the most common foot size, all of the hockey skates bearing blades with the sharp edges necessary for remaining upright are already in use and, if you are to stay, you must don that odd pair of girly figure skates. Dining in a fast food outlet? No way – no seats. Never mind. A trip to a major tourist attraction will keep you occupied for some time. Judging from the look of the queue, spilling out into the car park, that will take out several days of your precious time off. Do that many people really need to discover what ‘orrible life lurks in the sea?Shopping is out. At half-term, parents drag their children around stores day after day in an effort to tire them out. And those pesky kids better not ask for anything, because the last thing anyone needs is a hissy-fit, spittle flying argument that will block access to the store’s automatic doors while little Johnny or Jemima are castigated by their downtrodden, overworked, ‘I don’t know why you have to have so many school holidays’ mum after requesting one too many packets of Jaffa Cakes.

Drive to another city to see what it has to offer? Don’t even go there – because you won’t get there for the traffic chaos, gridlock and the fact that you can’t make any sense of the ‘easy-to-follow’ directions you printed off the Internet.You’ve got no money, because pay day was both weeks ago and weeks ahead. You don’t really want to go anywhere ‘touristy’ in case people think you’re a tourist. You’re pacing the house trying to think of things to do. You’re not sleeping because there’s no work to leave you feeling like a zombie. And you’re that stressed out about going back to work and having to come up with interesting answers to the ‘what did you get up to on your week off?’ line of questioning that you spend so much time looking for exciting things to do that you don’t get round to doing any of them. Rest and relaxation? This week? No chance.


Look. It’s very late. And I have just finished work. But I’m supposed to be having a week off. Why oh why do I always end up reviewing when I’m off? Went to see Caitlin tonight, at the York theatre royal studio. A great show, all about the ‘stormy relationship’ that existed between Dylan Thomas and Caitlin Macnamara. Odd laughs in inappropriate places from a woman sat in front of us. And a set that appeared to contain 2 tonnes of sand. And we had to walk across it to get out because an inordinate amount of people hung about for the ‘talkback’. And they refused to tuck their feet in. Filing copy overnight is a joy! Hurrah for critics the world over! And to think a certain magazine have kept me waiting for money for months! Bastards! Read the review here: and feel free to pop some coppers in me hat for me trouble. I thank you and goodnight.

Meeting Melvin Burgess

We met Melvin Burgess at the weekend, at the premiere of the play of his book Bloodtide. We stared into his eyes. The man looks as mad as a hatter from every angle. “Ah, you’re the bricklayer,” he said. “And so are you,” I retorted. And then, the insane one with crazy hair and a green overcoat said, “There’s a lot of strange people in here tonight!” Lovely bloke. For what feels like the third time running at the Theatre Royal, Duncan, the press officer, had forgotten to book us tickets. We ended up sitting at the side and thus missed loads of impressive AV projected onto the set. And there was too much gunfire, thus rendering the effect meaningless. But, generally, it was a damn good show.

We have spent all day cleaning the house so the kids have a clean habitat to mess up. The place looks luvverly. But what is it with this 1950s vaccuum cleaner of ours? You run it around the carpets and then spend the next hour picking up all the filth it’s deposited everywhere.


A man at the top of the street was walking his dogs when his mobile phone rang. The phone ringing, he looked down at his two slobbering beasts, stared at them and said “ssshhhhhhhh you two” before picking up. Very odd. Could they talk so loudly as to interfere with the call? Do any dogs respond to the ssshhhhhhh command? Is he afraid that the caller may hear two dogs breathing in the background and may read peculiar things into the sound? All questions I would have asked if said man hadn’t been on the phone at the time. He was fully clothed, by the way, just to clear up any confusion.


Lil, our only Peggy Ramsay to date, left Hull Truck yesterday. We can only hope her replacement is as encouraging of our work as the enthusiastic Cooperwoman was…


And yes, it really is Friday 13. Eek.