Aaaaah. Friday. Next week off. Lots to do. Head hurts. I appear to be the only person in a department of seven doing anything that could be called ‘work’ today. Mind you, that work has involved some cheeky freelance, so all is not so bad! On the downer-side, have wasted even more time chasing up a cheque for an invoice I sent out in December. What is wrong with these people? Do they think I’m a charity?????? Tonight we are heading to the Theatre Royal York, where we shall stare Melvin Burgess in the face in an effort to prove we are weirder than him.
Yuk. I forgot how horrid Sheffield Crucible audiences are. Lots of the BMW, top hat and overcoat brigade. The type that go to the theatre because it’s expensive, not because they want to watch. Anyway, Arthur Miller should stay away – they’ve made a right mess of it all.
Am heading to the Crucible in Sheffield now to watch, aptly, The Crucible. I am in no mood for a witch hunt but quite looking forward to a nice buffet in the reception room…
Getting to Grips went down very well, apparently, with the assembled throng at the Women’s Guild. Mother did me proud. She removed the obscenity and replaced it with just “B…” Other Guild folk told mum that she should turn to acting. I imagine – I have to, I didn’t see it because of work – that she performed a la Donald Woolfitt. Today, I am a proud son, basking in the glory of a job well done.
It is light again! Both in the morning on the way into work and on the way back. The dark days are over and the clouds are lifting. Today, mother read a short piece I wrote especially for her called Getting To Grips. She read it to a room full of fellow Women’s Guilders. I panic that they might not appreciate the finer points (if there are any!) of this female Alf Garnett character. Or, rather, that they might be able to relate to her just a little too much.
Myself and M are competing against each other on the XBox Crash Bandicoot game. I am much better at it than she is, although, somehow, she has completed 28% of the game to my paltry 22%. I also had to employ a child (Scott) to finish a boss level for me. If all else fails I shall overwrite M’s game and get her back to square one. Mwah hah hah hah!
Looked at a picture of Dresden today after it was bombed in WWII. Thought how much, with huge twisted bits of steel sticking up from the ground, it looked like the aftermath of September 11. Then thought how both of these images pale into relative insignificance next to the shots of a completely flattened Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And thought of how much I used to listen to the Crass single Nagasaki Nightmare. And all the hours I spent reading Protest and Survive. And how someone called me a communist – as if that was an insult – when I was on a protest march in Hull once. And how I used to wear a CND badge with pride. And how William Wardell told me that people like me didn’t care about the planet. And how I was already proving him wrong. And how angry I was about the world back in the early 80s. And how all that anger just disappeared. That I gave up trying to make a difference. And now I want to make a difference again. I don’t know what any of this means. But there you go, sometimes it doesn’t mean anything.
Lots of ignorant people in York today. Tourists, no doubt. People that don’t quite understand what the words, “Excuse me, please” mean unless you say them more than once in the busy bookshop you’re trying to weave your way round. And people that push past you, as if in a rush, and then just stop dead right in front of you, and tut loudly when you then have to navigate back round them. We went on the section of the wall at Micklegate today. It was freezing, and wet, but very busy. And you can see right into people’s bedrooms.
Market researchers proved difficult to dodge today. “I’m a journalist, I’m not eligible,” I pleaded. “Oh, no, today you’re fine. Journalists can do this one.” Mad woman proved my eligibility for research into Kit Kats. “I’m heading to a meeting,” I offered, and I was – off to Ferens Art Gallery to check out an exhibition of Scottish Colourists. “Well, make sure you come back this way and we’ll do you then,” she said. I walked on the other side of the road on the way back. Could see them across the way and walked faster, looking away. Why do I feel bad? What do I care about making Kit Kat a success?
Day off today. Took M to Leeds Bradford Airport for an interview. Sat in the car, watching planes take off just a few feet away from me on the other side of a perimeter fence. Isn’t it weird how you expect one to blow up on take-off? Or is it just me?
Met the playwright Richard Bean at Hull Truck last night. He was telling us how he went about his writing, a lot of which is set in the ‘work’ environment (Toast: set in Spillers bakery in Hull, Under The Whaleback: set on Hull trawlers and a new play that will be set on a farm, not in Hull but near it). He doesn’t like characters harping on about having ‘troubles’, apparently, but likes ‘realism’. Surely there’s a problem there, then?
I was mostly quiet but asked if he felt guilty about putting the lives of the people he worked with in the bakery up on stage. After trying to laugh it off with an “oh, but, Norman won a million on the lottery” and me having to slip in a supplementary about the blokes, then, that didn’t win the lottery and had to carry on grafting, he admitted that yes, he did feel guilty. And so he should. It’s their lives, their words, their gags, their struggles, their boring existence. They didn’t just do the job for six months. That said, Under The Whaleback is a great play. A dilemna, eh? What’s a writer to do?
Me? I’d feel guilty about writing about, say, all those hilarious bastards that I worked and grew up with in the building trade (just a mere 11 years of my life). Mainly because I’m aware that the result would be an insult to all those people that still work on sites. And I can never go back. I never wanted to be there in the first place. They don’t want some flash fucker with a degree who doesn’t get his hands dirty anymore telling them how s**t it is and how funny they all are and ripping off their best lines, all delivered in some dodgy west riding accent (and no one would believe that there was a bricky called Dave Trowel, would they?). No, let one of them do it.
Feel it important to note that the majority of people in the building trade are a hell of a lot sharper and more intelligent than most of the people I’ve met in other walks of life. Don’t assume, patronising middle-class writer folk, that they’re all as thick as f**k, cos they’re far from it.
I’m no longer working class. I’m just in some diaspora, drifting around, wanting to belong but never quite sure if I will. And while I’m at it, RIP Tony, and thanks for all the laughs we had on the line. Against all the odds, some of the rough brickwork we slung up is still standing.
Notice on door in corridor downstairs: “Please access canteen via snooker table”. Eh?