Posted on May 11, 2011

A surprisingly perfect day.

I woke up today at 13:47, to a text from my lovely girlfriend saying I wouldn’t be seeing her tonight as she had to do some things, but it’s ok we are in love…so I went back to sleep, another text comes in, and to my surprise it’s Ben Vardy, another friend of mine, he wants to pop in and say ‘ello, “ofcourse mate see you in a bit”

I’ve woken up so late today because I’ve been working on this website for weeks and after leaving Bristol Old Vic to focus on Fairground my sleeping pattern is all over the shop. I went to bed at 5:57 and got up about 13:53.

I clean up the living room and empty a bin, I hear Ben on my way down the stairs shouting my name, the doorbells broken.

He comes in and we talk, we talk for about an hour about our lives, about theatre, I tell him I have an idea to do a UK Tour of workshops and that potentially they would be “pay what you can” after travel, but also that normally we would charge a fee, but I didn’t know how it would look publicly, he asks me to explain,

well essentially Fairground is a company of people who collaborate and make work together, who are brought together by me, either through training programs or making shows, but in between those times it’s empty space and if we were to do pay what you can workshops doe’s that makes us look less professional?, less skilled?

he tells me let people share the work, do your workshop tour as a pay what you can experiment. Sounds good.

Phone call, Emily Greenslade, and Tom Brennan are close. They’re gonna pop round too, joys of joys.

Now the thing about these 3 people is, I have taught/mentored/collaborated/directed them all for about 2-3 years on and off, as part of my job as Young Company Director at Bristol Old Vic. They are now part of the Made in Bristol emerging/graduate artists training programme which I initiated while I was at the Vic. They are special people, all of them. They are all on the edge of a great transition, just about to go to university or just left uni and engaging in the world of living and working, they are also friends, good friends.

We all chat, cold drinks and munchies in my living room. We fall into a philosophical conversation, a cliche for theatre peeps, but we are talking, getting excited, asking the big questions, talking about the education system, the conventional paradigms (see Ken Robinson) we are born into, about politics, tuition fees, about what if we were born and we discovered ourselves and our future rather than being born into a social paradigm of school, sit up straight , don’t talk, chairs and desks, it’s odd how we make children sit at the things so many adults long to escape from every day. We talk in dreams of a different world, one where school/education encouraged people to find their vocation, not to find it in spite of the system if you are lucky, one that encouraged you to create a map of your own future, a world that was smaller, slightly less governed…lots of debate follows, we agreed, we argued, we laughed alot, particularly at the mistaken line “all disabled people should die”, it was a sentence that came out wrong.

The outcome, I think was; that we wish it was easier to be Brave, we wish essentially that the world we were born into was not as planned out as it is, that the things we learn in school weren’t already answers written in the back of the book and kept from us, but rather that genuine first time discovery existed more, so that when we want to be Brave and just leave to experience another country, another culture it might be easier. It’s hard to be Brave in this world, not impossible, it happens everyday, but still a bit harder than it could be, if we didn’t have the education system we have, the government we do , the social structure and the general consensus that more is better, we may find ourselves enjoying life just that little bit more…

We go out…
Into Bristol, the city is special when it’s like this, sun, warmth, skin, heat, sunglasses, bright colours and cold drinks outside at cafe’s. We go to a book fair at Bristol Grammar School, I’m 30 years old from Birkenhead, I haven’t been to a fucking book fair in my life, but it’s brilliant. It’s calm, pleasant, gentle, lots of books very cheap, I bought 3 books, a ladybird history book on Alexander The Great.

Perfect it is, a page of words, a page of picture, a page of words, a page of picture, simple. A book called WE-THINK, mass innovation, not mass production. Interesting, especially after the afternoons debates, it’s only a quid, in the bag. The final book is called Sum, it’s a beautiful dark little book, (haven’t read it yet, just the cover image) I pick it up, the lady says

oh good, I love that book, the one about the horse is the best

I read the back

“Stunningly original…Sum has the unaccountable, jaw-dropping quality of genius.
It seems exquisitely adapted to fill the contemporary longing for a king of secular holy book”


Fuck me, it’s mine, another squiddola an in the bag.

The 3 of us (Ben had to go to rehearse a show with some kiddywinks at old vic, which he is making with a lovely man named Chris Collier). The 3 of us sit and have tea and cake at this book-fare, I imagine this is what it was like in the 40′s or 20′s, I don’t know enough about history to know which, but I know it’s some bygone age oft romanticised by grandparents.

We then leave for food before the auction and walk an’ talk, the subject of Fairgrounds next show comes up, Bronson or Swan Lake, Emily and Tom both agree Bronson would be great but too easy, they say Swan Lake is so exciting, Tom makes a point about it being such a classic and would be great to reinvent it, without Ballet. We get carried away in talks of it, feathers, sex, dancing, Chris Farish’s name pops up, Schlade herself would be an excellent Swan. We stop for food at Cedars, on Park Row, amazing Lebanese food, mmm special. Marinated chicken in a wrap with garlic paste, humous, gherkins, salad, so good.

It starts to get cold Emily leaves us to see a show that’s in Mayfest. Tom and I walk on down to Bristol Old Vic, we piss and then get drinks. We talk of his plans to potentially create his own degree programme, “the university of Tom Brennan” he has a thought to create his own learning programme for 3 years, to train, learn and assist a number of people in what they do, artist, lecturer, film maker, labourer, me, and then document/blog it online. I love this idea, it’s inventive it’s brave, an he’s 18, if it doesn’t work he can go to university then.

Imagine turning up at a job interview with your own BA Honors equivalent.
Handing the interviewer a certificate stating

Toms training course has been equivalent to a 1st at degree level

and it being signed by a whole group of professionally practicing individuals. Genius.

Then I come home, and I open up one of the books I bought, Sum; I start reading one of the stories called Egalitaire, about God and her struggle with deciding who should go to heaven. And it ends like this.

the most important aspect of her new system is that everyone is treated equally. There is no longer fire for some and harp music for others. The afterlife is no longer defined by cots versus water beds, raw potatoes versus sushi, hot water versus champagne. Everyone is a brother to all, and for the first time an idea has been realised that never came to fruition on Earth: true equality.
The communists are baffled and irritated, because they have finally achieved their perfect society, but only by the help of a God in whom they don’t want to believe. The meritocrats are abashed that they’re stuck for eternity in an incentive-less system with a bunch of pinkos.
The conservatives have no penniless to disparage; the liberals have no down trodden to promote.
So God sits on the edge of her bed and weeps at night, because the only thing everyone can agree upon is that they’re all in Hell.

The end to a perfect day….

Oh and I’m only sharing this because I also saw this today in the We-Think, book and I thought why not “Oh happy coincidence”


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