Friday, 8 July 2016

Snogging on The Archers

I switched the radio on today to hear people snogging on The Archers. They were making loud, wet, slurpy sounds which made me feel quite queasy. I imagined the poor actors laughing embarrassedly whilst kissing the backs of their hands, or whatever it is that radio actors do when the script tells them to make out. I assume there wouldn't be much point in actually kissing for the sound effect. It reminded me just how awful radio drama is! It's so awful that it can only be compared to itself. It's very possible to say "that was really good" but you actually mean, "that was really good... For a radio drama" which, of course, means "that was really shit." The delivery of the lines in radio drama is always so stilted and RADAesque and it's always so utterly formulaic. It's like it's not been subjected to the same degree of innovation as other art forms and has remained in its own bubble since the 1970s.

I worked at the kitchen table today, dangerously close to the giant bottle of PVA glue I'd used for crafting with Deia yesterday. I discovered rather swiftly that it felt quite good to smear a bit of the glue onto my hand, wait for it to dry and then peel it off. For the record it comes off in satisfyingly large clumps, all of which had the image of the lines on my palms on them. I haven't had that much fun with glue since Copydex! It gave me some good thinking time whilst working on lyrics.

This evening I took the tube down to Tottenham Court Road where I met Nathan at the ticket barriers before continuing down the Northern Line to Clapham North. We'd been invited to be photographed for an art project called Sing Out, which involves a chap called Gaz taking pictures of members of the LGBT community who work within the West End theatre industry. We all have to sing in the photos. Heaven knows how I look when I sing. Probably like some kind of deeply self-conscious toad. It's a good job we did it before Nathan has one of his back teeth removed. Ah joy! We'll look at the photo and I'll be able to say, "that was taken in the days when you had teeth!"

I guess I'm quite lucky on the teeth front. Despite only having 26 of them, due to their enormity, they have maintained a good ivory colour, haven't gone rotten and haven't stained like many of my friends' teeth seem to have. That's probably because I don't drink red wine or coffee. I am astonished by how many of my friends allow their teeth to get dirty around the edges. A quick trip to the hygienist and everything looks wonderful again!

Anyway, the photo shoot happened around the corner from the Landor theatre, in a really beautiful, slightly gothic, Victorian street. Gaz was a lot of fun, and instantly put us both at our ease. Nathan sang The Prayer (beautifully) and I sang Shone With The Sun as a tribute to Arnold. I kept changing key like a right old passenger and felt like a tit when I started forgetting the words. I guess the joy about stills photography is that it doesn't matter if you get the words wrong. They say the camera never lies, but actually, when it comes to documenting live performance, I think it often does just that! When you see pictures of Florence Foster Jenkins, you can't tell that she was singing really badly. An actress might forget all her words and a photograph might show her throwing a tantrum as a result, but it will still make her look like a Grande Dame! When I show people images from the theatre shows I've directed, they only have my word for it that the show ever happened, and that the photographs weren't just set ups. There was a legendary Bauhaus initiative called the Triadic Ballet, which purported to be an actual ballet performed by people in astonishingly geometric costumes dancing against backdrops of lemon, pink and black. Music was by Hindemith. There are all sorts of amazing photographs of people standing in the costumes. They look incredibly cool and have cemented the ballet's iconic status. I bet the show itself was pretty dreadful!

The Triadic Ballet
The woman opposite me on the tube today sounded like Daffy Duck. I didn't know where to look, particularly when she took a bottle of wine out of her bag, started necking it and then tried to engage everyone in the carriage in a conversation about the fact that she was necking a bottle of wine. She looked like the sort who could turn nasty in a flash, so we all humoured her. And no one told her she looked like Daffy Duck. Except with our eyes.

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