Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Talking on Channel 4 news

Today started at shit o'clock with an interview in a Soho cafe with Channel 4, talking about David Cameron's legacy. He leaves office today. It all feels a little sordid and sad if I'm honest. I genuinely think he will go down in history as the worst prime minister this country has ever known: the man who split the union. Somewhat grasping at straws, I think he has claimed that one of his proudest achievements in office was bringing in the Equal Marriage Bill. It's lovely that he is proud of this fact - and I'm pretty sure there are plenty of other Tory leaders whom it wouldn't have happened under - but let's not forget that gay marriage was never part of the Tory party manifesto, and, if it hadn't been for Lynne Featherstone and the Liberal Democrat coalition shouting very loudly, I doubt Cameron would have caved. Let's also not forget that Cameron was the only major party leader who elected not to congratulate us on our marriage as part of the Channel 4 film. Not that I minded. I hated those messages. It's sad, and perhaps a little churlish that I feel the need to take this one nugget of joy away from him, but Equal Marriage was Lynne Featherstone's victory and I refuse to allow the positive work of the Lib Dems to be written out of history.

I can't help but feel we're on the edge of a precipice today. This could well prove to be a day we all look back on. "Remember the day when she came into Number 10? The day before all THAT happened..." Part of me has given up worrying about the state of things. Part of me thinks it might have to get really awful so that we can all learn the important lessons that this sordid business was sent to teach us. Whatever the case, I think Cameron will always be held responsible: for being lily-livered, for valuing image above substance, for making austerity cuts which bitterly angered and divided the population, and for not understanding the British public well enough to know that he was going to be brutally punished if he went ahead with a referendum decided by people who literally had nothing left to lose. Any knowledge of history would have told him that these are the most dangerous people to piss off! The very fact that he spent his last Prime Minister's Question Time joking and laughing tells me that he doesn't really have the capacity to take anything seriously. Silly tit. It was all a game to him.

It remains to be seen how May will do. I guess it could have been a lot worse, particularly if that religious tart Andrea Whatever had been selected. I like the fact that May is a woman. I like that she intends to "promote" women in Parliament. That said, there are some shockingly awful, and potentially dangerous female Tory MPs, so we'll have to see. I sometimes think women make the very best and the very nastiest politicians. It's easier to be a crypto fascist if you're wearing a twin set and pearls. I guess a positive in all this is that May's astoundingly high approval ratings might just be enough to force Labour into giving greater thought about their own leader. The present situation is a proper Hobson's Choice. I would pick Corbyn over Eagle, in the same way that I would choose shingles over the Mumps. 

I'm sure you can watch our interview on the Channel 4 News on catchup.

I went to the gym after the filming, worked in a cafe in Kentish Town for a few hours and then headed back into central London for a lovely lunch at Wagamamas with Nathan and Matt, who was very excited to announce that he's reprising the role in Doctor Who that he played in the Christmas special. There was a bit of a mix up with the Yasi Soba orders. We all wanted different variants of the dish and ended up with one too many, which they kindly allowed Nathan to take home in a doggy bag for no extra charge. If I'm honest I think the guy who served us might have been a tad star struck.

I came home and then went to Euston for an evening meeting with a really lovely lady who works at Edge Hill university up near Liverpool. You know when you get an instantly positive vibe from someone whom you immediately recognise as one of your tribe? She reminded me of all sorts of people, and had a charming Liverpudlian accent, which occasionally dipped into a hint of Northern Irish, and a shock of brilliant red, curly hair, which reminded me of Llio. She plays the cello and the piano. Like me. We instantly started talking like old friends. It was such a privilege to meet her, and, frankly, to know that people like her exist.

I've recently been hearing a lot about the agitprop theatre scene in Manchester. Josh is very much a part of it, and the fabulous Julie Hesmondhalgh and her equally wonderful writer-husband, Ian Kershaw seem to be the leading lights. I am starting to wonder if my future needs to be in one of the Northern cities. There's a creative life in the North right now which doesn't quite feel like it exists in London, largely, I suspect because a lot of people are falling into a trap which suggests that innovation in theatre is only going to come from minority communities. Perhaps everyone in the North feels like a minority community. Or perhaps the grass is simply always greener...

On that front, I am still reeling from the news that the National Theatre has set up a new musical theatre writing group to innovate the art form but has banned musical theatre composers from taking part. I have done NOTHING but innovate the art form. I was working on verbatim film musicals long before London Road existed. I've used computers to write musicals. I've used musique concrete. I even got married in a musical, for God's sake! Why is a singer songwriter who's only ever created conceptual pop albums better placed to innovate the art form than me?! That is a direct question to Rufus Norris!

That said, I am proud to report that I heard yesterday that Andrew Lloyd Webber is a fan of Billy Whistle from Brass. For me that is about as high praise as I could ever hope to receive.

The sun setting over the Archway Road this evening reminded me that all is not lost in the world. As long as the sun continues to rise and sink, there is still hope.

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