Tuesday, 4 October 2016


I went to the chemist today to buy some cold and flu remedy. The lovely Scottish woman who works behind the counter has been there for yonks and I know her well enough to always smile in the street. I explained that I had a nasty cold and wanted it to go away and asked what she recommended. She looked at me a little suspiciously: "nothing's going to make it go away..." "Oh I know," I said, "I'd just like to mask the symptoms a bit so I can get on with the rest of my day without feeling pathetic..." "Are you taking any other medication?" She asked, eyes narrowing. "No." "But you came in here recently. What did you come in for?" "I don't remember. It won't have been drugs... Perhaps it was talc or deodorant... I'm afraid I can't remember." She looked at me, unconvinced, and I instantly felt like an addict. In retrospect, I now remember that the last thing I bought there was Gaviscon, and before that, a nit comb to comb my moustache. I'm hardly an over-the-counter flu-remedy junkie! This must be what it feels like to live in a small town! 

I found out the somewhat unwelcome news this afternoon that I'd been turned down for a key grant on account of my not passing the eligibility test. I discovered the information mercifully early, less than a week after putting the application in, which means I can remedy the problems and immediately reapply. I'm very relieved that I checked my emails because the communication telling me to go online to check the status of my application was so innocuous and informal, that I could very easily have waited two months before contacting the funding body to find out how I'd done. Small mercies and all that...

So tomorrow, cold or no cold, I'll have to hit that particular ground running. I have to keep telling myself that public funding is a game we all have to play. Decisions are rarely based on perception of talent and usually to do with making sure the right boxes are ticked with the preordained appropriate pen pressure. Even the process of ticking the box will often feel counter-intuitive, but art is so unquantifiable you sometimes have to merely tick the box which is closest to the truth. Hence why I always tick "white other" for my ethnicity! The only trouble is that you sometimes find out the hard way that you're writing with the wrong ink... Today, for example, I had to make the choice between sending my musical theatre application in the direction of the music or the theatre team. I picked music, but a bit of digging with a few contacts ascertained that I'd made the wrong decision. Musical Theatre is more favourably looked upon by the theatre team. Who knew?

Actually, I should have known. There's not a genre of conventional music from pop to grime to folk to modern classical music which doesn't consider musical theatre to be an (exceedingly wealthy) artistically poorer cousin. This is only slightly better than the situation with theatre exponents, who also see musical theatre as a cliche-ridden, somewhat cheesy, impoverished art form. My role in life is to change all that!

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