Thursday, 27 October 2016

Giant confetti

Autumn is very definitely upon us. I walked back home from the village this morning and the leaves around me were falling like giant pieces of confetti. I have a somewhat tragic tendency to romanticise and humanise the process of leaves falling from trees. Does a leaf give a little leafy cheer when he or she leaps from the tree into the great unknown? Do the other leaves think the early fallers are brave trailblazers or terrible weaklings?

It will be some time before the tree in our garden starts to shed. It's always the last to announce spring, but that means it stays fully clothed into December.

I had one of those brilliant emails today that you sometimes get from big organisations. This one was from the National Theatre thanking me for submitting Brass to them. (I haven't submitted it to them. I sent them the CD, but they don't have the script.) The word Brass, however, was never mentioned in their communication, the email simply referred to it as my "play." They informed me that if I hadn't heard back from them within six months, I was to assume my "play" hadn't been taken forward. The email took pains to remind me that the National Theatre was not always the best place for young and emerging playwrights to submit their works and suggested I might also like to try the Royal Court, Soho Theatre or Bush Theatre.

Obviously I suppressed the desire to write back pointing out that Brass wasn't a play, that I (at 42) probably wouldn't be classed as an emerging writer, and that the Royal Court would probably scoff loudly if a First World War epic musical landed in their inbox. I'd far rather not have received the email to be honest. At least then I might have been able to kid myself that the CD I sent to them would be listened to - rather than read like a script!

I suppose nothing will ever beat the "Dear Sir" letter I once received from the producers of Billy Elliot. I had applied to take over as the resident director on the show and they'd taken me seriously enough to organise an interview with Stephen Daldry himself and a whole heap of other important people. The interview lasted three hours and I felt it went really well... Until I received the letter:

"Dear Mr Till. Thank you for your interest in the above position. I'm sorry we weren't able to offer you an interview on this occasion. The standard of application was really high. Good luck in your future endeavours."

This afternoon Nathan and I went to Llio's house to meet a locksmith. In the process of leaving her house last Sunday, she managed to lock herself out. The process of getting back in was remarkably easy. The guy took all of three seconds to stick a crazy metal stick through the letter box and turn the handle from the inside. It was rather odd to be back at Llio's, a week and a couple of days since that brutal moment when the phone rang with the awful news. The house felt still. Sad somehow. I watered the plants, threw food away that was thinking about going off and left with eight rather brown bananas which we turned into two cakes for the final of the Great British Bake Off.

One of the contestants put cardamon in a cake, which prompted Nathan to come out with a brilliant one liner: "there's not a cake in the world with cardamon in it that wouldn't be improved by taking it out again!" How right he is! I won't say who won, in case you haven't yet watched it, although the BBC helpfully trailed it on the news. I cried a little at the end when they announced that the two female finalists had taken themselves on a baking road trip together. Quite why the idea of two women becoming close friends as a result of Bake Off touched me so much, I'm not sure. I just really like it when people become good friends.

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