Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Hell day

I woke up this morning to "the" news. I wasn't at all surprised. If Brexit taught me nothing else, it was that people feel disenfranchised and angry, and are desperate to punish the establishment, even if that means cutting off their own noses to spite their faces.

Trump makes me feel sick. I can't look at him without feeling a rush of anger. Those prissy little hand gestures, the hair like candy floss and lips like tangerine segments make me wish his mother and father had never decided to have sex, but I'm afraid we, the Brits, have to take a degree of responsibility for what has happened Stateside. The shock of Brexit formed the foundations of Trump's campaign. If the Brits could overthrow the political elite, then so could America. Trump, as a result, talked about Brexit endlessly: "It'll be Brexit times ten," he promised in a typically American grandiose style.

I can't really watch the news. The BBC continues with its ridiculous desire to report everything without bias, so we were subjected to a series of jaunty packages, with upbeat music, featuring shots of ludicrous Republicans gurning like imbeciles, and a redneck, toothless tit, flushed with excitement screaming, "we gotta get back to the values of the United States: God, faith and country." Whatever that means. Personally I think God and faith are the same thing in this context, but what do I know? I had to watch the same package three times today, despite the fact that, in Croydon, there's been a terrible tram accident which has killed five people. This hugely important story was relegated to the "let's take a quick look at the other news" segment.

Frankly, the Trump news could have been covered in a few sentences: "unsurprisingly the Americans have monumentally cocked up, and brought a mentally unstable, misogynistic psychopath into the White House. Here's some somber music to listen to whilst we all consider the end of LGBT and immigrant rights, and worry about what this will mean for the stability of the world."

My American friends seem to be in shock. A spool through Facebook felt like reading some kind of book of condolence to the extent that I don't think there's anything else I can say about the situation that you won't have read a million times on your own timelines. I suppose there are but two consolations. Firstly, that insanity is not simply a bi-product of being British, and secondly that Trump is an English word for fart.

It's been a horrible day all round. I found out this afternoon that I haven't been given Arts Council funding for the recording of Em, which is utterly destabilising. I knew I was in trouble last week when I realised I'd started assuming the project was going to happen. Hope is not something which goes hand-in-hand with British musical theatre and I'm close to proving what I always felt was the case, namely that it's nigh on impossible to carve out an existence as a musical theatre writer in the UK.

Bleak, bleak, bleak.

I was cheered up immensely this evening by a meeting with the lovely Clare Chandler, who runs the musical theatre course at Edge Hill university. We periodically hook up in a cafe at Euston station to chew the fat (is that a phase?) and talk about musical theatre. It is always a privilege to talk to someone with so much genuine passion for the art form. One of the big hurdles that we have to overcome in the UK is our general apathy towards the genre. So often British musical theatre is reviewed by theatre specialists who are prejudiced against the art form. They value the stuff which musicals are incapable providing them with, and baulk at the very concept of someone expressing their feelings by bursting into song. This is just some of the nonsense we need to work through if British musical theatre is to rise from the ashes again.

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