I’ve not written on here in a while, I’ve seen shows, and I’ve been out, but my motivation to write has dipped. Maybe because it’s cold, and the bitterness of outside makes it hard to go out after dark – my mood changes when the autumn creeps in. Everything slows down a little bit.
I’ve been switching to cinemas lately, their cosy, comforting environments suit me at the moment. (Side note, suddenly thought about Roland Barthes’ essay ON LEAVING THE MOVIE THEATRE and made me all nostalgic for university days) I am lured in by its passive darkness. I, Daniel Blake was a shocking, important and accurate depiction of our current welfare system, a snapshot of a life led by society’s most in need. In contrast, Captain Fantastic was a twee american indie flick focusing on a family’s struggle to live in the wild, without the distractions of modern life. I cried at that too, maybe just not in the same way.
I have however seen some theatre recently – Orbit 2016 saw a selection of Edinburgh Fringe’s finest picks. I was excited to see Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons which had been recommended with very positive reviews. The format is very familiar – a myriad of memories, swirled in together through an abstract muddling of scenes that switch between timelines. Two characters, Bernadette and Oliver, stand in the middle of the room and slowly we see a couple emerge – fighting in the kitchen, their first date, a sweet embrace, a conflict of political opinion. The narrative leaves the audience to piece each segment together to form solid characters. The concept – a dystopian world where a law has successfully passed meaning individuals only have a limited number of words to speak per day – brings an element of intrigue to the story. Its Black Mirror style take on the UK’s current political tension was original, and in parts, very successful. The jumping between memories and deconstrcuted timeline however, grew a little tiring by the end. For me, it needed more substance behind this quick snapshot of a couple’s reaction to turbulent social times.
A Gambler’s Guide to Dying (also part of Orbit) was more of a random, close your eyes and go see whatever your finger lands on sort of pick, but it was a wise choice, and in the end, prefered it out of the two. Glaswegian writer and performer Gary McNair recites the story his grandfather has told him many times – the time he bet on England to win the world cup in 1966. As the narrator sweetly and eagerly retells the story of his gambling addict Grandad, a tender connection between the consciousness of mortality, and the weight of addiction intertwine in a beautiful and humble way. It was a great example of good old fashioned story telling. A very humble story that held the weight and morality of family values and pride.
I had a ticket to go see Burning Doors at Contact, but never got round to seeing it. Thankfully they live streamed the performance, and as I tuned in, I was so happy to see many people watching remotely, a very visceral and important piece of political theatre. If it’s coming to a theatre near you, I’d recommend purchasing a ticket. Next on my list, is COAL at Contact.
In more personal, positive fun news – I’m starting a new job soon. In a role that suits my creativity, and in an institution I can safely say I know and love. If anything I’m relieved that my hard work over the past few years has resulted in a full time role in a creative environment. Two years ago I was miserable in an office 9-5, in a company I didn’t believe in. It’s nice to know that life can get a bit better if you work your damn ass off. Also, my housemates move out in a few months, to be replaced with other friends which is both scary and exciting. The house will be painted. It will be filled with new, personal items belonging to new people. I don’t react very well to change sometimes, but at the moment, maybe it will help awaken me from this hazy sleep I’ve found myself in. As it turns to Autumn, I might slowly get myself out of this slump that the end of Summer seemed to have me in, and get ready for a new year.