Pasta: Point of No Return

I seem to have become rather awkward of late. Ungainly, even. I knock things over, drop things, break things. Don’t leave your best crystal out when I come to call. It may end poorly.

The other evening, I left work and bought some things in the supermarket on my way to the car. Some pasta, some pasta sauce, some bread, you know the kind of thing. On the way to the car, I let the pasta sauce slip. Well, I don’t exactly know if I let it slip or not. It slipped and let that be an end to it.

I park up a little street. It’s on a hill. There are a few houses. Again, you know the kind of thing. I was nearly at my car when I felt the pasta sauce jar slip. I would normally have caught it again. I’m rather good at dropping things and catching them before they land. Mostly, though, I just remember the things I fail to catch. I didn’t fail to catch the jar, per se, I never tried to catch it. My hands were too full with all the other stuff I was carrying to even try to catch the slipping-away jar. If I had, I’d have probably dropped several other things in the attempt. Where’s the joy in that?

So the jar slipped away toward the ground, in super-slow motion, as they do, and then it smashed on the concrete and spread itself in a forensic spatter all over the pavement. I looked around. My car was only a few paces away. I could be in it in a matter of seconds. Slam the door, rev up and away unbeknownst to anyone ever.

But that’s not me. No really. I make messes and then I clear them up. That’s who I am. But this wouldn't be a story if I had cleared it up. This is a story because I couldn’t clear it up. I simply did not have the tools to do so.

Instead I did what Bruce Willis did in ‘Die Hard 2’, whatever I could.

I got a plastic bag from the boot of my car and started to pick out the shards of glass from the red mess on the footpath. I don’t know about you, but I have never managed to pick up shards of glass without cutting myself. This time was no exception. It was hard to tell where the pasta sauce ended, and the blood-letting began. After a while, I had all I could get from the mess without losing a finger so I stepped back to view my handiwork. Not so good. The ground was still a turgid display and there wasn’t much else I could do about it. The windows of the houses across the street gazed blankly down on me. I couldn’t get up the nerve to go door-to-door requesting buckets of water and/or a mop. I put my glass shard ridden bag back in the boot of my car and slunk off home.

It was due to rain that night. The rain would wash the rest of the mess away. Rain is quite good for that.

The next day, it hadn’t rained and my mess was still there when I parked up. It was more congealed now, a little dehydrated even but still there. A testament to my ungainliness and my lack of civic responsibility.

The next day, it still hadn’t rained and now I noticed that there was a security camera on the wall right above where I dropped my sauce. (If you’re just starting to read here, you’ll be confused). Great. Now I know there is somebody with a PC somewhere nearby who has footage of me picking up bits of sauce-ridden glass and hopping about and swearing when the inevitable cuts ensued. I know that, in actuality, they’ll probably never look at it. That somehow makes it all seem a bit worse.

What next?


Having typed this with no idea of a resolution or a moral in mind, I’m going to wrap it up and go and fill a couple of two litre bottles with water and drive down and wash that stain away once and for all.

These things just tend to prey on my mind. I guess that's why I started writing this in the first place. Hoping for some release. But there isn't one. Not from reflection. It requires some small action. No matter how stupid an effort it takes, it is always best for me to do rather than think.

Post Script – Mission accomplished. I didn’t get there until a few minutes ago. Sunday morning. There was nobody about. I brought the stiff yard brush and two bottles of tap water but only needed to use one. Nobody saw me. I don't think the security camera is working. The stain was dried and almost gone but I got rid of the last of it and then went to the shop and bought a Sunday paper and a baguette. The girl in the shop knew me and slipped me a copy of the magazine from yesterday’s paper too. This was entirely better than sitting at home eating Cornflakes. I feel set for the day now where I didn’t before.

Post Post Script – A hundred years from now, if somebody is thumbing through these posts and casually wondering who the hell I was, I feel there may be a significant clue in this one.

Saint or Sinner?

Sometimes you think you’re doing great but, from someone else’s point of view, you’re really not. That’s the little moral to this week’s tale. I thought I’d get it out of the way right at the start.

On Tuesday evening, I was driving home from work and I decided to drive up through the town. Usually, I skirt around the outside streets, cut through a car park, you know the drill. 

But it was a sunny evening and there was less twists and turns to the ‘straight through the town’ route and the car window was open and, sod it, I don’t know,  I just went.

It was after six and not too busy so I trundled up the main street, taking my time. The light up ahead was green and I was going to make it easily. Then the van in front stopped and indicated that it was going to reverse into a parking space. Okay, so I wasn’t going to make the light. Who cares? No rush. I’m good.

The guy started to reverse in to the space and it was clear that the space was a little tight for his van. Do-able but not a complete cake walk. The first attempt was pretty close but not good enough. The guy pulled out and tried again. This time his line was much better. He was going to make it. Big van in small space. Nice one, dude. Kudos to you and yours.

But, just as the guy was nearly in, he stopped and made like he was going to come out again for another attempt. But he was practically in. He had a couple of feet at the back, he just couldn’t see that he had them.

I could help.

I managed to catch his eye in his wing mirror before he pulled out. I waved and mimed that he should continue to reverse back and I would guide him in safely from my vantage point. He reversed in, slowly, slowly and I kept waving him in, seeing clearly that he had room to spare.

He got in, nice and neat. No problem. He waved at me and I waved at him. The sun was shining. What a good lad I was.

The a car came towards me from the other direction. Her window was down and my window was down. As she went past, I turned to her and smiled, my best winning smile.

And she called me a name.

Imagine the worst name you might call someone. Don’t imagine too hard, you probably don’t like the word. Yes, that one. And she put a verb with it, imagine the worst verb you could put with the worst word. She went there.

I was taken aback.

“Sorry?” I said, completely baffled.

So she repeated the noun and the verb for clarity and then drove off.

As I drove on my way, it dawned on me what must have just happened. The lady was coming the other way, waiting for the reversing van to give her room to pass. And all she could see was me waving her on and smiling condescendingly. Waving, waving, waving, although she didn’t have enough room to fit through the gap, there was I smugly insisting she did and blithely demanding that she get on with it.

The kicker is, I didn’t even bother to look at her when I did it. I just sat there smiling and looking at the back of the van.

What a 'noun/verb combo' I must have seemed to her.

Sometimes you think you’re doing great but, from someone else’s point of view, you’re really not. 

Whoops, I repeated the moral.

That’s bound to piss someone off.

Good or Regular?

There are quite a few things I could write about here this week but none of them seem to fit.

Some of them are not sufficiently thought out yet ('never stopped you before, Armstrong) and some of them are perhaps more other people’s business than my own.

This leaves me with a quandary or sorts. One that arises from time to time. Not necessarily what to write but rather this: should I write anything at all?

Blogging is an odd business, particularly these days. It often feels, to me at least, like I am riding a unicycle while everyone else is bombing around the place in nifty convertible sports cars. 

A ’Blog’, these days, almost seems to mean a place where fashion and trends and consumables are discussed and subtly peddled. The original concept of a ‘Web Log’ of thoughts and memories and reviews and general… stuff all seems rather passé in this world of sophisticated social media.

In short, nobody cares about old fashioned blogging and quite right too. It is an anachronism and often another outlet for ill moderated Sunday morning writers to pretend they have a credible outlet for their wares.

I don’t mind too much about all that. My reasons for the weekly blog are largely selfish and they are the only reasons that would keep an endeavour like this trundling along for so very long. I like to arrange my thoughts into words and I don’t value those words enough to keep them entirely to myself, as one would with a diary. Therefore the minimal ‘show and tell’ of the 98% defunct blogging system keeps the motivation going. An update every week. A loose brief. What is exercising me this week? On it goes. Who gives a shit? It keeps me off the streets.

But that’s not the crux of what is exercising me this morning (and only because I can’t write about the other stuff). I’m actually questioning where the line of responsibility should be drawn in delivering a weekly blog post particularly, as I was just saying, when nobody actually gives a flying fuck about it.

By now, if you’ve read this far, it’s probably becoming clear; I have nothing to write about this week. I am dry. I am ‘up’. Nothing. Nada. Diddly squat. So, here’s the thing. Am I best not to write anything at all, save it up for next week, or is it better to squeeze any kind of old shite out to keep the wagon train rolling along for another while.

Many of the blogs I admire, granted they are by great writers, only post something new when they have something  particular they want to say, where no other medium will suffice. This may result in maybe only one post a year or so. But the blog is a tight, marvelously written thing of insight and true feeling. I'm thinking or people like Julian Simpson or Sarah Pinborough, who use blogging in this way, rarely and only when it counts. There are, of course, people who carry it off with aplomb, week in and week out. Gary Bainbridge springs to mind here. 

But what about me? Should I continue to write every week, even when I have nothing to write (quod erat demonstrandum) or should I become an occasional contributor, only turning up when I feel I have something worthwhile to say?

To not write is the thin end of a wedge. If it’s easy not to write this week then it’s easier again not to write next week and nobody cares so why bother anyway? I’m getting fat sitting here and typing this waffle. Cut down on your pork pies, mate, take a turn or three around the park and get over your good self. It’s certainly an idea.

And when I look at my blog writing with any semblance of clarity, I would say it’s probably a good two years since I’ve written a single post of any individual value.

That settles it then, doesn’t it? Pack it in. Go and play somewhere else. Come back now and again when it feels great.

Except it doesn’t settle it, does it?

The clue to why it 'doesn't settle it’ lies in my pitifully self-indulgent rant of two paragraphs ago and how I chose to qualify it. I’ve not written a ‘single one’ of ‘individual’ value. Therein lies the rub. The value of the blog, for me, lies not in any individual week’s posting but in the cumulative value of the fifty-or-so posts that make up a year of my life.

Each post is like a tiny tile in a mosaic. The mosaic of my year. It might be a bit off square and poorly glazed and in fact it most probably is but stick it on the wall and stand well back and, alongside its comrades, it creates an image. The image might not mean anything to anyone else. In fact, it’s highly likely that nobody will ever actually step back and look at it. But I will. And it gives me some little twitch of satisfaction. So the mosaic is important to me, rather then any single tile. And the mosaic requires a tile of some sort every week, regardless of the quality.

It also gives me a freedom in writing which I value. It helps me realise that it doesn’t matter if I’m boring this week. It doesn’t matter if I’m not funny or moving or apt or clever or arsey or inciting or… or anything.

What is it, after all? This thing I’ve just typed. It’s just another tile in a mosaic. It it’s for shit, it won’t spoil the overall picture and the overall picture won’t ever be viewed by anybody anyway.

So who cares? Who actually cares?

I do. I still care and that’s why I sit here and write it.

So all is well. On we go.

The blog is done for this week. Another brick in the wall and all that.

Sunday afternoon, here I come…

A New Laptop

It’s been quite a day.

Some very big things have happened here in Ireland this weekend. I feel I should be writing about them, saying my piece, doing my thing. 

But, these things, they’re so big and so close at hand that it’s hard to immediately get my head around them in a way that would let me write anything worthwhile about them. It’s probably best if I don’t.

So, what else happened this weekend then?

Let me think… 

Wait, I know. We got a new laptop.  That’s what happened.

It takes a long time for things to change around here. We’ve had our old computer for so many years. But the old computer had never really been any use and it was obviously now doing much, much more harm than good, so we finally decided to get rid of it.

I’m very glad that we did.

Some people did not think it was a good idea to get rid of the old computer and get a new laptop. But the old computer was so useless that, for the longest time now, if we had to do something hard, we had to travel all the way to the office to do it. Some people perhaps thought it was better if we continued to travel to the office to do all the things we could not do on our old computer. Maybe it meant going out in the storm and maybe it messed with our head and sometimes it even made us quite sick, but it was still better than getting a new laptop.

A new laptop would open up new possibilities, you see, and not all of them completely attractive. We would be able to see things we wouldn’t otherwise see, We would have to deal with things we wouldn’t otherwise have to deal with. Wouldn’t it be better to just leave the comfortable old broken machine in place and let it do whatever it could do and, in those times when it couldn’t do anything, get on the road to the office where the necessary could always be done.

It was a thinking that prevailed for a surprisingly long time. But we thought about it and we considered it very carefully and we finally took action and now we have a new laptop to write on and to do other hard things on too. I’m sitting here now and it’s working beautifully and I’m listening to some peaceful music and it’s after midnight and I’m not really doing anything terribly important right now but I know that if I have something hard to do - something that really needs doing - I won’t have to go out in the cold and the damp to travel to an office far away to get it done. I can get it done here, in the safety and shelter of my home It still won’t be all that easy. It still won’t be without heartache. It still won’t be without pain. And, of course, I can still just choose not to do it at all and I may very well do that. But at least, if I do choose to do it, it is my choice and I can do it here in my place.

So that’s it. That’s what’s happened here in Ireland this weekend. A new laptop.

It’s been a good day and I think our new laptop will lead on to even better and brighter days ahead. I know that a lot of good people will really grieve for the loss of our old PC and I don’t think they’ll ever come to love or possibly even fully accept our new laptop. But I hope, over time, they will see how much better and stronger we have become because we have our new laptop. I hope they will see that it was ultimately a good decision, made by good people.

Will all that come to pass? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, I can’t help but feel proud of our new laptop and of the decision that lead us to finally get it. I feel we stood up for what we knew needed to happen and that, by doing so, we played our part in making life that little bit better.

But I think I’ll go to bed now.

It’s been quite a day.

Storm in the City

Thunder over Battersea
Despite the evening sunshine.

Here we go again.

Cat still snoozing, doesn’t know
What’s going to come down hard.

Drag the cushions from the chairs.
Leave the glass door open
To hear the first drops as they smash
On to the dusty yard.

Storm in the city.
City in the storm
Safe but still in danger
Chilly but still warm

Light is green and grey and blue
Cloud is closing in.

Here we go again.

Cat gone behind the couch
Nervous. Standing guard.

Drag the blanket from the bed.
Hold your eyes wide open.
See the lightning as it walks.
Smell the ozone charred.

Thunder in the city.
Lightning in the sky
Safe but still in danger
           Living but may die

Sacrificial Moments

You can’t choose the songs that whisk you back to another time. They just do.

In an ideal world, it would be a track from an album that has grown and matured, over the years, into some deeply revered and much loved thing. Better still, some obscure and troublesome classical movement from some obtuse symphony. How great it would be to evoke my memories to a soundtrack like that.

But that’s not how it happens. Not to me anyway. The songs that whisk me away every time are simple, rather familiar pop tunes. 

I heard Elton John’s song ‘Sacrifice’ the other day and off I went again. Swept away on the tides of the memories evoked by that tune. Back to January of 1990. 

‘Sacrifice’ didn’t become a number one hit in the UK until it was released in June of 1990 but we weren’t in the UK in 1990 anyway so that’s a moot point. Although it was apparently never a major hit in the US, it certainly got a lot of airplay over there in January of that year. A lot of plays. That’s where we were and that’s how it got into my head and became associated with that time. Tied up with the drive from San Francisco to Tijuana. 

Patricia and me weren’t yet married but we were having a ‘year out’ around the world. That’s a misnomer, actually, because the trip only lasted 364 days and not the full year, as advertised. The whole thing must sound a bit middle class and privileged now but it was really anything but. In late 1989, I was embedded in my career in London. I could have envisaged myself doing anything else, being a somewhat unadventurous type. What happened was that my car got stolen while we in the swimming pool one evening and it was subsequently destroyed by the nice people who stole it. In the time it took to get everything sorted out, I became accustomed to not having a car in London and so, when the insurance money landed, and under Patricia’s adventurous inspiration, we said ‘sod the car’ and spent it all on a cut price world tour instead. 

It was one of the best decisions ever. In my current existence, where I rarely go anywhere or do anything, the memories of the miles we traveled and the things we seen, warms me and keeps me contented in my relatively confined life. 

And random songs sometimes bring me back to particular places.

As we drove out of San Francisco and headed off south down along the west coast, the Elton John/Bernie Taupin song seemed to be playing over and over and over again. I misheard the lyrics, thinking it was about some unfortunate person called CoCo Hall. In my mind, she was a sort of a modern day version of ChoCho San from Madama Butterfly. Sad and abandoned. Effectively ‘hard done by you’ as the lyrics say. Of course I was completely wrong. 'CoCo Hall' was actually 'Cold Cold Heart' but that didn’t stop me from singing along anyway.

Whenever I hear the song now, I experience a vision of the sort that you see in TV dramas all the time now thanks to drone technology. We are driving on Highway 1 down towards Carmel and I see a birds eye  view of us in our car, roof down, as we cruise along. We didn’t even have a convertible car but music-evoked memories can be a bit fluid like that. It was a magical time. Rare in the knowing that it was magical while we were doing it as opposed to only finding out it was magical many years after the fact.

The song reminds me of going to pick up the rental car in San Francisco. We were staying in a  hostel somewhere out by Fort Mason so I had a bit of a trek to get to the car place. I was then going to drive back and collect Patricia. I remember sitting in the hire car for a long, long time, trying to figure out how to put my seat belt on. It hung there above my head in a really unusual place and I pulled at it and tugged at it but couldn’t get it to go around me. In the end, I resolved to drive the car back to the hostel without the seat belt and use Patricia’s brain power to figure it out. I turned the key in the ignition and the seat belt automatically coiled itself around me and secured. Okay… that’s sorted then. 

I remember small things. All of the sign posts sounded like songs. Staying in random motels just because we’d never done that before. Having breakfast in some very tidy little back street pastry shop in San Luis Obispo. Trying to track down an old friend in San Diego and, when finally successful, spending a day with her on the beach in sight of The Hotel Coronado from 'Some Like it Hot'. 

The border into Mexico. I remember the considerable numbers of  troubled people on the Mexico side, pleading for help to get back into their own country. A gauntlet of hard luck stories to be run. 

A visit to Hearst’s Castle. Opulence and grandeur coupled with a subtle sense of slow crumbling. A sign for Disneyworld, quickly driven past.

And all along the way - the excellent way - there was that song playing on the radio. When I think of it all now, I think of the sun and the open road and the not knowing what lay around the next bend. But I always remember an occasional kind of low key sadness too. I remember being in some small town on a Friday afternoon and that song was playing. Everybody seemed to be buzzed because it was Friday and the weekend was here. But we were hobos on the road and everyday was a Friday to us. There was a brief sense of missing the ‘work is now done’ joy of a regular Friday afternoon. And, on the positive side, another sense that when we finally returned to that way of life, it wouldn't be all bad. Sometimes, too, out on the road, there was that small feeling of loneliness and isolation. To be a million miles from anyone who knew you or cared anything about you. We had each other, though, and that has always been plenty.

I also remember that every little place seemed perfect in its own way. That it would be easy to stop and stay forever in any one of those places and that life would always be easy and good there.

But, whenever I fell into thinking like that, the song was always there. Playing. Reminding me ever so gently.

“Some things look better, baby, just passing through.”

If I Had a Penny

For all the complaining I’ve done about Facebook over the years (and I’ve done some complaining) it does continue to provide a very important service to me.

It keeps me in touch with some of my oldest friends. 

I’ve always been more of a Twitter head, as you may know. Facebook was something I was sort of ‘dragged onto’, to take part in a campaign for Arts funding that was being run there. But I stayed and stayed, as I tend to do with things.

Twitter suited me, for some reason, but it didn’t suit everybody and so my old friends didn’t ever really show up there. But Facebook, for all its horrors, was a revelation in that respect. Old pals, who had become just a trace of fond memories and somewhat wistful thinking, were there. They were there almost in the flesh. A little older, a little more settled perhaps, but still very much the same in all the important ways. And there was their family and there were their kids and there was their dog and there was their cat. And it was like a bright window was opened into their lives, for me to peep in.

There was a reconnection, of sorts. For not only could I see them but, rather obviously, they could see me too. We exchanged ‘hello’s and ‘how are you’s and perhaps shared the occasional updated confidence but, mostly, in truth, we just saw each other again, after all the years. And how very good that was and how it remains that way to this day.

There’s MC, out on the ocean with her pals. There’s Nuala, still navigating the world like she always loved to do. There’s Brian, still making his excellent music. There’s Tim, hitting the Rugby with his pals and out sailing in the bay…

Even the friends I made more recently, on Twitter. They are there too with their lives and their families and their concerns. We are not linked by too many cords, my old Twitter pals and me. But the cords that do link us can get stretched and kinked and even a little torn up... but they don't break. They don't ever seem to do that. And that's a good and a somewhat precious thing. 

To look at my old friends, and to share small moments with them, is to also think of the friends who are not there. The friends who are out there somewhere, living their own updated/same lives just not choosing to share them on some website. It evokes a hope that they are okay and that everything is going along just fine for them. That’s why Facebook is so valuable in the end. If it wasn’t there, I wouldn’t call, I wouldn’t write. I would cast myself adrift by torpor and social ineptitude. Facebook provides me with the entry level tool that I need to keep in touch.

We think of our friends and almost believe that we all be together again some day. But we won’t. Or if we will, it will be for a fleeting moment. A changeover of trains that are going different directions. It may be a sombre thought but I think that our time in each other’s company is largely done. One or two of us will meet, from time to time, but no entire collective will assemble. Indeed, when we were ever an entire collective? Weren’t we always just a combination of personal relationships that bounced off each other and ricocheted off in so many different directions.

That is why I think it’s important, when any two meet, that we evoke the others, the absentees, in fond stories and smiles. That is the only way we will ever manage to reunite again, in each other’s  collective memories, shared whenever we may occasionally collide.

Because the years are passing quickly now. Almost as fast as the pages can be torn off a calendar. Not too soon, but still soon enough, we will slip into legend as we all must do. That is when the distant relationship changes. What is cosy and warm now may become precious then, almost at the flick of switch. 

It is with that it mind that I am scribbling this down today. Here’s to you, good friends. Although I hate Facebook in many ways, I won’t ever leave while you are in there. The picture I see of you may be a rosy one. For who shares their upset stomach on Social Media? But it is still you. And your kids look great and your pets look great and I’m glad to see you looking so well.

My friends. Online and off. If I had a penny for every time I thought about them, well, I wouldn’t be very rich or anything. Or, more accurately, I would be rich only on account of the thoughts I have of them rather than from any pennies I might have earned. I’d have earned enough for one good drink, perhaps, and I would raise that glass in a toast to them.


Glad to see you there.

Hope to meet up again sometime soon.

Keep in touch. 

Radio Drama - Mythos by Julian Simpson

If it can be said that I ever cut any of my teeth anywhere, I cut my writing teeth in radio drama. Radio was my first passion. 

Taking possession of an old hand-held transistor radio from my parents, I listened to the Radio Plays on BBC Radio 4 from an untenably young age, investing in the Radio Times to mark up what was coming in the next week. 

When I wasn’t allowed to watch a grown up movie on television, I retired to my bed and listened to it on the VHF band of my radio instead.

Lately I’ve gone back to spec radio writing with a vengeance and I am loving the revisiting of that ‘unleashed’ feeling it gives me. I think my radio writing has coloured every other kind of writing I’ve done since. Certainly in the theatre work I find I have an ingrained aversion to the use of any kind of complex set, preferring instead a couple of stools or a single chair. In radio, as with books, the audience/readership brings its own sets, its own costumes, its own lighting. It’s quite different from cinema or television where the entire meal is spoon fed to you. In radio, theatre and books, you have to do some of the cooking yourself and the experience can often be all the richer for it.

In the midst of this renewed radio obsession, I was delighted to see Julian Simpson roll up with the second and third episode of his new ‘Mythos’ series on BBC Radio 4 this week. Tuesday started off with a rerun of the first episode then Wednesday and Thursday brought the new stories. If you want to hear it, I believe it stays on the BBC iPlayer for another twenty days or so. Here in Ireland, we don’t get the TV version of iPlayer but the Radio stuff works just fine so it is possible that these plays can be listened to all over the world. Here’s a link to the page. I can’t guarantee it will work for you, dear resident of Western Samoa, but it’s worth a shot. 

Julian Simpson is a writer I admire. He’s been kind enough to chat to me on the ‘Social Media’s for the last ten years or so and perhaps that’s given me a front row seat to his work. Still, though, I can’t help but feel if there was no connection, I would still be envious of the ambition, wit and intelligence he brings to all of his work. Even if you don’t know his name (you probably do) you will probably have absorbed his work when remarking that a particular week’s episode of Spooks or Old Tricks was  exceptionally clever. That will most likely have been him. One also senses that even greater plans are currently being hatched among the unsuspecting denizens of North London so watch that space.

Mythos is great fun and one senses that JS had great fun writing it. The rough conceit is one of a team of Government-affiliated guardians who try to hold a line between the world we all know and an endless stream of alternate worlds which are shaped and coloured by our collective mythology and folklore. That’s a mouthful but basically it’s a conceit that allows some contemporary, slightly world weary, characters to come up against the great and good of our beloved monsters and heroes of yore. 

It’s hard not to think of how Douglas Adams reached out to the stars and made such fun out of them. JS reaches in to our folklore and does the same.

For me, though, the series successfully evokes the original ‘Avengers’ series much more than ‘Hitchhikers’. And, no, I don’t mean Iron Man and The Hulk et all. I'm talking about the John Steed/Emma Peel version which I grew up with. Tim McInnerny’s ‘Johnson’ character has, for me at least, some of the Steed DNA in him. Tim does a super job in these plays as, of course, does Nicola Walker and Phoebe Fox. It’s a truly great cast which includes Sweet Billy Pilgrim’s Jana Carpenter who plays Libby in the second episode and who I like for all kinds of reasons, none of which need concern the writer/director.

JS is a damn clever fellow and although he wears that lightly on his sleeve he can’t help but showing it in his writing. As a result there is one hell of a lot of stuff going on here. At face value, it’s a ‘steampunkish’ romp through time and fable but scratch the surface and there is perhaps some deeper political punches being landed too. 

One of the things Julian deliberately does is to draw back the veil of the narrative structure to show us, the audience, some of the workings beneath. I wonder if this is almost a sub-conscious effort to show us how he understands, all too well, the limitations of the narrative structure he is working within or whether it’s an entirely conscious wink to the audience saying, ‘this is just a bit of a lark, let’s get on with it’. Whatever the reason, I found it a tiny bit jarring. Audiences have an ingrained knowledge of their stories and, deep in their, hearts, they know how these stories must unfold. To open those stories up, mid tale, is a little like a magician showing how a trick is done or some exotic dancer (male or female, take your pick) peeling back their skin to flash the glistening muscle and tendon that lies beneath. I realise this is the writer’s intent and that this ‘desire for story’ lies at the very heart of the concept. I just think that when this conceit is extended into the actual story being told, that may be even a little too ‘meta’ for me. 

The very nature of these plays brings challenges, particular in Radio, and nobody sees this clearer than JS. There is an immense amount of business to be done in the forty-four minute running time. As a result, the drama unfolds rather breathlessly. Super-smart lines which might have benefited from a split second pause and an invisible, virtual, nod to camera, can not be permitted this luxury. The narrative simply must barrel along. One could see this format convert well to TV, where an extra fifteen minutes on the run time would give JS enough room to add an additional beat or two or even a ‘middle eight’ pause before barrelling on again. It is clear that there just wasn’t enough space in the timeframe to do all that. Despite that, the often-frenetic pace at which proceedings unfold is really very charming and it would be a shame to lose it completely.

Another great challenge of the concept is the large amount of exposition which must be imparted in each episode. Parts 2 and 3 were somewhat liberated, in this regard, as the world had been well-established in Part 1. Still, though, there is lots that has to be told and the characters take turns at telling it. In doing so, JS employs a knowing, almost-apologetic, tone which seems to say, ‘here we go again with the exposition, we know it’s a bit of a pain but it has to be done’. Much fun is had with this ploy although the fact that a number of characters employ it does sometimes lead to a touch of ‘tone-borrowing’ where the characters occasionally start to sound a bit alike.

For me, the biggest challenge in carrying off future episodes of ‘Mythos’ lies in the questions of Risk and Consequences. A great universe has been firmly established where almost anything can, and probably will, happen. However, there also appears to be infinite opportunities for escape and ‘do-overs’ within the rules of this new universe. The dead might be dead but not really all that gone. A universe can be destroyed but, wait, there’ll be another one along in a minute. Something I struggle with, in my own attempts at drama, is the ‘All is Lost’ moment where there really seems to be no way back (although somewhere/somehow there always is). With the three Mythos plays, due to a combination of an infinite number of options and the very pace of the action, there is always the feeling that everything will be all right and that it will be all right quite soon now. Knowing JS’s work, I know that if he had a little more time to work with, a greater sense of risk and consequences would quickly be instilled in the drama. 

I recommend you have a listen to the first of the plays via the iPlayer and see if you are engaged and entertained as I certainly was. As I said earlier, JS is a smart, smart fellow with a lot more to say and do. I feel that, in listening to these plays, you may find yourself on the fourth or fifth floor of an elevator that is very soon and very rapidly going all the way to the top.

Small Beige Umbrella

I don’t know if you know but I carry an umbrella almost everywhere I go. It’s not an affectation or anything. I just don’t like getting rained on. 

Although I’m not superstitious, I’ve almost come to believe that it is more likely to rain if I do not have my umbrella with me. It is almost, but not quite, evidence of a humorous God above. That he/she would look down, see me venture out without my umbrella, and entice the heavens to open and piss it down upon my head.

I say this to people who ask me why I am toting an umbrella on a patently fine day. A number of people use this as a conversational ploy whenever we meet. “Got the old umbrella? Keeping the rain away?” They smile gently and speak to me like I am four years old, which sometimes seems about right.

My umbrella ‘weapon of choice’ is one of those little black numbers that shoot open when you press the button on the handle. It fits neatly in the front section of my shoulder bag and comes to hand easily when the rains recommence. I go through them though. They are cheap and never last very long. Generally it is a gust of high wind that does for them, turning them inside-out, ripping the fabric and twisting the frame.

Of late, though, the simple old pop-out black number has been hard to find. Perhaps it’s been the wetness of the winter, perhaps some factory in China has had a setback. I don’t know the reason. All I know is, for a time there, I have gone about my business umbrella-less. 

And, oh, how the Gods have laughed and made merry. Sheets of rain, vertical and horizontal in turn have assailed me as I go on my way. The country has suffered flooding, the farmers have not enough feed. All because of my lack of an umbrella.

Okay, not really… but I did get wet.

One particularly torrential lunchtime,  a few months ago, I was in my spiritual home, The Linenhall, getting a sandwich. In a cloud burst of inspiration, I asked them if they had any abandoned umbrellas behind the counter and, if so, could I borrow one to get me home? They had quite a few abandoned/lost umbrellas and told me to take my pick and keep it but most of them were too flowery even for me. Only one seemed even slightly passable. A small pop-up one like the kind I normally favour… except it was beige. It was ‘Mum Beige’. You know the colour. Mums have umbrellas that colour. I weighed my options and went with the umbrella. A little reluctantly. It wasn’t me but it was shelter from the storm. I took it and went home and it kept me mostly dry all the way.

I’ll keep it, I thought, just for a couple of days until I can get a nice new black one all of my own.

It’s been months, months and months, and I’m still toting my small beige umbrella. Mostly I keep it in my bag, like I do with the black ones, but at lunchtime I walk home without my bag so there I am, rocking my small beige umbrella, just like my Mum and countless other Mums used to do. 

The umbrella is now completely ruined. The little beige handle at the end kept falling off and I kept screwing it back on until it cracked and refused to stay in place. The retractable shaft no longer fully retracts so the unhandled sharp end sticks out far too far. It looks like I am carrying a menacing sort of a weapon. A beige weapon. 

I am a professional person of almost fifty five years of age. I am self employed and do a rather serious and responsible job which carries quite a bit of weight and responsibility. My peers are spinning around town in large cars and wearing nice suits. I, meanwhile, am struggling up the main street, bedraggled in my all weather coat beneath a tattered beige umbrella. 

What on earth am I like?

There are a couple of truths attached to this.

The first truth is a) I don’t care. I don’t care much what I look like or what kind of image I project. So long as my flies ain’t undone and my shoes are on the appropriate feet, I kind of feel I’m doing okay. My best attributes are definitely not how I look. I’m kind of funny and fairly sharp. I’ll help you out if I can. These are the kind of things that matter to me. Not how beige my umbrella is.

The second truth is b) I like to hold on to things. I find it hard, bordering on impossible, to let go of things that people have given me. The tattered beige umbrella is a case in point. If I’d bought it, I would have thrown it away by now. But somebody gave it me. It makes it more valuable on some stupid subliminal level that I can’t even understand myself, much less explain it. 

I think that second truth holds a key to one of my failings. This way I tend to hold on to things that I have been given. My firm embrace of the Status Quo. Almost all of the more radical changes in my life have been brought about due to external influences. My turns have been necessary reactions to things that have happened. Rarely, if ever, have I thrown down something and picked up something better, while the first something is still clacking along in some half-assed way.

Reading back, that last part has a whiff of dissatisfaction about it but that is totally not the case. I am quite satisfied and happy with my lot. Indeed, I know I am a very, very lucky guy. But it’s good to think about silly things now and again. It’s good to try to reach. 

It’s only on those occasions when you make that conscious effort to step out from under the beige umbrella and look up into the sky… 

It’s only then that you wonder if you should have thrown the tatty thing in the nearest bin and just allowed yourself to get more wet a little more often. 

The Bravery of Liking Things

This week is just about some things I like.

Here’s two things I think about liking things. I’ve put an a) and a b) on them so you can tell them apart. I’m nothing if not helpful.

a) You have to be a bit brave to admit to liking things. It’s like sticking your head above the battlements so that someone can catapult a cow at you. In ‘The Colour of Money’ Paul Newman kept using a peculiar expression. “I’ve shown you my ass,” he used to say. Admitting to liking something is a bit like that. You show people your ass. It’s there, all laid out, to be kicked if so desired. “You liked that? What kind of an idiot, gobshite, half-wit, could like that?” The converse is also true, it requires no bravery at all to say how you don’t like something, though sometimes it has to be done.

b) People seem to get worried or even a bit agitated when somebody doesn’t like a thing than they themselves like. I’ve never really understood this or at least, as Sting used to say, I don’t subscribe to this point of view. Being somewhat perverse in my outlook, I absolutely love it when people don’t like what I like. It’s like a great compliment, a testament to my individuality and quirky taste. A reaffirmation that we are all individuals who all like and love our own things in our own way. We are diverse and windswept and interesting so, you know… yay.

I’ve liked lots of things, recently. I’m a ‘liker’ really. I tend to like things. 

The things that I mention here have a least two things in common. No, I won’t do a) and b) again, I think we’re good. 

Firstly (!) I really, really, liked these things and, secondly, I don’t thing everybody will like them the way I do. Am I being deliberately provocative? No! Fuck you! (That last bit was me being deliberately provocative, just so you know what it looks like.)


Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

I really, really like this book, which is great fun ‘cos lots of people don’t. I bought it for Patricia at Christmas (Yes, a brand new copy. Yes, she’s worth it). I then sneakily read the first few pages. “Oh, no,” I said to myself, “I can’t be  doing with this,” and I tossed it aside but onto a bed so that it wouldn’t get damaged. The word-of-mouth I was hearing all seemed to support my decision. It was only when I heard a trusted friend was raving about it, some months later (like, now) that I picked it up and looked again. It’s written in an odd format, with many real and not-so real characters providing short testaments which make up the story. Every line reads like the opening of a chapter. But it works. It’s alienating at first but, once you get into the cadence of it, you’re good. And what a sad, warm, cold, story unfolds. And what marvellous flights of fancy and outlandish characters take us there. 

It’s a book I would recommend to people, if only for the joy of having them throw it back at me. 

The Florida Project.

I really, really like this film. I don’t want to say too much about it because I saw it without knowing too much about it and I feel that contributed to my liking it as much as I did. Actually, thinking about it now, I think I’ll say nothing about the story at all. I think it should have featured more prominently in the recent awards season, it’s that good. Like ‘Lincoln’ it starts off in such an odd fashion that you may be inclined to give up. At first, it seems, to coin one of my Dad’s expressions, to be ‘about nothing’. Also the sound is slightly odd, such that you may struggle to hear what is being said. But it ropes you in. It just ropes you in and you become invested and involved in what is unfolding. Real cinema, beautiful to look at. A real world, terrible to behold. Give this a go. I predict you will like it, just like I did. 

Hamlet (on telly)

Yes, that Hamlet. Well, the version that was on the telly last weekend. Last year’s Almeida Theatre production which moved to the Harold Pinter and was filmed there. I watched this in several goes over the Easter Weekend. I did Hamlet for my Leaving Cert exam and was able to say a couple of the key speeches along with it (which was fun). What I really like about it was Andrew Scott and how he spoke the lines clearly and with some clear empathy for what he was saying and doing. It was almost as if he took his character’s advice to “Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue.” Although, funnily enough, he also seemed to pass on another piece of advice from the same speech as he did sometimes, “Saw the air” a little bit. 

I think I decided to mention ‘Hamlet’ here, not because I wanted to impress you with the odd ways I tend to spend my Saturday nights but rather because it provides a good working example of people not liking stuff. I saw lots of profound criticism on my Social Media while Hamlet was unfolding on the telly. This is obviously well-and-good. It’s just that some of it seemed designed to show how fabulously erudite the critic was, rather than making any attempt at constructive reaction. Maybe it’s just me but if you are saying things like “some of it was good but here’s why it wasn’t good…” perhaps you could save a little space for the bit you thought were good as well as all the bad stuff. I think there is a real fear that we show ourselves up by liking things and I wish we could change a little in that respect. 

Cabaret (The Donmar Warehouse Revival)

I watched this on Youtube. It’s there in 16 parts, a TV version of the musical. I saw this on ITV late one night, years and years ago, when I landed on it by accident. I thought it was amazing and nobody else had seen it. It was like I dreamt it. Then I found it on YouTube and,  guess what, I didn’t dream it after all. It’s not a prefect recording and there’s songs missing in the edit but Alan Cumming is naughtiness and pathos personified and Jane Horrocks literally makes arm hairs rise with her sinewy delivery of the title song. Here’s a link, in case you fancy it. Maybe it’s a bit niche (slight pun intended) but I really, really like it. 

That’s it for now. I could do more but I must get to Tesco. 

I suppose what I’m trying to say is, tell me the stuff you like. Mostly so I can consider giving it a go myself. If I value your opinion (and I do) and you really, really like something, then I might like to try it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even hate it.

Then we’ll have something good to talk about. 

Drama Season

Drama Season is over now, for another year. 

It’s time to stop and breathe.

It seems an arrogance to even suggest that there is a ‘Drama Season’. A presumption of something that one shouldn’t presume. Certainly, there is no guarantee that Drama Season will ever come again. It is not like Easter, its annual arrival is not inevitable. But the last number of years have followed a pattern for me and, lucky as I know I am, the months between Christmas and Easter have been my Drama Season.

And it is over now. Time to look back. 

This was the sixth year of The Claremorris Fringe Festival, the sixth year I entered, the sixth year I got in. Upon hearing they would have me and my anonymously-submitted script again this year, I did what I always do. I quietly delivered the script of ‘I Bet You Say That to All the Boys’ to my three partners-in-crime in Drama and then ran away before they saw me. Donna Ruane, Tara Niland, Eamon Smith and myself. For all of the six years, these three actors have formed the cohort that brought the plays to stage. We have had one first and two second places over those years and this years was one of the seconds. The guys were brilliant and gave a great performance, Tara and Eamon picking up a well-deserved acting nod along the way.

This little play was a bit unusual for me in that I felt I was at least trying to react in some way to the world I find myself living in rather than simply playing within it. The husband in the play literally speak for his wife, telling her how to feel and what to say. In these days when women seem more visibly oppressed than ever and also seem to rail more actively against this wrong, I felt I should look to my own game. I’ve been trying to do that this year, as my own tiny and personal response to the ills I see. Am I without sin? Can I throw the stone? No, I certainly can not. Being almost fifty five years old, I have grown up in a world where prejudice has subtly flavoured everything. It was, to my mind, almost more of a naïve prejudice than a malicious one. We stared at the very few black people who crossed our paths, we cheered as Benny Hill ogled another band of women and couldn’t wait until next Tuesday, when he would do it all again. Such things leave a hue on our souls that is hard to wash away. For my own part, when I stop and look hard at myself, I can see things I do that are not as good as they could be, things that are embedded in me. I can’t change the world but I can change myself. The play was at least trying to acknowledge a little of that. 

The Claremorris audiences are marvellous things. They go in and see a  full length play and then they come through into the Fringe space and watch two more. I hope the Fringe continues to go from strength to strength. As a writer, it gives me a bar to try to pull my chin above. It builds my confidence and skill. It encourages me to create something new. 

I may never be a part of Claremorris Fringe again but it has been a part of me and, for that, I am grateful. 

Then came the Teenage Play. 

I didn’t think I had a teenage play for this year. Donna and I were reading scripts and throwing out ideas from other writers. I was deep into other writing and didn’t think I had the energy to produce something that (literally) fit the bill. 

Then, over Christmas, I did some thinking. I thought about the last two productions of my plays, over the last two years, ‘Midnight in the Theatre of Blood’ and last year’s ‘Deb’s Night’ and I knew I would be missing out if I couldn’t get to do it all again this year. And so, ‘The Colour of Red’ was born. Derived from a radio play I wrote for St Patrick’s Drama Group in Westport about fifteen years ago, called ‘A Place in Between’. The play went on to be shortlisted for the PJ O’Connor Award and then lay dormant as radio plays can do. Another radio play of mine ‘Conception, Pregnancy and Bert’ had been revived as a theatre play by Oisin Heraghty and toured the national one act festivals. Since then it has found a life of its own with theatre groups in various parts of the West of Ireland. Why could ‘A Place in Between’ not do the same?

A ‘significant rewrite’ was done to make the material more suited to the young cast of Donna’s brilliant ‘Acting for Fun’ group. Then, like the Claremorris play, it was dropped in a letterbox and the poster scurried away to await the verdict.

The verdict (never predictable) was positive and ‘The Colour of Red’ became a real life thing all in its own right. 

And, this week, it went on, in two marvellous performances at The Linenhall Theatre in Castlebar. Two real and unequivocal nights of theatre, coloured in and textured by the production work of Oisin Heraghty, who calmly and unflappably ran each show while I flapped about enough for both of us. 

Two wonderful nights. The culmination of months of hard work and preparation. Thanks to Orla and Maura and everyone at The Linenhall Arts Centre who give us their splendid theatrical facility and who allow us to play with it.

I am so proud of the cast. They were brilliant without exception and they continued a tradition of excellence in acting derived from Donna Ruane’s mentoring and care. 

I was delighted, also, to see my own son, Sam, step into his third production of one of my plays and do us both very proud in the process. 

These productions, from rehearsal to execution, are tailor-made golden memories for me. Often, we can’t tell what will become a treasured moment in our lives until years after the event but these times, particularly the performance days, are heightened fulfilling experiences that I know will warm my heart for as long as memory stays. 

Too much, Ken? 

Nah. Not nearly enough. 

And now the stage is bare and the blank page faces me once more. 

Oddly enough, for all the productions and acting and performances, this is the moment where I finally realise that I may be a writer.

Because the blank page holds no fear for me.

There, deep in its cell structure, lies a world of endless possibilities. A land where anything can happen and probably will. 

Earlier this week, when the plays were done, I scribbled a note to myself and laid it face down on my desk.

An arrogant mission statement of what I propose to do next. It may not work. It may not even be possible. But I am emboldened now by Drama Season and I’m going to give it my best shot.

So let’s get to it.

Old Dog, New Dog

Walking home for lunch last Wednesday (yes, I get to do that), I was just coming up to The Mall, which is like our village green, when I saw this:

A man was standing beside his car and he was chatting to a woman. Just general chit-chat, I’d say, though I couldn’t hear any of it. What caught my eye was what was happening at the back door of his  car, which was wide open.

There was an old sheep dog there, black and white and shaggy, and he was trying to get in to the back of the car. The owner was deep in his conversation and wasn’t paying attention but I couldn’t take my eyes off what I saw.

The old dog had his front paws in the car, all fine and good, but he couldn’t manage to get his back legs in. Those rear legs were scrambling and scraping and working with a kind of tired ferocity, trying to gain purchase on the lower edge of the door frame. The old dog tried and tried but just couldn’t manage it. The dog’s mouth was agape and his tongue was lolling in a configuration that people often seem to mistake as happiness but which was clearly stress.  

The man having the conversation looked up and saw me. I hadn’t fully realised that I had stopped in my walk past and was simply standing and staring at the dog from about 20 yards away. I hadn’t realised that I was just a heartbeat away from moving to the poor dog’s aid.

The man looked at me and clearly wondered what I was staring at. Then he looked over the top of the open car door and saw his old dog there, scrambling and scraping valiantly but with an increasingly tired air about him. The owner smiled over at me as he broke off his conversation.

“He’s getting on a bit,” he said to me, “he needs a bit of help sometimes these days.”

And, with that, he moved to the dog and gently lifted his posterior so that the dog could finally get a grip on the door ledge and propel himself into the car. 

I smiled back at the man and walked on, out onto the path that runs diagonally across our village green. I was only a few steps on when I saw another dog. A younger dog. She was little more than a grown pup. Her owner, a young guy, was throwing a ball for her and she was chasing it. She was a sheepdog, just like the dog at the car but her black and white colours were bright and vital, where the other dog’s had been loose and dull. She was sleek and fast and powerful where the other dog had been weak and slow. 

She was an exact duplicate of the older dog, only twelve years younger. 

She powered after her ball, cutting ridiculous banked corners like some motorbike rider in a race and, although her mouth was also agape and her long tongue lolling, there was no mistaking her energy and her enthusiasm for the game. 

Why write this down? Why bother?

I don’t know. 

It stayed with me after I had walked on, after I’d had my lunch. The old dog and the new dog had been in the closest of proximity to each other but neither had acknowledged, or even been aware of, the other’s presence. The younger was far too engaged in the thrill of the hunt to see the elder. The old dog too taken up with the mechanics of simple movement to care who else was around.

There seemed to be some kind of comparison between these dogs and how I lead my own life. Blinkered to the old person I will soon enough become, if I survive that long. Indifferent to the young as I struggle to scramble up to the next ledge. 

Maybe there’s a good analogy to draw out of this confluence. Maybe there’s a good lesson for me to learn. 

But I’m too tired to work it out right now. I must be getting on with things. Maybe I’ll come back to it some other day.

When there’s more time. 

Plays are Happening

Plays are happening. This month. New plays that I wrote. It’s all very exciting and great fun. I’m certainly a lucky boy, to have these things happen to me.

First up, on 22nd March, at The Claremorris Fringe Festival, it’s ‘I Bet You Say That to All the Boys’. 

This is my sixth consecutive new play in the Fringe Festival and it’s only been running for six years, so it’s a record I’m a bit proud of. Some might possibly tut and say, “It’s his local area, they’d let him in, even if he only entered his shopping list”, but I don’t think it’s like that. Every year, I take my entry very seriously and try my best to write the best play that I can. This year is the first time I’ve tried to write in response to a political or current situation. I don’t think anybody will know that when they see the play but I did and it makes me feel all grown up and stuff.

The same three actors have appeared in all six plays and I have directed them, with lots of help and conspiracy from my thespian pals, Donna, Tara and Eamon. The rehearsal process is a joy of discovery, of pushing each other’s boundaries and of generally taking the piss out of each other.

I’m looking forward to our night at the Fringe in Claremorris. I think this may be my last year for a while but then I always say that, don’t I?

Then, later in the month, Donna Ruane’s superb ‘Acting for Fun’ teen group is back at the Linenhall. It’s the 27th and 28th, actually, and tickets are going fast so… y’know. After having such an amazing time over the last two years with the productions of my plays, ‘Midnight in the Theatre of Blood’ and the premiere of ‘Deb’s Night’, I found I couldn’t just let them go off and work with some other old playwright. I had to try to get their attention again. 

Thus was born ‘The Colour of Red’. This one is a romantic comedy about such lightweight subjects as Love and Death. The play has its genesis with Mary Carr in St. Patrick’s Drama Group in Westport, who asked me to write them a second radio play many years ago. That play became ‘A Place in Between’ and it has now transformed itself (well… I transformed it) into a teenage play for the stage. I say ‘teenage play’ but really we try hard to allow the young actors an opportunity to present themes and stories which will connect with the parents and all the other adults in the audience. The surprise, for the adults, is that the play they see is really as much about them and for them as it is for the teenage members of the audience. Over the last two years this aspect of the work has been very satisfying. To see the adults emerge from the theatre, every bit as moved and amused as everybody else. That’s what we’re going for again this year. 

Rehearsals are going very well. We had one yesterday and the level of commitment and care from the cast is very high indeed. We also laughed out asses off quite a bit, which is a fundamental part of the endeavour. It’s acting for fun but it is also acting of the highest integrity (kudos to Donna Ruane) and with the most noble intent; to bring the best show we possibly can to our audiences, with no concessions to anything. 

‘The Colour of Red’ is about 45-50 minutes long so I also written a new short play to go in front of it. I like this ‘Pixar’ notion of presenting a short piece before the main event. We’ve done it before with my short plays ‘Fine’ and also with ‘Dream On’ This year’s short play is called ‘Tweedie’ and I hope it raises a smile. 

We’re also taking another short play from a book of short plays by John Dessler and Lawrence Phillis and (being permitted to do so)  I have ‘tweaked’ this around a bit to suit our own local ways and peculiarities. It's called 'The Date Tests'. A read-through on this yesterday resulted in almost unbearable hilarity so I have high hopes that this one will pave the way for ‘The Colour of Red’ with our audiences. 

I return to the same thought regularly. I am just one lucky duck. I get to write and to find people we are willing and able to bring my writings to fruition on the stage. The writing then often goes on to be performed by other groups and in other places. I have a wonderful theatre on my doorstep who back me up and encourage me on to do the next thing.

Thanks to everyone who  enables me and encourages me to keep typing my stuff out in the dead of night. I always try to do it the very best I can because the people I work with deserve nothing less. 

This month of theatre-stuff is going to be edgy and a bit scary and great fun.

Bring it on.

Tickets for 'The Colour of Red, Tweedie, and The Date Tests' can be booked at The Linenhall Theatre, Castlebar or on 094 90 23733. The Claremorris Drama and Fringe Festival can be booked on  094 93 10999)