Monday, April 11, 2005

There's a meme doing the rounds of the blogosphere (grrr, I hate that word!!) that I first saw on Smacked Face and thought, oh, there's no point bothering with that because b) people will find my choices boring and a) I tend to reveal what books I'm into on here anyways. But, as I'm supposed to be editing a script and am also waiting for 35 pages to print out, I've succumbed to the darn thing. So...

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?

One held within a flameproof cover, I guess. I think I'd like to be some of the more interesting entries of the Kenneth Williams Diaries - which I've not yet bought but, on those long aimless wanders into the city centre that involve a prolonged browse around Waterstones, I've read most of. The early entries are quite rubbish and wouldn't be out of place on this blog. "Woke up. Went out. Had audition. Bought carrots." Hardly a life less ordinary back then. By the way, Smackers, if you're reading, I saw Geoff Dyer do a reading of Yoga For People Who Can't Be Bothered To Do It last year and he really is, erm, just like you'd expect him to be. If not entirely on another planet at least on another island.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Like Adrian Mole, whose age mirrored mine on first publication, I too fell for Pandora.

The last book you bought is?
I shall split this into two. Yesterday, I bought two Tokyopop manga volumes - the rather smutty Love Hina and a thing called Saiyuki. I was swayed by some "2 for £10" stickers. But they're not really the kind of books that this meme wants to eek out of me, methinks. A real book, or perhaps not if you're no fan, was a Courtney Love biography that was actually bought for M but something that I'll read too.

The last book you finished is?
This exposes me as a man that gets so far into a volume and then starts another. I guess it must have been Kenzo KitaKata's Winter Sleep, which was about a Taoist painter who was instructing a filthy young woman and her murderer-boyfriend in the art of art.

What are you currently reading?
Ed Sikov - Mr Strangelove. I'm going through a stage, probably cos I'm stuck in the middle of a creative spell, where I actually want to get back in touch with the people that have exerted a real influence on me. I've done a couple of Spike Milligan books of late and that's led to Sellers. I hadn't realised his life was such a soddin' mess. I'm also a third into Haruki Murakami's Underground, which is a non-fiction effort about the Tokyo gas attacks. I doubt I'll finish that one as it got rather boring rather early on, which I guess is what happens when you amass lots of eye-witness accounts from people that were semi-conscious and partially blind at the time of the attacks. Too much eye wash down the hospital info!

Five books you would take to a desert island?
*Love All The People - a collection of Bill Hicks routines that I would learn and then thrill the other inhabitants of the island with.

*Woody Allen - Complete Prose. See above. Yeah, yeah, I liked Woody's early films when he was funny. Yawn.

*Joe Orton - Complete Plays. I was at university and I was trying to work out the answers to life, the universe and everything when I stumbled across this and realised I was gay...sorry, realised that theatre could actually be quite good fun. Then I read lots of Tom Stoppard and realised quite the reverse. Oh, Kenneth, did you have to swing that hammer? Can you imagine theatre today if Orton had survived? Yes, that's right, it would be exactly the bloody same.

*Charles Bukowski - Women. Funny role model, Bukowski. But I love him. And I like this much more than Post Office and Factotum. And it's thicker, so if there was a lack of food on the island I could eat it and last just that little bit longer.

*Stanley Booth - The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones. Finest bit of rock journalism on my top shelf and a lesson to us all.


Those people bored enough to want to read more about what I got up to in Hong Kong can read a reet lovely pair of (somewhat serious) features here and here. If you're interested in the theatre and worldwide artsy events and me gloating that I went there and you didn't, or you're my mum, then you'll probably like them.

On top of the recent brockwurst fixation, I've become quite partial to dental flossing. I was in a supermarket and saw a double pack of the stuff staring at me and, seconds later, found myself handing over the cash to a very miserable till operator (she works in Hull, which is, in itself, cause for misery). The benefits of healthy oral hygiene habits don't need to be emphasised here but, well, as I was filling up the ever-tightening gaps between my teeth with sausage, I thought it best I find a way of getting the damn stuff back out of there too - after all, I don't need a build-up of plaque, tarter and toxins which could lead to more serious problems. Trouble is, he was thinking with his Catch 22 mind, the more you floss, the bigger the gap, the higher the potential for, perhaps, an entire brockwurst to lodge itself in there. I fear that I will now spend a higher and higher percentage of my free time flossing, as I'm gripped by embarassing foreign object between the gnashers paranoia.

With teeth taken care of, it's back to being a theatre critic tomorrow night. We're off to see Unless, part adapted by Carol Shields until she died. It looks like it might be a grim old night, although it sounds quite good. Unlike the long and winding road to Scarborough, which appears to get longer and windier each journey. On the long drive back, as M starts to nap and I wish I could, I'll again start to wonder how I ever became a theatre critic. All I wanted to do was write for the NME, be the next Parsons, Morley or Britain's answer to Lester Bangs. Instead, I'm stuck in this dreadfully pretentious middle class world, a place where a good 80 per cent of the stuff I've seen over the last decade has been thoroughly dull, boring and, cripes, not very good. Rock n roll it ain't. Might carve 4REAL into my arm with the sharp edge of the programme during the equally painful interval drinks session. Remember, kids, working in the media's shit and blunts your sharp words - but paper cuts.

Drive Jive: Prince - Emancipation. Comic cuts: Love Hina. Digital Versatilia: All About Lily Chou Chou

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