Venus Watches a Game Show

December 22, 2010

Pamela Anderson croons into a mic
While Kelly Osborne’s trying to look nice
They look the same
They’re completely different
Both have silicon
Only one of them’s lived with it.

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Night before Venus

December 11, 2010

Tonight, I am reclining on the sofa, dreaming of nets.

Tomorrow is ‘The Venus Papers’.

We have music, lights, film and action.

All we need now is you 🙂

Come if you’re able

3pm, The Y Theatre, Leicester

Would be lovely to see or meet you.

Afterwards..

There will be a ‘Venus Party’… !

X

Extract of the Extract

December 5, 2010

This morning, I am skipping quite happily between doing last night’s dishes and watching Cash in the Attic – where Edwina Curry and her husband are trying to persuade us that their 5 bed mansion with numerous reception rooms in Surrey is perfectly normal. I’ve also been thinking about yesterday.

It was a really good day: the weather wasn’t quite as cold, it was Saturday and I and Dave Dhonau, the cellist on The Venus Papers, met up at The Y Theatre to perform some poetry ahead of the show next weekend.

We’d been asked to do so by The Y Theatre, who’d been asked to put some people forward by Leicester City Council. Roadworks at the top of Granby Street had just been removed and there had been lots of snow, so a stage had been put up and a list of performers pressed into action. As a result, the crowds of bemused Christmas shoppers, wandering in and out of the city centre were met by troupes of drummers, elves on stilts and the fabulous Rob Gee, stand-up poet and host with the most, striding about like Richard O’Brian’s evil twin. In a good way, of course.

Before going on did a quick run through at The Y, and there the loveliness began. There appeared to be some kind of open day going on, so there was tea and coffee in abundance (always a good sign) and in the main theatre, what seemed like a grotto. We drank delicious tea, wondered at the panto props, stood in front of the heater, then headed outside.

After a very short wait we were introduced to perform, just after a drumming set and just before a group of musicians from Kalal – a nearby restaurant. In some ways it was quite odd as the audience was mostly on the move, but what was nice was the way a lot of people stopped and really listened.

We did ‘Girl Walks into a Bar’, ‘Venus Speaks’ and ‘Love Poem to a Polar Bear’. I wore my shiny red Chinese Jacket and my old man’s flat cap, secure in the knowledge that my father had once referred to the latter as being ‘very smart’.

Dave was brilliant and the weather, again, very fortunate. His cello’s about 200 years old and if it’d started to rain then he’d have had to pack it away, even if we’d been mid poem. But it hadn’t, so he didn’t – even though within 20 minutes of finishing we sat watching drizzle from inside a tiny cafe, just down the road.

Keith the Filmmaker also came down – with Kye and Curtis, his 10/11 year old assistants, who’d worked tirelessly on The Lyric Lounge festival over summer. Together they recorded the whole thing, so with any luck I should be able to post it up soon. ..

Venus Papers Update

December 2, 2010

I’m up late and looking at the Venus flyer. Back from the printer just this afternoon, it’s all glowy and fiery on one side, all watery and pale on the other. It’s snowing outside and all the heating’s on. Suddenly, everything seems very exciting.

I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about the Venus show for ages. I’ve been posting up the poems ever since I started writing them, some as early as 4 years ago – but only this year have they seriously started to come together.

‘The Venus Papers’, for anyone reading this who quite reasonably hasn’t a clue, is a spoken word show. I’ve been supported to write and perform it by a range of lovely, beautiful, angel like funders. Majorly, Arts Council England, but also by the wonderful Charnwood Arts and Apples and Snakes.

It takes as it’s starting point the 15th century painting of Venus, painted by Bottechelli, of the Roman Goddess standing on her shell. It goes onto ask what would happen if she was to arrive now, in 21st century, possibly Norfolk, possibly anywhere. It’s all about exploring, ala Katie Price, what Venus would do next…

The full collection has her do quite a lot. If all the poems were being used for the show, we’d be needing about 15 intervals and St John’s ambulance on stand by. Happily the abridged version has only a fraction, about 14, I think, with about 25 in the full length. Seeing as they all have to be learnt, I can only applaud the directorial vision!

But the problem with meaning to write a blog post about something for weeks, but instead saving it all up for when you’ve got a moment, is that when you finally sit down to say what you’d been meaning to say, it may not be, exactly everything.

I remember wanting to blog about the last rehearsal, when a photographer turned up, watched us run through the last few pieces and made notes in a small book about which shots he might like to take. He had an auburn beard and longish hair and looked a bit like Jesus.

I also remember wanting to mention the wardrobe, which makes a virtue out of every silly, unnecessary purchase I’ve ever made. The show is, in a way, built around clothing and sees me getting in and out of more charity shop purchases, than anyone, with any decency would ever have had thought like it was a good idea to buy.

The problem is that there are just too many things, I really, really want to rush around and tell people about. Like – did you know that Gaia was Venus’ mother? And Corey the Composer has been composing the music with Lydian scales?! And Jack ‘the shell-maker’ – the retired technician whose been getting up early to go into his shed and work on the shell for weeks and weeks and weeks, said it couldn’t be done – then did it…and his friend Reggie has agreed to drop it off at the theatre, next week, in return for a pint and nothing else…and both of them are coming to the show, and I’ve never even met them.

This is the kind of stuff that makes doing a show like this so exciting. After the writing and editing, after the thinking about the how and why, after the rehearsals and after all the sitting around together, waiting in bars for trains to come and go and debriefs to dissipate, after all that, this is why it’s all so far been so great. So much happens and so much changes. And after it, like after anything, nothing can really be the same.

This Saturday, me and Dave Dhonau, the cellist are performing an extract, of the extract, outside The Y Theatre – 12.15, or there abouts, after some African drummers and before the Salvation Army. The council are removing all the road works they’ve had there for the last few months…and it’s been snowing…and I guess you can never have too many excuses for a festival.

Next week we’ll be back at rehearsals. The leotard (yes, really) will go back on, and the amazing music start to play again.

Next weekend, ‘The Venus Papers’ – in it’s first ever and shortened form, will be happening.

And did I mention we’ve got a shell? 🙂