Dad and I have been hard at work rehearsing in the front room towards 30 minutes of material for our gig at Burst, BAC (20th /21st May 9-9.30PM £5/3 Concs). We are getting there, having restructured the piece quite a lot. Until a couple of days ago I was bricking myself but I think we have a fair chance at doing a decent show. Mum is off for a walking holiday with her mates on Sat, so we will have a few days to ourselves to graft away. As ever, Dad remains dedicated to his task, but it would be wrong to suggest that it is all plain sailing. Working together this closely intensifies our different approaches and attitudes. We are sometimes irascible, belligerent, un-accepting. And other times we are devoted to the ease and comfort of the other. But either way, the work comes slowly.
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The work is taking on a literary quality, more so perhaps than before, as we deepen our concern for a text that is by now central to the show, from Yevgeny Vinokurov ("Sometimes I'd like to write a book / a book all about time..."). And we are trying somehow to give this book our elders, ancestors (who no longer need it). It is all wishful thinking, but I wonder if that what we know now, from trying to reconstruct this unwritten book, might have helped them. Has it helped me? Vinokurov says that the past and the future are one continuous present, that everybody, those who have lived, those living, and those who are yet to live, are alive now. So one grandfather is still working down the mine, another on a railway and a farm. According to the Russian, they are still labouring to support us long after they have disappeared. I wonder if that possibility, which I have tried to give as a gift, is a possibility worth entertaining, or a gift worth receiving. Last January I saw my grandfather (on my mother's side), the features retreating from his face, become unrecognizable. The pace at which he aged in his last three weeks seem comparable to the pace a child grows in his first.
The show seems based on a conceit, one that I consider has quite hopeful implications, but at times it feels unnecessary - as if I am trying to lighten a load that was born fairly and squarely - honourably - and without complaint.
Anyway - how can we ever measure up to these people? That isn't the point though, is it? The point is to show that impossibility. If ultimately the show is autobiographical, which many people I've talked to think it ultimately is, it is an autobiography of everything I am not or am unlikely to be - as modest, godly, hardy and independent as the grandfathers.
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Above is the promotional material by Mike Fallows at Manchester design Company a-to-m.com. Mike is one of the old gang, founder of Sometimes..., and it is always a pleasure to work with him.