Highlights of The Week

It’s been a  week of rehearsals for Something Dark my  play which I am taking to
South Africa next week. Each day I have biked through East London’s Bethnal
Green and Shoreditch to Toynbee Studios.   Highlights include seeing Sinta Tantra the ascending art star  outside a gallery  in Bethnal Green. I got a sneaky view of her
exhibition as it was being dismantled after a successful run.

I saw Lost In The Stars a musical piece recorded by radio three and directed by Jude Kelly with casting by mary King.  It was beautiful.  Though Tim Ashley of the guardian did an offensive job of coughing at key quiet moments Lost In The Stars was an uplififting night.  I met a gentle heroine of mine – Cathy Tyson a wonderful actor who recently  visited Ethiopia and whom I have secretly been a fan of for many years. She said she was a fan of
mine too. But I am sure she was just being nice.   

The great artist Michael Jackson passed away. My relationship with him won’t change in that I never knew him but his work through the medium of tv and radio shall continue as it did before.  Our entire relationship to death has changed since TV and film. On Saturday  John McGrath director of the national theatre of Wales  came to give his final directions on Something Dark. In the evening I went with the journalist to Buen Ayre an Argentinian eatery in  broadway market. My steak was the size of Manchester;  a great night to end the week.

The Highlight of my week  has been rehearsals. Something Dark is my true life story. Revisiting it is like finding an old friend.   I am taking it to South Africa next week which is like an old friend too. 

1 thought on “Highlights of The Week

  1. Hi Lemn,
    Hope all goes well in South Africa.
    One of the things I thought of on Thursday eve with the news of M.J's death was a line from one of your poems. It rang true when I first heard it as it gave that notorious nose-job a stark social context. Those collisions between the social and the personal linger in the air now with his final stage exit. His legacy is complex, he was awesome as an artist a giant on the world stage yet his vulnerability was so palpable.
    It's no surprise that his sudden death came as collective jolt, causing google to crash as millions of people searched online for traces of him, but in fact only his physical death came suddenly his demise had been painfully slow, public and tragic, something Obama saliently referenced in his comment.
    P.Diddy also had it right with “he made me believe in magic”. I too searched online and found the best articles to be by Gary Younge and Germaine Greer. Greer's was really inspired and heartfelt 'This is about a beautiful Boy' and Younge's 'We span, shuffled and combed our hair up high' (in imitation of Jackson 5) was the most incisive and real, touching on the 'degredation of his physignomy' that as a black man he had disappeared in full view, which is echoed by that line from one of your poems Lemn, appalled at 'Micheal Jackson's cicumcised nose'.
    All this matters, because he was as we all are, both individual and collective. His life lived far out on a world stage utterly exposed from a tender age endowed with an uncanny, unique artistic insight way beyond his years. He inspired everyone his artistry touched, and through sheer force of his trail-blazing brilliance he carried forward the aspirations of many and not least those within his own race. Yet within the beauty, the passion of him as a person and an artist seethed a sort of self-loathing, that wouldn't abate with popular acclaim, it became expressed as a warped desire to self-create, and in so doing destroy, hence his inner pain and confusion were worn mask-like upon that strange visage.
    Paradoxically, as an artist he was so loved, making spirits soar, hearts sing with his breathtaking magic and artistry edgy groundbreaking stuff and deeply soulful. Being American and the first breakthrough black artist on MTV meant his reach and his influence were widespread, and he always aimed to soar. Yet as an individual the irreconcilable tensions of his journey gave the lie to that flawless pop presentation he was human, all too human.

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