Wednesday, 30 July 2008


I have started on the new play. Looks like I’ll be permanently chained to the kitchen sink from now on (in the drama scene that is… although HM rarely does the washing up).

My play is shaping up to have another element. It’s something that has cropped up over the weekend. I'd never really been exposed to the far middle class left until I started going out with HM. His entire family are all leftie hippy types that sound great in theory and are pretty good if you meet them. From my personal view it looks as screwy as a mixed race family who have elements of working class Britain and other cultures.

You see, we’ll start with what I’m utterly familiar with. I’m from a working class and foreign background. Singapore has no class system amongst the Chinese. Overall It has an implicit colour based one with is blatant and unchallenged. Its nothing like what you read in essays on Orientalism. It’s nothing implicit, its very, very real, openly talked about and followed by all. It goes Chinese and white at the top, Malay and Indian near the bottom, black at the very bottom. Chinese Singaporeans are also the most racist people you will ever meet. They will blatantly say things that you probably never would hear in England, especially not if you are middle class and leftie. They have an un-knockable belief that everyone else is mentally subnormal to them based on profession and an almost arrogant snobbery towards other Chinese from other places (China, Hong Kong, Vietnam etc).

Working class Britain is my home, really. I don’t mean really rough estates, just a kind of lower middle class / borderline working class type area. The type of people who would read the red topped tabloids and be a skilled tradesman like builders, plumbers and butchers. Its informal, its roast dinner on a Sunday, it votes conservative, it hates the polish, it’s the Royal Family. I think this is to be the physical world of the play.

On the other side we have the leftie middle class. This is the strangest, most alien part for me to write. It’s overtly relaxed and happy but has an overindulgence and spoiltness about it. Its hypocritical in nature, it’s biased towards males although it professes that it is not. To be honest in a lot of ways it is balanced towards the Singaporean, but has none of the obvious. One question that rises up is “is it better to be hypocritical about your prejudices or speak your mind?” at the moment I feel weighted that in theory its better to speak your mind… although in practice it rarely happens.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

24 Degrees

I went to London yesterday for the 24 degrees project based at The Royal Court.

I was probably the least experienced person there. It felt like everyone else considered themselves very professional. In short, I seemed a bit like a stuffed whale that had gone along for the ride. Thinking about work I have done… productions: 0, plays: 4, workshops: 3 (and one doesn’t count as it was at uni), experience: 0.

Firstly they went about the room and asked everyone to pinpoint one play/TV/film they had watched and why. I think I was the only person who said I liked to be entertained. I chose My Name is Earl for no reason other than its dead good. There was one other fella who liked Robin Williams’s films. I thought he was cool.

Secondly we were made to watch Funland, a BBC drama that actually looked watchable. It was written by someone who wrote The League of Gentlemen and Eastenders. Apart from being a shameless plug. It was a no accounts barred view of what they wanted.

We were then allocated into groups and instructed to talk about “our” city. My city being Nottingham, where I have never lived, nor where I know. I’ve lived in Leicester all my life. I had nothing to contribute.

Most people there had not even heard of Leicester.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Can’t stop eating

I've just had:

  • One ham and salad sarnie with thick tin loaf bread, walkers ham, tomatoes, cucumber and leafy frizzie lettuce
  • One cheese and salad sarnie, substituting the walkers ham with ASDA mature cheddar
  • One small slice of bread and butter
  • One pot of yoghurt
  • Three chocolate biscuits
  • Cup of tea

And this isn’t all day, oh no, this is in the last half hour on some strange eating binge.

In related news I found a pair of jeans that adjust to fit so I can stop wearing the terrible ones now.

In other news I have done no work on the play. Zilch, nothing, nana. I am faintly terrified that they will take one look at the pregnancy and tell me to go home on Wednesday as smug writers look on.

I also cannot think about the play as I have my first scan tomorrow and I find out dates, sex and baby or babies? Thrilling stuff.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Funky Beans

I want to move to a village called Hatherton in Leicestershire. Not only does it have an annual pie and bottle kicking excursion, but it holds a scarecrow festival in September of each year. However, its probably far too isolated, not nearly quirky enough for me and not quite as fun as Robbie Coltrane makes it sound on a Sunday afternoon.

In other news I seriously doubt the play. All my plays and things start off with an incoherent stream of symbolism, patterns, visuals and passages, the odd character and (if I am very lucky) a setting or complete first scene. This one is more random, less coherent, and more chaotic and with no direction or indication as to where it will go… and pen has not even reached paper yet!

I think the problem is that I do not feel the need or urgency of writing it, simply because no time has passed between this and Alcatraz. However there is a very real and physical urgency to write the play, even though a metaphorical or artistic one has not surfaced. Perhaps it has but I just have not seen what or where it lies yet?

Nevertheless it’s filling me with a very serious despondency about the play. I suppose that’s good for the mood of the whole piece. I looked at an advert in yesterday’s Guardian for three plays at The Royal Court today. They were entitled The Ugly One, Free Outgoing and Gone too Far. They all looked either kitchen sink inspired Indian family dramas, domestic violence comedies and BBC-Urban Yoof plays. Not exactly inspiring when you think about variety and spice in theatre. It’s similar to as if Ayub Khan Din was considered new and interesting and in-yer-face theatre was original in this day and age.

On the reading note I heard a very funny retelling of the nativity story last night which cheered me up a tad and Robin Johnson’s Broken Holmes script can keep me company on the way to London.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Rolling Pin

It’s kind of like you have a rolling pin and some dodgy pastry and you try your hardest to roll it out nice and flat before the Rudolph cookie cutter comes out from the draw.

I’m turning into a mummy.

I’m trying to sketch out an idea for the 24 Degrees. There are a few bits:

  • Character – a mother to be and a mother that is. Perhaps I should not write about pregnancy but seeing as I’ll be composing this play during my last bouts of freedom and my first pregnancy, it dominates my mindscape.
  • Phrases – “I’m pregnant, my life’s a mess, I’m gonna have to move back in with my mum” this notion but the mum spoken about is someone who isn’t mumsey.
  • The most convincing arguments in the mouths of the most loathsome characters – I must do this to not make it so 2d, although reality bears different. And I must do the opposite with my “nice” characters.
  • The father character – should I include a father of the unborn and a father of the mum2be? Perhaps they can be more similar.
  • Singapore – I really want to include the Singaporean notion of snobbishness and how this isn’t apparent. It’s something that you can only experience if you know Singaporeans. I need to capture their racism, sense of hierarchy and conservatism. I need to capture the attitude of how a place can exist where all the TV channels are government sanctioned and where it’s illegal to own a satellite dish, a place where homosexuality is still punishable by the death penalty, where Jehovah’s Witness-ism is illegal and their refusal to do national service also warrants the death penalty. In turn I need to balance this with home, the UK and how we whinge and moan but how really… we have it fucking lucky. I need to show how the UK and the sentiment of the people that live here is what saves us from crazy-rule like what Singapore has, and I need to question how the standard of living, in those strict confines, is far better then the standard of living here.
  • Kakalack – a scene where a cockroach crawls into the mouth of a sleeping man, and then out again. He awakens and crushes it. He awakes in the morning and sees it crushed. It is not a dream.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Blind Rage

I’m getting quite scared about this London thing. HM says “you’ll be fine”, but I’m apprehensive, I’m bound to be.

What if they hate me? I know it’s said in the whiniest voice, but I’ve had women look me from head to toe and simply say “you’re not for the BBC.”

I suppose the best thing to do is think of these few things and grasp onto them like your falling down Old John and you seriously hope bracken will break your fall!

“The Royal Court is the perfect theatre for you and I think they’ll love your work. Well, they clearly do, which is why they’ve picked you! Don’t feel any expectations or pressure, just be yourself and do what you do. The whole point of a programmed like this is to help writers grow and develop,”

Amanda Whittington

I think it’s a good thing to sometimes find yourself daunted by your work, otherwise it becomes too easy, you grow lazy, and you’re probably not doing your best.”

J.W. Bennett

Yeah, never thought I’d be quoting bits of James’s Blog! It’s got that bad!

Weirdly enough I haven’t bothered on the questions yet. I’ve had three days with the most aggressive, bitter, emotionally retarded woman I know. Amah smith came to visit. Oh she does my nut in. it’s strange how the emphasis is often on boys and fathers, my dad and my brother get on fine, me and my dad get on fine, however nobody gets on with my mother, not even her brothers and sisters… I suppose it’s because she ahs the double curse of being born in the year of the dragon and a two faced Gemini.

Oooohh! I’m going to boil in my rage!!!!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Mildly Endearing

I've just been told that the noises I make when eating is currently "mildly endearing" but will drop down to "downright irritating" after 20 years.

This worries me. What if after a few years his volume becomes irritating? HM is possibly the most annoying person on the planet and goes out of his way to be. He is a very strange young man. His CD collection has a copy of "the Smurfs go Pop" and he thinks the Crazy Frog is a good idea. Babyworp is fairly coherient when daddy comes home and has his autistic tourretes

Wednesday, 9 July 2008


I’ve slept for nearly 12 hours deciding to go to bed and 11 and then subsequently waking at 11. HM tried to wake me this morning, I remember it but he didn’t succeed. I think I may have sneezed on him.

The Royal Court thing is really getting to me now. To be honest I thought it was just a theatre that produced new plays with a fancy name in London. To be honest, I’ve only just got in on this thing thanks to Emma Rosoman being a mate and bigging me up. I have the sliding suspicion that I may blow it.

I have been roped into helping Ladyfest Leicester do a disco night somewhere. Sounds fun if we manage to pull it off. Something for me to do except regretting that I grew no courgettes from seed this year.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


I’ve been picked up from the slush pile and inserted into the anal recesses of The Royal Court and The BBC in one big gesture that cements “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.

In short I’m on the 24 Degrees Programme thanks to an unfair advantage that results in me skipping the selection process that everyone (or I at least hope everyone) else needed to do. I get £500 which, to be fair, I need more than most at the moment.

Anyhoo, this is my brainstormed brief that I need to get some loose answers to by the 23rd of July:

  • What might 24 Degree’s mean to you?
  • What do you most want to write about?
  • What do you enjoy watching?
  • What’s missing from the (stage or broadcast) work you see?
  • What do you want to get off your chest?
  • Can you show us your world (real or imagined) in 3D?

Answers on a postcard please. Q5’s answer is not “hair”.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

It's not much fun

My left arm feels faintly funny. four test tubes of blood were taken from it today and it feels dead and heavy, I’m sure its not considered good practice to remove this much blood from a pregnant woman.

A friend of mine informed me today that:

“[she is] queen of Maggots now, 3 pigeons died in our extractor fan so our kitchen became showered in maggots! Thus we are moving…”

Talking about unhygienic, we seem to have more than our fair share of flies in the house, the wheelie bin has become stinky in the July heat and the drains occasionally smell. I think the most unhygienic-hygienic thing that we have going is the compost bin.

HM is getting all weird about Down syndrome and testing. I suppose he has a point. They do one test that shows if you are at high risk for having anything like that and then back it up with another test (if you are high risk – high risk meaning 1:250) that has a 1:100 chance of inducing a miscarriage. To be fair the mere thought of a nine inch needle stuck into my pregnant stomach is enough to make me have a miscarriage. HM says he doesn’t like me talking about it, or about the ritual blood-letting I was subjected to this morning. If he’s going to be like this then what’s he going to be like at the birth?