29 Aug 2009

 Tonight started with a show at the Forest Cafe. My old mate from squatting days in London, Matt (Bowyer) is in town. Usually Matt's acting on the stage or in front of the camera, but for the past week he's been working the faders for Station House Opera. He knew the performer who'd got a 4-star review the night before, so we were feeling optimistic. The audience was a mix of hysterical students, culture vultures and bemused parents. Sat next to us was a fifty year old translucent Goth in open-toed sandals and white tube socks. Precariously perched on his pate was a testament to the remarkable fixative powers of Elnette. He was reviewing the show for some on-line magazine that we'd never heard of and now wouldn't subscribe to. The show was free, the laudable policy of the Forest
 The applause fell like summons. co-operative; just give an appropriate donation. But the show was bad, 4-star bad. I'd have gladly paid not to have endured the relentless onslaught of public humiliation. For the duration of the performance we sat thinking what we'd do if we were sentenced- shoot first. If it wasn't for Matt's misplaced sense of loyalty we'd have high-tailed it long ago.

 Next stop- the British Council party at The Mansfield Traquair Trust, a beautifully restored Catholic Apostolic church at the foot of Broughton Street. Cliques of artist and dignitaries orbited the vast nave as the PA smashed school-prom-pop off Traquairs exquisite murals. The young things danced like Simon Cowell was judging whilst the adults flayaled like science teachers. The sonic debris rained down like flak, massacring any conversation. After an hour of being evaluated I'd witnessed enough.
 I decided to break-up the retreat via the Forest Cafe and found Tom (Morris) holding court. On the rare occasions we meet Tom always loves to berate me in public and, tonight was to be no different. So that he doesn't have to keep recalling the story I'll tell you it now-

  You see, Tom blames me for steering him off course and landing him where his. It was 1995, he had his career mapped out and prospects were good, but he had a dilemma. Tom had taken a long shot and applied for a lofty post at a prestigious but waning theatre. He didn't know if it was the right thing to do but gave it a punt anyway. To his astonishment he had just found out that he'd been selected for an interview the next day in London - problem. We were in Singapadu, Bali, dining out on a menu of dragonflies and bee grubs - the boat didn't sail for another 4 days. He consoled himself in the delusion that he'd never get such an eminent position at his age and with his lack of experience. Besides, they'd have to reconvene just for him, it was never going to happen. How did he know they wouldn't give him an interview? I told him to extract his pontificating finger out of his postulating backside and get word to them, what did he have to lose? He found a telex machine in the jungle and sent a message explaining the circumstances.

Tom got back to London and yes, they reconvened, and yes; he got the job. I've watched on as his illustrious career has soared. He is now the new Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic and Associate Director of the National Theatre.
 I apologised to his somewhat bemused company for being the cause of his predicament. Conversation turned to the show they'd just seen. I remarked how brilliant the performer was but, because he's a freakin' lunatic on stage, remarked you wouldn't want to live with him. One of his guests tensed and fixed her glare on me "what do you mean- precisely?"
 She was his ex and he was on his way, and I was out of there.


Gavin Evans | MySpace Video

 A 30 minute audio recording made back in 1995, Singapadu, Bali. A circle of men, divided into two opposing groups, chant the Ketcha. The performance took place next to a road as tut-tuts put-putted by. It was a hot and tortuously humid night. The heavens opened but didn't dampen the spirits.

12.30 Saturday night. The phosphors and the phosphenes are fusing - time to set the computers to standby. I'm on course for six hours flat when the phone rings. Sally(Homer) is tempting me from the other side, she has an innate talent for knowing the whereabouts of a good time. A group of Dutch comedians she's been publicising were having a party and the absurdist Hans Teeuwen would be there. I'm sold so I reset my coordinates for the front door and slip into the night. Entering the destination into my phone I set sail and let Captain GPS guide me to port. This night Cptn GPS had too much cyber-rum and couldn't decide which road to dock. I looked like Pac-Man, pacing back-and-forth, illuminated by the glow of the screen. A cabby came to my rescue with The Knowledge and the Captain walked the plank.
 This was Edinburgh Polite Society cordoned by laser wire. A hotel clings to one corner of the avenue a like a defiant carbuncle. At weekends it's pre-marital contents slosh out of the bar, arms locked together for balance, as they serenade the Merchiston curtain-twitchers. 

After several attempts on the bell a face from a Breugel canvas beckons me in. In synchronicity his moustache signs his name- Evan(McHugh). Evan's a comedian, the only comedian not of Dutch extraction- he's an Aussie-Scot. I followed him up to the action.

On the stairs I'm introduced to Wilbert (Han's technician)- a dude with rock-roadie-charisma and clothes that screamed out for cowboy boots. We kept scaling the Axminster until we reached the summit. Taking a deep breath I take the plunge. I had crashed a de-briefing session. The room was littered with spent comedians on the come-down from last night performances. They welcomed me warmly with "Hay's" and introduced themselves like a primary class roster. 

Hans(Teeuwen) is holding court, squeezing the last laugh out of every vowel, still unable to face the comedown. Hans scats with Bird as Charlie Parker crackles through the laptop's speakers. I'd seen Hans a couple of weeks ago and found his humour a breath of fresh air. In a world where alternative comedy seems to have become paradoxically homogenised it takes someone like Hans to be the prick that bursts the soap bubble.

Wrapped around him, like a freshly plucked feather boa, clung his chick Eva. She'd walked straight off the set of a Renault ad and Han's was not Papa. Eva was the prize of rock gods- half his age, painfully perfect and in full bloom.

Leaning out of the four storey window, infusing the night air with blue smoke was Live Producer Laura (Clarke).

Martijn (Koning) began to obsess over 'touch'. What started out as an innocuous request had turned into a revelatory monster. He kept reading meaning in the images, extrapolating until the frustration welled in his forehead.

Kees(Van Amstel) used the hand for comic effect.

Everyone reveled in Martijn's astonishment when the photographs were set to 'slide show'. They gasped and howled as they analysed each other's revealing response to 'touch'. At 5.30 I reversed out of the cab and suggested that Hans should call me if he ever needed my professional services. Eva's purr turned to a growl as she tightened her claws. "What?" she snarled.

I forgot in the cava haze that she was a photographer too - and she had exclusive rights.