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.
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