‘L’Enfant’ – Vangelis
The day began with Miranda and me getting drunk in her room after the pub.
We went to bed together – naked. In bed we kissed tonnes and loads and years. And we touched.
‘Wrong time of the month, though,’ she says.
I didn’t tell her that I actually don’t want to have sex with her. I just wanted the touching and affection.
We slept and then awoke this morning in each other’s arms.
‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ – The Beatles
Well, it’s good to be here (and listening to THE BEATLES, of course). No real cares or worries to bug me, except that I probably won’t get that Library Assistant’s job. Then there’s my UCCA clearing forms, which need to be sorted out. Suddenly university is clicking with my crazy mind again just now. I’d like to do Art, English Language and Theatre. But I don’t suppose I ever will. Actually, I may even attempt a language course – not in an establishment, though. I fancy ‘teaching myself’ German. I want to be ready for 1992. Assuming we all live that long. Mind you, things were a bit dull in the Gulf last time I checked. But that’s almost two days ago…
I wish I knew where my life was going. Miranda said to me today, ‘It’s September tomorrow’. It’s still may, to me. Nothing worth thinking about, nothing truly earth-shattering has happened to me to tell me that the months have progressed. May was the last time I looked at my watch, as it were.
I want to make some kind of impact with my life. I want success and recognition for the creation of great work; I want to be part of the poetry of our time. I want to be a contemporary voice. I’d even love to be a ‘star’ with fame and riches, but I’m willing to start at the bottom and work my way up. Oh! I am! I’d love to combine my fortes somehow: my writing, my artwork, my theatre (even my lyrics and ‘music’).
I suppose that bugs me. Even though I can’t play an instrument or read/write music, I think I’m pretty good at creating tunes. Some of the stuff I came up with for DARK IS DESIRE and SUGARBLOOD was brilliant, I think. I’d apologise for being arrogant about that, but I’m just being honest. I love some of those songs. So does Ash, who is a way better musician than I will ever be.
‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’ – The Beatles
I’d love to do something epic with the things I can do – and I’m sure it would probably end up being a bit avant-garde. But that’s probably going to be an impossibility. As a working class child of the post-‘60s revolution, I am hemmed in by free-expression’s unexpected barriers. As someone who has reached the maturity to express his ideas in the ‘80s/’90s – a walking, breathing bit of pop culture – I am just another victim of there simply being nothing much left that could ever be original. I could be wrong, but I suspect that it must have been easier to formulate new creative ideas in the ‘60s and ‘70s. But now it just feels like everything’s been done. The challenge then is to rise above all that…
Perhaps the most ‘artistic’ and ‘original’ I ever got was… Well, I was going to say MANSFIELD PARK, but THECHINESE PLAY strikes me as well. Perhaps I’m trying to pursue a career in the correct profession after all? Even if the ‘style’ of MANSFIELD PARK was based on one single Berkhoffian premise, I think I ultimately made it my own; not Berkhoff’s, not Goodgirl’s and probably not even Jane Austen’s. The review testified to that when the journalist (an Austen fan) said he preferred my somewhat ‘gothic’ ending to Austen’s rushed original (which I personally believe to be a pathetic cop-out of an ending). I did a lot with a very thin, incoherent and feeble script. The combination of make-up, performance style (paying only lip service to Berkhoff in the end), set, music (I opted for slowed down, moody synthesiser stuff) all made for a great theatrical experience – and an unexpected one, but one that captivated even the old biddies who came along expecting a BBC costume drama. And let’s not forget my twisting of some of Jonny Badcock’s ‘HENRY CRAWFORD’ lines into something far more sinister, with not a little gallows humour…
‘Cursum Perficio’ – Enya
THE CHINESE PLAY, of course, was quite different. A cartoon performance style (cultivated in my mind in a single afternoon). The production’s only failing, I believe, is that the cast weren’t up to it (including Jonny, although he did a great job). As a piece of work it was very surreal and it required you to interpret and analyse what you were seeing – which is what I like when I watch something. I wanted people to wonder what was actually going on; what the fuck was real and what wasn’t. I didn’t want viewers ever to be certain or secure; which is what the play was all about. Thematic unity, I think they call it. Underneath the knowing mockery of the teenage experience (real and fantasy), I was saying ‘Don’t hassle the kids too much – think about what they’re going through with all their chemical changes, their insecurity and paranoia. It was important that the character of ‘Flash’ was somehow in isolation from everyone else performance-wise. We had to feel his sense that the world was somehow against him. All the other characters, including ‘Ritch’ were there to somehow impede his progression to happiness. Putting ‘Flash’ into situations he had no hope of comprehending was meant as a means of mirroring the adolescent experience. By that token, though I used my best friend Flash as a model for the main character, the play itself is semi-autobiographical in other ways than the obvious ones and ‘Flash’ is really me (though not written as me in order to avoid any personal embarrassment).
‘Blade Runner End Titles’ – Vangelis
My MANSFIELD caricatures society: the family, our sense of community, etc. In some sympathy with THE CHINESE PLAY, all the characters are presented as grotesques, parodies – all except ‘Fanny Price’ (alone, like ‘Flash’ in a world of freaks and weirdoes, full of shortcoming that only she can see). They see themselves as perfect and ‘Fanny’ is the one who’s all wrong in their eyes. They want her to conform, but she refuses to, until finally she fails in her struggle and succumbs. Like all of us, striving to preserve our sense of individuality, she realises she must hold onto herself by appearing to have conformed, thus gaining the support and respect of others who she then uses in the hope that they will come to unwittingly accept her hidden individuality. And this is me, in 1989, when I cut all the goth hair off and started to dress in a conformist way. As soon as I did, people opened up to me. When, some months later, I turned back to something more ‘alternative’, they still supported me. That said, I was now more like them than I had been. The individual struggle against mass absorption is a difficult one, emotionally, and it’s not always clear who ‘wins’ however things turn out. I still don’t know if I will. ‘Fanny Price’ didn’t, she ultimately became one of ‘them’.
There are other things in my MANSFIELD that take it far beyond the two-dimensional. ‘Fanny’ is the struggling individual and the BERTRAMS (despite their individual tics) are a single, unified entity: what to become/what not to become. The CRAWFORDS represent those that believe themselves to be unique, but by their sheer number prove they are not; they are just another mass. In the end it becomes all about one homogenised gestalt trying to get rid of another homogenised gestalt, using ‘Fanny’ as a weapon.
My MANSFIELD was many things. My life, largely. THE PRISONER is also in there somewhere (just as it was in THE CHINESE PLAY), and, with hindsight it has some similarities to – or makes sense of me very much liking – Alan Moore’s V FOR VENDETTA and John Lennon’s ‘WORKING CLASS HERO’.
‘But first you must learn how to smile as you kill…’
‘Working Class Hero’ – John Lennon
‘You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away’ – The Beatles
Hello. I’ve been out. And then I came back.
Miranda’s working today (12pm – 7pm). Good. If we were constantly together it’d be shite. So I’ve been out and I’m glad I have.
Image of me in tassel jacket drawing
I went to a place called ALBERT ROAD, full of antique + junk shops.
I got three Beatles LPs (from various places) for a total of 11 quid.
I got an original (if battered) edition of HELP!...
…an original YELLOW SUBMARINE…
…and RUBBER SOUL.
I’m chuffed to buggery.
‘Help!’ – The Beatles
It can get depressing staying at people’s places. They all have these (forgive me) dingy ‘student pads’.
I never want to live in one of these. I’m probably bound to one day, but please, no.
I want to move away from East Anglia, of course, but not into this kind of dingy shite. Life would be much more – infinitely, in fact – depressing.
‘Helter Skelter’ – The Beatles
AND GETTING BACK to my theatrical reminiscing, FRANKENSTEIN was to have continued my need to express ideas that go beyond the obvious drama of the script. I had hoped it would be a more commercially ‘green’ piece. My ingenuity, I had hoped, would be getting people in to see a ‘gothic’ drama, full of spectacle and thrills, then delicately lacing it with a message about man’s abuse of nature.
‘The Tao of Love’ – Vangelis
My appetite has waned. I didn’t eat yesterday and I have barely eaten anything today.
I feel ill, possibly as a consequence or perhaps the two came as a package? I feel light-headed, dizzy and all that. My mood’s gone right off.
I’m going through something at the moment, but I don’t know what it is. Like I’m ‘shedding a skin’, I think. I can’t tell if my mind’s taking over my body or if my body’s taking over my mind. Like in the pub tonite (a crap pub called The Bold Conqueror or something – not as good as yesterday’s pub) and it feels as if my body language, my very movements are no longer my own. I feel fidgety, restless – constantly moving with nervous energy – like I’m on speed or something (which I’m not and never have been). It’s bloody weird.
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Next time: ‘With The Beatles…’