As you sit reading this, I’ll have two weeks to go until the premiere of our next theatre production, ‘Shakespear’s Women’ (See G2 in InOut for details). At this point in the proceedings, we always think that’s there’s far much to do and that it’ll never get done and that time is running out. Well, maybe this time I’ll be less worried than usual, as after all, it’s only a play: a piece of make-believe. The reason I am being more philosophical about it all is because I heard some sad news recently about one of my closest friends who has been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. That’s right, the same one as Wilco Johnson, the energetic lead guitarist of Dr Feelgood, who’s planning a real ‘farewell tour’, after which he will not be able to make another.
If you cast your minds back, that illness also claimed Bill Hicks, a truly great comedian who told the world in no uncertain terms what he thought was wrong with it. He shuffled off this mortal coil in 1994 at the tender age of 33, and the world sadly hasn’t changed much. It still seems to be controlled by advertising men, bankers, mediocrity and greed. “Keep people stupid and apathetic,” was one of Bill Hicks’s mantras.
Take a quick look at what’s on the TV any night (apart from football, of course) and realise that he was right. ‘X-Factor’ type mediocrity has a very large audience. Theatres all over the country have a hard time getting an audience on Fridays because of it. I remember when the weekends used to be the busiest nights at the theatre. No longer it would seem. We can’t compete with the manipulative, idiotic drivel that it seems the people want … (My own family watch it! Scream!!) I can’t. I put on headphones and listen to some good music, recorded by people with real talent instead. Alright, an occasional true talent is unearthed on ‘X Factor’, but Denmark’s pool of potential Pavarottis is very shallow. Perhaps the producers (in league with the devil obviously) might consider presenting this programme once every five years? Just a suggestion.
Our play is on until 23 March. I’m nervous and excited. I want to go and see my friend before it’s too late and have to wait until the end of the run to do so. Maybe you and your friends have morbidly wondered who’ll be the first? Time’s a running. Carpe diem eh?