Travels and travails

Down to Birmingham on Tuesday for a day’s meeting, back at teatime for the OOTB night at Edinburgh Rush, work as normal on Wednesday then a Houdini Box rehearsal, then another 5am rise on Thursday to go back to Birminham, and back for a meeting of the Queensferry Arts Festival committee. I was thinking it would be nice to have an evening with nothing particular to do, but tomorrow there’s a Houdinis gig and Saturday going to Derren Brown with Lyns and friends, and Pestilence.

There’s a new tower at Edinburgh Airport which resembles an Arabic drum, even to the diamond pattern. I’m quite open to Arabic images at the moment, reading a romantic novel set in Egypt and studying Arabic for 15-20m each morning at breakfast. My ambition is to understand 10% of Al Jazeera – either the spoken or the scrolling news ticker. So far I’ve picked out a couple of countries’ names and that’s about it. They’ll have launched their English channel before I’ve mastered enough. And yet when I meet Arabic speakers I’ve retained enough from my time in Egypt and my years working with Arabic-speaking students in Manchester to keep up a colloquial conversation, but it’s really a matter of assembling a chain of cliches, not really speaking the language. A’salaam aleikum.

The OOTB gig was good, with Julie King and William Douglas particularly knocking me out. (Actually I was already pretty knocked out from the early start and the flying, pouring coffee and water down my throat as my companions did pints).  I think for once I acquitted myself well, finding particularly good voice from somewhere for ‘Nicole’.

The H.Box rehearsal was a game of two halves, the first dithering, distorted, unco-ordinated, inattentive and poor, the second focused, dynamic, attentive, flowing and exciting. If we bring that spirit to the gig at the Left Bank tomorrow night it’ll be a blinder.

Thinking about ‘Romantic Fiction’ proceeds, even if work doesn’t. I gave Dave Watson the tracks so far and he obliged with a sound critique, whose recommendations I’m trying to follow, or will do when I get half an hour to myself.

Ma’a salaama.