Many years ago I stayed in Yorkshire with a friend. We were doing workshops in and around Bradford for a week or two and we stayed with his family in their large house. His Grandfather lived in the annexe but every morning at 8 AM, he would come into the large family kitchen, make himself a cup of tea and sit at the big oak table and read the paper. He was always washed, shaved and smartly dressed and looked very dapper. However, on the Friday morning, he came into the kitchen wearing his pyjamas and a dressing gown, he was unshaven and his hair awry; he made tea, sat at the old oak table and opened the local newspaper and started to read. Being a curious chap, I asked him if he was well. He said, “I’m alright now”.
“Oh”, I said, “why’s that?”
“I’m not in.”
“The obituaries,” he smiled, “I always check on a Friday. If I’m in, I won’t bother getting shaved and dressed.”
Well, that is sometimes how I feel. And … here I am; I’m “not in”. So, another year (if I’d realised I was going to live this long, I’d have looked after myself better when I was younger) and I think this year is going to be another exciting one. There are many new, and indeed, old things on the horizon. And speaking of horizons; I feel it is always good to do something that you have never done before (I’m not entirely sure what this segue has to do with horizons per se but stay with me for a minute). So, a few days ago, I did just that, did something that I’ve never done before … I am no longer a Skype virgin. I have Skyped! Now I know that for many, Skype-ing (not sure how to spell that one) is a regular occurrence, a daily affair but for me it was a first … and I was excited (my leg kept wobbling under the table). To be able to sit in my dining room with a laptop, a cup of tea and an iced fancy and chat to someone from the other side of the world (beyond the aforementioned horizon, tenuous link I know but it is the best I can do) and see, not only them but a part of their dining room too (nice chairs by the way) is surely an amazing thing. Technology! To be able to see someone smile, laugh at something you’ve just said that was amusing, pull a face when they are not quite sure what you’re on about … is … well, “flippin’ brilliant”. And to think that they are on the other side of the world … is “flippin’ flippin’ brilliant”.
This is me … Skype-ing. Having looked closely at the photo, it proves two things … 1). I’m obviously concentrating on something on the computer and 2). I’m right to be mildly surprised that I’ve made another year. The bags under my eyes would not fit in that little cage thing that airlines make you put your hand luggage in when you are going on a flight. The bags under my eyes will cost me a fortune next time I fly Ryanair …
So, after looking at the state of me, I’d better get a move on with all the projects that I want to complete over the next few years; lest it is all too late.
And why was I Skype-ing? Well, dear reader, I have a new chum; a new chum in Canada, no less. This chum is a Pugin-ophile; a Pugin-ophile amongst many other Pugin-ophiles in the aforementioned country who are interested in “The Man in the Wide-Awake Hat: Pugin’s Gothic Adventures” and, believe it or not dear reader, in yours truly Clive “Bagman” Holland. My new chum wanted to interview me about the show for an architectural/historical publication … and she couldn’t keep me quiet. We chatted for over an hour and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I still receive a great many enquiries about “The Man …”, mainly by e mail, telephone and people stopping me in the street, “when are you performing it again?” they ask. And I always answer soon … soon. It is the interest shown by so many people that spurs me on to re-create the show to tour later in the year (which was, as you all know, always the plan). The challenge that this provokes is, of course, money. I am about to put in a number of applications to various funding bodies to attempt to raise enough capital to make the project a viable proposition; they all, of course, require match funding. And so … and this is where you come in … I am about to make a short film that will be uploaded to Wefund or Indiegogo, or similar … these are platforms for fundraising for arts projects. I will let as many people know as is humanly possible when the film goes live and the idea then is, that wonderful people such as yourselves, pledge a small amount of money towards our target … if we reach the target, then we get the dosh. This lucre can then be used as match funding for the funding bodies mentioned earlier. With any luck, a following wind and a great deal of hard work … the play will be performed again! Huzzah!
There is a little video that lasts about two minutes and will give you a slightly fuzzy idea of what the play looks like. Have a peek and … watch this space!
Pugin will return!
There are a few other projects on the horizon too … watch out for “The Raree Box”, The return of Noggin the Nog, a new show about Edith Cavell, a Dream project … and a couple of others that are bubbling away.
See you back here soon!