I was reviewed by the Sheffield Last Laugh Comedy Club website as being something of a camp figure. There's no doubt that The Musical! requires both myself and my co-star to go camp for the laughs. However, I've never really considered myself camp. The conversation over lunch turned to the question of my purported campness. I was surprised that my luncheon chums agreed with the judgement. Apparently, I come across camp from time to time. Writing a musical, apparently, only adds to the body of evidence of my campness. I have no problem with the epithet - it's better for people to have an opinion of my behaviour than for me to be totally faceless.
Camp! Really! And a lot of the people I was talking to hadn't actually seen the musical. Believe me, the cross-dressing would have tipped them over the edge!
A busy day
It's been another busy. I can't quite put my finger on what I've done today. I know I've managed to piss someone off at work. I organised a whiteboarding session and my flippant description of what we'd be doing has clearly caused offence - albeit offence presented in a lighthearted way. The bottom line is that we can't afford to let our ego rule our work. Having said that, I suppose I'm indulging my own confidence by suggesting that what's gone before is in need of improvement. However, anyone should be able to do that, provided they offer a reasoned argument and are prepared to work to help things improve.
I have a sign above my desk which I made. It reads you are not your work. Just because you made something, it doesn't make that thing brilliant. If someone criticises the thing you've made, they're criticising that thing, not everything about you. I have had to read some harsh reviews on my performance and writing as a comedian and stager of The Musical!. I'll admit it. It's hard not to take these things personally. In some cases, reviewers (well, hacks on internet forums) have taken the opportunity of reviewing my act as an opportunity to attack me personally. I think one's justified in taking that personally, though knowing how to act under the circumstances is always trying.
I'll be clear. If you produce something that's dumb and I notice it, I'll want to tell you that it's dumb and needs changing. That's how I am. I will not compromise. What's the point? If something can't be changed, then leave it in its rotten state of inadequacy, but don't defend it. Some people would take feedback and assistance as an opportunity to improve. I hope I'm one of them. It took a certain amount of swallowing of my pride when we asked a director to help us polish our show between its London preview and taking it to Edinburgh. To look at changing that thing we'd created seemed to be to admit our failures... yet the fact that we did that made it a better show. So, what should the person who suggested we get a director have done? Should they have kept quiet?
Fair enough, people have feelings and there is such a thing as tact. In the office environment, though, I think that tact and diplomacy can foster an atmosphere of prima donnas and otherwise precious stakeholders. The more you have to tiptoe around people who might blow up if handled incorrectly, the more you're wasting your time. People are paid to do the best job they can under the circumstances. They're not paid to be happy. They're not paid to be friends. They are meant to act professionally and get along with each other and the job in hand. If this is not possible, then it's a distraction from doing the work in hand to have to deal with it.
I'm in a position at work where I have to be more diplomatic than I'm suggesting in this article. Perhaps some of the members of my team would not like to read this. If you are reading it guys (and gals), don't worry. I'm not actually some sort of thought-fascist. I see it as important for everyone in the team to get on and will do my best to keep people cheery and talking. I don't want to pander to people's sensitivities; I also don't intend to ignore them. The goals of the team are collective goals. Every individual member is important, but it's selfish for any individual to make their feelings an issue for the team. It's also a poor team that steams ahead and crushes anyone (member or otherwise) in its way.
Management is a tough job. Keeping people happy is too hard and is not a management goal. It is, in my opinion, rather cowardly management that seeks always to have buy in and happy campers (ooh, there's that "camp" thing again). Management is about leadership, knowing when to dictate and when to impel. Management is about facing problems, not sweeping them under the carpet, or hoping they'll go away in the end. Management is about facing down individuals and protecting the team.
Anyway. I've been beavering away today. The team seem in good spirits. We had lunch together. Another bloody meal out. My waist is suffering. I'm a big fat monster!
Er. A rehearsal. What a surprise. I'm now at home, where the washing up has been completed and where I'm listening to the Broadway cast of Chess doing a different version of the show (different plot) than the one I was in in March 2003. I've done a lot of performances since then.
The laundry is in severe need of attention.
I have a Douglas Adams book on the go. I think I'd like to spend some time with it.
The tetanus jab is hurting and itching less. Go me and my immune system. I should really try out my amazing powers of healing and uncover my slashed wrist.