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Saturday, September 13

I have three interests, so it would seem. In no particular order, these are comedy, music and computers. In each category, I get involved as deeply as I can and try to acquire as much background knowledge as I can without getting bored. I like to know how things work. I like to know who is who, what connects to what... it's the sheer quantity of detail that you can get to know which I find incredibly inspiring, while astoundingly individually trivial.

I have no idea if I am talented in any of the fields I involve myself with. I fear that the only thing I have any natural talent for is computing, and the fact that I do that for a living, and write freelance on the subject, means that my enthusiasm for the subject is replaced by more of a work ethic. At the moment, work ethics come second to hobby ethics. That means that the work gets done, but gets forgotten when I'm not doing it. So, computing, even if it is the only thing I'm really any good at, is still taking more of a back seat in my life.

My passion for comedy is soon to be demonstrated when I embark on my next 10 comedy gigs, these will be performed in a 5 week period - not bad considering the fact that I managed only 10 gigs in a 3 week period during the Edinburgh festival, and everything was within 30 minutes' walk, rather than 3 hours' driving. I love conceiving and performing comedy routines - I'm actually quite enjoying the few comedy songs that I can conjure up too. Indeed, my act is going more musical.

This whole "let's do it as a musical" approach is also hardly a surprise. My life has revolved around musicals for the last year. I am sitting in a room with approximately 90 CD recordings of various musicals' soundtracks. A year ago, I was only just into double figures. So I can buy CD's... big deal. Yes, but in the last year I've co-written a show. I've also conceived another 4 musicals of which two I'm in the process of writing in some form or other. I've appeared in 2 musicals (a total of 8 months' rehearsal time involved). I'm rehearsing a 3rd. I've worked backstage on two others. I've been to see maybe a dozen professional productions of musicals and several amateur productions (largely during the festival). I've read books, looked at websites and become strangely infatuated with the whole artform.

So what does this mean to me in day to day life? Well, it means that my mind is frequently drifting around in the world of performing arts. I will often end an evening out having found myself in deep conversation with someone on the subject of their favourite musical. I need to recognise this fact and do something about it. So I have. Today I have spoken to a hell of a lot of people on the subject of musicals. Indeed, I spent approximately 6 hours talking to approximately 100 different people on the subject. Why? Well, I'm setting up a society at the student union for the very purpose of creating and understanding works of musical theatre. Perhaps I've found a niche? Or at least I've found a forum why my own fetish for musicals seems appropriate. From the people I've spoken to today, I could form an orchestra, or chorus, or perhaps a small dance troupe. Quite whether I'd get that far is another matter.

Tonight I watched Guys and Dolls (a musical of course). This is a show whose music I knew, but whose plot I didn't. I saw the movie version - it's been kicking around my place for a few months, but I finally sat myself down to view it. I'm glad I bought it. It was absolutely fantastic. Jean Simmons, as the Salvation Army-style leader, looked familiar and I've just looked her up on IMDB and realised why. I last looked her up after watching Spartacus. At that time I don't think I scrolled down to discover that she was also in Guys and Dolls. Indeed, I don't recall Stanley Kubrick as bring the director of Spartacus when I watched it. It's amazing how these things suddenly seem interesting - Mr Kubrick was, of course, the director of the film I watched the other day - Dr Strangelove - a film I was greatly enamoured of - the precision of its construction was amazing and a lesson in writing and filmmaking. And the final link in the chain of musicals, directors, actresses and my obsession for pointless trivia. Well, I just bought a CD online - Jeff Wayne's musical version of Spartacus. So it all links back to musicals...

I'd just like to point out that these are actually meaningless and tenuous links. If I were a bit of a mentalist, I might start to conceive conspiracy theories around the subject of how it's all linked in a suspicious way and is part of some mind control thing, making me buy CDs and DVDs. In fact it's clear why it's all linked up - the world of performance is, quite necessarily, incestuous, and it's often the case that the talent rises to the position of most prominence. Perhaps my ability to ride the crests of the waves of hollywood talent in my choice viewing is an indication of how discerning I am, or maybe how broad a church my tastes have become.

Interestingly (to me that is), I considered Spartacus a very rich source of material for a musical when I watched it. I hope that the version of Spartacus by Jeff Wayne (who also did a musical of War of the Worlds - hey, wait, that's an H.G. Wells, novel - I know someone else who wrote a musical based on an H.G. Wells novel [me and Chris] - sorry, still no conspiracy there) is as inspiring as his previous work.

Right. I'd better go. I'm starting to sound dangerous.

I have had a good day, though, which makes a change this week.


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