Seldom do I get the opportunity to genuinely do nothing, and that's exactly what I did on the weekend – the problem being of course that it's a difficult thing to blog about, seeing as how my blog is traditionally a list of stuff that I've been doing. How best to illustrate NOT doing anything? I'll give it a go though.

K and I went to Stoke-on-Trent (well actually Newcastle-under-Lyme, but nobody seems to have heard of that, so it's “Stoke”, for simplicity), and spent the weekend lying about in the sun, polishing off a few coldies, barbecuing a nice bit of steak (I've lucked out here – this girl knows how to prepare a steak!), reading, and watching the telly.


OK, so that was that.

Sunday night Wenz & I returned to Regents Park Open Air Theatre (sadly, without Jess, who's back in Melbourne) to see the beardy prophet, poet, philosopher & megalomaniac, Daniel Kitson. Joined once again by singer/songwriter Gavin Osborn for a presentation of what was less stand up comedy than a caring but sometimes scathing look at the celebration of some of life's simplicities. Entitled “It's the fireworks talking”, Kitson explored what fireworks mean to him – the memories they evoke, and the deeply touching moments which surrounded those memories. Each point in the journey was a tiny delicate personal flame of memory, which Kitson nurtured close to his chest but beckoned us in closer to examine. Such a personal deconstruction of simple experiences which shows how interwoven with memory and significance they are always brings me back down to earth – reminding me that though we (or I) spend our lives in the pursuit of bigger, better, more elaborate and exciting experiences, there's still so much beauty in the most seemingly mundane of instants, or how meaningful small gestures can be in the context of close relationships.

For all the beauty and prosaic empathy and brilliance that Kitson provides though, there's something gleefully egomaniacal about him, and I love the way he impatiently chastises those who don't have the capacity to appreciate the moment the way he does, or who screw it up for him, while at the same time purposefully turning a blind eye to the fact that his self indulgence in enjoying the moment possibly causes the same frustrations in others. An example I'm thinking of was his story about staying awake until 5am so he could walk on the new fallen snow in the park near his house: taking delight in each perfect footprint in the crunchy new snow, and remarking on how disappointing it is to see new snow with other peoples' footprints tracked across it.

The main theme he kept returning to was how special fireworks made him feel, and how the simple act of going into a corner shop & buying fireworks (the one shaped like a peanut, and then on the insistence of the shopowner, the one that was f-cking massive) imbued him with such a deep seated sense of anticipation & excitement that it caused him to stop & reflect on why they were so special to him, and how many other seemingly simple things we do & delight in stem from memories formed among our closest loved. It made me think of how I've developed a love of sparkling water (i.e. spring water with bubbles) at restaurants, because the bubbles remind me of being allowed to have soft drinks at my birthday parties – birthday parties being the day where everyone loves you and is happy, and you're surrounded by friends, and it's all nice & fluffy & wonderful. It doesn't explain why I don't really like actual soft drinks though, come to think of it.

The first half, with Daniel and Gavin, was a story told by Daniel and punctuated by tunes from Gavin, about a man catching a train and the conversation he was reluctantly dragged into by a lonely old man sitting next to him. This is exactly the kind of thing I love Daniel Kitson for, and at the same time am eternally frustrated that he never seems to record any of this stuff, because it was beautiful. “The most amazing love story ever told”, as described by the old man telling it, framed by the intricate and hilariously described mundanity of the train trip. You saw the young man on the train being drawn into the tale of the would be lovers, Grace and Roger, who grew up in rival towns separated by a river – once a single town but torn asunder when the bridge collapsed during a particularly rambunctious fight between the townsfolk; one side having the only bakery, and the other having the only butcher. Consequently the meat side had no idea what birds were, because the birds always went to the bread side to feast on the breadcrumbs. Breaking up the stories were little songs on misguided love, or the complications that people face in search of love: not comedy songs, but songs that make you smile or sigh gently as you empathise with what the protagonist must be feeling.

I knew I should have booked more tickets and taken more people along.

Anyway, that was yesterday. Today I got a phone call from my recruitment agent excitedly telling me that he'd figured out how to safely hammer 4-inch nails into his head.

2007-06-11 : Weekends are fun, even when you don’t do much.
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