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Wednesday 25th June 2014

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If that pigeon under my sun lounger was somehow representative of my creative process, then it’s bad news I am afraid. It hadn’t flown away at all. It had just wandered (or been dragged) behind our barbecue, where fortunately my mother-in-law discovered it today. It might have been out there for a while otherwise as with all that’s going on we’re unlikely to be spending much time in the garden. So if you believe in portents, as the Russian royal family certainly did (much good as it did them) then that’s really not good.
But as I was trying to write at the time, it did mean my mother-in-law dealt with the cadaver so I still count that as a victory. I didn’t have to pick it up. If this is all a living (and dying) metaphor does that mean I should get my mother-in-law to write the play? Perhaps. I might do that anyway. I'd really like to see how it turned out if she took over.
We have three of the cast confirmed now, which is a slight weight off my mind, but still working on the others, which is making me feel a bit sick. Whilst all logic said I should rush onwards with the end of the play so we’d have more of a script to show prospective actors, my brain seized up a bit (like a bird with rigor mortis) and I felt like curling up behind a barbecue. 
The creative process is a weird, horrible and illogical thing and I have got beyond questioning its ways. But maybe I needed an afternoon of wallowing in the Hell of all the things that could go wrong and doubting everything about my ability to do anything. Typically things started flowing again an hour or so before I needed to drive off for tonight’s stand up preview. I am pretty confident that there will be a decent first draft ready in time for the first rehearsal on Monday. Will there be a full cast though? Will I end up being roped into this thing to perform? I really don’t want to.
Remarkably the Lord of the Dance Settee is flourishing quietly without me having to do anything at all. Just from the dozen or so run throughs I’ve done, I already have a fair amount of it learned and I am managing to plug the gaps and weaker bits up as I perform them. I really enjoyed the show tonight. It seems unfair that it is in such good shape when I have been working so hard on the other project. Homer Simpson was right. The lesson is: never try. 

I listened to the news on my car radio on the way back from the gig. They were talking about the fact that Wonga had sent out fake lawyer letters to its customers to try to scare them into paying and was now being fined. It's hard not to be delighted. The representative from Wonga said something along the lines of, "This has not been a proud day for Wonga." I wondered if there ever is a proud day if you work at Wonga though. Do you ever end your shift, punching the air, feeling you've made the world a better place, by arranging loans with large interest rates for the poorest people? I would have thought you'd have to shower and scrub yourself every single night as you vomited down the plughole and pushed the vomit down with your foot and then you wouldn't bother to clean the vomit residue from between your toes, feeling it was fitting that you ended up with vomit feet for all the evil you had done.

I imagine some of the Wonga executives do end days feeling proud of how much money they've made, but I doubt that once you've got to that place where you think it's OK to prey on the poor that you ever feel shame for anything. I suspect it was a proud day for them when they came up with the false laywer letter idea.

This and the phone-hacking story show how easy it is for people to detach themselves from any feelings of morality or empathy and just concentrate on how best to make money or stories, regardless of the impact on other human beings. Maybe it's naive to think that that's not going to happen, but a society with that kind of rottenness at its core is not in good shape. The fact that Wonga exists at all should be enough cause for disgust. Who can be surprised that people who are happy to provide this "service" would then tell lies to get more money?

And with phone hackers welcomed into the heart of government (and you don't have to be a political genius to understand the implications of what was going on there re Murdoch's influence on everything) it's hard not to conclude that one good tap will bring this society crumbling to dust.

Maybe I'm reading too much about pre-revolutionary Russia. Or maybe they're not reading enough about it.

Have a good day.



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My new stand up show, Lord of the Dance Settee will be on at the George Sq Theatre at 10.45pm every night of the Edinburgh Fringe Buy tickets here.
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