The annual Salon for affiliated artists of the Merlin theatre coincided with the heaviest snow seen in the southwest for 18 years, a fact of special significance as our venue was the Bath Arms, a charmingly eccentric hostelry on the Longleat estate... delightful for rambling in the forest but disconcerting when the track to the main road glazed into a skating rink.
We talked, among other associated artistic things, of the influence of social networking filters on modes of learning. By coincidence or zeitgeist, I'd been listening last week to Rupert Sheldrake on the radio propounding something similar with reference to the whole of nature. Not that crystals or creatures have social networking sites, but that they evolve, as we do, through collective memory. 'The laws of nature didn't spring into being fully formed at the moment of the Big Bang, like a kind of cosmic Napoleonic code,' he says: 'Through morphic resonance, the patterns of activity in self-organizing systems are influenced by similar patterns in the past, giving each species a collective memory.' So they're not actually laws, just habits. Sheldrake's classic A New Science of life was tagged by one reviewer "the best candidate for burning there has been for many years" when first published, which brings me neatly on to censorship and Jaqueline Wilson.
Yes, amazingly, the Children's Laureate and Queen-Mum of young fiction faced removal from the shelves of Asda until her publishers agreed to change the word 'twat' to 'twit' in her new book My Sister Jodie. Over 150,000 copies were already sold, apparently, before 3 complaints came to light. Who are these prits, winkers, and siddoes, one wonders.
Back On the Edge, rehearsals are increasingly fascinating. On Wednesday we were in the tiny Upstairs Theatre at the Lansdown, snow whirling outside, and I quizzed Ollie about how to become a character - or in his case two characters in the same scene, which needs different-coloured highlighters for a start. He learns his lines as a monologue because, he says sensibly, he wouldn't know what other people are going to say. His process is to decide what the character wants, what's stopping him, and what would happen if he can't get it. When he's got these intentions, he works line by line to decide emotional action. Thrilling to watch the drama emerging from its script chrysalis - Venue magazine has previewed our production and tagged it as their Choice in the listing, but there's more snow forecast for the first night...