Tuesday, September 25, 2012

March 2011. The Independent publishes a picture of a vandalised water-tank beside the Pacific highway near Los Angeles and investigates why this sparked furore and may - or may not - have made a man homeless. Removal of the now-notorious "Banksy Elephant" for sale as valuable art delighted locals: "I've been trying to get that piece of junk removed for years," a council member told the newspaper, "in fact, I'm now a big fan of Banksy's work." The resident of the tank, a vagrant called Tachowa Covington, was a self-crowned king who scavenged for art to decorate his interior until, ironically, the exterior became art-with-a-message: in this case, the 'elephant in the room' of homelessness.
It's a story to fascinate any writer, and Bristol playwright Tom Wainwright chose to tell it as a monologue, renaming the tank's ex-resident Titus Carpenter and making him privy to his role onstage at the Brewery, as well as filming his own story-telling. In The Room in the Elephant, Titus is an unreliable narrator who resents 'Mr Wainwright', and metatheatrical complexities though thought-provoking were almost overwhelming, but Gary Beadle's performance was totally gripping. Oh, and there's a pie & a pint with every ticket-holder ~ an excellent way to spend an autumn Saturday afternoon.

By evening we're back in Frome in time for Carnival, a seasonal celebration untouched by the pursed lips of PCness and seeming barely changed in spirit since Thomas Hardy's days. There were nods to the world as we know it, of course: majorettes following the tractors flourished tinsel pompoms and there were lumberjacks and vampires as well as Young Farmers. Here's "Hot Rock ~ The Twenties", which won a cup and a shield too, for best costumes.
Homecomings... always some big change, isn't there, this time not just a 15° drop in temperature but the end of a radio era... I thought I might mourn, but tbh Moyles in the Morning was getting a bit of a yawn, so welcome Nic Grimshaw, I'm enjoying waking up with you.

A visual glimpse to end this posting as my mental images of glittering sunlight on seas recede leaving me nostalgic for the sands of Twenty-minute Beach and the pebbles of Silverfish Bay, and most of all those dusk writing sessions at Maria's Taverna as the tomato-red sun lowered over sea framed by scented pines...
 Sto Kalo, all of you, wherever you are.

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