Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lifting the lid off the Psych ward, and a sunny afternoon in London

Standup poet Rob Gee brought his multi-award winning show FRUITCAKE to Frome on Friday for a very successful "Poetry Platter" event at the Merlin, with an appreciative audience on the stage simultaneously enjoying Keren's amazing suppers and Rob's rapid-fire insights and 'commandments from the Psych Ward.' The material for his performance, all taken directly from Rob's experience as a psychiatric nurse in acute wards, is preposterously funny but also moving, shocking sometimes, and always delivered with genuine compassion for anyone who at some point in their lives finds themselves "knitting with one needle.""
Rob has no respect for the pharmaceutical industry and makes no judgement on those who explore alternative self-medication: "It is a point that we're not meant to be toxic-free, that's why the good lord gave us pleasure receptors, and livers."

A great finale to a busy week for me, with a reunion trip to metropolis which included among other treats Sunny Afternoon at the Harold Pinter Theatre,  a brilliant evocation of the life & times of four lads from Muswell Hill with 'a certain unwashed je ne sais quoi' who came to be known as the Kinks. The actors, especially slumbrous-eyed John Dagleish as Ray and George Macguire as crazy brother Dave, are also fantastic musicians, and as our seats were unexpectedly upgraded from budget balcony to front stalls, we were right in the party atmosphere at the finale, when the entire audience rose to their feet to clap along and dance.

And, three minutes walk away, here's the current incumbent of the 'fourth plinth' of Trafalgar Square: it's Gift Horse by artist Hans Haacke (not sure why Greater London Authority specifies that Hans Haacke is an artist, maybe they fear tourists will one of the Queen's stable failed to win at the Derby and was hoisted up there to starve.) The interesting thing about this installation is that the ribbon on the horse's leg is a live ticker connected to the London Stock Exchange 'completing the link between money and history'.
 I had my own sunny afternoon atop that plinth once, as part of Anthony Gormley's One and Other project.  It doesn't seem like six years ago, but it was. I recited & read poems, mine and other peoples', for an hour and had an absolutely thrilling time ~ my blog entry the next day (July 19, 2009) brings it all back, and among the lovely comments from friends and strangers there's a link to my One&Other webpage, archived forever, with 139 little <3s. 

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