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Watching the City Change In Real Time

Last night I was out at the Mac, and the show over, I was unlocking my bicycle when I heard voices behind me and I couldn't resist eavesdropping.  Seven or eight beautifully groomed, expensive people in well-tended middle age came strolling down the pavement like gazelles. I peeked round.  They were looking at the Art College with the air of tourists examining a indigenous grass hut.  Charmed.  Intrigued. Heads held, just so, slightly to one side.

Man 1: I think it might be what they call 'The Beat'?

Man 2: No it's 'Jordanstown'.  The University of Ulster. That's what they call Jordanstown.

Woman 1:  Look at the glass.  Is it the new campus?  They've built a new campus...

They all looked around, at the Cathedral, at the Potted Hen, at the Parking Lot, and nodded sagely, agreeing yes, these must all be evidence of the 'new campus'.

Man 2: This is the new district. The 'MIC' is here too.

Man 1 (pointing at me, whispering, but not quite quietly enough, in the manner of someone who doesn't really expect the natives to speak English): Cyclist.

Woman 1 (channelling Margaret Mead and nodding): Bohemian.

And with that they were off down the street.  Moving slowly due to the women's skyscraper heels, looking expensive, filling up the whole street as they oozed up towards the Black Box, glancing down towards Oh Yeah, pointing and gazing around in wonder and the sort of anthropological intrigue usually fostered by the guides working with high-end cruise ship passengers.

And I remembered when I used to live at Elephant & Castle in London, in the days when no one dared use the Southbank walk but the residents and the artists who had studios in the area... and maybe the actors working at the newly opened Globe... and the brave diners who made their way to the Oxo building the same way Nick's Warehouse patrons have done here for years.  How in those days we could wander around Borough Market and actually buy food.

And then one day, suddenly, the Southbank walk was crowded, and we couldn't get our bicycles through the crowds; who also blocked the way as they gazed around.  It was something about the Globe, and the Market and the Tate Modern, and the Wheel all coming together and we watched it happen in front of our eyes.

And last night I thought 'oh yes, here we go again.'

Now of course I know, we've all been working to get the Cathedral Quarter up and running for years. Championing the Circus School, and Oh Yeah and the Black Box, the CQAF, the Festival of Fools, Out to Lunch. Yes, Nick's Warehouse's brave diners have beaten a path to his door for decades. I remember the buzz of the first Culture Night and music week, and the amazement of seeing all those people, but what I was watching last night was different.  There wasn't any special reason for those people to be there. No festival, no event.

It was the arrival of a different tribe.  And I was watching the change in real time, right in front of me.


Real Life - Get It While It's Hot

Time for a new blog entry I thought, and trundled upstairs the morning after St Patrick's Day, fired up the computer, only to look out the window.  To a Belfast sky without a single cloud in it.

Those of us who live in Northern Ireland know just how rare that is.  And on a Sunday.  When there is time for a picnic...



What EXACTLY is procrastination?

Is it procrastination when you do the administrative job that needs doing, but that you enjoy more than the other administrative job which also needs doing but that you are secretly trying to avoid? I mean, if they BOTH need doing... That isn't procrastination, right?  

Is it some kind of distant moral hangover from a Calvinistic step-grandmother-via-your-mother that says that the least pleasant job is the least procrastinatory one?

Or what about the script writing, that also needs to happen?  That you long to do.  Can you allow your self to have that much fun?  It is necessary, after all. Except that if you don't do the funding application that is also looming, then you won't have the income to produce the script even if you do finish writing it? Except that the script isn't finished, so there is less of chance that you'll get the funding in question because by writing the funding application, you've procrastinated about getting the next draft done?

Well?  Anyone?  I could respond to comments rather than getting to any of the above...


Making Contact With Greenland

Just put my first email in to Greenland. 

Now, there's a sentence you don't say every day.  I'm working on the script for the Jared Diamond Project - the next workshop takes place in Belfast in May, with colleagues flying in from Hong Kong, Macau, London and hopefully Brazil.

But, one quarter of the story line is currently set in Greenland.... And no, I don't know why, it just HAD TO BE.  So I figured it was time to stop reading about Greenland in books and actually start talkng to people. 

I could end up workshopping in Greenland...there's a thought. 

Now it remains to be seen: will they will talk back?


Dust in the bathtub

Home yesterday after seven weeks on the road.  The lettuce has bolted in the garden and there's dust in the bathtub.  Who has dust in their bathtub?  The bathroom door was closed, for heaven's sake.

Everything looks strange when you've been away for seven weeks.  And it smells funny too.  You think "someone should do something about it." You wander from room to room looking at stuff and thinking: "Who wanted all these things?"  Everything looks a little more battered than you think it did before you left.  Some stuff this suits and other stuff it doesn't.

Your head is prone to random sleepiness regardless of what time it is in any of the places you've been recently and you realise that it isn't jet lag, it is the effort of reentering your old life that's making you tired. 

Criptic notes left to remind you of important issues are meaningless.  "Tre. Strabane!!".  Yes thank you, but three what?  Tree? Trevor?  In Strabane? And those excamation marks aren't helpful, they just make you jumpy.

Even the cat is wary.  You are a stranger in your own home.