Two Underground staff have just leapt, American cop drama style, onto my carriage; the woman seemingly watching the door, whilst the heavy set man rifles carefully through a backpack apparently left on the train and posing a threat. A woman on the nearest seat to him leans away and pulls a sort of ‘Oh dear’ face at the woman opposite her. This seems to me an entirely ineffectual way in which to prevent death by bomb. This dramatic Northern Line moment, however, is probably the most involved in the rest of the world that I have been for the last week. In anticipation of our Nabokov Vox Pop challenge I spent the three days leading up to it deep in rewrites of my Edinburgh show, Dirty Great Love Story, which I am penning with fellow poet and playwright Richard Marsh. Since we were given the news of our Spanish sex strike story on Sunday night, I have felt slightly guilty even sleeping, time tugging at my sleeve like an annoying younger brother who won’t piss off when you tell him to. I can quite confidently say that I have never written this much this quickly before.
I am currently trying to work out what object links the Spanish recession to prostitution, what object distills this relationship? Is it a can of Coke or a matchstick? A €10 note or an eyelet in a Converse trainer? It is something, or at least it has to be something by tomorrow - my self-appointed deadline for redrafts. Maybe it’s one of those bath radios shaped like a duck. It’s probably not a bath radio shaped like a duck.
Justin Audibert, who’s directing, has been fantastic. He’s a busy man as the new Resident Director at the National and deservedly so. The process so far has involved me knocking a few ideas his way, like random sex industry themed ping pong balls, him knocking some back, me writing some very bad poetry, followed by some better poetry, followed by Justin’s excellent dramaturgy which helped me write some acceptable poetry and now (hardly magically but still excitingly) we have a little piece. This, on day three, is a massive relief. I still have to learn it rehearse it and ultimately perform it, though, so there’ll be no celebratory clinking of pint glasses quite yet.
I’m launching a new poetry event tomorrow in South London, Pyjama Poetry, which is a sort of adventure in listening with poems and surprises chucked in. I’m not allowed to think about that till tomorrow, though, having discovered that multi-thinking is not the way to be productive this week. It leads to sleeplessness and excessive caffeine consumption, both of which lead to bad rhymes. I rhymed ‘this’ with ‘this’ at one point last night, that was when I decided to go to bed. For this reason, I am living by the timer function on my phone and allotting specific times to each activity I undertake. And here we are at Leicester Square, which means that it is time for my blogging to cease. Wish me luck in my quest for significant objects......could it be a cut price Easter Egg?