07 January 2010

Down on the farm

I have work to do; honest work that people will give me EFT coins in exchange for my skills – but I’m not doing it because I'm having trouble fitting a carousel into my circus area.

I used to be paid to do such tasks. I’ve planned the position of carnival rides, tents and food stalls; written their contracts; assessed their risk management plans; and worn unattractive ‘staff’ t-shirts as I watched people enjoy themselves.

So why was I excited that I scored a free merry-go-round on Farmville today? (Thanks Jane for the mystery egg.)

Yes, I’m one of those despised Facebook friends who clog up feed with news that they’ve picked a perfect bunch of morning glory or found a stray pink cow that needs adopting. I am a King of Compost and I don’t care that Farmville doesn’t recognise its female or queen players.

Oh, I resisted at first. I scoffed when I saw intelligent friends wasting their precious time on a lame game. Then a sad looking cow tweaked my need to feed stray animals. I adopted her (thanks Shan) and I’m terrified to calculate how many hours I’ve spent on the farm since.

Oh, I justify it. When I made a Halloween display, I was just warming up my right brain for some creative work and proceeded to make fictional characters discuss their Farmville antics (it will be the last paragraph I cut).

I’ve learnt what sugarcane is meant to look like, that rice takes 12 hours to grow and that eggs sometimes hatch garden gnomes and fun fair rides. This must be good stuff to know that will expand my mind and help me in the future?

Damn it, Farmville is pure addiction and if you’re already there, I’ll be your neighbour and gift you an elephant topiary; if you’re not – run. Run as fast as you can away from the farm. Block it (right click on the FB feed and say be gone false farm), go to your FB settings and ban Farmville, Fishville, CafĂ© World, Yoville, Petville and any other villes that offer their gorgeous animated selves to you.

If your children or friends are deciding between taking up smoking or playing Farmville...smoking may be easier to give up and at least they will leave the computer and walk to the shops to buy cancer sticks instead of buying CGI fruit and veg. But if they were fake farmers, perhaps they would be inspired by their bounteous fake produce and want to buy patty pan squash or artichokes...

I’ll be their neighbour.

BTW, my carousel is well placed, but I do have some concerns about its proximity to the tree line, the available public exit in case of fire and that the rabbits running around it may chew on the power cords.

05 January 2010

What's on in the next weeks? Jan and Feb 2010

I'm giving shows in January (and a bit of February) a miss as I'll be taking Kim Wilde's advice, singing showtunes in the streets of Saigon and pretending I'm Catherine Deneuve as I tour Indochine. But here's some great stuff that should be seen.

The Last Tuesday Society will be celebrating that public holiday that isn't officially called Invasion Day on 26 Jan. Keep an eye on their website for details.

High-pant-wearing superstar Mikelangelo is crooning about the city with Saint Claire and/or his Tin Star posse.

The Mysteries of Love
Mikelangelo and Saint Claire
The Butterfly Club
Thursday 14 to Saturday 16 January

Mikelangelo and the Tin Star
The Edinburgh Castle
'Little Day Out'
26 January 5-7pm

The Old Bar
30 January 9pm

The divine Daniel Kitson is at the Arts Centre with 66A Church St

The fabulous Midsumma festival runs from 17 Jan to 7 Feb. Shows that have been recommended to me include:

The Pyramid
Produced by Three to a Room, who brought us Air Balloon Across Antarctica and the return season of  I Love You Bro

Writing Angus

Searching For David

The Judy Journals

Cath Jamison is always great. Her show is I Know What You're Thinking

A Narrow Time for Angels premiered at the Storeroom in July (review). Its second outing is a different company and it's now a musical - which may be what it was meant to be.

Barking Spider Visual Theatre
3-7 February
Penelope Bartlau's puppetry and story telling is always exquisite.

04 January 2010

Terrific writing tips # 3: Doctor Who

Doctor Who: The End of Time

It's a slow theatre month (and we all need some time away from analysing the meta significance of everything on a stage), we're getting bored of watching Seinfeld reruns on Go! and the leftovers are running out, so, according to Facebook updates over the last day, most theatre nerds have turned to the interweb to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special: Doctor Who: The End of Time. Aside from the fact that the My Friends:Theatre Nerd: Dr Who Fan  ratio is about 10:9:8, the passion about this episode is as oozy and complex as an Ood's face.

I've formed alliances with strangers and scoffed at friends because they didn't blub as the hot doctor said his last farwells and turned into a school boy (whom I just want to make a sandwich for and send off to a G rated movie).

This special episode is also the farewell to writer Russell T Davies and, to my joy, much FB comment has been about the writing of RTD (or Saint RTD, as I like to call him).  More than one person said that they didn't like the writing, but still cried at the end. You keep watching and end up in tears - I know many writers who would be very happy with that result.

Us who loved Queer as Folk, Bob and Rose (which may be my favourite telly series) and The Second Coming knew that Russell could tell a very fine story, but his recreation of the Doctor has reset the bar for Sci-Fi story telling for the telly.

I try and watch his shows to understand the craft and always end up being so engrossed with the story and the characters that I forget to take notes. But hopefully this book will help me out a bit as RTD writes about his writing of Doctor Who. The hardback version is favoured by many a geek, but this new paperback edition takes us through to the end. I'm sure I'll be quoting it in furture reviews - and reviewing the book itself (my copy is in the post).

Please read what Justin Hamilton (who penned and performed my fav comedy show of 09) thought about The End of Time and RTD. May I say 'ditto' and it's also kind of nice to know that we would have been reaching for the tissues at the same time as we witnessed the deaths of Henry Blake, ThirtySomething Gary, and everyone in Six Feet Under.