Friday, July 13, 2007

13th July 2007
We have spent the last two days editing the film of LEAVE TO REMAIN.

i have a monir obsession with the need for theatre to learn to come to gterms with media of mass communication... I am convinced it must be possible to create and use a good film language to communbicate what goes on the stage.

This means more than just sticking a video camera, or even two, on the back of the stalls and recording what goes on in a live performance.

So we hired the Netherbow for an extra day and a friend, Amy Hardie, who is also a documentary film maker, filmed us going through the show.

of course a day isn't really enough, and none of us were properly prepared, and the lighting was occasionally truly terrible (as we've seen over the last few days!).... but we still feel pretty proud of the result.

What an ordeal, though, to look at myself on a video for two days!

Watching I often thought: why not get a hair cut. Why not dress more like a man... What a shame you come accross as such a tranny.. doesn't that get in the way of communicating what the show is about (which is nothing about being a tranny at all). And... if you were a man, what an easier and generally enviable life you would have just now.

But there is nothing to be done...

I can onlykeep trying to be open and proud of the person i actually am.

dear diary, I am about to go to New York. I will try to keep you posted...


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday part 2.

What wasn't so easy -and maybe this was my father's ghost at work - were the kind of hierarchies that got established.

So at first, in an unthinking kind of way, I sort of became 'captain'.

And i got into a traditional male role of never having to do the cooking, say, or the washing up.

For a bit there was a real pleasure in this. But it didn't last long.

Towards the end, we went out of a meal: and i experienced the whole hateful thing of being called 'sir' n restaurants (and feeling a sham) and starting to envy some of the other women's outfits...

Next day, thinking I must try to put a stop to this, I took some care brushing my hair in the morning. (Looking glamourous on a narrow boat is not easy. But I thought: i could at least do something to my hair...)

And then I forgot about it. In the afternoon, we went to Cadbury's World in Bournville. I was walking around with Katie, and one of the attendants said "If you ladies would like to step this way..." and I felt allright again.

As it happens, it's not that I especially want to pass as a woman. But I HATE being mistaken for a man.
Thursday 12th.

Another real pleasure about the holiday was to see my daughters and their boyfriends together.

just cuddling, enjoying each other physically and emotionally. Taking huge pleasure in each others' bodies and each others' company.

and knowing that in spite of all that's happened they haven't lost their faith in life or in love.

and thinking, in a proud parental way, 'we did a good job, me and Susie'.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The whole beauty of the experience for me, I think, has also to do with the joy I took in being on our narrow boat, the Danube, when i was a child.

I think it must have been really the only thing me and my father truly had in common. The only time I could really relax in his presence - or at least I knew very clearly what I had to do to please him and get close to him.

Relax is maybe not the best word because he had a very perfectionist sense of how locks should be worked - with the minimum of loss of time - and how a boat should be steered.

I'm ashamed to say I seem to share this sometimes...

But apart from that, there were things about this holiday that made me really proud of my dad and able to see him in a new light. He got his narrow boat in 1953, when it was a really eccentric thing to do, and when it was generally assumed that the canals had had their day and there was really very little sense in preserving them.

he believed in a future for them very passionately; and was one of the campaigners who helped restore the Stratford canal. In fact, for a while he was Chairman of the society... and this was the canal we were travlelling down.

And now, just as he predicted, there is a whole new use for the canals and the Stratford canal, especially, gives amazing pleasure to a huge number of people.
11th July 2007-07-11
In the taxi on the way from the boatyard to the railway station I asked the driver how long it would take him to drive us to Stratford. “Twenty five quid” he said hopefully. No, I said, how long?
“About half an hour”, he said.
Maybe I should have told him we had just taken a narrow boat to Stratford and back (with a detour via Birmingham) and it had taken ten days.
In the last weeks of her illness, Susie had thought of a business idea called “Slow travel”. (The tumour did not directly attack the brain cells, apparently. It preferred the connecting cells. So that on bad days her brain was like a giant wheel, ceaselessly turning, turning, without connection to anything else at all. And with nothing to stop it). The idea of her business (and it really was a good one) was that she would establish a firm that would enable people to travel slowly to their destinations: so that the journey would become an end and a source of pleasure in itself.
Maybe she was thinking of narrowboat travel: It was certainly something she knew and loved.

You can’t travel any faster than about 4mph, and so you feel part of the landscape, which can at times be overwhelmingly beautiful.
And you’re part of that landscape, especially if you’re steering: your mind can’t wander away to worries or concerns, because before you know it your boat has run aground or is bumping against the bank, or even more brutally against a bridgehole.
You have to pay attention.
It’s a relaxed, yet focussed attention that helps you be more aware.


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