Life & Everything Else

EMERGEncy: Assessment of Risk

“I need to do a risk assessment for Reasons.” I announce during our weekly meeting.

I am announcing this, rather than just doing it, because I am a little bamboozled by the task.

A risk assessment for a show isn’t a particularly unusual request. Indeed I once exchanged approximately 74 emails, had three phone conversations, spent eight hours writing risk assessments and had a meeting with the Edinburgh Fire Brigade for an EdFringe show which, for approximately five seconds, had A FLAME in it. As it was, the fire was fine; it was a performer tripping over a (risk assessed) discarded prop that landed us in A&E.

But with Reasons – which, at its base state, consists of one man standing still, telling you a story with the use of some flashcards – the only notable risk is that Andy might give himself a papercut. If I am to start a precedent for risk assessing the possibility of paper cuts for members of WBN then I fear I shall never again have the time to actually be involved in making any theatre.

The meeting turns to what I might put on the risk assessment instead.

“That a small child might put one of the happiness cards up their nose?”

(People at risk: audience. Likelihood: remote. Severity: minor.)

“That Andy might keep in the use of the word ‘fuck’ when there is a child in the room?”

(People at risk: audience. Likelihood: possible. Severity: minor.)

“That…well, yes – the papercut thing.”

(People at risk: performer. Likelihood: possible. Severity: whilst not underselling a papercut, minor)

It is no good, neither Estelle nor Charlie can come up with any plausible risks either. We have made a show where the main risk is getting an audience to commit to having one man tell them a story without the use of any theatrical wizardry other than some flashcards and a drawing Andy did back in 2012, for thirty minutes.

“I’ll…write some words…” I concede. “Now, if this were Blueprint…”

We laugh the sort of laugh that only arises with the knowledge that at some point in the not too distant future someone will ask for a risk assessment for Blueprint and compiling it will make us all cry.

24 hours later I’m assembling the Blueprint props from where I had, with the kind of foresight that probably deserves some kind of chocolate related reward, packaged, separated and labelled post our Bike Shed residency. I realise, just after I’ve pushed the box back in, that I’m missing the stopwatch. No bother, I’ll just lean in and get it out –

My forehead collides with the metal underside of the table.

There’s the flash of embarrassment that I have just headbutted a table in an open plan office and that people might have seen me do this. This quickly subsides though; it hurts too much for me to manage embarrassment as well as pain.

I sit still waiting for everything to stop spinning.

And then, to no one in particular:

“Well, I didn’t risk assess this, did I?”


The Problems of Having Fourteen Projects On The Go And One Half Of WBN Being A Geek

“We could have a meeting on Saturday night – “.

“I could do that.


Though I want it noted that it means I’m going to be missing Doctor Who and will have to watch it on iplayer on my laptop that keeps switching itself off”.

There’s a moment of nervous laughter down the phone.

“Is that going to be a problem?”

“Nooo…I mean I do miss Doctor Who…Some times”.

“Because it sounds like it might be a problem”

“No, really it’s not…though, crap it’s the second part of a two-part episode”.

There’s a pause.

“Look, you could come to mine and watch Doctor Who and then we could have a meeting”.

“Yes, that would be acceptable”.

What WBN Has Been Doing (whilst we haven’t been blogging):

1. Writing.

2. Plotting.

3. Pestering.

4. Packing.

5. Going on holiday for the first time since 2005 (that would be the Charlie half of WBN, Corinne is not quite so selfless in the holiday stakes).

6. Moving house for the third time in 18 months (that would be the Corinne half of WBN, Charlie is not quite so foolish)

7. Moving Corinne’s shoes across London for the second time in 11 months (see above).

8. Talking, talking and then talking some more.

9. Coming pretty close to doing a deal on an empty-shop and then it not happening.

10. Almost having a panic attack over a dying laptop (erm, yes, me)

11. Spending 18 hours trying to fix said laptop, diagnosing it with syphilis, cancer and a stroke along the way so that Corinne could understand.

12. Finding a play we wanted to stage and then realising that someone might have gotten there first.

13. Plotting how we would get it any way.

14. Meeting the wonderful FIXT POINT Theatre (who are giving amazing – some might say awesomely good – blog) and deciding that Canada isn’t actually that far away.

15. Eating awesome brownies at Corinne’s new local.

16. Wearing an “old lady scarf”. (erm, yes, me again)

17. Thinking of blog posts (cheers, Charlie)

18. Going to Brighton, riding the dodgems and drinking champagne on the beach.

19. Wanting to punch David Cameron in the face.

20. Being in pain due to Arsenal.

Slight Return

Just over a week ago I packed my bags, bundled myself into a National Express coach and (once the seemingly never-ending journey had finished) spent what turned out to be a slightly longer than anticipated break in Leeds. I’d vowed to have a work-less, theatre-less week and though I was nearly distracted by a production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle at  an old haunt of mine I actually managed it. Then I ended up re-visiting years gone by first on a friend’s then on my parents’ bathroom floor and, well, nice end to a holiday and all that.

But now I’m back in London and it does mark, I suspect, the moment where I pick up in earnest everything I need to be doing. A year ago this week I started my MA and now, as I returned the last of my library books, it’s another sort of challenge.

First up? The 513 new theatre related blog entries that have collected in my RSS reader in my absense. I may be some time…

Happy Birthday

This is undoubtedly unfashionably early but tomorrow is the half of Write By Numbers who cries whilst watching Arsenal’s birthday. Charlie very rarely knows exactly how old he is, though he is always quick to point out that whatever his actual age he is still young enough to claim a Young Person’s Railcard. Ouch.

Even given this it would be remiss of me not to wish him Happy Birthday. Given that the London Post Office has swallowed his birthday present (give me back my flippin’ post!) I would say I’d buy him a beer tomorrow night – but he still owes me a muffin so that might have to wait…

Lattitude and Flippin' Pint Glasses

[With thanks to @cat_elliott for the photo of Charlie and I at Latitude 2009. Most importantly this is quite possibly the only photograph in existence of me holding a pint glass].