Blog Round Up: 22nd September

Lots of link love today:

Over on Troubled Diva there’s a write-up on spending an hour on the plinth. Though I found myself dancing in my living room there was something really a little special watching the live stream and seeing the comments on twitter feeling as it did that I too (though I do not know Mike) was part of the event. I have, however, been singing ‘Together in Electric Dreams’ for the best part of the last week.

Lily Allen started a blog opposing illegal file sharing and, though I’m not entirely confident about it, it might actually open up some sort of debate about the whole issue.

And I shared my obsession with the Royal Opera House‘s Twitter Opera with the readers of Whatsonstage before theatre bloggers got all serious on me.

Dance even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room 1

Let’s get something straight: I’m a tiny, tiny bit addicted to the live stream of Antony Gormley’s “One & Other”. This is something probably compounded by the excitement when for some reason or other I find myself passing through Trafalgar Square and can see FOR REAL what is happening. I imagine it’s the kind of feeling I would have gotten had I been allowed to wander into the Big Brother house mid series two.

Of course some of the stuff on the plinth has been the equivalent of Big Brother Contestants doing the washing up and not talking (do not mock, yes I have watched Big Brother Contestants wash up. What can I say, I was an Undergraduate with a maxed out overdraft and…okay no more excuses). But there’s also been incredible inventiveness, oddly troubling moments and then those moments that just make you stop.

I honestly can’t think of a better way of using the empty plinth than to celebrate the ingenuity, mundanity and all round insanity of those who live in this country.

So I was somewhat chuffed when I read that the Blogger Mike Atkinson, otherwise known as Troubled Diva, is going up on the plinth with the kind of crazy scheme that makes me want to jump with a little bit of joy.  For he’s going to be dancing to a specially prepared soundtrack – and he’s encouraging everyone else to participate too, either in Trafalgar Square if you can make it in person or via the web if you can’t. The Ultimate Plinth Mix is up and ready to be downloaded or streamed – though the idea is not to listen to the songs beforehand so no peeking.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m a sucker for popular music telling a story, and this reponse to the project emphatically does that. Plus, as anyone who has at some point in their life waved their arms above their heads with little regard for public safety will know, there is something totally wonderful about closing your eyes and flailing your body to music.

Maybe most importantly however, and the thing that really made this idea stand out to me, was the fact that this is about both the individual and the community. Yes, Troubled Diva will be the man on the Plinth and the songs chosen are ones that mean something to him but if you close your eyes and dance then you are part of the narrative too. And you can create your own story whether you’re on the Plinth, in Trafalgar Square or watching a computer screen in a room hundreds (or thousands) of miles away. And that is exactly why this is a little bit special.

Inspirations: Number Two

Somewhere, deep down and not so secretly, if I could rearrange my personality a bit and add in a few talents which I don’t have then I would do so to enable myself to be a rock-star.  I’ve heard Simon Armitage say on a couple of occasions that he only became a Poet because it was the closest he could get to rock-stardom (and the audience which greets Armitage in his live ‘gigs’ attests to the fact that his fame in Poetry terms is nothing short of this). My, I know what he means (with the twist that I’m a Playwright because it’s the closest I could get to Poetry-stardom). Some friends and I have a fictional girlband that, in an alternate Universe, we’re ripping up the charts with. With my sticker-covered guitar and attitude I’m the lead singer who will, at some point in the future, abandon the group for an ill-fated dalliance with solo stardom.

Which is probably a long and winding way of saying how much everything in my life is influenced by music, and how much live music is one of my absolute favourite things in the world. I obsessively create soundtracks for everything I write, turn characters into songs and one day will create some great Nick-Hornby style homage to the songs which have changed my life.

Currently I’m obsessed with Frank Turner and thanks to the wonder of YouTube am wallowing in his live shows. And if any of those shaky videos makes me want to write something epic then this performance of ‘Love Ire and Song’ is it.

Angry, wistful, hopeful, romantic and just a little bit wonderful.