Saturday, July 11, 2009

Better late than never. Apparently.

Greetings all, former Blogger #2 here. Just popping back to give a somewhat later than planned final wave.

How on earth it is 2.5 years since I entered the world of Jerryatricism, I'll never know. However, I don't wish to cause any boredom-induced comas, so I'll skip the month-by-month analysis and simply ponder the first four words that come to my mind when I think of the whole experience.


Utopia, noun 1 Shortened name of the monumental trilogy by Sir Tom, featuring a bunch of characters ending in -ev and -sky. Performed to (mostly) critical acclaim in New York from 2006-7. 2 Shortened name of the first straight play I ever saw. The cause of a temporary case of impecuniousness and a permanent case of the theatre bug. Can, when uttered now, bring about lengthy bouts of New York-related daydreaming featuring a Place de la Concorde replica and a revolving chair.

Utopia is, undoubtedly, my salient memory of the blogging experience, a fact perhaps unsurprising given its glorious domination of the news arena, and the fact that my bedroom wall sits around a Utopia poster. I saw it six times, adored it, and always will adore it, as I'm sure all of us who had the privilege of seeing it will. Two years on, entirely random quotes such as 'Worms the philosopher?' 'No, just worms', still punctuate my days and I wonder how long my mind will continue to conjure up the image of a Utopian peasant on hearing the word 'surf'.

For introducing me to the phenomenal world of live theatre, and for providing me with some once in a lifetime memories (March 14 2007, cough cough), I would like to say a marathon-sized thank you to the Utopian collective. Their performances, and the theatre-related experiences they inspired, raised my little year abroad from the category of a B to that of an A+++, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Impact, noun 1 A strong effect or impression. 2 Pleasant and far-reaching shock waves that can pervade every facet of life after becoming a Jerryatric.

From taking a part-time job solely to fund Utopia trips, to giving me the passion and umph to have a shot at amateur theatre (whilst consenting to wear an - and I quote - 'unusual' costume), the personal ramifications of being involved in this little machine, both direct and indirect, have been surprising, delightful and seemingly endless.

It has improved my writing. It has taught me that you can't have too much news, but can have too many exclamation marks when reporting it. It has put phrases as simple as 'curtain call' and as woah-sounding as 'intelligentsia' into my previously pitiful vocabulary. It has put Isaiah Berlin on my bookshelf and Herzen on my to-read list. It has led to me spending six hours watching and rewatching The Real Thing in a New York library, and six months doing a study of a 1960s theatrical avant-gardist. It has acquainted me with the fabulous resources that are Charlie Rose interviews, Woman's Hour discussions and ATW seminars - all now cherished staples of my cultural diet. It has also dramatically expanded my knowledge of chickens and has brought the number of flowers I am safely able to identify in the garden up to a grand total of two (I already knew rose).

It has also given me a group of friends from all over the world. One of them, who stayed with me last year, was without a doubt one of the most impressive, inspirational and clued-up people I've ever met. Chelsea, I will never forget how terribly we navigated the Tower of London and how happily we discussed life over a curiously delicious walnut liqueur.

Another made me cry with laughter more than I ever thought possible and graciously put a roof over my head for Utopia trips among many other generosities. Kerry, I will never forget how you carried my luggage around most of Manhattan and how I sat on the floor of Grand Central for an hour longer than was necessary, simply because your stories were so side-splitting I didn't want to move.

Squee, noun 1 A noise and/or action, often manifested between two or more Jerryatrics as an expression of extreme Jerry-related excitement. verb 2 To perform this noise or action.

As the better half of Spheir has already mentioned, we were very fortunate to have so many sufficiently exciting moments to deal with in our time on the blog as to make squeeing a regular feature of these quarters. I want to thank the lady herself, and her brilliance, for being the cause of so many of these (Tony Tony, cough cough) as well as for the truckload of infinitely rewatchable gems that her awe-inspiring career has given relatively intelligent (albeit slightly insane) people like us.

Ahh, noise 1 A vocalised expression of either sadness and disappointment, or anger and frustration - in the latter case often followed by a profanity. Often aired as an instantaneous reaction to an unwelcome discovery.

Like when Blogger decides to undo all your sp aci ng correct ions. Or when you discover that the 'unusual' costume is a green, tassled monstrosity that claims to be a dress, but looks like it once adorned the windows of a dodgy bedsit.

It is also what the mother of this site must have articulated when she first saw the cringeworthy word-vomit I had inflicted on her beautiful creation during my first weeks as a blogger. Tina, a mahoosive thank you for taking me on, but more importantly, for keeping me on in spite of said word-vomit. You have been amazing and have redefined the concept of intelligence for me, taking it to a realm far above my head, although I hope one day to get a bit nearer to it. At least to be able to reach it with the aid of a large stick.

Referring to the first little bit of the definition, an ahh is also what I gave on realising it was my time at last to jump (safely) from the blogly ship. However, after three months of watching it from a passing canoe, I can say that retirement has been far more enjoyable than expected. This is not least due to the competency of the new captain. She has done a marvellous job when at the equivalent stage, I was still trying to turn on the computer. Janet, thank you for accepting the challenge all by yourself. Your posts - both Blogly and Forumly - are a joy to read and I can't deny it's a relief to know that we passed Tez's mind-boggling creation to someone who is able to tend it with the skill and devotion of a prize-winning apiarist.

Last but most definitely not least, for considerably reducing the number of stress-induced ahhs inherent in this little job, I want to thank my magnificent former partner. The staggering amount of donkey work she took on, combined with her unfailing support inside the job and out of it, made the good times the most wonderful hoots, while reducing the less good times to insignificant blips. Kate, thank you to infinity for two incredible years and for your life-enhancing friendship. Meeting you in person for the first time this week has been, to quote Richard Curtis, surreal but nice. Mind-bogglingly amazing in fact.

So long, farewell, auf svidaniya!
Exit, pursued by a bee

Coming Attractions

Just a quick entry to send along a trio of things.

Rosemary Harris is scheduled to participate in the reading series at the 92Y Poetry Center
"Tony Award-winning actress Rosemary Harris (Spider-Man’s Aunt May) returns to the Poetry Center to read from some of the classics of children’s literature."

Date & Time: Sat, Sep 26, 2009, 11:30am
Location: Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street

"The Poetry Center presents the third year of its children’s reading series. These Saturday programs, targeted toward 8-12-year-olds, feature classic and contemporary literature read by actors and authors."

Jane Austen presents Jennifer Ehle

Damon Young at The Sydney Morning Herald in a nice article About writing and about Jane Austen revealed that Miss Austen was able to look into the future, anticipate the existence of the mini-series, and provide casting.

"[...]Her sales are astronomical, her influence on authors and readers incalculable. She gave us Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, for which many fans are profoundly grateful. [...]"

We are profoundly grateful, Miss Austen (with thanks also to Sue Birtwistle, Simon Langton, and Andrew Davies for an excellent job of channeling JA).


A treat is due to be served here at the Blog on or about Saturday July 11th.
Mark your calendars; set your timepieces; calibrate your sundials.

[It is still the afternoon of July 10th at my location so I can truthfully present this as a future event no matter what the "date/time posted by" might indicate below]