2022 News

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Hey friend!
This year we have had two changes of prime minister, a change of monarch, various storms and sunny days, and received many coins in return for bank notes to make up the difference between the price of an item and the amount we've tendered.
What I'm saying is the world has been full of change.
But something unchanging is the fact that I drop you a line, Mailing List member, as the calendar hits this sort of point, with my annual round-up of dones, doings and to dos.

But first, just checking you know why you're getting this:
I write to my mailing list nowish yearly, and if ever there's some big news, but if you'd prefer not to receive these rare messages, just reply to this electronic mail with the subject line changed to 'UNSUBSCRIBE' and the next thing you will hear will be nothing.
I have a Data and Privacy Notice on my website which I welcomely hope you read.

Superdoops and Hopewards!
Part one: my 2022 business.

I filmed a couple of scenes as a Vicar in the BBC's upcoming adaptation of GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
I turned up as a Tudor doctor in BECOMING ELIZABETH on the Lionsgate+ streaming channel.
My fluent Cantonese skills were put to use when I played a translator in BBC 1's THE CAPTURE 2.
Soon THE SILENT TWINS is on general release and you can see me play another doctor in that.
A sequence from the episode of DOCTORS I was in last year was shortlisted as Scene of the Year at the British Soap Awards, but it didn't win.

Over the year I performed my roadtrip of the soul, WHO HERE'S LOST?, in Margate and Machynlleth, at the Discovia Summit in France, at The Idler Festival, at the Hen and Chickens, on a boat on the Thames, and for a month at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at the Pleasance Courtyard. I loved bringing this surreal and compassionate piece to brilliant audiences, and the press reviews were kind, calling it funny, moving and profound, and comparing my work to Wes Anderson's.
Sir Ian McKellen came along one day and his response to the piece was delightful.
The parody of a literary event, BOOKTALKBOOKTALKBOOK, performed alongside Joanna Neary, was a first-night hit at the Latitude Festival and sold out the entire run (two shows) at the Edinburgh Fringe too.
We also took it to Farsley in the autumn where it launched the town's first literary festival.
Look out for performances of both these shows, and PRONOUN TROUBLE (my lecture about cartoons) in 2023 - hopefully dates will be announced early in the new year.

I appeared on the wonderful books-based podcast BACKLISTED, to discuss Helen DeWitt's remarkable novel Lightning Rods.
I also shared my brain on a couple of interviews around the Edinburgh Fringe. Read them HERE and HERE.

I loved contributing to various bills of variety.
At Nine Lessons for Spring at Kings Place, I talked about spotting old telephone numbers in the wild; at The Alternative Book Club I chatted about Chuck Jones; and at The Last Thursday Club I read a recent comic horror tale and a piece I wrote when I was 19 and first performed at the 1988 Fringe.
I'm on again at Nine Lessons and Carols for Curious People on Saturday 17th December, talking about the Frisbee Tree Golf tournaments I've organised over the last twenty years.

But the one thing that doesn't change is change itself, if you know what I mean, and unchangingly I'm working on new writing. Here's a short bit from my next stage work, provisionally titled AH, YOU'RE YOUNG YET:

My attention drifted. On the windowsill was the china frog into whose mouth you put dead flies. On the table my phone was scrolling through pictures of other phones, swiping left or right depending on the model. On the plate, the chips were arranged like defeated henchmen in a kung-fu movie. She was always a Wary Mary, she was saying, but things might be on the up. She thought her teenage years had been the big breath you take before knocking on a crucial door, but now her life was good. Her earrings were in the shape of quotation marks, she was stress stapling as she spoke, metallising the pages of her notes, connecting the thoughts.
It's coming together in a very strange way...

Part two of the mailout is shopping.


Part three: recomms.

A few of my favourite books out of those I've read this year (not necessarily published this year) have been (in no particular order):

Expect Me Tomorrow by Christopher Priest
A Fortunate Woman by Polly Morland
Now Is Not The Time To Panic by Kevin Wilson
The Trees by Percival Everett
Seven Empty Houses by Samanta Schweblin
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
All The Living And The Dead by Hayley Campbell
Acting Class by Nick Drnaso

Books are the tippest of the tops, and I am always delighted to receive any recommendation in return.

Some of films that delighted me most out of those I saw in 2022 were Nope (directed by Jordan Peele), Everything Everywhere All At Once (The Daniels), The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges), Drive My Car (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi) and this amazing scene from Waterloo Station in the 1930s.

TV joy included Evil, Abbott Elementary, Taskmaster New Zealand, The Lazarus Project, Only Murders In The Building and Severance.

Artwise, I loved The Horror Show at Somerset House and Glen Baxter's show at Flowers Gallery.

Theatrically, I presented my personal spoon-based awards, The Accoladles, to all 40+ shows I saw during August in Edinburgh: particular highlights for me where Scottish Ballet's stunning and inventive Coppélia, Paul Currie's beautiful nonsense, Rob Rouse's magnificent ridiculosity, Runners, The Unicorn, Aberdeen, Raven by Elf Lyons, Luke Wright, Potatohead and Fladam.
But may I yet again recommend the remarkable mentoring project Scene and Heard, which partners children from Somers Town in London with volunteer theatre professionals, and creates inspirational moments that change the lives of young people and produces some of the strangest, funniest, most wonderful shows you'll see.
This year the charity has continued to create uplifting and joyful shows and has extended its artistic reach in the community. You can support the amazing work they do by zipping to their website and acquiring a book of quotes from two decades of brilliant plays written by children and performed by professional actors.
It is a great read.

On the musicside, here's a EweToob Playlist of a few of my most enjoyed songs of 2022, not all of which were first released in 2022.
(Trigger Warning: some of the videos are music only or lyric video clips and they include bad language, the Dutch language, a cowboy hat, and mental health breaks. Music wins.)

So that's my yearly year.
I do hope this one, though changeable, has seen more good days than bad for you, and next year the balance gets even better.
Please accept my early compliments for the season, and allow me to wish you an magnificently splendid 2023.
Be excellent to each other.
love and peace!

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