I have been 26 for nearly one day and eight hours. So far, being 26 has meant a spotty chin, an over-priced curry, buying loads of books, and housemates that have made me feel remarkably okay about not being with friends and family ‘oop narth’ for my birthday. Also, rather more unfortunately, it has meant a growing feeling of resentment towards the fucking wasters on my course who get away with doing absolutely jack fucking shit. So I’ve stolen away to the library in order to remember and recount that brilliant weekend I’ve just spent in London. All hail Mark Rylance!
The only reason I bought a ticket for Jerusalem was because Mark Rylance (lead actor) and Jez Butterworth (writer) have won every award going this season. All I knew about it was that Mackenzie Crook was in it, and that it had something to do with ‘Englishness’. As a woman of English parentage who was born in Scotland and understands the cross of St George to be a symbol of the BNP, that wouldn’t have been enough to warrant a £50 ticket were it not for the mass critical hysteria.
But oh my God it’s so good. Like, the greatest thing I’ve ever seen at the theatre. Well, maybe second after Black Watch, and maybe third if you count It Felt Like A Kiss as ‘theatre’, but Jesus Christ I was astonished by how fucking brilliant this show was. It opened with a girl dressed as a fairy singing Jerusalem downstage, and then the curtain rose on this massive countryside rave. And it just got better and better. Mark Rylance played Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron, this dude who’s lived in a caravan in a Wiltshire wood for years and years but is going to be evicted. He’s also a drug-dealer, and he says that he once met the giant who built Stonehenge. There are so many lines that I could quote here that just had tears rolling down my face with laughter, but I know that I wouldn’t be able to do any of them justice. And it’s so horrifying in places too. I was crying like a proper baby at the end. It’s basically just amazing and it’s on until April and I don’t care how much the tickets are, I am totally going to see it again before then. I bought a copy of the script too - never done that before.
To be honest, I could’ve quite happily buggered off back home to Leicester after seeing Jerusalem; it wasn’t going to be bettered by anything else this weekend, but I stayed till Monday and did see some more great stuff. On Saturday morning I went to Brixton Village Market, where a load of the empty units have been commandeered by creative types who are putting on plays and opening gallery spaces and stuff, all this week in fact. The best thing I saw was this immersive thing where we were taken inside the set of an Eastern European kids TV show. We were herded into this little chamber which had instructions on the walls like “please no bad smellings” and stuff, and then this woman made us decontaminate our hands with rose water. And there were puppets, and shadow puppets, and massive dude in an owl mask who was apparently the evil landlord. And a film about a blue duck who was shot. So cheap but so funny. It makes me want to put something like that together myself.
Then I went back to the West End for the matinee of Enron, another Royal Court transfer which has had great reviews. It was actually massively informative too, explaining the collapse of Enron in real terms and not so real terms. For instance, the fraudulent companies that they set up to protect the Enron share price were named raptors because it was back when Jurassic Park was out, and they had dudes in suits with dinosaur heads eating all the debt. There was a really great set too, with the share price on a ticker and loads of neon, I guess because Enron was dealing in power. There was one bit where they danced with lightsabers and another bit where they made a motorcycle pyramid (except without the motorcycles) and partied to Guns N Roses. I think if it wasn’t for those theatrical elements though, it wouldn’t have been so great.
Then I went over to Shepherd’s Bush for The Whisky Taster, which also had a set made of neon lights, but this time it was a bit more subtle. They only came on when the main dude, who has all his senses fucked up so he sees emotions as colours and shit, decides to just, like, let go, man… I’m still not entirely sure what I thought of The Whisky Taster. The performances were great, although the lead woman appeared to have based her performance on Stacey Solomon from this year’s X Factor and was therefore incredibly annoying. I doubt the fucked up colours dude would have fancied her in real life. He seemed too sensible. And there was this ridiculous Scottish caricature too, which was the point I suppose, but still… The smarmy advertising boss guy was awesome though. He had all these cringeworthy management mannerisms; shotgun fingers and the like.
Then on Sunday I braved Spitalfields Market to find myself a new handbag. It’s nice. It’s blue with butterflies on it and I can fit all my uni books in too. Attractive, and yet functional. And I went to the Theatre and Performance galleries of the V&A, which were cool, but I preferred the restaurant. I had a chorizo and gruyere open tart with noodles and coleslaw and carrotty raisiny salady stuff. Yummers. And then I went to see a musical version of Silence Of The Lambs.
Yep, a musical version of Silence Of The Lambs. ‘Silence! A Musical.’ You couldn’t make it up. Except that someone has and that someone is brilliant. One of the first songs was called ‘If Only I Could Smell Her Cunt’ and there was a bit with a load of fat jokes during an autopsy, and a chorus of singing lambs.
And then I turned 26. When do ‘mid-twenties’ finish and ‘late-twenties’ start? Because 30 is surely shorthand for “time to grow the fuck up now Meg”.