Thursday, 2 October, 2014

Probably there are few women who have not had some first friendship, as delicious and almost as passionate as first love. It may not last…but at the same time it is one of the purest, most self-forgetful and self-denying attachments that the human heart can experience: with many, the nearest approximation to that feeling called love – I mean love in its highest form, apart from the selfishness and sensuousness – which in all their after-life they will ever know. This girlish friendship, however fleeting in its character, and romantic, even silly, in its manifestiations, let us take heed how make light of, lest we be mocking at things more sacred than we are aware.

And yet it is not the real thing – not friendship, but rather a kind of foreshadowing of love; as jealous, as exacting, as unreasoning – as wildly happy and supremely miserable; ridiculously so to a looker-on, but to the parties concerned, as vivid and sincere as any after-passion into which the girl may fall; for the time being, perhaps long after, colouring all her world. Yet it is but a dream, to melt away like a dream when love appears…

— Dinah Craik, A Woman’s Thoughts About Women, 1857
Wednesday, 1 October, 2014

From the index of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management

Pig, Guinea .. .. .. ..
    How roast pig was discovered
    „ to silence a.. .. ..
    Novel way of recovering a stolen
   Suckling, to carve a .. ..
    „ roast .. .. ..
    „ to scald.. .. ..
    The learned .. .. ..
Pig’s cheeks, to dry .. .. ..
    Face, collared .. .. ..
    Fry, to dress .. .. ..
    Liver .. .. .. ..
    Pettitoes .. .. .. ..
Pigs, Austrian mode of herding ..
    English mode of hunting and
      Indian sticking .. ..
    How pastured and fed formerly 

Tuesday, 16 September, 2014 Friday, 5 September, 2014
For now she need not think about anybody. She could be herself, by herself. And that was what now she often felt the need of—to think; well, not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself, a wedge-shaped core of darkness, something invisible to others. Although she continued to knit, and sat upright, it was thus that she felt herself; and this self having shed its attachments was free for the strangest adventures. When life sank down for a moment, the range of experience seemed limitless…. Beneath it is all dark, it is all spreading, it is unfathomably deep; but now and again we rise to the surface and that is what you see us by. Her horizon seemed to her limitless.

From To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf

(via Rebecca Solnit’s wonderful essay, “Woolf’s Darkness: Embracing the Inexplicable,” New Yorker)

Thursday, 4 September, 2014 Thursday, 28 August, 2014

No story is like a wheeled vehicle whose contact with the road is continuous. Stories walk, like animals or men. And their steps are not only between narrated events but between each sentence, sometimes each word. Every step is a stride over something not said.

The suspense story is a modern invention…and consequently today one may tend to overestimate the role of suspense, the waiting-for-the-end, in story-telling. The essential tension in a story lies elsewhere. Not so much in the mystery of its destination as in the mystery of the spaces between its steps towards that destination.

All stories are discontinuous and are based on a tacit agreement about what is not said, about what connects the discontinuities. The question then arises: Who makes this agreement with whom? One is tempted to reply: The teller and the listener. Yet neither teller nor listener is at the centre of the story: they are at its periphery. Those whom the story is about are at the centre. It is between their actions and attributes and reactions that the unstated connections are being made.

— From Another Way of Telling, by John Berger and Jean Mohr
Thursday, 17 July, 2014
Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois

Wednesday, 16 July, 2014
Barbara Kruger, Untitled (You Construct Intricate Rituals), 1981

Barbara Kruger, Untitled (You Construct Intricate Rituals), 1981

Tuesday, 15 July, 2014
Woolf’s sense of privacy still feels relevant; when I keep it in mind, I see it everywhere. Adelle Waldman’s novel “The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.” is, among many other things, a gender-reversed retelling of the love story at the center of “Mrs. Dalloway”: like Clarissa, Nate chooses the lover who can’t know him over the lover who’s determined to. (He does this, in part, so that he can continue to surprise himself—that is, continue to create.) Meanwhile, on Tumblr and Facebook, we seek out the same private sociality that Woolf described. Usually, we think of social media as a forum for exhibitionism. But, inevitably, the extroverted cataloguing of everyday minutiae—meals, workouts, thoughts about politics, books, and music—reaches its own limits; it ends up emphasizing what can’t be shared. Talking so freely about your life helps you to know the weight of those feelings which are too vague, or too spiritual, to express—left unspoken and unexplored, they throw your own private existence into relief. “Sharing” is, in fact, the opposite of what we do: like one of Woolf’s hostesses, we rehearse a limited openness so that we can feel the solidity of our own private selves. — Joshua Rothman, “Virginia Woolf’s Idea of Privacy,” The New Yorker
Thursday, 10 July, 2014

I’m Nobody! Who are you? (260), by Emily Dickinson

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

I am sure that, without theatre, there is no urban public space, not even classic public space deserving of that name. We therefore have good reason to reflect on the contemporariness and function of theatre among this country’s active public.  Alexander Kluge, opening to Berlin Festspiele Theatretreffen 2014.
Wednesday, 9 July, 2014


Tuesday, 8 July, 2014
Pat Brassington, By the Way, 2010

Pat Brassington, By the Way, 2010

The best and most important news: You already have the skills you need to build a beautiful, sustainable life.

The secret of artists who make it work: they use the skills, resourcefulness, and creativity of their art practice in all aspects of their lives. Artists are over-skilled and work incredibly hard. We see value where others do not. We are brilliant problem-solvers and tool-users. We have the meta-skill of learning new skills.

If I said to you, “I want to make a performance that involves two hot-air balloons, a children’s chorus, and some trained cats.” You would say, “OK, let’s figure it out.” Because you are an artist and because you believe fundamentally that things can be figured out, transformed, adapted, and solved.

You have experience making the impossible happen. All too often, we don’t use those skills outside the studio. When it’s time to make a budget or do our taxes or have a meeting with a fancy funder, we say: “Oh, no I can’t do that. I’m an artist.”

— From Making Your Life As An Artist, by Andrew Simonet. This is a guide to “building a balanced, sustainable artistic life,” and is full of good, practical advice and #quotesabouthardwork. You can download it for yourself, for free, here. ”Don’t starve. Make art.”
Tuesday, 1 July, 2014
All of Scotland is our stage. In our heart is an ambition to transform the world in dreams and drama, to make incredible things happen in unbelievable places. We’re where Scotland comes to play. We’re an ever-evolving family of play makers, theatre originals, maverick thinkers. We’re technically adventurous, fearlessly collaborative. We’re what our artists, performers and participants make us. And with no building of our own, we have the freedom to go where our audiences take us. There is no limit to what we believe theatre can be, no limit to the stories we are able to tell. All of Scotland is our stage, and on that stage we perform to the world. We are a theatre of the imagine: a Theatre Without Walls. — National Theatre of Scotland