CATCH 23

catch-22

katʃtwɛntɪθriː/

noun

a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

catch-23

katʃtwɛntɪˈtuː/

noun

a wonderful situation or synchronicity from which there is no desire to escape because of mutually harmonious or paradigm shifting circumstances.

It’s 12:23am. I’m sat by the side of the stage watching the premiere of Lisa Lovebucket’s Tony Blair Walks On Water. There have been no rehearsals, many of the roles have been cast within the last few hours and several of the cast may be tripping.

I have two scenes and one line. This is going to be tricky without a script. Being in a play without seeing the script may be one tortured metaphor too far.

Welcome to Catch 23.

Rewind four hours and I’m crafting my better self from clay. Daisy Campbell is circling the room, reading from Antero Alli. Chill Out provides the soundtrack. We are following instructions from Alejandro Jodorowsky. The planting of a rose bush is almost inevitable.

My self. On a shelf. A self-shelf.

Jump forward four hours. England are in the semi-finals of the World Cup. I’ve discovered the best way to watch England is the next day, knowing the result. John Higgs is on stage in The White Room. He is three weeks away from finishing his next book. He has a lot to get off his chest. In Sheffield, above us is not only sky, but The Falling Doctor as well. What happens when she lands, remains to be seen. John talks with great passion and authority about the Networked Generation that is coming of age as we speak. It turns out they may actually be the saviours this planet needs. It’s about The Breakfast Club and a 20% decline in Facebook users. It’s about Sam Fuentes. It’s about Brian. Not Bender.

Sandwiched in between Daisy and John, I’m interviewed by Paul Duane for his MuMufication film, along with a few others from The 400.

(Not me. A Papal address)

As I’m answering Paul’s questions, I can feel my passion for the concept growing as a vocalise my thoughts and feelings for the first time. I lost my Mum ten years ago. I lost my Dad two months ago. Those are the last traditional funerals I want a part of. They were dominated by vicars and undertakers. My job? Turn up and do what you’re told. Fuck that. Me and Mrs Gell are going to be Bricks.

At the end of the night, I grab a few minutes with Tom Calderbank to hand over a big fake cheque for The Florrie’s share of the money raised by The 400 Remix Project.

Tommy wants to give me something back. Literally the shirt from his back. He’s rebooting his Lost Doctor Project with Jeremy Stockwell as Ken Campbell as The Lost Doctor. Would I like to write a script? An army of cybermen couldn’t stop me.

Back in The White Room, Tony Blair Walks On Water comes to an end. It’s been perfect. I don’t notice my absence. The cast are all great. Lisa’s central, semi-autobiographical role as Mo Stodd, is delivered with the passion of youthful optimism and the chaos of Peter Cook and Ken Campbell. Aden’s Tripping Man delivers in all three senses of the phrase. No mean feat.

I leave into the night, in the part of Sheffield that changes when the sun goes down.

Thank you to everyone involved in the day and those that shared their time with me. It’s 23:23 and so I should probably press publish.

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