What to Watch?

The burgeoning quantity of online content continues. Social media bursts at the seams. YouTube creaks under a thousand new webinars, and a hundred new podcasts just hit the airwaves in the time it took to read this paragraph.

In this fragmented entertainment environment who could ever possibly watch it all? Time was when theatre in London meant the West End and that was it. A generation of actors-who-couldn’t-wait-any-longer has turned every back room in every pub north and south of the Thames into a black box space, and now every public park and many private back gardens will host solo performances when the spring comes.

Why then, does this blog bring you yet more content?

Because my admiration for those entrepreneurial self-starters of stage and screen is without limit. One such dynamo of energy and invention is Nikki Coble ( ← that’s her website) Out of whole cloth she created – by which I mean she wrote, directed, produced and acted in … yes a web-series called ‘Awkwardly’. And even though this was shot pre-pandemic I mention it here because …

… It’s a brilliant piece of work.

The episodes are in bite-sized nuggets. Each one illuminates a mildly excruciating, awkward encounter from which, one of the principal characters then appears in the next episode where they hand on the story baton to a different character. The process repeats through 20 episodes. A sort of snap-comic ‘La Ronde’. Enjoy them singly or binge the lot..

Episode One: Here

And this is Nikki telling me stuff from behind-the-scenes:

You can find this splendid series in several places: that website again where, among quite a few other things Ms Coble also offers a niche long-form interview series with screen creatives called Scribble and Point.

From ensemble to solo, now follows a notice of coming attractions; Mick Millamphy (he has appeared previously in these pages), is, to my knowledge an actor of superior storytelling skills. I saw his solo, “The Cure” directed by the equally gifted Tim Ruddy – we were all in The Seafarer at The Irish Rep. “The Cure” opens with a man experiencing not for the first time in his life, a hangover of biblical intensity.

And if you are a dialect connoisseur: Mick is a native of Cork.

These lads, Mick and Tim, are exactly the sort of boys you want on stage with you in a show. I speak from experience. In The Seafarer there was a line which for some reason or other I frequently forgot to say – it was a senior-moment-preview type experience. Mick who was sat next to me in the scene and who had the next line, was a total gentleman about it. He would leave a fractional extra pause unnoticeable to anyone in the audience just in case memory prevailed. If it didn’t he’d cover with his next line. That’s the guy you want in the foxhole of live performance.

If, as, and when we ever return to what we used to think of as normal, Mick will be bringing us another of his excellent storytelling pieces – watch this space…!

Oh and while we’re at it, just a few more suggestions for content curiosity to pique the pandemic palette:

  1. A niche daily blog from the Upper West Side NYC. Richard Hester, by the way the man who in a professional capacity, knows more about the show Jersey Boys than anyone alive, has been blogging for an impressive 282 days consecutively riffing wittily on life in the current situation. As I told him, he’s knocked out more words than in one of Tolstoy’s more loquacious tomes. His latest post here
  2. Well this item, although produced in the mainstream and therefore not technically eligible for a niche curation like this, should in my opinion, be required viewing for us all. Sir David Attenborough has made what he calls a ‘Witness Statement’ – A Life on our Planet. The fact that I was once paid handsomely to do an impression of the great man at a corporate breakfast for marketing executives is not the only reason I recommend it.
  3. And this is a poem by D H Lawrence called Song of a Man Who Has Come Through. I associate it with the astronomical event that takes place today.

Click here to listen to me reading it.

The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn at zero degrees Aquarius. We can all watch that for free. It is the first bright star to appear shortly after sunset in the western sky, exact for a day or two 21st December 2020.

If you’re interested in the astrology of it take a look here.

Happy Solstice! Merry Christmas!