Return of the cool school
2000 was also the year that Alan Brunton published Comrade Savage, one of the last playscripts to come from his prolific pen. Brunton's typically madcap interpretation of the life and ideas of the first Labour Party Prime Minister includes a suite of songs which Bill Direen has been busy recording for an album that will soon be released on Powertools Records. Bill will playing a few of the songs on the 19th, as well as reading from Enclosure, his new collection of short stories.
I'm intrigued to learn that Bill and Jen have spent the first half of the year in the chilly Northern Hemisphere - Bill has been tucked away in an Althusserian district of Paris, while Jen has been shivering in London. Now they're returning to the Land of the Long and Increasingly Chilly White Cloud: Bill, who always has to be the extremist, is settling in Dunedin for most of the winter, while Jen has at least had the sense to choose Auckland.
When I was a kid I used to read Richard Hadlee's accounts of how, as a professional cricketer, he endlessly 'chased the summers', moving between Australasia at its warmest, Blighty in June, the Carribean, and a parched Indian subcontinent. Hadlee hadn't seen a winter his whole adult life, which I thought was pretty choice.
I wonder, though, whether a permanent summer would be good for writers. Bill and Jen, at least, seem to be 'chasing the winters': perhaps the cooler temperatures and inclement weather are as important to them as long rain-free days and hard bouncy wickets were to Hadlee? In his account of his life as a wannabe-professional writer in London, Paul Theroux confessed to feeling intense joy every time winter rolled around, the pea soup fogs rolled in, and sitting inside scribbling by the fire became the only sensible human activity. Bad weather was good for Theroux's discipline.
I'm supposed to be MCing on the 19th, so I think I'll ask our returning Kiwis whether they, too, belong to the 'cool school' of writing...