Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Wilkommen, Bienvenue.

Many bloggers manage to write regularly and intelligently on a range of subjects. I admire those bloggers.

Most bloggers manage to write irregularly, or unintelligibly on one subject: themselves.

Welcome to my new blog (incorporating Letters to Dead Writers). Let me know if I veer too close to the second sort.

Like, I suspect, a fair majority of casual bloggers, I only ever updated Dead Writers whenever I was bored or frustrated with whatever I was supposed to be doing at the time. Its demise is down to my inability to consistently manufacture a link between what was currently bothering me, and some dead guy with a pen. So the new blog will have the occasional letter to a dead writer, but only when it isn't a real strain to crowbar it into whatever's on my mind. Hopefully the broader format will mean I can muster more regular postings.

So I'm going to be talking about lots of things on here and I can't pretend there'll be an organising principle, since I've set up this blog to get away from one which had a stifling organising principle. There are some things I'm just not interested in, like tractors and desalination. I'm not going to be talking about those. Mostly I'll be talking about theatre and its making, because that's what I do. I'll also talk about everything else that interests me, especially politics, music, films, football and the irritating things people say and do on trains. There will be no principle organising when and why I talk about any or none of these.

The blog will, of course, be a thinly disguised diary. Like most non-philosophers, what occupies my mind is largely dictated by what's actually happening in my actual life. That includes whatever geo-political issues drift through my consciousness or impinge on the material comfort of the people I care about. It also includes football results and my latest running times. But I'll try to make the blog rather less about me and rather more the product of my daily life in theatre and the world. That's as much as I can promise, folks. Obviously, you can skip the posts that are concerned with subjects outwith your comfort zone and if it still sounds unappealing, just go away. You're clearly very unreasonable and I don't want to be seen talking to you.

And the title? It's Gramsci, innit. But I use it here not as an attitude to the possibility of world revolution so much as a general state of being. As it was put by a character in Fin Kennedy's super play How to Disappear Completely and Never be Found, "I don't think I am being paranoid. I think things might genuinely be shit." And he's right, they might. There's lots of evidence to support the contention, for sure and I've no doubt I'll consider a good bit of it on here. Yet one soldiers on, giddy with self-belief and ill-conceived faith in human potential, Middlesbrough Football Club, theatre audiences and oneself. There's no good reason for doing so, but things are nicer that way.

1 comment:

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

IS it Gramsci? Yes, it is - he said it, and is the one most often credited with it - but on the other hand, apparently he got it from Romain Rolland, and it can be traced further back too.

"The phrase was coined by the French writer Romain Rolland, and it seems likely that he, knowingly or otherwise, copied it from Jacob Burckhardt's definition of the Greek spirit: 'pessimism of the world-view and optimism of the temperament'. Burckhardt was a colleague and friend of Friedrich Nietzsche, and his definition clearly resonates with Nietzsche’s own account of Greek culture in The Birth of Tragedy. My hunch, therefore, would be that ‘pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will’ is really a description of a certain kind of tragic wisdom; that is, it is about affirming the negativity presented by the intellect, not trying to overcome it. Indeed the slogan only really makes sense as such."

So says Meade McCloughan, in his review of the book Karl Marx and Contemporary Philosophy.