Lana del Rey said it all…


Not to be a Debbie Downer, but it’s September. The end of summer. The end of all those dreams of what are summer was going to be – our ‘head summer’ if you like; the books we were ‘gonna’ read, the exercise we were ‘gonna’ do. Some people don’t subscribe to ‘head summer’, I know because they tell me. On Facebook. Not for them the self-deprecating “didn’t do much” or “awful – can’t wait to be back”. I tell a lie. We actually went on an’extreme staycation’ as ‘the Donald ‘might say. Not only did we not holiday abroad,we didn’t holiday at all.

This summer I holidayed vicariously. First of all via my World Service sports journalist friend covering the Rio Olympics – pics of the Olympic Village and his performance on the beam in the gym.An energetic actor friend who had just landed a role in The Libertine in the West End, resplendent in French peasant garb and another actor travelling to glamorous spots in southern Europe whilst starring in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Then there were the general holidays to Spain/France/Greece et al. accompanied by pics of lobster/paella and enormous cocktails. You can see I’m not bitter.

Everyone has their own life story and maybe they now have a short chapter on the Côte d’Azur or the Costas.

This would work fine for a book (description of bougainvilleas and jellyfish,etc), but not theatre,film or TV. Trips to the beach, market or cafe are not in themselves stage worthy. There has to be more.A happening. And it is how one puts flesh on this happening that determines how it is received.

Robert McKie in the iconic, oft quoted and oft mentioned ironically,  calls it “Story Talent”.In his book he gives the example of a mom telling how she got her kids to school in the morning – full of highs, lows,twists and turns. The dad next to her tells a far less trivial story and bores the assembled group to death. Story talent is essential – it is an itch to tell a good story. Couple this with technique,craft and the ability to wring all possible creativity from the bare elements and you’re on to a winner.


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