“And so with the
sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things
grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning
over again with the summer.”
I wrote that. From my novel Gatsby: Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires, The Great. The slow molasses transmutation from spring into summer…
Ah, summer. Blistering. Parching. Incandescent. Tweeds scratch. Starch collars pinch. Seemed the only way to cool down was to splash in the fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel, kick back a quart of bathtub gin, and bare-bottom wrestle Hemingway to the pavement (whenever the arrogant bastard was in town). Smoke Chesterfields. Do the latest dance craze. Zelda would throw shapes and pitch fits.
And we would drink more gin.
While I was often too incapacitated to write anything beyond a string of unrelated flapper idioms, I have to admire these playwrights of whom you’ll see on these worldly-wide web-net pages of The Good Ear Review this summer. These are writers who, presumably, are not distracted by the cool, tall glass of the Tom Collins, or the flat-footed thumping of Zelda’s schizophrenic pirouettes.
Yes, spin, my darling. Spin. Without the cat, dear.
You will find that these dramatists exude a certain talent that I had when I was, say, 23—fresh-faced from bullshit Princeton and full of all the promise of jazz and endless nighttime. And one mammoth, mountainous, hugely humongous, ever-flowing pyramid of martini, martini, martini.
Over the hot summer weeks, expect wondrous new monologues from Natalie Smith (UK), Kim Wiltshire (UK), Richard Ballon (USA), Ella Greenhill (UK), Ethan Kanfer (USA), Les Hunter (USA), Claire Booker (UK), Nathaniel Kressen (USA), Susan Hodgetts (UK), Rahila Gupta (UK), Michael Monkhouse (UK), Dick Curran (UK), and Deirdre Dowling (USA).
Have yourself a good drama read and pass the scotch, Scottie.
Was it Chaucer who said, “Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote / The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote” which, loosely translated from Ye Olde Englishie, means “April follows March in the Gregorian calendar as established in 1582.” Clinical, yes. But you could see that Chaucer was indeed psyched by the season we call “Spring.”
I’ve been known to lose my bonnet over the months of begonias and bloodroots. Was it me who said, “A light exists in spring / Not present on the year / At any other period”? Yes, a little obvious, I know. Now that I look at that again. Yeah. That’s a bit crap.
With the promise of spring comes the promise of good writing. And that excites me. To no end. I believe it was me who penned “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” Totally and completely psyched. I mean it. I’m talking like the Zapruder film, where rhyme is the grassy knoll and rhythm is the Texas School Book Depository. Like that kind of psyched.
So, I’m super pleased and in wall-eyed wonder to have been asked by Sir Tristram Stjohn Bexindale-Webb (editor-in-chief) to give a peekaboo of some of the playwrights to be published on The Good Ear Review this spring. You will be seeing monologues by Catherine Harvey (UK), William Cameron (USA), Robert McClure Smith (USA), Taylor Gould (USA), Kevin McCann (UK), Celine Gibson (New Zealand), Lee Sutton (UK), Judy Darley (UK), Lucas Johnson (Canada), Kate Kogut (USA), Katherine Burkman (USA), Ann Harvie (Scotland), and Marjana Cosic (Serbia).
See? Look at her dancing already. Jesus, everybody’s got the spring fever. Did you reset your clocks an hour forward, by the way? If you’re too lazy-assed, get your Irish maid to do it. You don’t want to be all circadianly out of whack. Get with the programme—it’s the mid-19th century already, sugar tits.
Beware, beware! Take shelter! We are hurling toward the bleak mid-winter. Yes, we are. Now that Christian Christmas season is at a close and the New Year rings loud with its bells and cacophony. It is indeed mid-winter-esque, as you can plainly see.
But it need not be bleak! No!
I’m sorry—I was loud. (sotto) Nooo.
There are lovely bits of writing to make your mid-to-late winter as toasty and pleasing as a warm hand muff made of dead fox or some other swift and beautiful animal. You can expect to be reading monologues by the likes of Atar Hadari (UK), Jon Spano (USA), Yolanda Nieves (USA), Alistair Hewitt (UK), Niamh Bagnell (Ireland), Tracy Harris (UK), Carla Grauls (UK/South Africa), Colin Garrow (UK), Elaine Romero (USA), and Bill Cameron (USA).
I don’t have anything more to say.
It is that time of year where madness ensues. The wild pulsating rhythm of harps and fiddles that drives the dance floor utterly mental. The snuff. The mistletoe. Wassail. Punch mixture. Handkerchiefs. Mental.
Since 1835, Fezziwig’s holiday all-nighters have brought merry. And have turned all unassuming party guests from this:
The Good Ear Review wishes you a very high-spirited holiday season.*
* Editor-in-Chief (Sir) Tristram Stjohn Bexindale-Webb begs you to please rave responsibly.
Good afternoon. I died today. Tea?
It was in a small room in Paris. I lay consumptive. Or some such. I scolded myself for my weakness in absinthe, which I believe may have pushed me over the edge in being more than usually accessible to colds and Whoopsie (a whooping form of dropsy). I could only hear the voice of my sweetest Bosie, who, between tantrums, used to shout in his loudest Owen Meany voice, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN BED WHY ARE YOU WEARING MY CUFFLINKS I HATE YOU DO YOU WANT A RENT BOY I CAN’T PAY MY HOTEL BILL I LOVE YOU I’M A BETTER WRITER THAN YOU I HATE MY FATHER I’M GOING TO SHOOT HIM!!” But he was a beautiful boy and perhaps the only real love I had ever felt for someone so prone to amplification. And the wallpaper surrounding what was to be my deathbed was indeed perhaps a tad louder than dear young Lord Alfred Douglas Bosie Bigmouth.
“The only thing worse than possessing amplification is not possessing amplification.”
As I drew my final breath, I had the wherewithal to utter one of my finest quotable quotes, with a trusted scribe handy to mark these faltering words:
“My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go. But it will likely be me because I am coughing up blood and my breathing is laboured and erratic.”
This certainly beats Henry Ward Beecher’s last words, just 13 years prior to my own demise, “Now comes the mystery. (pause, uncomfortable shifting, caregivers look at their hands) No—NOW comes the mystery. (pause, faint cough from a chaplain) No—wait for it…it’s NOW—comes the—oh, fuck it— (gurgley death rattley sounds)”
And so he died, frustrated, trousers around ankles, a busty day nurse weeping into her cleavage.
And so history is re-written.
“The only thing worse than history re-written is not history re-written. That doesn’t scan right. Give me a minute.”
Oh, I forgot—I’m supposed to give advice to writers: Don’t let actors ruin your work (if one more poser says “I’ve now realized for the first time in my life the vital importance of being Earrrrrnest” and gurns full-face to the audience, I’m going to piss in every after-party drink in every theatre); always tip well at the Café Royale; and don’t kiss up to a Marquis, dearest lambs, for love nor money.
“The only thing worse than kissing up is not to—okay, I’ll stop.”
There is reason to dance—heat from hot, hot summer is at its end and Autumn begins anew … like something new all over again. A wonderful time of year where all beautiful things die by turning a glorious colour of fire and red … bits that were once green shall perish! Tree leaves will fall down (hence the American seasonal term “Fallen”) and turn brown and need to be sorted by gardeners and bin bags. Such beauty! Can you smell it?! I can … smell it all … and then some! Such a fine time. The autumn time of dying and decay and the terror of Halloween when children beat other children in order to steal their sweets or gooses-getting-fat or the only possession they ever valued in this world. Yes. Autumn! Put another penny in the old man’s—
Oh, good—here is the list of playwrights to look for on The Good Ear Review in this autumn-like season of Autumn: Vivien Jones (Scotland), Patrick Kinsella (Ireland), Jaki McCarrick (Ireland), Samantha Randall (England), Heather Jeffery (England), Jacqueline Strawbridge (Ireland), Jack Gilhooley (USA), Phil Emery (England), Annie Zaidi (India). Read them, please. Read all of them. For they will come. Thank you for listening to me. Not many people do.
— Urchin! My slippers!
I have to go.