In 4 days time I board a train in Wolverhampton and make the short, cross country jaunt into Leicester.
It is another of the 14/48 Festival and for the first time ever I will be blogging. Blogging is an odd discipline for 14/48. If 14/48 was a war blogging would be a person stationed at the front line but their sole job is to take the general’s dog for a walk out of range of enemy tanks. For everyone else the pressure is on. Bullets and missiles will fly past their faces and landmines will threaten to blow apart their weak and precious leg twigs. I’ll be walking a small dog. While elsewhere people have to pull out their A game to make the show a success I can, quite literally, leave the dog tied up to a lamppost with a bowl of water and some Winnalot and the show will be unaffected. A substandard script will destroy a weekend for scores of people. A substandard blog will be ignored and forgotten.
This results in people, myself included, believing me blogging will result in my base camp being constructed next to the keg. I will then proceed to indulge in a weekend of alcoholic destruction not seen since Keith Moon and Oliver Reed once suggested popping down the boozer for a couple. You know, that boozer with a hotel next to it, a swimming pool on the ground floor and let’s drive there in my Bentley.
I’m aware within Wolverhampton and Leicester I have a reputation for “hitting the keg”. This is partially true and partially false. I’ve always, without fail, produced a script. I may have been a little drunk before writing and I may have been very drunk after writing but while writing I am sober, alert and busy delivering the goods. As everyone else hits the keg with some wild abandon on Thursday night I am tucked away writing. As they hit the key on Friday night I am tucked away writing.
And yes, come Saturday morning at 10am once all the writing duties are out the way, I hit the keg. I hit the keg hard. Captain America’s shield against the face of a non-American while disregarding basic rights for those suspected of criminal activity hard.
At the last 14/48 festival in Wolverhampton there is a 20 minute video of me, face painted white, half standing, half staggering in front of a camera while I’m asked questions. I don’t know why my face was painted white. I’d written a script about sperm and the actors playing sperm had their faces painted white so I assume it was a desire of mine of fit in. I remember nothing of being filmed and refuse to watch the video. I live with myself 24/7 and more of me will not lead to an advancement towards Nirvana. But the point is, I’d written the script. Three sperm looking for an egg which was a metaphor for the EU referendum. I reckon I deserved to hit the keg hard after accomplishing such a feat.
But this time, I’m blogging. I see my job as letting the audience behind the magicians cloth. But also letting the people taking part behind the cloths they don’t see. What’s it like being in the band? In the design team? Being an actor? Doing lighting? Sound? Directing? A writer? The only thing I can’t find out is, “What’s it like realising you’re a turkey in a Dave Pitt play?”
Which leads to the question… when can I hit the keg? Yes, I could let the blogging slip by but anyone who knows me will realise I can’t do that. The blog has to be the best it can be. It has to reverberate around 14/48 and cause people to notice, appreciate and hell… even love the blogs. I can’t do that if I’ve got a white painted face and am unable to stand up.
To me the magic of 14/48 is the whole weekend and the job of the blogger is to document the weekend. It begins as I board the train and ends as I walk back into my house on Sunday afternoon. It includes all aspects of the weekend including the keg hitting. But I’m not sure I can hit the keg and successfully document the hitting of the keg by others. I’m not Hunter S Thompson.
As a writer I’m used to feeling like I’m not part of society and instead peering over the wall and looking in. I wonder if 14/48 Leicester will see me standing back, watching in a non-participatory way? Will it be a relatively “dry” festival?
In four days… we will find out.
30th April 2017. 14:15