Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Burgess Project

The Burgess Project
My head's still spinning from our weekend but in a good way. The intensive nature of the project is a bit like taking one of those cold plunges in fancy spas. The tour of Bugess's Manchester was fascinating, I'd worked or played in lots of the neighbourhoods but seeing them as a 'tourist' was strange. I've found an old copy of Clockwork Orange on my shelves - last read it probably 25 years ago - and I'm reading that. I loved it first time round for the language and the futuristic setting as well as the dark subject matter. Now I've finished Andrew Biswell's biography of Burgess - which was really interesting - I've found I have a couple of things in common with Burgess: both our fathers were tobacconists and both of us are lapsed Catholics. And writers of course. So now I'm scribbling fragments of ideas down on bits of paper and browsing the thesaurus and the internet and letting it all mash. And this is my first blog ever.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Development weekend update

Pssst... not wanting to give too much away... but ... the psycho-geographic tour of a Burgessian Manchester and writing development session has just happened (see below for a mini behind-the-scenes photoblog!).

We worked hard, played hard and have a fantastic plan as a result. Big big thanks to Andrew Biswell for being an engaging and thorough tour guide, and to Alan and Nuria at the IABF for their time and access to the building and all the wonders which lie within. Thanks also to all of the writers and the production team for your unwavering energy and enthusiasm.

Now I am going to leave it to the writers to introduce themselves in the best way they know how, and more details will be released in the lead up to the three performances on 19th, 20th and 21st October, somewhere in the city! Don't forget you can email burgess @ the-phone-book.ltd.uk (remove the spaces for the address to work) to reserve your place.

The tour:

Before we even get started, Burgess is omnipresent! The night before the tour, A Clockwork Orange was on FilmFour, and on the way to meet everyone, we saw this poster for the November performance of Cyrano de Bergerac at the Royal Exchange - translated & adapted by Anthony Burgess. Serendipity?

The luxurious tour coach (with tables, a loo, a fridge and even a microwave!) and our lovely driver, Paul, who negotiated the tiny back streets of Manchester with surprising ease!

Next stop, Anthony Burgess' Manchester...
(and, err, no, he didn't go to that primary school)

Absorbing it all, somewhere near Harpurhey.

Central Library, one of the three places Burgess allegedly lost his virginity.

The confessionals at the Church of the Holy Name on Oxford Road, where Burgess lost his faith as an adolescent . As a student at Manchester University living in Moss Side, Burgess (then known as John Wilson) had to walk past the Church every day - a constant reminder of his eternal damnation.

The Princess Road flat where he lived with his father and stepmother, including the attic room where he, err, also allegedly lost his virginity.

All roads lead to the IABF!
This marked the end of day one. Day two is a closely guarded secret, the rest you will have to wait for ...
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