Summitry ~ theatre notes

Monday, March 31, 2008


I'm afraid I'm going to talk about me, so I can push me out of the way and get on with some proper work. I have an excuse: last week was passing strange. Ms TN, blogger, poet and pulp author, is used to existing in the margins, a shadowy figure who lobs the odd grenade into the soft furnishings. But the past few days have seen a concatenation of invitations: among them, requests that I judge awards, or sit on panels, or be a two-minute talking head on the ABC's Sunday Arts program (next Sunday afternoon, if you're interested, as part of a feature on La Mama) and, the big surprise, that invitation to the 2020 Summit, which places me, according to The Age, among Australia's new A-List.

My initial response to all this niceness was to relapse with a cold, so instead of writing reviews of shows I saw last week, I spent the weekend in bed sneezing and reading Flann O'Brien, whose absurdities seemed peculiarly appropriate. My second was to remember Steven Berkoff who, when he was made head of the National Theatre, and was asked what he thought about the establishment, answered: "I am the fucking establishment!" My third was to recall Seneca's scepticism about worldly success. "No one is worthy of a god," said the good man, "unless he has paid no heed to riches. I am not, mind you, against your possessing them, but I want to ensure that you possess them without tremors; and this you can only attain in one way, by convincing yourself that you can live a happy life without them."

I am not so churlish as to complain about good fortune, even if it feels a little alarming. Luckily, there's always Andrew Bolt to keep me real. (As an aside, Diamanda Galas - who is, in a wholly Nietzschean sense, a redoubtable female - takes an entertaining swing at Da Bolta in the SMH this weekend. Atta girl! No pulling punches there!) In any case, the best cure for collywobbles is, in my experience, to get down to work. First, those tardy reviews, which will be up soon. And I'm working on a TN wiki for the 2020 Creative Australia summit, which I hope to upload by next week. The idea is that, once I clarify some preliminary thoughts, you lot can get into the act and make your own suggestions. I'm curious to see how we might harness the Web 2.0 hivemind: the convenors are claiming that every idea will be on the table, so let's take them at their word and see what happens. So start polishing your brains now. The Creative Australia topic list is here; my major focus will be in points 1, 4 and 5. With a little space for my obsession about discourse...

And PS: thank you to whoever nominated me.


sydney arts journo said...

"Alison Croggon: Tax-payer funded poet", is the cry from Mr Bolt.

How delicious.

As I wrote previously, with all this abuse being hurled from his messy little corner, maybe Bolt should be our arts rep at 2020.

He certainly has... what would you call it... a style.

scarlett said...

Having just experienced the greatest acting I have ever had the pleasure to see on a Sydney stage the other night in "The Year of Magical Thinking", no doubt Bolt would refer to her as a "tax-payer funded actress." In fact I think he has. All I can say is, my tax dollars well spent - thanks!

Alison Croggon said...

I think the term was "grant fed", summoning images of a fat pig greedily snuffling at the trough. Of course, as Bolt and his ilk know well, in order to get a grant, all you have to do is write "poet" on your forehead and stick your hand out...easy, innit?

Maddie and Tim said...

Hi Alison,

Congratulations on your Summit gig.
It is great for the artistic community that an articulate, well-informed and thoughtful artist will be there batting for us all.
Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey

Alison Croggon said...

Thanks Maddie and Tim! I sure will do my best. And it's certainly going to be interesting.