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Garry Robson gets excited about the response to Raspberry in Manchester / 25 April 2010

photo of actor playing Ian Dury

Photo of Garry Robson as Ian Dury. Photo © Tim Morozzo.

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“Arseholes, b_st_rds, f_ckin, c_nts and pr_cks” - now aint that one of the greatest first lines of a song ever written.

The fabulous Mr Dury leaves the listener in no doubt of what he thinks. As well as all the fabulous people you meet on tour you also meet a few like that.

So I’d like to dedicate it to the bouncers on the door of the Underground night club in Dundee who refused the lovely Sally Clay entry ‘cause she was a fire risk. They said unsuspecting punters would trip over her (fluorescent!) white stick.

To slightly paraphrase another Dury song “oh there aint half been some stupid b*stards aint there.” These few Neanderthals apart the good folk of Dundee were welcoming and hospitable though i never did get to meet Dennis the Menace.

We’re on the first leg of the English section of the tour and Derby and Halifax have whizzed by and I’m writing this in the wilds of Manchester in typical tour fug of lack of sleep and too much pop.

Two great nights at The Contact Theatre. It’s really good to visit a place and feel wanted. So good for the company to see all your carefully prepared marketing material and promotional bits and pieces really placed well. You feel like they really want you to be there. This in turn is reflected by excellent tickets sales and a buzz about the place.

Sadly on the small scale touring circuit there are still too many venues that you go to where you know they’re just ticking some cultural diversity box. They really don’t quite get it; don’t quite know how to market it: “Oooh tricky. They’re not a comic or a tribute band” and just quietly wish it would all go away. It’s such a waste!

I have a certain sympathy because the circuit has had the stuffing knocked out of it over the years by Arts Council funding policies. They demand that small provincial venues book fringe work, yet they don’t necessarily equip the venues to market the work.

At the same time there is an insistence that they must put bums on seats - thus actually encouraging safe options. But hey guys we’re all in this together. At least make an effort!

Marvellous to see master poet Peter Street at Contact not to mention turns from Corra and Waterloo Rd. My dears we’re gaining a celebrity following! And such a treat to see the film Tanya Raabe made with Fittings blasting out on a big screen in the foyer.

This film reflects Fittings long time strategy to engage with all areas of the spaces we tour to; animating the foyers and engaging with the public in as many ways as possible.

Tanya is working as Fittings Associate Director. She spent time with the company in Glasgow sketching and recording the process. Her drawings have now been turned into an animation, which accompanies the show on tour.

It’s a great piece with really striking images that capture perfectly the collaborative creative conflict that is a good rehearsal. Take a look at them on dao or on Tanya’s My Space site.

Off to Liverpool today for gigs in Runcorn and at The Bluecoat.

See you there.

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