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The Phoenix and the Moon

A friend held a little birthday meet-up last night in the Phoenix Artists Club, next to the eponymous theatre. It's interesting enough with its thesp theme, but the evening had an inauspicious start. I was meant to meet another chum there, and when I walked in, she was almost the first person I saw, looking uncharacteristically grim; at first I thought it was the pub wine, but no, turned out that the organiser of our little get together had not realised there was to be an acting workshop in the place.

Had it been a proper workshop with luvvie exercises it would have been fun, but it was just some loud young man talking about how he had never wanted to become an agent, how he couldn't imagine wanting to work in an office, but having done his internship at Curtis Brown he loved representing actors and it was all he wanted to do. His microphone meant he could blaart into every corner of the pub and he did. For someone who understood actors and acting so well, he seemed oblivious to the universal truth that Everyone Is Always Waiting For The Monologue To End. Only Hamlet can soliloquise (?) for hours and keep us with him, and even that can't be guaranteed.

Our table was full of the birthday boy's chums, a motley collection of anarchists and other eccentrics, and some interesting conversations followed. My friend's mood seemed unusually serious, and I asked her why: She told me the news from the WWF: 50% of the earth's wildlife gone in 40 years. What to do?

She shrugged and said it wasn't her problem, she didn't expect to have another 40 years on the planet; her tone was sombre. We carried on with other conversations and I left at about 11, because the Hippodrome basement casino has no lure for me.

I was lucky with the trains, less so with the buses; the one I was on decided to ignore my stop and shot off happily into the dark, over the hill and away towards Kent. When I finally approached familiar streets, I found myself in a part of Oxleas wood where there's a road barrier between the houses and the ancient forest. Stepping past it felt extraordinary.
Looked at all the land and sky, the trees so still and the moon gleaming. 50% of all wildlife. We are losing everything. Read something yesterday from Prof Brian Cox about how rare we are and how we should be celebrated. We're not rare; tigers are rare, rhinos are rare. We're everywhere, and all we do is celebrate ourselves.

I sang a little song at the moon and found myself wanting to explore night time in the wood; but some slightly tipsy woman with handbag and high heels might attract rather predictable predators. Another time, with sneakers and no baggage. Perhaps tonight when the moon is full...



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