52 characters – all with a sore throat (highlights from my whirlwind tour of the UK – November 2018)

Sunday 4th November.
Performing smack-bang in the centre of London – at the charming off-West End venue Jermyn Street Theatre, a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus. Amazingly, not only do I manage to park the van nearby but being a Sunday I have found a free slot. Free parking? In central London?
For eight hours? Result!

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From Washington to Wickenby

The moment I leave the inevitable Friday afternoon crawl in 1st gear up most of the M1, and head east on the A46, I feel myself breathe more easily.  The roads are still busy but at least I can get up into 2nd and even, at times, 3rd gear.  But then, as I reach the A158 beyond Lincoln I start to feel positively light-hearted.  When I turn off this road, however, onto the B1399 and find myself in country lanes winding through verdant fields bathed in glorious early evening sunshine, a wave of calm seems to flood my whole being.    Continue reading

Couch potatoes – and a glass of Guinness

All shook up…

Should I stop the play?’ I ask myself.

A small child is crying right down near the front, and as the characters in the play get ever more impassioned, so the child is getting ever more upset.

Did the message not get through? I suggested to all venues that the play with its serious and strong themes is really only suitable for 14 and upwards. I saw the father bringing the child in at the start, along with its not much older siblings and thought, oh dear, this could be tricky.

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The consolations of dessert

She’s 90 years old, does yoga, is in fine fettle and is as bright as a button – and she’s travelled over three hours from Wisconsin with her daughter to see my play.

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That’s the biggest journey made to see it by anyone on this US tour that I’m aware of.

She’s also the mother of my host Ellen, I should point out. But still… three hours drive from Wisconsin.

Ellen, teaching peace studies and conflict resolution (as well as a course in human rights and social justice) has clearly given me a big build up. Hope I can live up to it.

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Westward Ho!

Buffalo History Museum is housed inside a beautiful building. I am due to perform at 2pm in their intimate 150 seat auditorium.

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The Quakers are hosting the event and after the performance Rodney Pierce, a Korean War CO, and Nadine Hoover of the Conscience Studio and New York Quakers, join us for the Q and A.

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Looking out for the woolly mammoth

Six weeks ago I was performing at the London Catholic Worker’s church in Haringey, close to my childhood home in north London. 4,000 miles from there, I am now about to perform at the Catholic Worker of Michiana’s premises in South Bend, Indiana.

Our Lady of the Road is the name of their building, which consists of a dining hall, kitchen, laundry machines and showers, and a new chapel.

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An Encounter with a very special C.O.

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‘I hate war’

These words on one of the walls of the Roosevelt memorial in Washington leap out at me.  I read many more quotes referring to peace on this and the other nearby memorials.  And yet?

War doesn’t seem to have diminished since those quotes were uttered. The high-flown words of peace don’t seem to have been translated into action.

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Cherry blossoms and a trip to the moon

I am glad I rode the Cyclone. Honestly.
But never again.  Let me just repeat that.  Never again.

Bill (and many others) obviously get a huge thrill and adrenaline rush from riding roller-coasters – but I am more than happy to get my rush from 75 minutes of being onstage alone with six wooden crates.

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‘All the fun of the fair…’

Dan Seeger was a Vietnam era conscientious objector. At that time, 50 years ago, COs had to answer numerous questions before exemption would be granted – one of which was:

‘Do you believe in a supreme being?’

In British law, even as far back as WW1, exemption was not reserved exclusively for religious objectors. But in US law it was.

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