Reasons why your first van is like your first love/The Death of Dixy;
You fall for it too quickly, without consulting anyone and the people you should have consulted will question your decision later.
You know the bodywork isn’t exactly how you imagined it but the overall functions tick all your boxes.
Your family are haltingly accepting but take time to win around following a difficult conversation over if this is the right model for you.
The beginnings of all journeys are always fun, free and liberating as you take to the roads playing your road-trip soundtrack but the returns are fraught, stuttering and completed in a panicked resentful silence as you wonder if you will ever make it home.
The relationship is intense but short lived.
You make plans to convert it into something else, a place to build a home, you even go as far as measuring the space and drawing out the plans, but never quite commit to doing it.
You realise it isn’t going anywhere when it comes to an absolute stop that can’t be jumped back into life and you have to walk away (quite literally, that van ain’t driving you anywhere).
So long Dixy. It’s been a blast. I’ll mournfully look at you from my window every day as I wonder how to move on…
Whilst every other man, woman and non binary person is either at or on their way to Glastonbury I am at home with a bit of time to catch up with everything! Now that the funding & residency applications are submitted, tax return is filed and my website is up to date (is there an admin-badge I can get for all this?) I am very pleased to fill you in on what I’ve been up to.
In Plymouth and Belfast I have been swimming in the air on the beautiful sailing ship Kaskelot performing in Celluloid Sail. This is produced by Compass Presents and Directed by Rowan Fae. Our next jaunt is to Bristol and an extra night has been put on as the first one sold out so quickly. If you’d like to come and see us perform on Friday the 14th July you can get tickets here.
Photo credit to Paul Blakemore.
I have also been working a lot with the fabulous Circus Fantastic , teaching a wide range of circus skills to a wide range of people. Click here to see a taster of the aerial performance we are promoting.
Filming Credit: Jamie Corbin & Editing Credit: Ash Peevor
Every since starting the He Ain’t Heavy project blog, I feel I have sorely neglected this blog site. This is unfair as other work activities have been happening, but HAH has largely dominated everything! Now that I can see the wood for the trees I am planning what will happen next for my new company Oddly Moving Circus Theatre, and I think there is a lot of exciting work ahead. To get a head start on that today I am updating my website http://www.graniapickard.co.uk and soon we will be launching the new company website (I feel a little like MC Grindah saying that). Also massive thanks to Julie Hill for designing the logo, not featured here due to my ongoing battle with technology but you will be seeing it everywhere soon.
To make up for the radio silence here are a selection of photos encapsulating the past few months, featuring some wonderful folk!
I’ve just had a wonderful few days in Torino, working with the ever lovely Ockham’s Razor. Last night we performed the Double Bill (Arc and Every Action) at the Teatro Astra and received an incredibly warm welcome. This gig came out of the blue for me so it was really wonderful to perform these shows again, there are always new things to explore within them, and a massive bonus to be in such a lovely location. I can report that I had a gelato, an aperol spritz and pizza so my Italian wishlist was complete.
I’m afraid I don’t have any pictures of the show or even the get in, so here are some of my holiday snaps from this morning when I was passing through Milan!
In new exciting news I have a new blog dedicated to the He Ain’t Heavy project!
You can check it out here.
I’ll be posting regularly about the project on the new blog, but will still continue to write here with updates about that and the other work I’m doing!
In the meantime, here is another gorgeous picture from the very talented Mr Giles W. Bennett.
Lyn found an exciting way of adapting the trapeze as well as finding great ways Seamus and I can interact whilst in the air!
Alex and Seamus made great friends! I can’t wait for everyone to hear Alex’s beautiful and inspired composition.
I am so grateful for everyone who has worked with me this week, Giles, Lyn and Alex as well as input from Jimmy (Whiteaker), they have all brought such amazing energy, enthusiasm and expertise! I also feel very lucky that everyone has been excited about rigging, design, costume and theatre as well as their individual specialities, and it is down to their contributions that the piece is starting to take shape.
Here is what happens when I’m left to my own devices…Me dancing around.
This morning everything has seemingly fallen together….I woke up with ideas about the middle section and how to approach it. I’m also looking forward to working with Lyn Routledge!
To celebrate I have stuck things to the wall. I hope as the amount of things stuck to the wall increases so will my feeling of success!
Yesterday afternoon Seamus and I spent some quality time alone together and to be honest he didn’t pull his weight.
Many thanks to Giles W Bennett, who is an absolute legend (as well as a Guardian Award Winning photographer) and definitely saved the day with his rigging assistance, fixing abilities and directorial input. I am very very grateful. He can also do a mean toe hang on the trapeze. I will post some of his choice pictures soon.
It turns out devising is filled with hours of swearing frustration punctuated by moments of mindful calm. Luckily I found something wonderful right at the end of the day so have finished on a high, and subdued the panic.
Notes from during the day:
9.26am: Sat in the kitchen finishing a second coffee (possibly a bad idea to have two), I’ve ticked everything off my list that I need to bring and there is a neat pile by the door waiting to be loaded into the car. Seamus the puppet is still upstairs and I cannot forget to bring him. Only 2 minutes till the time I said we have to leave…Giles is ready (who will be taking photographs) so time to go!
2.15pm: “Half rehearsal, half photography, half scrap heap challenge” said by Giles after repairing the puppet’s leg with cable ties.
3.58pm: Drank more coffee. Repaired the puppet’s arm. Talked about rigging. Back to work.
*for the record, most of the time not recorded was spent rigging or devising!
I am trying to raise £500 to go towards the project, if you haven’t seen any information about it yet, then follow this link.
All the circus companies gather for a photo shoot at the Circus Hub 2015.
I’m back from the whirlwind that is known as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival! It was an intense month performing ‘Every Action’ and ‘Arc’ but we had a lot of fun and I am very grateful to have had the chance to work with such lovely people. We then followed this by performing ‘The Mill’ at Greenbelt to a packed field full of people!
Highlights of the festival include praise from Simon McBurney…
“Beautiful aerial show from Ockhams razor at Underbelly circus venue in the meadows… Thank you from my kids too”
…being filmed for German television, getting to know Laura, Laura and Will our talented flyering team, daily icecreams, enjoying improvising on stage after a technical mishap, an unnecessary trip to A&E, birthday cocktails and watching inspirational theatre (Lost Dog, Bryony Kimmings, Tourettes Hero & Trygve Wakenshaw).
Now I’m back in Brizzle preparing for two weeks of R&D for my new show! I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
Below is a round-up of reviews and images from Edinburgh:
★★★★★ Fresh Air Radio
★★★★ The Times Culture Magazine
★★★★ The Scotsman
★★★★ The List
★★★★ Edinburgh Festivals Magazine
★★★★ Edinburgh Guide
★★★★ British Theatre Guide
★★★★ TV Bomb
★★★ The Herald
Jim Bob and me would like to say a massive thank you to the Arts Council for choosing to support this piece!
I’m very excited to be meeting with all the participants this week and to really get the ball rolling! The next month will involve a lot of behind the scenes work with the creation of a bespoke puppet and new company website. I also have a very healthy to-do list that I’m excited to get my teeth into.
I am so pleased to receive this funding; being able to work with talented artists to make the piece the best it can be and having the scope to effectively reach out to the autistic community in Bristol is invaluable.
Jim Bob (the original) will be relieved that he is being replaced as trapeze is harder work than it looks!