Thursday, February 02, 2006



The ball dropped from my hands (too hot a cookie to carry for more than an afternoon) and was swiftly picked up by….

Our chef!

I have rarely felt so beaten down by a project. Glorious arias have been ground into a paste of ‘Was the accent here or was that last week? Shit, I know I didn’t articulate that note well, I’m in for a thrashing during midnight notes….’. At the price of nine euros an hour – surely that must be the minimum wage? (not that I should consider myself above that) – we seem to be plastering our score with layers of analysis like too much bitter chocolate spread, digging into the dough till there is nothing left but unappetising scraps, and we are chucking that negative ball of energy around as if we are bored out of our skulls and there is nothing more entertaining to do.

The most frustrating thing is that the ingredients are perfect – a great team (with all it’s imperfections), a triple Michelin star chef and a delicious score.

Except, in my humble sous-chef’s opinion, we are overcooking everything. I feel like one of six bakers sitting round a hearth. Rather than quietly allowing the yeast to ferment and the dough to rise and making a toast to the wonders of alchemy, we become involved in a heady analysis of flour and water, and consequently a burning dispute about whose quantities produce the perfect loaf. Meanwhile we do not hear the tell-tale fizz and sizzle come and go and our bread is spoiled. We seem to have forgotten to trust the process; that simple whole ingredients are best when you don’t meddle with them and, above all, that the perfect loaf exists not in the mind but in the heart of the baker.


Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I am finding this series of posts quite fascinating, and hoping for a happy ending. Did you see this article,,1700213,00.html in today's Guardian? There seem to be a few similarities with the experiences you're writing of now, and with others you've written of in the past.

12:39 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

thanks for the link Zinnia! not quite there yet though it's all true. Let's hope I can stave hanging up the bow off until J's a millionaire, and that the festival in the vines slowly replaces the orchestra!

5:03 PM  
Blogger Antipodeesse said...

Damn! I just popped in to give you the same link, but Zinnia beat me to it! Hello fellow Guardian readers!

5:41 PM  
Blogger Udge said...

There is such a thing as over-rehearsing... I wish you luck, courage and patience; and hope for all your sakes that the performances may start soon so that these (I hesitate to call it) mind games may cease and be replaced by good honest stagefright :-)

And yes, FWIW, nine euros per hour is surprisingly low. Do you get a share of the profits?

p.s. I happened to click on "my father's site" and was astonished and amused to find Tom Phillips. I wound up ordering "Humument" from Amazon, to replace the copy that I gave to a friend a decade or so ago. It arrived this afternoon, and I've been happily reading since then.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Dale said...

Sometimes, too, people just have to get the analysis out of their systems. Then, fondly believing they've fixed something, everyone can get back to work :-)

5:17 PM  
Blogger zhoen said...

Explains why there are so many bad movies.

People really don't like to be messed with too much, either.


12:48 AM  

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