This year, because of Fun Palaces, I have learned how to do equations on excel, how to make spreadsheets into graphs, how to add rows to tables. (Yes, I know, but why would a novelist/director need to know that??!!)
I have had meetings with heroes and been delighted by their enthusiasm for a project I thought was a baby and is actually a giant.
I have worked closely with my Fun Palaces partner Sarah-Jane Rawlings who I’ve known since she was the ACE officer for my solo show Breaststrokes in 2003 and have always admired and now admire even more, I am so grateful and lucky that she said ‘yes’ to an absurd suggestion – Come work with me on this vast thing that’s going to take over our lives! (and that quite a while before we knew if there’d even be R&D money). Offered and accepted in a lovely café where I was so nervous she’d say no that I knocked an entire cup of coffee all over the floor.
I have been up and down the country making speeches and meeting people (I have not once used powerpoint).
I have learned about Cedric Price and Gordon Pask.
I have been astonished by the kindness of people with Very Big Jobs and delighted by the enthusiasm of people with Very Ordinary Jobs.
I have been frightened and nervous about my ability to do this and worried that it’s too huge and then I have been energised and enthused by so many other people because you all get it, you want to be part of it, you understand why it matters now – and this time, it can happen.
I have been moved by the kindness and enthusiasm of those who knew Joan, worked with Joan, loved Joan.
I have been hugely buoyed up by the people running venues and festivals, events and organisations, who have no doubt this can happen, happen well, and that it’s the right time to do it.
Twitter has been my friend and ally throughout, as has my Mrs who has (as ever) supported constantly, as have so many friends and family both arts and non arts.
The Fun Palaces project is real, it’s thrilling, the hopes and plans already in place, even at this stage – digital and actual – are astonishing, and the website – made in an insanely short amount of time and with clear joy and passion for working and for engaging – is gorgeous and it is live.
Come and join us!