After a much-needed period of rebuilding and exploration, I have been able to establish myself in Basel, Switzerland. I am halfway through my next play, I have written some new music, and I am pleased that Prix Mobile 2013 now looks certain to go ahead. I am still searching for sponsors, but I have three now in place.
Bambus a great little Indonesian take-away which actually has a perfectly pleasant eating area. The place is in the heart of Rheinfelden, the picture-postcard Swiss town that sits on the border with Germany. Boasting a few faded once-plush empty hotels, now the place is full of ice cream, coffee, restaurants, boutiques and pleasant walks by the Rhein, or across the bridge to Germany. Bambus is a fresh addition to this still beautiful town.
My friend Mark Crook died three weeks ago, on 28th March at the age of 51. Our friendship spanned 40 years.Mark was more than a friend to me, he was an inspiration. It’s no exaggeration to say he shaped my life, we did so much together.
He was the person in this world with whom I collaborated the most. As 12 year olds we made sound recordings, writing comedy scripts and songs. He left the school where we met, moved to Sussex, and we lost touch. After a 25 year period, almost as soon as we re-connected we continued creating as if we’d never stopped.
Together we ran the creative production business Funk.co.uk. We put on concerts. We produced videos and music for ourselves and others. We co-founded the UK Podcasters Association to protect online rights. And what impresses me is that we still liked each other afterwards.
Mark was an excellent graphic designer and video editor as well as a superb musician, but behind his confident bonhomie, he was modest. Despite his rare capacity for expression he was sometimes surprised at the positive reactions he received. He suffered from nerves and a degree of shyness, which if you didn’t know him well you’d never spot.
This self-doubt was most evident in his musical abilities, which in my opinion were the greatest expression of his artist’s soul. His insecurity stemmed from the parental “proper job” mentality which he fought to escape. Yet his capacity to give himself completely to his playing and delve into work until he was satisfied gave his music depth, delicacy and feeling as well as playful, artful collage and great chomping beats.
Mark was a bellwether for culture of all kinds, with expansive and great taste which he happily shared. His sense of humour was wonderful. As a friend, he often dispensed sagacious advice, beers where necessary and wisdom which emanated from his own troubles, about which he was disarmingly frank, but never disloyal.
Scores of people have been profoundly affected by his appallingly early death, he was such a popular and kind man.
I have lost an irreplaceable soul brother. I loved him dearly. I’m lucky to have known him, and I miss him every day.
Very concerned about this development in the UK where the Hacked Off pressure group seems to have been railroaded into supporting draconian anti-free speech constraints.
Otherwise laudable regulation intended to support more ethical press behaviour is carelessly being extended to include the online world. Alec Muffett explains it very well here. The worse thing about this is that it’s being rushed through without the chance to knock it into any kind of sensible shape. So time is running out.
The Open Rights Group campaign sends emails to David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Harriet Harman. Sending a letter and/or email to your constituency MP is a good idea too.
Don’t clobber bloggers with Leveson – Open Rights Group openrightsgroup.org/campaigns/leve…
— Dean Whitbread (@deanwhitbread) March 21, 2013
This evening I am taking part in this event in Fredrikstad. I’ll be honest – I have no idea what this is really about, except it seems to be cultural. I’ve worked with a couple of the people on the bill. Rudi Skotheim Jensen (I’m not certain that’s his real name) invited me to present something or other, with the accent on the other, so I said I’d be reading existential texts on futility, isolation, sex, love and helicopters.
I’m now finishing the piece with the helicopters.