The Standing There Productions Diary - the one you are currently reading - was set up so we could track the creative progress and technical development of our projects, whatever they turned out to be. Well, that was about four years ago and lately I've been less than forensic in filling you in on those details.


It has, of late, been what my first year English Literature lecturer would have called "a time of great social upheaval". I've spoken of him here before, I'm sure. My first ever experience of being a university student came a year before I attended university. I was part of a program with the rather Orwellian title of "the Enhancement program", wherein year twelve students undertook a first year undergraduate literature subject on top of our normal curriculum and also on top of having crushes on, fights with, and, in one memorable case, an actual sword fight (the drama teacher took a phone call), with our peers and colleagues.


Anyway, point is, in our "enhancement class", our poor lecturer was immediately imbued with all of our ideas of what our university would become. We thought we were sophisticated, feisty and academically bold. We thought he, our lecturer, was absurdly educated, wrily amusing and probably directly descended from Plato. He was, and remains, a gentleman by the name of Kevin Foster (see? Even the name works! And here is Kevin on the actual internets, continuing to live up to his reputation as a widely read history freak with Stories To Tell). I still believe he is all of those things, by the way, although the descended-from-Plato thing might be slightly difficult ot prove.


But I digress. Within this context, Kevin Foster said to us, "If you decide to continue studying arts subjects at university, you will be told the following in every single subject you ever enrol in, without exception: this subject is about a time of great social upheaval".


Kevin Foster, let me tell you, was not wrong. It got to the point, in my arts degree as well as my law degree, where I would simply write at the top of page one of my exercise book: TGSU. They said it every time. There is not a time in history, nor is there a movement in literature or politics or legal theory, whose context is not able to be summarised as follows: TGSU.


So. It feels weak, somehow, and dishonest, to say that, at the moment, Standing There Productions is undergoing a time of great social upheaval. Even if it were possible to stretch the metaphor and declare this point in time as a Cold War - no stage show, no auditions, just writing and meeting people and creating potentially explosive outcomes - the TGSU label still applies, and it still means nothing, and thus I am lost in a cliche.


Therefore, here is something useful I can say: at the moment, gloriously, I am able to write. I am writing what I want to write - I have an actual aim in mind - and Rita and Stew and I are meeting regularly to talk our way through the kinds of questions we're usually asking ourselves over a wavering Skype video connection at 11pm (including things like: "Are you wearing GOLD pyjamas Rits?" and "Sorry, that's my knee, I'll move over. There. Now where were we?")


So. Let's see how this goes for us. I'll post a few bits about the writers' festival here next. In the meantime, yay for writing and reading and teachers who inspire you, and working with friends who wear gold pyjamas and don't think you're an idiot for leaving the keys in the front door of your house.