It was inevitable that race would be put under the microscope in Eclipse Theatre Company and Royal Exchange Theatre co-production of Black Men Walking, which started its national tour at the Royal Exchange this week. Written by Testament, it’s a story of Thomas, Matthew and Richard, three black men, who walk the first Saturday of every month. They walk and they talk and inevitably the subject of their skin colour dominates their conversations. Yet, it is more than that, it’s a story of shining a light on Britain’s forgotten black history.
“The only thing we will ask of you at our concerts is that you listen. Really listen. And in return, we will create something extraordinary.”
I’ve never really understood why January has been consigned to the history bin of inconsequence. It really is very, very bleak. The excesses of December have given way to the banality of the new year. There are no more bright sparkling lights anywhere. The streets are empty and the folks are all at home, skint and living on the fag ends of what’s leftover from the food and booze of Christmas. Everyone is content to get their heads down and see the month through in some sort of short enforced hibernation. Yet, if you can be bothered to put your head above those snuggly warm covers, you will see that not everyone has given up on January.
It was the year that brought me back to the wonderful world of theatre, reminiscent of that scene in Godfather Part Three where Michael Corleone stands somewhat exasperated and says “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in”. Obviously my reintroduction to the stage has been somewhat less bloody, but nonetheless, it was not a passion that I had planned to be indulging to the extent that here I am on a blog dedicated to the machinations of my good self and the arts.
To look at them you’d think they’d not aged a single day. Yes, there’s the odd few wrinkles, and flashes of the odd white hair, but, remarkably, Californian emo outfit, Weezer, look more or less exactly like they did when they first burst onto the scene in 1992. Twenty five years later and they are still going, still touring, still making albums, and still getting the likes of me to buy tickets to their gigs.