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Hangmen, New Yorker, etc.

Martin McDonagh returned to the theatre with Hangmen, currently playing at Wyndham's, starring David Morrissey as England's Chief Hangman in capital punishment's dying days. The performance was assured and everything it ought to be. The script was taut and black and funny - and a masterclass in tight editing to leave in everything that matters. The trip to watch Hangmen was a gift from the Husby to mark our first wedding anniversary. And, as the first is paper, what better way than a theatre ticket? I'm off to the National on 30th to watch 'Evening at the Talk House', and then on 2nd January to the Bush Theatre to see Forget me Not. 

This year has been markedly different from the previous twenty in that I pitched in my lot to move in with the Husby in Worthing. Say it again - Worthing. It's an odd town with need of a sharp, dark underbelly or a good slice of culture. The thing that's good about it is that we are practically on the sea and the Downs. Today we drove twenty minutes to Devil's Dyke Road and climbed up Newtimber Hill, Poynings - the puppy gagging to get ahead and be free of the lead, which we finally allowed. There's to be a local book club, which yours truly will be starting, which came about as a result of a pre-xmas party we held for our neighbours a week or so ago. Lots of interesting people around, no matter where you live, the trick is to engage. London will always be there - and as long as it is only a 90 minute drive, I shall be reconnecting regularly. 

But West Sussex has a thing for... mud. I got out the car the other day and stepped onto a patch of sodden grass, which suddenly gave way under me and I felt like a newborn foal losing its legs on ice. It's a thing, apparently. The clay soil of Sussex. And Sussex dialect has historically represented its earth, with over thirty words for mud, according to the Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect (1875) including clodgy, wet and muddy like a field after rain; the thickest of mud is called 'slab'; and I'm not sure how 'slob' differs from 'slab', as the former is also thick mud; 'stug' is watery mud. There's more of them here. 

The New Yorker is a constant - it's the only magazine I subscribe to, at first for the new fiction included in each issue, but then for everything else, particularly good in-depth pieces on all manner of things - science, technology, face transplants, Iran - you name it. The Nov 30th issue includes an informative and engaging review by Joan Acocella of a new book 'What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) by Brian Seibert. It's the Jazz of dance, and a meeting of Irish and West African dancing. And based on the review alone - despite having no affinity for tap myself - I could actually go out and buy it. But I have many more books to get through first. It's becoming an annual thing that I now buy or receive the Faber book of poetry, which includes those shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for first collection. i met him once, Felix Dennis, and he didn't seem that complicated - publisher, poet, tycoon! I felt that he'd simply bought his way into poetry, but at least he gave something back. More anon.

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