From the editor
NOT so long ago we got two rather odd requests relating to upcoming shows. Would we like to send someone other than our usual critic to review the performance? The feeling, apparently, was that our regular person wouldn’t quite get what the organisation was trying to achieve. We didn’t get far enough into the conversation to find out exactly who would be the better person to fill the critic’s seat: someone from the company’s public relations department perhaps? It was far from the first time such calls had been made to us. My view is this: if an arts company would like us to choose part of their season, or do a bit of casting for them, possibly they could horn in on some of our duties. Such as assigning critics. And just so you know, we do not pass on to our critics the fact they are not wanted. That could affect their judgment, no matter how hard they tried for it not to be the case. Hilariously — and this was years ago — one artistic director had to shamefacedly apologise to me after the critic in question wrote a rave. You just never know, do you? FANS of the This Life column, and they are many, should turn to page 6 (well, don’t skip Jane Cornwell’s piece about the fascinating comedian Mark Thomas that starts on page 4, but you know what I mean). Today I am publishing an extra This Life, a piece of writing that I wanted to share with readers but which is far too long for the usual spot. It is, however, absolutely in This Life territory, an experience that is personal, yet has wider resonances. I can’t promise to make a regular feature of this, but every now and again may throw in a surprise or two. Enjoy.