Friday, 21 February 2014

Abandon Hope . . .

Who do I kill? No, that's going a bit too far. Who do I strip naked (or nearly so, if you're reading this and under 18) and torture relentlessly (or annoy a little, if you're under 18 and still reading this)? Or, as I come back down to reality, who do I blame for the many mistaken listings on the internet of our upcoming production?

The production has a simple title: Angel / Now We Are Pope (alternately: Angel & Now We Are Pope). It's by me, Martin Foreman. You wouldn't think that would be too difficult for listings editors, would you? Well, to paraphrase Phineas T Barnum, never over-estimate the intelligence of the average copier-of-information. Checking on various websites I've come across various combinations, including We Are Pope and Now we are Hope. The writer has been listed as Frederic Rolfe - yes, one of the plays is about Fr Rolfe, but the author is me, moi, yours truly. Further mistakes include faulty or only partial descriptions, which has not pleased the two actors involved, to see a summary of the play he is not in and no information about the one which has spent weeks learning and rehearsing.

More annoying than the initial mistake is the inability or refusal of listings editors to correct it. I'm still waiting for - yes, the essential guide to what's on where - to abandon Hope and give the correct information after I emailed the correction forty-eight hours ago. It's Friday now and no-one will answer the phone, but on Monday morning I will have them - and South London Press, the local paper which has calls the production We Are Pope - on fast redial until I get through. Then I'll go through the rest of the list and see who else needs a metaphorical kick up the backside.

The sad thing in all this is that I'm not really surprised. Did you see the news earlier in the week that reveals that even the offspring of the wealthiest families in the UK perform worse at school than the children of Chinese labourers? For thirty years or more we've turfed students out of schools and universities with no sense of pride in their work, with no awareness that details actually matter, with no thought of consequences. So Joe or Jane Bloggs misspells a listing that has been sent in to them. What do they care? It's not their money in the show. It's not their name on the programme. And they're working for a boss who has a similar attitude. Accuracy isn't important. Offering a good service is irrelevant. People like me should be pleased that we're mentioned at all and who cares if half the information is wrong?

I can't waste energy blaming individuals. It's not even worth blaming the culture we live in since there's nothing I can do to change it. I and the few others who think like me just have to get used to it. We may not be living in Dante's Hell, but still the advice still stands - Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.

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