This one hit pretty hard.
She will always be Servalan to me, Supreme Commander Servalan of the Terran Federation, eternal foe of Blake’s 7, Avon’s nemesis, best-dressed interstellar dictator four seasons running, the woman I wanted to grow up to be.
“a tasteless megalomaniac,” “a credit to her background – spoilt, idle, vicious,” “any attempt to embarrass her personally is an exercise in total futility,” “she has all the sensitive delicacy of a plasma bolt,” “the sexiest officer I have ever known.”
The last episode of the last series of Blake’s 7. The loss of their base on Xenon, the loss of their ship Scorpio and computer Slave, the betrayal of Blake, his death at the hand of Avon thinking Blake the betrayer, Dayna’s death, then Vila, Soolin, Tarrant, finally Avon.
Only Blake died because he had it written into his contract, so the blood. Any who wanted to return for a fifth season were only stunned, the remainder declared dead. There was no fifth season.
Only Avon survived. The Federation falls. Twenty years later he is forgotten, except by Servalan, and Travis’ daughter.
There was no applause after Act 1, so we didn’t have our aural cue over the backstage speakers to begin our final preparations. At the end of Act 2, the only sound was the rumble and grind of machinery and single voices of the tech crew. No applause. It was Valentina, the stage manager who said it was because the conductor Roberto Abbado, had asked there be no applause until the end in respect of his uncle, the conductor Claudio Abbado, who died the previous day.
This morning I read his obituary in Deutsche Welle. He is quoted, “Many people learn how to talk, but they don’t learn how to listen. Listening to one another is an important thing in life. And music tells us how to do that.” and “Theaters, libraries, museums and movie theaters are like little aqueducts,” and “Culture overcomes social inequities. Culture frees us from poverty.”
While the third Act played, we sat in our dressing room Tersicorre, the four of us eating pizza and drinking wine. Dasniya read a message from Anna (the Mad Anna) describing the first time she met Claudio. At the end of Act 3, there was applause.
Oh beautiful darling Nigel, what can I say? I think you’d hate all the grief (but be secretly fucking smug at it all, or maybe want to know why you didn’t knock the Olympics off the front page), and I’ve got you in my guts like a plague so you’ll have to hear it from me also. If you’re not too busy rotting, that is.
I’ve been reading your emails. God, but I was vacuous. I probably should have been a little more attentive when you bought a glass of orange juice in a heart-shaped glass in the morning after all those weeks of chaos, and why the fuck I didn’t jump on a plane to Helsinki and miss some days of rehearsing?
It was the last day of teaching in ImPulsTanz (I wonder what you’d say about that? Probably that I had become a sell-out reactionary of the bourgeoisie, and did I think I was better than you? Something unprintably and laughably offensive anyway), and lunch was being assembled when I heard the quiet, excited clamour of a death. “Who?” I asked, when the huddle had turned itself outward, and the person behind me said your name.
Was it you who unzipped my top that first day, when we were rolled and pulled around the (now also gone) loft studio in Tanzhaus Wasserwerk? After a mere 10 days you’d teased out not a small amount of my life, secrets, loves, desires … and yes, all that we spoke of over rosehip tea on the Sunday Zürichsee ferry you gleefully announced I would make theatre out of on the Wednesday. It became all the people… and probably the best 15 minutes of performance I’ve ever made.
I don’t think anyone has had such an effect on me and my messing around in dance, personally, as you, and you are responsible for so much of my work since those weeks in Zürich — I even thought voice work was rubbish until you came along. I’m embarrassing you now, aren’t I?
Or maybe … I hadn’t really thought of you that much since the last time I was in Vienna, and saw a work of yours, hoped you might be in town also. Or rather, I’d thought of you often, talked about you and how you’d inspired me and pulled out absolutely the best work I’ve done, talked about how various things I might be working on came from you in one way or another; but really thinking about you … I just expected you’d be around until you were old and crapulous.
Your emails, god they are eye-wateringly, obscenely hilarious. And not enough. Fuck, Nigel, way too soon. Who’s going to save dance from the endless, turgid, dull hippy hell now that you’ve sodded off? You were a step into a bigger world for me, and I never want that to end.
I MISS NOTHING.
I AM NOTHING.
I AM BEFORE DEATH.
I’m poor and unemployed and unemployable. Loving it.
Fuck me when I’m ninety?