revew: Harry Giles – Everything I Bought And How It Made Me Feel
Everything I Bought And How It Made Me Feel/
by Harry Giles/
/while waiting in an armchair in the HUB for Harry Giles’s Everything I Bought And How It Made Me Feel to begin i looked down the side of the cushion for a pen id lost/ and i found £4.20/ which was nice/ and made me feel kind of worried/ id been there since people started arriving/ so i knew it definitely didnt belong to anybody there/ but what if/ right//*
/the £4.20 was also kind of reassuring/ because the show was pay what you like/ and id already given the last of my money away to a bloke on the pavement under the railway bridge by Leeds station/ and tho i support Harry on their Patreon so by their rules i dont have to pay to see one of their shows itd still be nice to put something in the jar/ and also i fancied a beer cos beers only a quid at the HUB//**
/the dilemma tho is also that this isnt properly my money/ or at least i dont feel total ownership of it/ so id feel better giving it someone else/ but if i did that itd be even harder for the previous owner to find their money/ and i feel kinda guilty about givin the homeless man the last of my change earlier/ cos they say youre not supposed to give people money//†
/actually when we went in to the show i left the £4.20 on the arm of the chair incase whoever lost it found it and picked it up/ or someone else picked it up and i wouldnt have to deal with it/ but it was still there when i came back/ so i still had to make up my mind//††
/if anyone lost £4.20 at the HUB recently im sorry but Harry Giles has £3.20 of it and i spent £1 of it on beer//
* I’ve written stream-of-consciousness-esque stuff in this format with loads of slashes before, and it’s a style that’s directly influenced by Harry’s tumblr, which shares its name with this show. For a year (2014) Harry logged every monetary transaction they made, both on the blog (which is proper worth a look through) and in a big spreadsheet, noting the cost and affect of each item. I followed the blog for the whole year Harry was updating it, and they made a show out of it some point in the last year and a bit and now it’s touring. Oh, and I saw it last night and really enjoyed it.
** Usually when I see a show, I see it for free on the condition I then write a review of it (usually for some publication or other). And now I feel like I’ve internalised that duty to write something after seeing a show, regardless of whether I’ve paid or not. I think there’s some sort of exchange related anxiety behind this feeling – of whether I’ve earned the right to see a show or not. Everything I Bought is all about anxiety, all about exchange and worth and desert, presented as a sort of broken self-help seminar. I found it really easy to relate to. I get anxious most days about money; about having money or not having money in equal measure.
† I was pretty set on totally enjoying this show. I detailed a similar experience in my revew of Chris Thorpe’s Confirmation. Gist of it is, I’d already followed the blog, I already broadly knew what ideas the piece would contain and what the general ideological bent of it would be but wasn’t sure formally how it’d present itself. And I’d never seen Harry perform (turns out Harry is a Very Good performer) so there was a sort of sensory newness playing against the conceptual familiarity. Going to see shows after knowing about them for so long is a strange and enjoyable confirmation of bias.
†† Sometimes my experience of a show becomes so obviously subjective and personal that it highlights how impossible it is to transfer that experience. I really enjoyed this show because it really spoke to me. People similar to me might enjoy it too. People entirely different to me might enjoy it. Theatre, art, is complicated. But I suppose that’s largely because people are too. I’d definitely recommend this show, and it is on tour so if you have a look it may be coming somewhere near you.