I’m averaging a post a post a month since this blog started in March 2012. That’s regular, right?
- Come June I will be free of uni work, come July I will have graduated, and the adult world beckons. Erp.
- Submitted various things I had hanging around to various places, will be on the lookout for more places to send and waiting on any of it popping back up.
- Thanks to superhero comics, I’m ahead of schedule on my Goodreads target.
- Nearing 10,000 tweets, failing to find a better hobby.
- Starting and considering new Tumblr projects. Part of me thinks of it as a nascent cut-and-paste art form, most of me realises I just like having outlets for things.
- Had a girlfriend, then didn’t.
- I poked at the play again. Rewrote what I had, started a brand new scene (shock horror). I at least now feel I have a place to progress from, unlike before.
- I’m deputy stage managing the Curve Young Company production of The Tempest, which is fun and cool. Possibly the coolest thing in this list, so I should have put it earlier rather than burying it here.
- I’ve gotten back into the swing of Proteus. The main thing is I wrote the music for a sketch called Nandos and Nandon’ts: A Musical, co-writing the book and lyrics with Will Breden who came up with the notion. We’re now progressing the piece to other venues, hopefully rejigged and pulling some other things in its wake.
- I’ve also performed in Proteus, and Muses, and also a cabaret. Right now I reckon singing and instruments are more a personal thing rather than an artistic outlet, but everything informs everything else (see the musical for evidence), so worth noting.
- Messed around on radio more. I want to do one “last” Culture Corner, but other than that I’ve mainly been doing silly things like having friends play music and performing Goon Show scripts.
- I also suggested that Proteus also staged the radio play I mentioned last post. However this idea was rejected, so I quickly bashed up a script from an old idea of mine called Spies. Sadly, it meant that an introduction I wrote for the staging of Dark Hartness never saw the light of day…
- …until now.
For our next piece, we have something rather special for you. In the mid to late-mid 1950s, British public radio faced a hard challenge. Independent television was launching, the radio audience was going deaf from cheaply made malajusted sets, and the children were being lost to the hoop-and-stick. This confluence of events lead to a crisis within the BBC. How were they to recapture their once total influence over the hearts and minds of the nation? How were they to spread their insidious left-wing propaganda when no-one was listening? What was to be done?
Luckily, there was one man equal to the task. He would combine classic literature, adventure, and good old-fashioned moral values into a multi-part serial for the entire family. The work he chose? Conrad’s peerless classic Heart of Darkness. It is a dark journey into darkness, into the dark heart of darkness, and was destined to be a smash-hit. Naturally, it flopped. It was such an embarrasment that the papers thought it more gentlemanly to omit to report on it, and the Radio Times quickly began to advertise it under many euphemisms (one of which, The Archers, became the inspiration for a long-running show in its own right). The Beeb gamely let the serial run its course, out of respect for its creator, then, once completed, destroyed all evidence of its existence. Its radio performance, its scripts, even the title and the name of its author became lost to time, only referred to since obliquely, and principally in obscure and misprinted literary journals.
Until now. Indirectly due to a freak accident involving chicken wire and the sub-deputy head archivist of the tertiary library of King’s College, Cambridge, a small fragment of the script for this long-lost work of radio history was uncovered. We believe it came from the third installment of the serial, and sees our hero meeting an ambush. The rights to exclusively premiere the work here, tonight, were secured by our writer James Ward and our director [blah]. The fragment remains offically untitled, but we here at Proteus like to call it:
A RADIO PLAY FEATURING A BOAT TRIP
On that last sketch I mentioned, Spies, I tweeted the following:
Naturally, my friend and collaborator Will was on hand with his rapier wit:
He’s right, of course. But I take it as a badge of pride. What I like about that joke is that it is so timely, so tied to the ephemeral “now”. It’s too soon for it to get knowing laughter, but late enough that at least some people got it. It was aimed straight at the younger mix of people that gather in that room, but more importantly it was aimed at the moment.
The point of art is partly to get at the timeless, to highlight and share universals and commonalities, to pry into the heart of things and to produce something lasting. But there is such joy in creating something fleeting, observing something new and temporary, showing the now before it becomes the recent past, and just throwing material out there for the hell of it. Part of the reason I’ve gotten so gummed up on the play I’m writing is the need I feel to make it somehow definitive. (Other reasons: life, work, projects with deadlines and actors and desire to be seen, unexpected fun things, how personal it needs to be, structural/tonal/dramatic tension problems, my hobby of making up excuses, and so on.)
So while I’m looking to write stuff that’ll advertise me, put together a portfolio, make stuff that I can be proud of, that I can stage and post and submit all over the shop, I’m also going to make stuff that’s just for now, that’s unexpected, that’s fun. Take all the weird opportunities that come up I can, do stuff for and with the people I have around me, and to hell with posterity. That word’s far too similar to posterior anyway, which is what it is, arse.
Currently reading: My last prescribed book, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. I understand why it’s good, and there are great bits, but I do want to be shot of that sort of thing for a while. Building Stories by Chris Ware is beckoning me.
Currently listening: It took a bit for me to take to Keaton Henson’s new album Birthdays, but it’s bigger, more complicated, perhaps even more resonant than its predecessor Dear… was. Plus the picture disc is pretty.