Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Making Mov(i)es

Well, we’ve had a busy time of it since the last posting.
If you weren’t there for the Heroes and Skulduggery night then you missed a treat. Not only did I wear a cowl (first and probably last time) but if you were not there to witness Tim Marshall’s genius in the shape of his video for ‘Dagon’, one of the two short stories I performed on the night.
Luckily for you, we’ve recorded some audio and spliced it with Tim’s images and popped it on youtube for your delectation, just in time for next week and our supporting slot for Informal Launch on the 22nd. For more info on how we made the video, Tim has got the skinny below.
We’ve also performed some slots at Jibba Jabba in Newcastle and Take to The Stage in York, all of which have been great and we have been bowled over by the grace and camaraderie of the people who run these ongoing events and the other people performing on the bill.
Back to the zine and now for your critical perusal is the first draft of our front cover artwork. Ta dah!

Now please bear in mind that this is very much first draft stuff and we are hoping to refine and work on our approach but it will at least give you a taster of what we are aiming for. In the spirit of keeping this interactive and allowing you to help mould this zine, we have provided two draft covers.

Which one do you like? Is there a particular one which grabs you? Or do you think they are a mistake? Be candid, don’t hold back. But they are draft. Very.
In terms of content, I have pretty much drafted my three stories for Vol 2. If you come along on the 22nd October you’ll get to hear one of them but I am reserving the right to review and improve. Part of this process will be by asking people for feedback on the night.
So again, turn up and participate, if you can. If you dare (no, even I know that is going too far, please ignore).
A loose theme is starting to form between these three short stories (yep, still no poems yet). Summed up in one word: consciousness. The thing that distinguishes us from all other life, the only thing we can rely on, according to Descartes i.e. I think therefore I am.  .
Obviously this churns up so many questions, none of which can be answered via this blog, by a bald headed twat like me or in a bunch of 400 word short stories. But still, food for thought.
If you are interested to learn more, then you can start no better place or enhance your knowledge via the following podcast, which is a recording of an academic course hosted via the University of Berkley.
And no, this is not an (another) attempt to make myself appear more clever than I am, it is genuinely very engaging and relatively easy to following.
As always, there is music and I have been listening (as always) to some cool shxt.
First up is ‘Brown Rice’ by Don Cherry. Now, as you probably already know, I like my jazz. I am but no way an authority but I know what I like. And I like this album. This is beyond any genre. This is pure music.
I am not going to go into any detail why this album is so fxxking great, as Julian Cope has already done me the favour and once you’ve listened to it a bit I heartily recommend you review equally his intelligent and funny take on this unacknowledged classic.
I have also been really caning Basic Channel over the last few days. I love their minimalist approach, the way their tracks just glide aurally in a state of glacial rigor and stasis. They are fairly new to me so if you know more please, please, please share and advise me where to find more of this great stuff.
Lastly, a word for the flicks.
I just so happen to have written for NARC an article about a Latin America film festival which is being put on at the Star and shadow in Newcastle. One of the films on the bill I saw recently at the Arc, ‘The Headless Woman.’ I urge you to go see this film. It is very, very good. If you can’t make it (a link to the cinema is below) then no doubt it will be on DVD soon.
Rent it. Buy it. Watch it. Get something out of it. Cool.

Dagon Emerges

It began with waking at 5:45am one Saturday morning a few weeks ago. Previously: beer and whiskey session with brother and Stoogy, three hours sleep. Michael picked me, cameras and tripods up soon after. A creeping stench of seawater and rotting fish enveloped me in the car. The change was happening already. We had to be quick. He pointed the thing at South Gare and let the wheels do the work.

In pale light, we hung around the fishermen’s huts and got the footage for Film 1. Having watched this many times, I have as a novice camera operator come to one ultimate conclusion to kick off the learning curve: you can move the camera. I didn’t move the camera. Michael began to cough and balk, the saltwater filling his lungs. His was skin losing colour now, his features changing.

We hurried towards the beach, Michael now shrieking and retching between maniacal gargles, hisses and cackles. Dagon was emerging. Soon, the humanity seemed to be gone altogether.

After some time shooting Dagon the Cruel (as he insisted on being called) loping around trying to catch a seagull to feed on, the foul creature was ready for the money shot.

Burning stacks framed the scene, as a terrible and triumphal Dagon with beastly movements, made for the icy waters of the North Sea. His beak clacked and spat. The Lord of the Oceans was returning home.

The camera batteries died. My eyes stung from the whiskey and the surgical morning light: scalpel bright. I packed up the tripod and abandoned the beach.

Since that morning it has been a case of editing.

Michael contacted me the next day. I’m not sure when or how he got home. We haven’t talked about it, and I’m supposing we won’t. He still refers to Dagon in the third person, so that’s encouraging.

Dagon’s recording of his story arrived on my car windscreen, in amongst a mess of semi-digested seaweed and fish. I think you will agree his reading is excellent, if a little disturbing.

I decided on Lusine icl for the music. Stoogy had lent me the album ‘Language Barrier’ the night before the shoot. I am very grateful that Lusine (www.myspace.com/lusinespace) was happy for me to put the tune ‘Without Standing’ on the film.

I now look forward to doing some more filming and learning how to use a camera properly. If you watch the film, I hope you enjoy it. End.

Watch ‘Dagon’ at:

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