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it is established beyond all doubt that in view of the labours of Fartov and Belcher left unfinished for reasons unknown of Testew and Cunard left unfinished it is established what many deny that man in Possy of Testew and Cunard that man in Essy that man in short that man in brief in spite of the strides of alimentation and defecation wastes and pines wastes and pines …

And in spite of the tennis, not to mention the skull in Connemara, I digress. I return.

If you’re new to this blog, or have severe memory issues, perhaps due to advancing years, a blow to the head or habitual substance abuse, you might be wondering why the number two in brackets in the title of this instalment.  If so, you have two solutions — well, three if you include leaving the page right now.
{You didn’t: how sweet of you!}

Okay, one option is to go back to the episode before last and have a read.  I wouldn’t recommend bothering. Option two is to read the following brief summary.  Sure you don’t want to leave?

 

I’m a dilettante, a waster; a thinker, not a doer; a starter and hardly ever a fini

heath

In files and folders and notebooks, star-scattered throughout the Abode of Stones and indeed the whole Universe, are all those ideas I’ve jotted down or made a start on, but neither got on with nor totally given up on (new ideas always impinge along with the indolence).  So here I am, collating, decanting and presenting most of them on this here blog.  Mainly to remind myself of them, partly to have them all in one handy place in case motivation returns, and hardly for the entertainment or edification of some passing reader.

In Part 1 were listed the ideas of a prosaic or poetic literary expression.  Now we move on to dramatic and filmic works, followed by excursions into the plastic or even noisy arts. Yes, all this stems from being a frustrated musician, thwarted by a mysterious inability to master the most elementary sounds and rhythms on any instrument, and a harshly unmelodious singing voice.  If ‘all art aspires to the condition of music’, all my ‘art’ is a poor substitute for music, a mixture of an attempt to capture a shadow of its beauty by second-rate means, and the howl of rage of a Caliban unable even to see the mirror.

So now you know.  Maybe it does lead to some inspired ideas though …

drama

  • I have actually writted one version of a play called New Life / Nowe Zycie, a fifty minute version for Edinburgh Fringe performance.  In it a young woman from a small town in one country (Marzena from ‘Miastecko’ in Poland in this text) moves to a small town in another (‘Weeton’ in Scotland) to get away from the stultifying family life and attitudes of a community in which she no longer feels she belongs, since her studies in the big city gave her a degree and ambitions.  But two by two all her friends and family come to visit and decide to stay.  Two actors play all of these parts, each character they play being replaced by a cardboard cutout as the story progresses.  By the end the whole village has moves to Weeton and renamed it Miastecko; Marzena complains this is not the new life she wanted and picks up her case to leave and try again somewhere else.  Her best friend (the first to arrive) sees her going and follows, calling, ‘Wait for me!’  You can’t go home again?  Sometimes it’s the getting away that’s impossible.
  • A more complex proposition, The Haber Process takes its name from Fritz Haber, who came up with a method for extracting nitrogen from the air to make ammonia and thus fertilizers — and explosives.  The play is to interweave scenes from points in Haber’s life, his marriage and career. His belief that a scientist’s duty was to mankind in times of peace, but his or her nation in times of war, led to his work on poison gases (which he thought would shorten the war and thus save lives).  This in turn led to conflict with his chemist, pacifist and feminist wife, Clara, leading to her suicide in 1915. And in the Second World War his patriotism made him offer his services to a nation that labelled him ‘the Jew, Haber’; and when mobile warfare made gases all but useless, his laboratories’ cyanide derivative, Zyklon B, ended up being used in the death camps.  So many ironies and fundamental conflicts, a kaleidoscopic treatment seems a good way to bring them out.  No, it’s not remotely funny; I do do serious, you know.
  • Capability Green (or Root Stock and Two Smoking Laurels), however is a comic romp, probably for the telly.  Ted Green specialises in casing the homes of the wealthy for the firm.  He and his team hang out, hiding in plain site, in a rich area, posing as  tradesmen of some sort that no one takes much notice of.  This time he’s a landscape gardener.  Which is fine until some passing old dear asks for advice on some plant or other.  To allay suspicion, he uses the internet to get an answer for her. But she has one question after another, and eventually he gets into gardening, finds he has a talent for it, and some sort of redemption story seems to be on the cards.  Ted recommends  delaying operations in the area now he’s known, but a smalltime but ambitious crook in the organisation jumps the gun; confusion and hilarity ensue, ending with the downfall of Smalltime and Mr Big, and a householder trying to pull an insurance scam, while the closing scenes show Ted as a respected (and somehow wealthy) horticulturalist in some tropical paradise.  Ha, and again I say, ha.
  • I have assorted cryptic notes lying around, sometimes no more than titles (I love a good title me, it’s more fun writing something for a title than finding a title for a fully-formed idea).  I know that Disassembly Rooms was some sort of postmod, deconstructed version of an Edinburgh Fringe venue, distorting that at the old Assembly Rooms on George St.  And that Driven to an Olive Grove was something to do with the murder of Federico Garcia Lorca.  I’m not sure if The Old Men in the Bastille was anything to do with the seven confused and reluctantly rescued guys who were the sole occupants of that jail when the revolutionaries ‘stormed’ it; I think it was a more symbolic title, linked to the idea of helping old ladies to cross roads when they don’t actually want to.  And Five Day Week was an office-based tv drama with some really cool graphic effects — at least for 1977, when it was conceived, and even for 1978 when it was abandoned.
  • Then there are the short films.
    • Washing Lines, a series of films in each of which a load of washing is seen in a machine, followed by things being hung on a line, each done in the style of a different director.  There’s Ingmar Bergperson’s Tvättlina, Woody Allen’s Dirty Linen and Luis Buñuel’s surreal Limpiadora, to name but three.
    • Deconstructing Harry Worth is based on the  opening sequence of that Yorkshire comic’s 60s tv series, in which he raises an arm and a leg reflected in a shop window, to give the illusion of levitation. worth To the same music, I would do the same move but against a number of non-reflecting surfaces.  I don’t know why, but there it is.
    • Fool’s Mate.  I made a chess set* once.  Based on one Max Ernst made for Marcel Duchamp in the 40s.
      set1 And I want to make a film in which I, dressed in white, meet a Russian me, dressed in black, at Edinburgh Airport, and then play a very short game of chess with it, each move being played in a different location between there and Leith docks.  It’s probably surreal or situationist or something.
    • And there need to be more performances of pomes filmed. There’s a youtube channel with some on already, but (especially if I ever master the ukulele) more need filming, possibly even ‘singing’.

 

Sod it, that’ll do for now.  See next week’s blog for the other, more visual stuff.

 

*warning: there’s a picture of me, naked, playing chess at that link; not for the faint-hearted.

 

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