Mutually Assured

Some quick thoughts on how we respond to the wave of mutilation the social media hive mind seems to be surfing.

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The Genie

A post on genies of the technological and political variety, what happens when they get out of the bottle, and why it's pointless trying to shove them back in. Now with added historical context and mournful hindsight!

At the end of 2014 I had the fun of being a small cog in a rather fantastic machine created by Tom Bowtell and Coney where I got to pretend to be a genie. In Arabian Nights, created in collaboration with the Birmingham Rep and the new Library of Birmingham, Coney created an adventure whereby an ancient genie, trapped in the internet, had to be rescued by schoolchildren through the power of storytelling. As with many other of Coney’s projects, the magic was created in the collision of a virtual digital world, implicitly understood by the children who never experienced life without it, with the real world (manipulated by some fantastic acting, design and theatrical shenanigans). My job was to be the email voice of the genie, responding to the children’s questions and remarks in a suitably genie-like manner.

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Copyrant!

This policy announcement from The Greens on copyright law spurred a bit of a twitter conversation with my learned colleagues @deldridgewriter and @Duncan_Gates - this is such a mahoosive conversation though, I thought I would blog it out here. I read a lot on this for my play from 2006, The Kiss, which touched on law and property and ideas and a salmon roulade recipe and other things, so a) I know some stuff, b) I don’t expertly know some stuff, and it’s stuff from a few years ago that might be out-of-date and I might have got it all wrong anyway, so caveat emptor. This is also one of those areas that lapses quickly into crazy idealism - but I really think the crazy idealism in this case is important to hold up as a mirror to reality, because reality has some blemishes on this score.

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The Jinx

If you can find a way to see it, watch HBO’s The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst before any more events overtake it. It’s also genuinely the more amazing the less you read about it beforehand - which makes it a natural subject for a blogpost, obviously.

Skirting around most of the spoilers, it’s the story of Robert Durst, the son of a Manhattan property magnate Seymour Durst, accused of several heinous crimes, deriving from a rare interview he grants to Andrew Jarecki, director of Capturing the Friedmans among other things. Durst has clearly been a bit of an obsession for Jarekci and his team, having worked on the story for a long time, including creating a fictitious telling of his tale, All Good Things, which is what reels in Durst for the interview in the first place. And things go downhill, or distinctly uphill from thereon in, depending upon whether you’re a wealthy septuagenarian or a tenacious documentarian…

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Bitter Lake

I can heartily recommend Bitter Lake, the latest documentary from Adam Curtis, available on iPlayer in February 2015, and quite probably somewhere on YouTube after that. I’ve always been a big fan of Curtis’ films and his brilliant blog, even when I’ve found the conclusions more than a little rushed and wrong-headed (All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace was one particular culprit). His style is easy to parody, but that’s always true of voices that are this assured.

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Gone Girl

A few thoughts on David Fincher's Gone Girl - mainly how I was disappointed that it wasn't actually a spin-off from one of my favourite superheroines, Went Woman.

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Experience

I'm afraid of stairs. I'm allergic to sunlight. I'm allergic to everything. My tongue is worth £1m. Muhammad Ali was my mentor. I'm the world's oldest wing walker.

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The Demands of Theatre

I have to confess to a certain falling out of love with theatre in recent years. It might well actually more be a case of theatre falling out of love with me - or, as in any faltering relationship, a series of many complicated factors. And it might be a relationship that ultimately can be saved, or not. Watch this space. But certainly, I know that things like the Theatre Charter are a major cause of the kind of rage and hurt that leads theatre and me to scream and shout and sulk at each other.

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Be Chosen By Your Own Adventure

A couple of years ago I was meant to be writing an open-ended narrative for a live project - that is, one starting point led to many endpoints, creating a story along the way. I found it really difficult to write anything I found satisfying. In my endearing way, I insisted to a colleague that it just wasn't possible to write meaningful, moving stories when the ending was transparently arbitrary and the reader knew that. You could build a roller-coaster ride, sure, but nothing that dumped you off somewhere other than where you got on. In retrospect, I think I was being a bit more insistent than strictly necessary. Anyway, by way of apology, I thought I might explain why I'm still right.

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No Signal

Mobile reception in Cambridgeshire is proving to be pretty dire, for me at the very least. 4G capabilities, sure, but as infrequently as 3G, or any network connection at all. My phone forces me out of the house to make calls, which at least gets me mobile, I suppose. But this isn't a blog complaining about EE service (this one is) - but it did inspire a short train of thought about the faulty telephone in contemporary screenwriting...

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