Monday, 24 October 2011


When I write I like to listen to music. Even if I'm sitting in silence when I write I think I still have some kind of soundtrack playing along with the voices of the characters in my head. I'm also a very visual writer so I can clearly 'see' scene by scene what's happening as the story unfolds. This inevitably then leads me to daydream about the book getting published then made into a film (ah to dream!!) Songs that I listened to started to become the soundtrack of my book; they just seemed to 'fit' certain scenes perfectly as they evoke a certain kind of mood. So here's an insight for you to the 'soundtrack' of the book I finished writing a few months ago:

Catch and Release - The Silversun Pickups
The Royal We - The Silversun Pickups
Julien- Placebo
The Bitter End - Placebo
Empty Room - Arcade Fire
Between Two Lungs - Florence and Machine

I'm sure there's more, but these were the ones I'd written down in my little notebook of book related notes (yes, I am that sad).

Another confession - I've also picked out an actor that I want to play my lead male character but he'd need to dye his hair and wear contacts...and not grow any older because he's already getting too old to play him. So that's clearly never going to happen!

I think it's fun to have these silly little daydreams because it all adds to the enjoyment of the writing experience as far as I'm concerned. And you may be thinking why don't I just give scriptwriting a go but there's something about writing a book which allows you to get into the total inner workings of the characters minds that I don't think a script could ever provide so I'd still choose just to have the book out there if nothing else!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Dark Matters

At the beginning of the month I took a trip down Manchester way and totally loved the city! It had a real buzz about it and I loved the gothic/tudor architecture mixed in with the modern. Me and my friend took a trip to the Whitworth Art Gallery (part of Manchester Univeristy). I'd read good things about it online and wasn't disappointed. The 'Dark Matters' exhibition is one of the best I've seen (and I saw some good things when at The Tate and Vancouver Art Gallery). An overview of the exhibit is best described from the guide I picked up at the gallery (that would be a paper one, not the human guide): '...artists...employ a range of technology, media and machinery to engage with ideas surrounding shadow, darkness and illusion. In an exhibition populated by half-seen spectres, visual riddles and distorted reflections, works are united by themes of temporality, absence, truth and wonder'.

Click here to see some examples of the works on show:

I really loved the strangeness of Pascal Grandmaison's 'Fake Imagery of a World Upside Down' picture which looks like a man is falling off the face of the earth. Quite an unsettling image and when I watched the film Melancholia last week this image popped into my head. In fact, the opening sequence of Meloncholia was like an art exhibition in motion and would have fitted in really well into 'Dark Matters'.

The photo at the top of the blog posting was one I took of a picture in the exhibition by John Lathum called 'No It'. The picture is about the 'notice of time, Universe and the places humans inhabit'. You can see my faint reflection in the photo - when you stand in front of this art work you can clearly see yourself as part of the picture which I thought was really cool as you become part of the art.

Another great section of the exhibition was the Brass Art installation 'Still Life No.1'. Standing in a white room with shadows dancing around the walls, consisting of small people and trees and magical shapes made me feel like I was standing inside a childhood memory. It demonstrated the magical effect light can create as it was such a simplistic set up (a table in the corner of the room contained plastic models and figurines with a single light bulb fixed on them as they spun around a small circular mechanism). So inspiriing to see something so small create such a great spectacle.

Daniel Rozin's work was also amazing. When standing in front of his 'Snow Mirror' the screen was a fuzz of snow (like when your TV goes on the blink) and then gradually my image appeared in black and white amongst the snow, forming into a weird slow motion 'computerised' version of me. When I waved the image waved back, like an alternative me was saying hello from another digital dimension.

I'll leave you with a quote from the Russian writer Maxin Gorky (published in the gallery guide), where he is describing his first impression of the Lumiere Brothers cinematic showcase: (which kind of sums up my impression of this exhibit minus the word terrible!)
"Last night I was in the Kingdom of Shadows.... If one could only convey the strangeness of this world. A world without colour and sound...No life, but a shadow of life...It is terrible to see, this movement of shadows, nothing but shadows, these spectres, these phantoms."