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Ian Moore
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Christmas Eve morning came and there was still no sign of my two Bolland books arriving from Amazon. I thought, sod it, there's no way I'm not going to have something neat to play with on Christmas Day, so I went out and bought myself some new treats. When I got back home the books had been delivered and left with neighbours. By the time New Year arrived I had an accumulation of 5 vouchers for Borders because of my Christmas shopping so I had to go and buy myself some dvds (had to, mind). And then I saw that the Cosmos book I originally had my eye on had been reduced right down to 10 - it would have been a crime to have ignored it.

So, one way or another, I have spoilt myself rotten I'm afraid. Am I so very bad?

But very pleased with the Bolland books. Lots to enjoy in the big one, and "Bolland Strips" was really good, too. I actually remembered the first two Actress & Bishop stories from when I was younger. I read them in a comic called A1 when they were first published. The Mr Marmoullian strips are wonderful. Much scrappier in terms of artwork, but the writing is quirky, affectionate, sometimes silly, sometimes profound, often both.
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opticalparadox
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I received a silver diary for 2007, a bath buffer and a small battery powered light that changes colour like a chameleon. Haven't seen my parents yet so dunno whether they have bought me anything. I expect they'll throw me a few quid. I have a 7 voucher for boots which shall be spent on essentials. It's just not the same when you are no longer a child. Christmas Day round at Jo's (Phil's ex-wife) eating xmas dinner, then New Year's Eve round with a takeaway, watching Swapshop and Jool's Hootennany with a glass of port. Very rock 'n' roll...
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Ian Moore
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A "bath buffer"? A "bath buffer"?

And did you get the drawing tablet (I personally don't think drugs can help improve artistic ability, but I could be wrong)?

My Christmas day turned out more sociable than I expected with Ben visiting me, and friends inviting me over to play. But New year I spent on my own and me telly wasn't working. At midnight I went down to the beach and watched the fireworks over the bay and it rained on me. Your glass of port and hootennaney combo sounds excessively decadent to me, Jen. Please try and tone it down in future.
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RMCrookes
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Chums,
yeah - what is a bath buffer?
I have a picture of your bath on rails commuting across the landing and which now is no longer in danger of collisions at the terminus due to your newly installed buffer... brings to mind Ivor the Engine, Jones the steam and now Clowes the Loofah.
Or is it to polish up a recently re-enamelled bath?

We did relatively well at Christmas, managing even, despite being both vegetarian, to cook chicken for my mum and Marcia's Dad. They got on well despite only having met at our wedding 10 years ago. It was a happy day though when they finally went home! I was well pleased with my gifts of mainly books and thankfully no one bought me any socks, cardigans etc.
Got some really inspiring artbooks of which more later.

New year, which I always love, was at a some old friends in Preston with all the usual gang of our walking mates. Managed not to disgrace myself despite being on the gin. It was a bit more subdued than usual as one couple are on the point of splitting up so there was a little tension. Funnily enough that happened last year as well with another couple. It must be a popular time of year for it.

Creating with joy is an admirable goal and one I shall try to uphold myself.
I'm sure that being productive is the answer to keeping happy.
So you didn't get up a mountain then Ian? We went up Grizedale Pike near Keswick on the 27th. It was glorious - very murky at ground level but we got above the clouds and the colours were stunning. Every blade of grass was also plumed with ice. Silly me didn't take the camera.

Seem to have accumulated excess blubber as well over the holiday so am currently contemplating liposuction.

I must confess to a certain inertia in getting back to some sort of work. Can't seem to find motivation just at the moment. I realize that I need to do much more real drawing/painting and maybe would like to start writing.

What I really need is a big kick up the arse - perhaps I'll ask for one of those next year Wink

Oh yeah - and had a go on one of those Wii machines. Managed to KO my opponent at boxing (chest swelling with pride), but failed with the tennis and bowling. All in all a pretty poor experience. You feel such a prat prancing around but I suppose it might at least get a few obese spotty youths out of their chairs for once.
I'd recommend saving your money and going out for a walk instead or better still taking up table tennis.
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Ian Moore
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, a mountain would have done me good, Richard. I too am now well insulated enough to swim with the elephant seals. Back to salad and exercise today before I start attracting members of the wrong species.

Interesting that you mention a desire to do some writing because in the Secret Santa (or "Bran Tub" as they dub it in Walesland) at the staff do I won a free art lesson with a work colleague's friend. I might try and paint one of the characters from one of my stories.

But I'm interested to hear about your writing urges. You've a way with words on you, and no mistake. What do you think you would write?

I think there's a niche in the sadly neglected Bath Buffing genre screaming to be buffed, I mean filled.
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RMCrookes
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been attracting members of the wrong species all my life Ian - you get used to it. I just buy in flyspray wholesale.

...that's the problem - subject matter. I've dabbled with little bits and pieces over the years and I do enjoy it when I do. It's mostly been attempts at humorous doggerel so the bath buffering could well be a starting point. - but I would like to try something a bit more serious - maybe a supernatural or even surreal short story. Any tips for making a start?

That sounds a great idea of having a bran tub containing gifts like that - will try it next year.
What sort of work will you be having a go at and have you done anything before?
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Ian Moore
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"maybe a supernatural or even surreal short story. Any tips for making a start?" - Mmm, I like the sound of surreal short story. That's kinda my cup of tea. The big project I'm working on is based on a short story that I wrote involving the ordinary world with extra things added in, like blue people.

Tips for getting started. Well, everybody's got their own peculiar ways for finding inspiration, as you will already know. I tend to get a lot of ideas when I'm listening to music (particularly when I'm washing the dishes funnily enough - I think it's something to do with my hands being occupied and my mind being off the hook). I fantasize, let the music become a soundtrack, let questions occur to me, follow the answers through to their natural (to me) conclusions regardless of what I think is 'supposed' to happen in a story. I just let myself go and I follow where the strongest feeling of atmosphere or interest leads me.

It's difficult to pin down but if I get a flash in my mind of a scene or an event or a character, and it's tied to the music I'm listening to, my job becomes to discover that idea as authentically as I can. I take care to 'paint' whatever the idea is in words as accurately as I can, doing my best to 'hear false notes', and doing my best not to write what I think should happen according to common convention but what I feel is right.

The first draft is a doodle, a scribble, a preliminary drawing. I return to that first draft periodically as new ideas come and old ideas are refined. When painting or drawing sometimes you have to put the piece away for a while so that you can look at it again with fresh eyes in a few days time. It's the same with writing.

Sometimes you can do a quick sketch and it has all of the life and energy you were hoping for and you don't need to take it further, you can put your pencil away. Other sketches hold too much promise and you long to see them rendered in more detail.

My advice would be to do some quick doodles. Don't worry about a complete story with beginning, middle and end. Just do some little studies. Try to capture the atmosphere of something you have imagined. Try to describe something you have seen in your mind's eye. Play with the words you are using, the order you are putting them in. What works? What isn't getting the right feeling across? Have fun with it. Throw stuff out, throw stuff in. Be reckless - to begin with. What's the most audacious idea that you feel shy of putting on paper? Put it down quick! You don't have to show it to anybody if you don't want. But that's where you want to go. The place that excites you or calls to you. It may be big and crazy, it may be small and subtle but ever so specific - but it's the thing that you want to express at that moment.

The best fun I have is in discovering all of the things I want to express. Things I couldn't have imagined in one go, but that gradually revealed themselves to me as I kept returning to them.

Be mad. Experiment. Don't be precious about it. Refining it can come later.

All of this can be applied to any kind of creativity: art, music, dance, cookery. As a creative person you already have a good handle on how to play with your own creativity. You just need to practise with the tools of the craft ... words. Lovely words. So much you can do with 'em. Slap 'em on the page and see what happens.

"What sort of work will you be having a go at and have you done anything before?" - When I was at school I was well into my art. I wanted to be a comic strip illustrator. I went on an art & design course that wasn't really right for me, and I also had some important lessons to learn about ... well, life. I flunked the course and left feeling dissillusioned. Since then my creativity has gone into writing. I still love art and I like playing about on Photoshop and stuff, but I'm still quite uptight about it. If I can apply some of the above to my art lesson that'll be something. I think I'll attempt a bold, comicstrip type portrait of one of my blue characters in acrylic paint. I'm looking forward to it.
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RMCrookes
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Ian,
You've given me alot to think about there, and plenty of encouragement.
The good thing about it is that like you say, you don't have to show anybody unlike learning an instrument when everybody has to suffer the cacophony.

a sketchbook of ideas sounds good... you never know I might make a start.

Look forward to seeing how your strip goes.
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Ian Moore
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, have fun with it. And if you need any more encouragement we could always do a "You show me yours, I'll show you mine."
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Ian Moore
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooh! Another thing I forgot to mention (as you can see, I can bore people endlessly with this kind of talk) another source of inspiration for me: I don't know if this is true of everyone but I'm always putting down books or coming out of cinemas feeling disappointed. It usually happens when I'm excited about the story in advance; I've got all kinds of expectations and I've already imagined the potential. When I get let down like this I then get all fired up with my ideas of what I think the story could have been. This is an endless source of inspiration for me, but perhaps it's just my geeky nature.

Example: I was just thinking of a time travel idea as I walked into work. Time travel - can you think of an idea that has been done to death more? Surely there's nothing more that could be squeezed out of it. But to me it's one of those ideas that have never realised their potential. It seems to me that most writers get sidetracked into cliches, whatever genre they're working in. They can barely help themselves because they are so influenced by the power of convention (this is a personal hobby horse of mine, but with good reason), the power of what has gone before. They sit down to write a time travel and they inescapably think: how would going back affect the present, and then their whole idea follows from that question. But there are other questions that can be asked.

The idea I had this morning was this:

A Time Travel film that follows the structure of Local Hero. In Local Hero an American business type has to leave his natural environment to spend some time in a little Scottish fishing village. He's very much a fish out of water. But over time the village has a deep affect on him and he gradually comes to appreciate the life there. This is wonderfully symbolised by how his clothing gradually relaxes through the course of the film. On his arrival he goes for a walk down the beach in his business suit. As the film progresses he becomes more and more casual. Then, at the end, when he's virtually turned into a local, his mad boss turns up and arbitrarily sends him back to America. The final scene is him arriving back in the bustling metropolis. You can hear the noise of a crowded city outside his window, but he's so alone and his friends are so far away. Very poignant. Very very simple film.

So in the time travel film I would like to see, it would all be about the people, the humanity, and nothing to do with cause and effect or temporal dynamics or what have you. I imagine a girl in Victorian England (I watched Polanski's Oliver Twist last night). The opening of the film focuses on her daily life, the sounds the flavours, the reality of it. Daily routine, sexual politics, as much as can be conveyed. She's an ordinary person leading an ordinary life in those times. After this has all been established in sufficient detail I'd have here encounter some strange phenomenon that inexplicably travels her to the present day. I'd have fun working out the mechanics of that, but in truth it's the least important part of the story. She arrives in the present day to encounter one or more ordinary present day people who have been messing with scientific apparatus they shouldn't have had access to (or something!). It's all very chaotic and they have to flee the scene and take her with them and they don't know how to send her back.

The main part of the story now kicks in which is this:

What do I think it would REALLY be like for a Victorian girl to encounter contemporary Britain? The music, the food, the sexual politics, etc. I'm not just talking about her wandering around being shocked by things. I'm talking about the gradual change that takes place in her as she discovers new things about herself because she is in a very strange environment, just like the local hero. In this part of the story the mundane world becomes magical, because we see it through her eyes. A rather run of the mill pop ballard with some ordinary synthetic sounds becomes akin to the music of the spheres from her perspective. So much scope here for humour, warmth, pain, confusion, revelation. It's all about the humanity, nothing to do with her becoming her own grandmother or meeting her descendants or what have you. I'd keep it all on a very simple and small scale. No running about with scientists and what have you. Just people being people. And just as the business man's suit gradually relaxed and fell away, so too would her sense of propriety unclench as she acclimatises to this new way of living and she discovers freedoms she couldn't have dreamed of before.

At the end of the story she has to go back. She doesn't have any control over it. Time rejects her, sends her back to Victorian England. The story ends just as Local Hero did. And that's it. The end.

So that's an example of the way I think, from getting a bit of inspiration to mapping the idea out. If I were to sit down and write this script it would take a fair old while and I'd discover all kinds of new ideas along the way. Have I ripped off Local Hero? Well they say there are no new ideas under the sun. This is true. But paradoxically, there are no two ideas that are exactly the same, either.
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RMCrookes
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blimey Ian!
you're a powerhouse of ideas, and you've nearly written that one already!
Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm - I hope some of it rubs off. I'm a believer in the idea that 'you teach others what you most need to know' - can't remember where that comes from, but I find it often to be the case so maybe that's helping you aswell.
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Ian Moore
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, that's so true, Richard.

I do think that the reason I'm talking a lot, these days, about going against convention or peer pressure, etc, is because it's a freedom I'm learning about myself at the moment. Rabbiting about it here helps me to clarify it for myself.

I'm also big into metaphysics and questions of the nature of reality. It's a subject I talk about at other discussion boards. Recently I got a bit frustrated in some of these discussions because it felt like lots of people were intent on telling me about the limitations inherent in the human condition, how we are inevitably selfish and needy simply because we are human. I'm currently feeling very rebelious about that. I have this view at the moment that all our limitations are really only limitations in our minds. I may be a little over stimulated on the matter, prone to producing long stream of consciousness posts.

But better out than in, I reckon.
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