Tag Archives: Science Fiction

What is Zero Hour?

I was originally going to release this info a bit later, but turns out people are already booking (the very limited) tickets, and didn’t want anyone in my networks to miss out.

The Zero Hour Bus Tours are 4 pieces of audio loosely themed along the lines of ‘the apocalypse’, designed to be listened to on the N11 night bus (London) between the hours of midnight and 3am. The journey will take roughly 35 minutes.

They are a Forest Fringe commission for the In Transit Festival 2011.  Along with Steve Kilpatrick on sound I have been writing one of these experiences.

You can buy tickets for any of the 4 different ‘tours’ (and the rest of the festival) on this site, and below are the direct links to the times and dates of my and Steve’s piece. The piece is gently interactive. It might ask you to do small things; look out the window, hold onto a handle. Nothing that might make you look silly.

The tickets are free, but limited; for mine there are only 6 per journey. As we are being only ‘tolerated’ by TFL, you will have to pay for your bus journey (£2.20 cash, £1.30 Oyster). My journey is from World’s End, to Liverpool St. Further instructions will be provided after you have bought your ticket.

MON 25TH JUL, 2011 12:35am

MON 25TH JUL, 2011 1:05am

MON 25TH JUL, 2011 1:35am

WED 27TH JUL, 2011 12:35am

WED 27TH JUL, 2011 1:05am

WED 27TH JUL, 2011 1:35am

I am still looking for a few more volunteers to help me on the night, there are more details about that here. Please get in contact ASAP if you are available on the above dates/times, plus the weekend before, and interested in running around London in exchange for a drink, £10 expenses, and all the costume items that I might furnish you with.

Then and Now

The Globe (78 / 365)

Image shared on Flickr by somegeekintn via a CC license

I saw two very different pieces this week. Both made me react quite strongly so I thought I’d scribble a few lines about them. (aside: what’s the typing equivalent of scribble? Patter?)

Although really very different pieces, one devised, one scripted, one raucous and difficult, the other anxious and heartfelt, it felt like they were both, in some way about inarticulacy; Ugly the inarticulacy of a potential then, What I Heard About the World about the inarticulacy of being, now. Here are some thoughts:


Ugly is a piece touring regionally with Red Ladder Theatre, the script is by Emma Adams and is a really challenging piece which I struggled with. It was only actually by the post-show discussion that it really began to work for me. That’s the first time how I felt about a piece has been changed so dramatically by talking with people involved. <insert something about me being stubborn>

Both the text and the direction was relentless. There were no still characters, no still moments, even moments of (opted) coitus were frenetic and impersonal, the characters seemed to be archetypes left out in the sun too long then fed a combination of amphetamines and ritalin, and the language warped and broke and jarred and choked with swear words. I struggled to hold my attention to it because it rattled on without respite. And I think that now feels like it was the point. It was not structurally sound. It felt like it was too long. And it said big things, at the same time as (with the frequent swears) saying nothing. It was a flawed vehicle about a flawed future. When I got back from Twitter I described it as a mix of Alice in Wonderland and Threads. And as I pile similes and metaphors on you – you hopefully see something, too, of inarticulacy. The experience of the play, not the words or the action, is where the heart of it lay.

But I also think that this play wasn’t really for me – not that I didn’t like it, but that for me, it’s not necessary. It was a piece for younger people, the ones who don’t see beyond now because as yet their life doesn’t require them to, and don’t connect the many news reports to a future. I don’t need convincing climate change is deadly. And I’m not one to be convinced in such a frenetic, physical way. I think it did want for a greater connection to that audience – this came out afterwards – ‘what happened in between’, ‘how did it get to that’ – they needed a glimpse of something they could recognise, to tie them back to their own lives. But it stubbornly refused that. And that’s a point in itself – you won’t recognise anything apart from that these are people. But some of them aren’t even that.

The other Climate Change Play that has stuck with me for a long time is (the lovely) Steve Water’s Contingency Plan. A completely different, very realistic, near-future double bill about flooding somewhere very like my home county and Westminster’s reaction to it. The script was an exquisite piece of almost porcelain sculpture – and as Steve, and like me, cerebral at heart. That was my watershed. But I think for a few people, younger, Ugly might be theirs.

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