What this is. How it will be. The beginning.
Stories to Tell in the Middle of the Night is something new, a collection of ideas, a stack of stories, odd, familiar, funny, true and stolen. Stories that I've been writing on & off for years. Stories that will follow the pattern of a sleepless night. A way for those stories to tell larger themes. I've been looking into sleeplessness, the anxiety's, patterns and social statistics. I've been looking into what keeps us awake, what makes us lonely, how we now connect. Technology. I've been looking into our numbness to violent images and the impact that this has. I've been looking into narcissism, the reflection of ourselves in the internet. I am not unaware of the irony in writing a blog about this. I wanted to use this place as a working notebook, somewhere to post articles and tangents that I come across. This is perhaps, because I am considering larger themes, though they may not be explicitly signposted within the stories that I tell. This is unusual for me. As a writer, a performer I usually lay out what I intend to do, do it and then summarise. It comes from using power points as a performance form. It comes from the want to please, the inherent good school girl in me.
If you asked me what I was going to eat, I'd say: I'm going to get two pieces of bread, butter each of them, place some cheese in the middle, push one slice on top of the other then cut it in half.
A cheese sandwich then?
Yeah, ok it's a cheese sandwich.
With a side of hula hoops.
Previously the work I have made has been focused on research and history, (tracing postcards, transcribing letters, the history of a specific place) uncovering voices, finding mysteries in the everyday. Piles of paper, names and filling in gaps. I have used my own voice to tell these detections into histories, sometimes placing words in the mouths of names I have found on census returns and newspapers. I've been known to talk too and for people who lived 100 years ago or more. I have fallen in love with dead people, their lives and inventions I have made for them. I do not say this lightly. There is responsibility in the telling of people's stories who are no longer here to tell them. People who are not my family. Who I never knew. There is an importance in using the past to view the present and the present to view the past. The women, people or places I have told stories of, tell me how we are where we are. How we've got to where we've got to. Alignments in the present, consequences and repetitions that we continue to make widely in the world and as individuals. I have always told history in a contemporary form, often with myself as a conduit to frame a story, but what comes with the past, that place that isn't quite touchable, is a fetishisation of nostalgia. Sepia tinted. I am guilty of it. Most of my work is based upon it. And I wanted to do something different. For now. Dangerous. For me.
An itch in the middle of the night, a rising in my throat to say something. Tell something. About now. Specifically.
I started thinking about Iggy Pop, his DJ show or Ronnie Wood, the one he used to do, rambling raconteurs, who have the years, and the experiences to tell. Or old Blues greats, BB King, telling stories. I am not, however, a wizened old rock legend, nor a famed Blues guitarist. It’s that feel, that growl, but not that famous content. Creating small legends… in fractures and cuts. A narrator, the DJ, a person slightly outside of myself, but still with direct connection to the audience.
A live late night radio show for those that aren't asleep. Can't sleep. Except this DJ she's playing, spinning stories; tales in tangled sheets of lost people, missed chances, words unsaid and the narcissism of the night, the horror and creeping rage of not being able to sleep. Some hope, perhaps.