A quick poll…

I have a host of material that is in a near finished state, but before that…
     A few questions for my not-so-adoring public.

     1. Who is actually reading this?

     2. Why?

I ask because I have stats about this site (and its mirror) but often they are completely meaningless. So I ask for clarification.
     Some of you might be… hesitant to respond (I can think of at least one reader who might think twice about e-mailing me), but don’t be shy.
     I only want your mind, not your soul.
     E-mail me with your answers to this address.
     Next time (and soonish), either something on New Zealand TV or my thoughts on the new radio series of ‘The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy.’

Lord Morrisey Morrisey and his wartime chum Stickle in `The Resampled Six Channel Stereogram!’

Well, a good friend told me that I could put a Lord Morrisey Morrisey sketch online for the elucidation of all and sundry, and I thought the idea was good.

I was wrong.

The idea was sound; the problem is all about time.

A few weeks back my writing and lecturing partner, Jon, went to Australia to educate people about the evils of intellectual property rights, a worthy cause and one that also gave me free reign to teach as I pleased for an entire week. I had written a Morrisey and Stickle sketch for the Thursday wherein we would have an example of a conspiracy. Because Jon was to be away we prerecorded his dialogoue and I rewrote the sketch so that Commodore Stickle was giving information over the phone from the fictitious country of Rutultania.

Alright, enough background.

Last night I decided that it was just the right time to quickly bung together all the extant SFX and vocal work, quickly record the rest of the dialogue and then put it all together.

The word ‘quickly’ has never been so wrong.

To produce three minutes worth of work it took me over two and a half hours; had I known it would take so long I would have taken more time with my own voice overs, seeing that the Morrisey, Maxim and Narrator parts were recorded quickly and dirtily. I should have taken the script and worked out, exactly, what my voice should have sounded like at each moment, and I should have been more careful to make sure that the three parts actually sounded different. But, as I thought this was going to be the work of a moment to produce, I did not.

One hopes to learn from this mistake.

More importantly, for the long term, the process was educational. I was using ‘Cacophony,’ an OS X sound editor that supports multiple channels, which was a help when creating the different dialogue tracks and putting music into the background, but the implementation left much to be desired, as it was fairly awkward to place dialogue on to a channel and the inability to play all the channels at once without resampling down to stereo was a definite hindrance. The ‘Jack Danger and Trip Hazard’ material I plan to write post March of next year will be fairly complex pieces of sound engineering, and now I know that professional equipment (or professional software) is a must for this kind of work.

Enough of my worries; for those who want to hear the sketch, here it is: The Mysterious Case of the Aspirant Demagogue Be warned; it really is part of a pedagogy and thus probably only has value when appreciated in a lecture with the surrounding material.

Presenting Lord Morrisey Morrisey and his wartime chum, Able Seaman Stickle, in: ‘The Notoriously Late Introduction!’

Have I ever introduced you to Lord Morrisey Morrisey?
     I thought as much. Seeing that few, if any, of you are fee-paying students of mine you probably are completely unaware of my latest writing project, the historical mystery series of Lord Morrisey Morrisey and his ever changing in rank (and service) wartime chum, Stickle. In part this is an answer to a recent question of what I have been writing, fiction-wise, recently. The answer, as it is not currently clear, is that I have been working on little two minute audio dramas that I then produce and perform in.
     Somewhat based on the episodic nature of radio detective serials, with a dosing of faux-Victoriana, Lord Morrisey Morrisey has been in a few fairly interesting cases. ‘The Unusual Case of the Corpulent Fowl,’ ‘The Fascinating Conundrum of the Absent Page,’ ‘The Strange Affair of the Black Murumba!’ and his latest escapade, ‘The Case of the Aspirant Demagogue.’ We have theme music, sound effects, background noise and a cast of… Well, three. But there will be more.
     The task (enjoyable as it is) of writing these snippets of larger stories has been interesting; you need to feel that you really have just come across an episode of a far larger work yet still be able to understand what is going on in this particular episode. it is, I suspect, rather akin to the way soap operas work, in that a good soap opera is one where you can sit down and watch an episode several years into the main storyline and be able to pick up on the salient details within a twenty-two minute slot. It helps to be using a well-recognised formula (the detective duo) and an easily recognisable period (Holmesian Victorian England). The comedy helps as well.
     The eventual aim of this is to write a full half-hour story featuring Morisey and Stickle and record it professionally. It is part of a plan Jon and I have for a new Critical Thinking textbook which would use the individual scenes as examples of fallacies and suchlike. Our take on reason and argument is fairly different to the available textbooks and courses being taught, and this could be the ‘zing,’ as Bertie would put it, to make our work the cat’s pajamas.
     And here are some non-representative samples of the plays…

Morrisey: Enough of the Johnny Foreigner politics, Stickle. Tell me of the threat to the monarchy of England!

Stickle: Oh, I agree. Why, the other day we were speaking about the mysterious chucaphra…

Morrisey: Your interest in cryptozoology is commendable, Stickle, but let us return to our suspects.

Morrisey: That, Stickle, is a matter to which I want an answer. Who would want to kill an unsightly, ghastly creature such as a film critic?

And it all leads towards writing and producing the ‘Jack Danger and Trip Hazard’ radio series Jon and I have planned for next year.
     Radio really is the next TV phenomena. You read it here.

The Kindest Cut of All

Another week, another rejection letter, but boy-oh-boy, what a rejection.
     ‘Twas lovely. Absolutely lovely.
     With comments like:

‘An odd story that seemingly violates the rules of plot, but works nonetheless. I will be thinking about this one for a while.’


‘Strangely, I don’t find this story depressing, which I would have expected given its content. (Although the thought of this story going up against mine for the national short story award _is_ depressing, for me.)’

Which, as I am sure you can see, really is yet another case of my submitting work to a market that wasn’t quite right. They liked it, but couldn’t find a place to publish it.
     Judging the market is still something I must master; I’ve had a fair few rejections now which were ‘We really liked it, but it isn;t quite right for us’ and I really, really, really should be reading more widely. My other writing project is somewhat preventing me from doing that, however; come March next year, though, all will change (well, hopefully).
     Hmm… I think the ‘problems judging the market’ comment is my most repeated issue…