Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Interview Podcast

Hey folks, check it out - I did a really fun gig a week or so back with Byron Vincent and A F Harrold, based around Poetry and Stand-Up. Before the gig, us and the compere got interviewed - you can listen to the interviews online here. I think the interviewer, Julia, asks some really insightful questions, and Byron, A F and Dr Kevin McCarron (who has some awesome ideas) all give great, articulate answers. If you're interested in stand-up or poetry or both, I'm sure you'll find it a rewarding listen.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Pat Sharp

Readers of this blog will know that a fair proportion of my life's work is devoted to promoting the creative output of the writer John Osborne. He has just done a new youtube video, for a poem I like called 'I Think Pat Sharp Is Lonely'. Here it is:

Today is MAR10 Day, apparently. I was going to have mushroom pasta for tea to celebrate, but I seem to have contracted a stomach bug and, well... I'll be uncharacteristically coy about the details but suffice to say I don't feel much like tucking in to a hearty, cheese-slathered meal. This is the first time since the beginning of my Lenten video games fast that I've seriously considered giving in and playing something, if only so my DS could accompany me on my frequent trips to the toilet.

Deep in my heart, however, I know that spending 6 hours sitting at my PC playing Civ 3 will leave me feeling sad and defeated, not because I'd failed to quit video games for Lent, but because at the end, I won't have achieved anything. I do love video games, and, in fact, I'd genuinely credit the Civilisation series for significantly improving my historical knowledge in areas such as military history, scientific discoveries and political history, but that addictive feeling of 'just one more go' can eat up hours and hours of your life. But unlike TV, most sophisticated video games make you feel as if you're actually progressing and achieving something, and afterwards there's this horrible downer as you remember that your trans-continental fascist empire, your 3598 bottle caps earned, your levelled-up paladin or your 'Silent Assassin' achievement unlocked don't mean shit in the real world.

Okay, right. That's my bowels calling. Off to the bathroom again. Ta ta.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Woohoo! Issa Me!

"There's a sense of wonder and a spark of imagination at the heart of the Super Mario Bros. games, and as children we pick up on that right away. Then, over time, most people lose that spark. School, career, social engagements, relationship drama, mortgage payments, credit card debt, medical ailments, and other things that we pick up on our way to and through adulthood weigh us down and we forget the simple pleasures of saving the princess from a turtle despot with an eye for annexing kingdoms and galaxies. Those of us who continue to play Super Mario games and who make them a part of our adult lives found a way to keep that spark alive."

A few weeks into my video games fast, I enjoyed reading this article on a 33-year-old guy wondering why he still plays Mario games. I accept that nostalgia plays a role, but this kind of feels like hand-wringing to me. I play Mario games because they're fun and they make me happy. No need to overthink it!

Oh, and since you asked, I'm doing okay without video games so far. I'd say my happiness is 3 Fygars out of a possible 5. I'm sort of stockpiling a to-do list of stuff I need to sort out once back in those pixelated virtual worlds - sell scrap metal in Fallout 3, replay Loom in hard, replay flawed PC Sword n' Sorcery RPG Silver (assuming I can get it to work - I'll probably need a proper mouse, too) which I dug out the CDs for when back visiting my parents, replay Planescape: Torment (it's been 10 years, but man I loved that game), maybe buy Fallout and Fallout 2 to play on the PC (I have been assured they are awesome, especially if you like Planescape: Torment and Fallout 3 - oh WAIT)... also I want to complete Spirit Tracks on the DS.

All this squeezed in around moving house, sorting out taking my debut solo show to the Edinburgh Fringe this year (more on that in a few weeks! Shh...), writing new material, planning the new novel, actually earning a crust gigging etc, and maintaining a social life. Okay, so maybe earning money and the social life will have to take a back seat for a while - just till I max out my Heal spell and get the twin-swords on Silver, at least...

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

6Music and the Asian Network

Like a sad bandwagon-jumping pranny, I have written a letter to the BBC Trust. God, it's almost as if I believe people can do something to affect the world they live in. Muppet. So I plugged my mate's book, just to keep myself feeling like it was self-serving, cynical and ironic, rather than a heartfelt plea about something I really, really care about.

Dear BBC Trust,

I have never been moved to write to the BBC before. As a long time supporter of the BBC, the world-rivalling quality of its programming and everything it stands for, I am baffled and saddened by the announcement of plans to shut down 6music and the Asian Network. For me, both stations represent the BBC doing what it does best, fulfilling the remit of its public service responsibilities by providing high quality broadcasting in areas which commercial competitors do not cover. If there is a lack of awareness that either station exists, this is a failure in branding and outreach - not an indication that the stations themselves are underperforming.

Radio1 is now almost indistinguishable from its commercial rivals. 6music is unique, having taken over the commitment to showcasing new, alternative or otherwise fringe music that Radio1 used to promote in the evenings during the early to mid nineties. Similarly, 6music has been supportive of British artists working in other media - I have had the pleasure of hearing authors, film makers, actors and poets interviewed and encouraged to perform on the channel.

The author John Osborne's recently published book Radio Head, a celebration of Great British radio, singles out the Asian Network and 6music as two jewels in our country's broadcasting crown. It would be a tragic day for British music, and a gross dereliction of the principles upon which the BBC were founded, if two of the finest, most unique radio stations on the globe were to be shut down completely. I urge you to listen to the license fee payers, and to re-evaluate the wisdom of your strategy, so that these two stations can continue to promote the best of our country's vibrant and diverse Arts culture.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Clare