Friday, 28 September 2012

The recycling of intellectual ideas

I'm aware that yesterday's blog may have only had any real meaning if you do indeed watch GBBO, (That's the hash tag on twitter for The Great British Bake Off... see... I'm down with the kids), so I'll try and give today's a more general appeal. It's a bit like when Grisel and I watched the one man Star Wars trilogy at The Fringe this year. The actor was racing through all three films at break neck speed and was coming up with some inventive ideas, but the trouble was you had to actually know the films. We both had seen the first film years back and managed to chuckle our way through the early part of the show. However when he moved on to the other two films we were aware that we were suddenly watching, not a comedy parody, but a piece of performance art. It was incomprehensible. I have to say that yesterday, for the most part, was spend at my computer remaking the soundtrack for my street theatre show so I reckon I've got a challenge to make that of general interest to anyone, but I'll give it a go.

I wanted to just change a couple of tracks, but, as so often happens with me, a small job turned into a day's work as fun distractions presented themselves yet again. Yesterday's heroic act of displacement came in the form of some CDs I found at the bottom of the filing cabinet (so I DID file something away in that filing cabinet after all). The CDS had literally hundreds edited music tracks that I've used in past shows. This immediately allowed me to go down memory lane and indulge in a bit of comedy nostalgia. I first started tinkering around with sound files about fifteen years ago after managing to get hold of a quite expensive a piece of sound editing software for free. This software didn't come bundled onto a new computer, or taped to the front cover of a computer magazine, oh no... It came via a friend who cracks the registration codes of software and then offers them, not for profit I have to say, to his friends. I confess to being ambivalent about using illegally copied or downloaded stuff, after all I make a living from creative work as well, but this was great software so of course I took it. At the time this particular software was owned by a small independent company and so useful was it, that I vowed to actually buy the software properly one day to help out them out. Of course I never did and on the day that the company was bought up by Adobe I confess I had a pang of guilt. Since then I've got a number of upgrades from my friend, but of course because the software is now owned by the mighty Adobe I've abandoned my aspiration to pay up. Yeah, stick it to the corporations!.. no actually it's just too easy to use it for free. But moral dilemmas aside, back to the story. I remember having great fun when I first got this software and my street show at the time suddenly became full of sound gags and weird bits of music spliced together. There was even an incomprehensible section were, for no reason, the music speeded up. Why? because I could do it on my computer, that's why. As I listened to these old bits of weird rubbish I started to chuckle. Not only that I started to remember the routines that I did to them and started to chuckle even more. "God I was creative back then." I thought, and hopefully I sill am. A lot of them were discarded as ideas that just didn't work for some reason, but I could see that they could work in the show I'm doing at the moment so I sneaked a few of them the soundtrack for the present show. Perhaps this was one distraction that was worth it. We'll see. So my big advice to any creatives out there is don't throw anything away. Ideas can be recycled as well.

I'm going to be remaking some props for the same show this afternoon. Prop making is something that I really find tedious so hopefully I'll find an old store of props form the eighties behind the sofa and another rich vein of distraction can be opened up. Meanwhile it's lunchtime so that means only one thing... Facebook.


For an example of the creative work I was doing in the late nineties. Honestly, you had to be there.

Mike Raffone is the co founder of the production company howhow along with his fiancĂ© Grisel Tarifa. They hope to open a new performance club The Royal National Theatre of Fools in Peckham in the winter.  It will be dedicated to the clown, the absurd and the eccentric. Mike is also busy writing his one man show, Clowns, Coulrophobia and Me for the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe. Go to for more info.

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