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I'm being ditzy at my programmer when there's an incredible crash from outside. Three stories down out on that busy junction someone's crashed into something they shouldn't have and of course as soon as he's off the phone I run to the tiny window and crane and peer but you can't see hardly anything from all the way up here. Just as well that fifteen minutes later there's a fire alarm, and I get to stare morbidly at a long trail of glass and car pieces smeared all round the corner when I ought to be proceeding at a safe walking place to the assembly point, which is a patch of sunny pathway by the canal. Hmm, looks like it was a minicab.

The water is green and the trees are fragrant, elderflowers and other white polleny things with their hot rude scent. There's muck in the canal but it's not yet been hot enough for long enough for it to start smelling bad, and anyway there's a high fresh wind. I'm the only one in in my corridoor today, so I'm not on anyone's list (should I have been doing my own list?) so instead of doing fire alarm thingies I sit down in a patch of watery shade. The safety officer comes back after a while. There's a fault in the basement, which might be the boiler. We can't go back in yet. Tristan is temporary secretary in admin downstairs, but really he's got to dance! just like in Singing in the rain. He likes musicals and Farscape; he's got a gig coming up in London this autumn, singing and dancing; he saw Chess at the Old Fire Station recently and it was dreadful. I mention I saw it in the West End way back when and he briefly goes green as the river. But in an instant it's forgotten and I'm tangling up Tosca and Carmen while we try to play Pooh Sticks over a sluggish weir. Unfortunately, about half an hour later, they tell us we can go back in again. Tristan's greatly relieved. He had about £60 worth of show tunes on CD under his desk ...

It's an evening for golden beer until the pub closes. Then back to Ian's to write the Punt Party Play, something the Speculative Fiction Group does every summer, collaboratively, usually based on the recent SF blockbuster. That was back when there was usually just the one. No-one's writing yet though, it's time to drink! and gather ideas. Tom's noting them all down on a piece of paper, linking the ideas with lines, to some plan -- he keeps asking for things that come from x or relate to y until I ask him why and he draws three dots in a triangle and one off to one side and links them up, like a digram of a fly swat. Now, he says to me, how do you go to each point without visiting any twice? and, when I hesitate, quickly adds, you can't! to stop non-mathemetician me from trying. So, you get all your nodes connecting to two other things, and then you can get through the story without ever having to repeat and idea. So far, so neat and kind of fascinating (I'm already trying and failing to put the pattern to the story I'm on now) but he's also (in my Baileys and Beer befuddled mind) just wrong, and I'm saying, that's not how you construct story, in comedy you need to repeat yourself, that's how you get the laughs, the structure is more like an ascending spiral marked with downwards striations (actually seeing this pattern green on black in the dim booze-lit space in my head) ... and Tom looks at me, very serious, and nods and makes another note on his chart ... striations he says, stright-faced, checking he got the right word, and I consider excusing my blather on the grounds that I'm very drunk but can't be bothered, anyway it won't make it to the script ... by the time I stagger drunkenly home it's called 12 Bullet-time-proof Monkeys and has a chorus of Agent Smiths waving daffodils, a superhero fashion show (mostly starring She Hulk) and Neo fighting using Hammertime -- but they'll be scripting at least until dawn and the play could be anything by then.

Comments

( 2 worms — Feed the birds )
green_amber
16th Jun, 2003 10:09 (UTC)
Play sounds wonderful! is this for Caption? Are these the same gang who did the Matrix piss take I saw at Lexicon in Oxford, um, maybe 2 sumers ago? I remember it fondly as one of the few sf con piss take plays that ws ever actualy FUNNY.
When is Caption? What goes on?
cleanskies
17th Jun, 2003 08:16 (UTC)
eh, not exactly ...
... thought the two are related. (deep breath) OUSFG is the local University Speculative Fiction Group, and the Punt Party Panto is their business. It's written by current members and Great Old Ones (of which I guess I am now one). Two OUSFG members later went on to form The Theatre of Earth Prime, whose wonderful productions grace Caption every year (and occasionally other places like Comics 2003 and Lexicon) which shares members with the Caption. There are a couple of punt party scrips on the OUSFG website ( http://www-pnp.physics.ox.ac.uk/SF/OUSFG.html ) of which the funniest is probably Oedipus Rennt ( http://www-pnp.physics.ox.ac.uk/SF/misc/ppp2000.txt )

As far as caption goes, well, it
's pretty much all online http://www.caption.org
( 2 worms — Feed the birds )