Nov
05

Professor Layton VS Phoenix Wright trailer with SUBS [HQ]

Just cause a little Anime makes me happy. Shame we’ll never see this game though. :(

Oct
28

Friday Morning Playlist #2

It’s Friday Morning again. The theme is pleasures. So here we go . . .

1)   Ben Folds – Brick

It’s early so lets start slow

2) Nerina Pallot – Love Will Tear Us Apart

3) Regina Spektor – Poor Little Rich Boy

No one hits a chair quite like her

4) Kavinsky – Nightcall

Since watching Drive I can’t get this out of my head

5) Florance & the Machine – Shake it Out

And she would like us all to bury a horse?!

6) Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry Be Happy

And that’s us sorted. Feel free to comment below and let me know your thoughts or suggestions for next week. Don’t forget you can get this live as I tweet from 8:00 – 10:00 Friday Mornings @silentjon  (#fridayplaylist)

Have a good weekend!

Oct
21

Friday Morning Playlist #1

Working a nightshift means I get to listen to a few fantastic relaxed tunes at silly times in the morning. So I thought I’d share . . . just cause I can.

You can get the stream live through my twitter account @silentjon

Friday Morning? Allow me to recommend . . .

1) Coldcut – Timber

Headphones on & ease yourself in.

2) Mr Scruff – Get a Move On

 

3)  Shurik’n -  Samourai

French hip hop first thing in the morning?! Its beautiful. Try.

4) Brandt Brauer Frick – Bop

Cut up beats by live orchestra.

5)  Cinematic Orchestra – All that you Give feat. Fontella Bass

6) Dent May – I’m an Alcoholic 

Tonight “be over being sober”.

Comments below if you’re so inclined.

Sep
01

Cause my heart pumps blood for you . . .

If you know me or even just scan down this blog you’ll see my heart pumps blood for Kate Tempest. Here she is reading a Celebration of Hip Hop . . .

I recently got given the new EP and am listening to the new album too. If you liked this then support her by getting the album at the following page :- http://soundofrum.com/posts/album-out-and-album-launch/

Sep
01

Dreams & Stories

Obligatory dreams style picture

Obligatory dreams style picture

I’ve always been obsessed by dream and stories so . . .

As I’m starting to get back into Blogging I thought I would begin by sharing a little list I compiled recently about what I believe are interesting similarities between dreams and stories.

(While there are always exceptions to the rule I believe they do apply)

1)      If the main character dies then both the dream and story are at an end

Protagonist is key. They are the lens through which we experience and so when their view-point comes to an end so does the experience.

2)      If there is complete darkness for any length of time the dream or story is at an end

Even nightmares have a little light. A little light can illuminate the threat in the distance; or what is sniffing round you in the dark. In dreams, if the lights go off, you may have died.

In stories darkness is a device which can free the character from the extraordinary ordinary of daylight.

3)      Sex is a prised commodity and difficult to obtain

True in life as in art. People claim vivid extended dream fantasies but I believe the actual act is always fleeting (see below) and it is the tension or force of the passion which charge these moments not the act itself.

As a crude aside why do you think porn never has good storylines?

4)      Sex never lasts longer than snap shot moments

See above.

5)      The dream or stories initial set up / premise must be acceptable to progress

The wilful suspension of disbelief is a necessary mechanism in both.

6)      Throughout the duration they must speak urgently about us

In dreams we are the protagonist, trapped in the first person. (I can’t ever remember having dreamed in the third or second person)

In stories a character or protagonist is our vehicle for passage.

7)      With sufficient explanation, or even lack thereof, the narrative may suddenly shift

I think it’s interesting to note that both this and the premise / setup require the participant to constantly accept each given circumstance that arises. If it is broken then a premature end is reached.

8)      Both work on the premise of wanting to know what happens next

In both dreams and stories characters have constant motivation, drama and conflict. It may shift moment by moment, as it does in dreams, but desire always pulls us forward.

9)      Technology is never actively a part and is always inconsequential

Plot doesn’t turn on a phone call. You may be saying, hold on, haven’t you seen 24? The distinction I’m making though is that characters must be involved in a human conflict. If there’s no one to participate with then there is no conflict. In a phone call there is participation, but it’s actively disengaging. Technology is the McGuffin.

In dreams technology isn’t physically replicable by the brain; it’s too complex. A person may use a machine for a moment but it doesn’t take input, it isn’t interacted with. Some people may dream of games they play but they are actually in them rather than experiencing themselves play them in the third person.

10)   Though the parts may not be cohesive the experience of both (as single instances) allow us to judge as a whole

This perhaps overly complex sentence essentially means that we are always actively engaged in the process of experiencing both dreams and stories no matter how nonsensical they may be. Only after we have finished this experiencing can we create our own narrative. In dreams the illogical is made narrative by our conscious awake mind. In the after glow of dream and story we relate, process and construct a narrative for ourselves; the facts matter little.

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Personally I think there are some really interesting conventions here. I may have to write a theatre piece, probably short, that looks to find successful ways to break all these rules.

May
12

Eyes & Games & Morals . . .

You’ll never see your eyes; unaided.

I thought that when my girl looked into mine and told me that she liked them. I thought, I’ll never look at these I’m looking through.

Not in the way that I could say I saw them and believed them.

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Been alot of thinking today. Lots of reading and watching and thought. Before I closed my eyes for sleep last night I knew I had queued up a thought maelstrom.

So when my head left the pillow, and before my feet hit the floor, I’d had a thought about some games. About games and morals.

They stem from an interest I have in the world of ARG’s (Alternate Reality Games) and interactive theatre (interactive theatre). I’ve been looking to create these types of experiences for sometime, but anyone I mentioned them to didn’t really seem to understand why they might be exciting or interesting. Or weren’t the joint concepts weren’t interactive enough in form for me to experiment with them properly. To be honest ARG’s, on explanation, do sound a little like an exercise in LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) and I don’t know many that appeals to. Not me. It’s just that explanation hasn’t quite caught up with the ARG form. (Rare that.)

I’ve found someone now with a similar interest, but more about that some other time.

The thing that has always tickled me most about them is their relation, or lack there of, to the audiences active role in decision-making. In particular to their morals. This was probably most recently stirred because a couple of days ago I attended Playgrounds at the V & A in association with Hide and Seek. Which is best described in their own words, and I quote . . .

“We’re delighted to announce that on Friday 26 March Hide&Seek will be at the V&A for our biggest event yet. All Friday night, we’re going to transform the museum into a place for play. We’ve put together a roster of some of the UK’s finest design talent to create social games and playful experiences: there’ll be running, sneaking, strange hats, and enormous pieces of paper; quiet games, raucous games, games for fifty people and games for one.”

It was a genuinely wonderful night where I played one game obsessively, stumbled across another and spoke at length with friends about the game mechanics. Each presented a different opportunity for interaction, a different approach and reward scheme for the player. Each was one hell of an experience in its own way, but they left me wondering.

It's a horse . . . of course

A picture to break up the text

Examples perhaps . . .

An expedition with Mr Mirrors – Failbetter Games & A Whole in a Door

This was a wonderful game where you search the length and breath of the V&A looking for clues to unlock your lost memories. You are given some cards which correspond to people placed in rooms on a map. You travel to these rooms and solve a task hidden else where in the museum; then return to receive a fragment of your lost memory. Once five of these are collected then you can head back to where you started and finally unlock your full identity.

What was awesome about this game was the level of invention in the puzzles. The way each of the task dispensers that you worked with seemed genuinely pleased to take part, but also didn’t pretend they weren’t playing; just like you. The background setting that was given as to why you should run around and complete these tasks was really fun and all these elements had me running round the V&A for a good 2 hrs.

Wedlock – Tin Horse Theatre Company

This was a game I caught in the last throes, or last two scenes if I’m being specific. The first was a moment where a group of game players were led by in-game characters to complete the task of filling a jug of water which was protected by a creature that could only hear. It was tip toeing and bell ringing for monster distraction etc. Great fun for all involved. The second was a climax involving a full choir plus actors and game players. A wonder to behold and genuinely affecting.

I’m not a reviewer so I’m not going to say what I didn’t like about these different experiences (the developers / companies are welcome to get in touch and I’ll discuss if they like) but I will say that for me they missed a fundamental opportunity. Namely the question of why. Why should I as a player should continue to play beyond unravelling the storyline?

With Mr Mirrors I was asked to complete a task in order to get back a memory for my fictious character. With Wedlock it seemed to be (remember I didn’t play, just witnessed part of it) an active question of what would happen to these characters. In both cases, the only reason to play is the act of being involved in the game itself. To see how the game ends. The feeling you are left with is the pride of having completed the task; the game. Of having helped the characters (or yourself) get from point A to point B. In my opinion this is missing a major trick. Morals.

When I have finished watching a well constructed piece of theatre I can be left with any number of questions, but the main one is essential.

Would the actions of that character have been mine? And so . . .

Where am I in relation to those characters?

What do I make of their moral choices?

What are my morals in relation to their actions?

In the types of games I played at the Hide and Seek night I was not left with these thoughts. Instead I was left with the feeling of accomplishment at having finished a game or been part of a story that unfolded. That seems a shame. So if the games we create are to be truly interesting then a better question to begin designing from is . . .

How can I make a player evaluate their actions long after a game has finished?

The simple one word answer is morals. A player must be pushed and questioned, challenged more effectively than when they sit as a passive viewer. That’s the beauty of the form. It’s time to break the rails.

When I taught the principle of storytelling and Shakespeare to some children at a school in Bermondsey I did the following. I filled two envelopes with money. One contained 50p, the other £5.50. These were shuffled and given at random to two children. All that I told them was that there was a large amount of money in one envelope, and a smaller amount in another. Over the course of my talk I asked each child to give the envelope to someone else and so on. This spawned behaviour where the children would only give to their friends, hoping to keep the cash in their immediate circle. It was then I introduced ‘stealing’. A child was chosen at random and allowed to steal the envelope of their choosing, though of course someone might steal it from them. This had the envelope going at some speed. When one of the envelopes was later opened the speed of the game picked up further. Even though the £5.50 had been revealed it couldn’t be calculated if this was the small amount. Stealing became rife, and the children vocal . . . When the anti climax was revealed everyone was enraged. It took some calming them down, and only then was I able to reveal my lesson points.

Now I know that child bribery can be a questionable act but what was really interesting about this exercise was the fact that only when stealing was introduced and the players could really affect one another did the game move beyond its one dimension. Without this element the only reason to play was the prospect of getting money, but with this added dynamic each steal was a moral decision. The best games work this way. Monopoly is a great example. But a distinction can be drawn between the example of player to player competitive play, and the use of morals. The audience should be able to affect the game, the characters, the storyline and in doing so explore their own moral code, or that of the world around them.  They should want to play the game and make decisions but two months later still wonder if what they did was right. Drama does this indirectly, imagine all its force when used directly.

This isn’t just considering. It’s going to be practise. I’m devising an ARG myself which will be played in a few short months. I think this first one will look at this dark and murky world of morals.

Watch this space . . .

Mar
31

Mr Sad . . .

I’m Mr Sad.

I’m Mr Sad who lives in an upturned smile.

I’m the Mr Sad who eats tear soup.

When playing Monopoly I only ever buy the waterworks.

I’m that Mr Sad.

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I’m not Mr Sad. In fact I’m quite the opposite cause of an amazing night of brain tickery . . . You’ll see.

Mar
30

Beach Beasts . . .

Hello,

I’ve just finished writing a really long post that I’ll put up tomorrow when I’ve had time to go through all the links but in the meantime I wanted to share this . . .

[ted id=162]

And his main website . . .

http://www.strandbeest.com/index.html

These have made me so happy over the last few days. They combine everything I love about nature and computers. A true symbiosis.

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In an aside . . . I’m off to see . . .

http://www.yournationlovesyou.com/

Will write about it tomorrow too.

Dec
21

Time for a little retrospection . . .

You must be freezing . . . Put your clothes back on!

Oh, leave them off and we’ll warm wash each other in rhetoric . . .

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I’ve decided to stop apologising for the, sometimes lengthy, delay in posts. This time it’s for good reason . . . I have a new job. Hoorah! Started a about three weeks ago, but can’t really talk about it as I was made to sign a form saying I wouldn’t. A little unlike me to conform quite so tightly but I also don’t want to run the risk of associating anything I say here with my employer. Intrigued? Well you’ll just have to live with it.

Christmas and the New Year are hurtling their way towards us like a sherry tanked uncle, and consequently writing becomes a little less frantic. (Thank god I’ve never been asked to do a panto!) With this new found wealth of time I’d like to take the opertunity to look back a little over this year and discuss some of the work I’ve created or been involved with that might have passed this blog by. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be putting up little posts looking at projects and posting some long over due material I thought you might like.

Me being introspective

Me being introspective

Before we embark upon this odyssey of self indulgence I though I’d let you know about a few things that have been tickling my ‘yay meter’ . . .

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I’ve made a couple of short plays available online. Head over to the rather splendid Bushgreen and you can check out either of the pieces I produced for Latitude Festival in the last two years. There’s a small fee involved of £1.38 each, but hardly breaks the bank does it? If you are a fellow playwright, or someone interested in new writing at all I can’t recommend the site highly enough as it lets you to interact, collaborate and read selected work of some of the most interesting up and coming international playwrights. (Still in beta and I hope has a very bright future)

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I want to drop a little nod towards Brand Magazine . . . I was given a copy of this recently after a poetry reading I took part in (more on that soon) and cannot begin to say how much I’ve enjoyed reading it. It’s rare that I’ll pick up a magazine like this, and even rarer that I’ll re-read it. The but the caliber of work in it is very impressive. It’s published bi-annually and therefore worth the £15 fee. Head over to their site and have a look at some of the lengthy extracts if you want to try before you buy . . .

Brand Mag Autumn / Summer

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One last little link to fill your Christmas culture stomachs . . .

Introducing the astonishing . . .

Fascinating . . .

Cornucopia that is . . .

Ubu Web

Many of you may already know about it, but for those that don’t I can promise you hours of fascinated clicking.

It’s best described in their own words . . .

UbuWeb is a completely independent resource dedicated to all strains of the avant-garde, ethnopoetics, and outsider arts.”

There’s an old Guardian blog linking to some works worth look, but my recommendation is to check out the rather brilliant podcasts they sporadically release.

I’ll put up a list of my personal recommendations sometime soon.

That’s all for now. Talk to you again v soon!

Big love,

Jon

Nov
26

Bold as Brass . . .

Hey,

Went a little off the radar there didn’t I? Been a while since my last post but thought I would share a couple of bits with you all. First I’ve been busy putting a very different and unique type of show together. It’s probably best explained in the review my lovely friend and blogger (Honour Bayes) wrote . . .

Bold as Brass

At St George’s Circus there is a performance going on in the midst of an atmospheric building with a fading grandeur and massive holes in the floor.  Lit only by lights wired to a generator, candles and torches, the members of the South London Free Arts Collective (SLFAC) are performing the quirky and uplifting story of Brass Crosby.  We are in the middle of what is ungraciously called a condemned building, but what could easily be one of the most interesting site specific venues in London; The Duke of Clarence.

Elected the Mayor of London in 1770 Brass Crosby’s is a plucky story of one man fighting the establishment.  Where our modern Mayors may be more worried about updating the tube map and having their photos taken with rehabilitated youths, Crosby spent his time standing up for freedom of speech.  His most famous fight was a long and vital battle with the House of Commons over the publishing of Parliamentary debates, eerily foreshadowing the shocking revelations made by The Telegraph over our own MPs expenses.  For his efforts he was sent to the Tower, only to be saved by the people of London whose protests ensured his release.  Somewhat of a hero then, his actions are said to be the inspiration of the term ‘Bold As Brass’.

The SLFAC certainly seem to be as gutsy as Brass, flying in the face of a court injunction from London South Bank University prohibiting people within the building and working alongside the squatters who are living there to stage not only this show but also an intricate art exhibition within the building.  Beautiful pieces pepper the corridors, rooms and crevices.  It is an incredible space, haunted by the ghosts of a hundred different usages; the echoes of past roles hang over each room like luminous sheets of memory.  Stunning, hand painted wall paper, old metal pub pipes and tiny winding staircases all lend The Duke of Clarence a Dickensian charm that is quite intoxicating.

London South Bank University currently own this building, along with the others in the terrace, and although they have fought tooth and nail to keep it unoccupied they seem to be doing nothing with it apart from waiting for it to fall down (a slightly problematic solution now that it’s a Grade 2 Listed Building).  The shocking waste of such a space is evident once you enter it, and it’s to SLFAC’s credit that they are raising the profile, even if only amongst other fellow artists, of the building and its sad unfulfilled potential.

But enough of the politics (I’m going to be doing an interview with them next week so you can get your ‘Lefty’ inspiration there – watch this space) and onto the show.  Bold As Brass is a delightfully wacky vignette which spans a myriad of theatrical styles with a charming panache.  It’s rough around the edges, but hey, that matches its ramshackle surroundings and gives the whole thing an organic feeling.  We have a strong central performance from James Groom as Brass whose quiet intensity lends integrity to the proceedings and a wonderfully comedic Greek chorus in the shape of Bobby Brook and Jon Macabe.   Using sock puppets, shadow play, direct audience address, grotesque physical characterisation and a series of fabulously decrepit areas in the building we are taken along the story of Brass in the style of Tristram Shandy.  And all this in a whip crack-away 30 minutes.

This show’s run has been as temporary as the squatter’s occupation will be, but with promises of more to come, the South London Free Arts Collective is definitely a group to watch out for.  As for The Duke of Clarence, the art exhibition is still standing, as is the building itself and for the time being at least, the people who have taken up arms to use this space for something more than just dead air.  I think Brass Crosby would be proud.

The exhibition will be open from 6pm on Monday 9th of November. Then open daily from 12-6. Entry is free. You will find them at St Georges Circus, SE1, on the corner of London road and Borough Road.

We’re doing two more performances of this tonight and Sunday (29th) at 7:30. Just mail me if you want to come along and see – jon”at”jon-cooper.co.uk

Here’s a pic of James Groom in the show, isn’t it ace?

From the show Bold as Brass

I also took part in 503′s Rapid Response and the Company Projects latest performance ‘Playground’ at Theatre 503. They were great experiences and I’ll try to go a little more in depth when I actually have the time to. I’m supposed to be finishing the first act of Dirty Feed at the moment for Company to perform on the 7th Dec, along with sending it to the Royal Court to get on their writers group. I’ll be working with theatrical marvels that are Sam Miller and Gethin Anthony who I started workshopping the piece with in Tristan Bates Theatre’s Ignition.

Really looking forward to it . . .

See you all soon.

Big love,

Jon

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