I’ve just read two of my stories aloud to a dictaphone, which made me feel a bit silly. Hopefully it’ll help me memorise them as I’ll be performing them this summer as one of my Braintree Ways characters, possibly at the Brighton Fringe, the Camden fringe and a smaller venue in Edinburgh (the paperwork has been arduous).
One of the stories will be The Magic Forest and a comical homage to Edwardian ghost stories called The Train Journey to Hell, and Liverpool Street.
It reminds me of the ancient way of storytelling by the aborigines or the Saxons or American Indians. I like to think of them sitting around a fire passing on tales they heard from their grandfathers – about pimp trolls and trains that take people to Hell.
I was inspired to hurry up and learn all my lines after seeing Simon Munnery perform at Colchester Art Centre last night, his character monologues are genius.
I have my writing heroes including Neil Gaiman, Helen Dunmore and Sarah Waters. However the side of me that writes and performs for Braintree Ways is fascinated by comedy and those who enact it including Andy Kaufman, Eddie Izzard, the South Park pair, Peter Cook and Monty Python.
One person I saw at Edinburgh who intrigues me at the moment is Stewart Lee. I used to watch Lee and Herring as a child but his current stand up on programmes such as The Comedy Vehicle is fascinating (and funny).
In the first clip he breaks the fourth wall by mentioning a grandad and then declaring him not to be real, along with explaining the nuts and bolts of stand up to the audience and in a fake interview. This made me feel firstly as if I was watching something almost Brechtian and, secondly, intellectually pretentious enough to use Brechtian as a description.
The second clip is one of his repetative tangents which reminds me of my student poetry era. I’d go to various venues around Bath where the smoke would turn your eyes red and various people took turns in reading out their scribblings to live music. Stewart Lee’s rantings make me think of 50s/60s era beat and performance poets. See for yourself.