Artist’s Diary – FINE CHISEL

ENTRY #5 – Friday 19 January 2013

 

Fine Chisel

Cathy NadenGeorgeUkulele

RobCathy and ChrisGeorge

Cathy Naden

Rob and George

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ENTRY #4 – Thursday 17 January 2013

Away from RichMix for a day, we decided to focus on music. Often, songwriting takes us to interesting places. The opportunity to play with heightened language – to bridge ideas emotionally or metaphorically, rather than logically – can open up the way we think.

We’ve been sharing a lot of stories about drinking. Most of them end in a happy, if slightly embarrassed, sigh – the follies of youth! But, every so often, we’re reminded of the darker side of the pub life. We talked about the idea of the perfect pub being a timeless place. But time always passes.

Here’s the beginning of a song we wrote about the three sister Fates who control time.

She dams the flow with makeup but they seep in through her pores.

He can stay up for another hour but they slip in when he snores.

She sedated them in plastic but they held their breath inside.

You can’t outrun the sisters; you can’t hold back the tide.

Is your whiskey glass half empty? How long’s your piece of string?

They pull our threads to messy webs, no matter what we sing.

We measure out our little life in glasses, grooves and scars.

You can’t outrun the sisters; you can’t snuff out the stars.

Time is ticking. Only a few days to the work-in-progress. We’d better get our skates on!

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ENTRY #3 – Wednesday 16 January 2013

Day three (morning).

George stared at a wall.

Tom and Robin stared at George, staring at a wall.

It picked up in the afternoon.

IMG_9996B  IMG_9998B  IMG_9990B

IMG_9991B  IMG_9994B

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ENTRY #2 – Tuesday 15 January 2013

I (Tom) went to see Les Miserables after the session. Despite making heavily music-based theatre, I wouldn’t normally ever choose to see a musical – let alone a film musical with Gladiator chasing Wolverine round Paris. But, after the couple of days we’ve had, it seemed like a very good idea. Bring on the trashy escapism, I thought…

Fine Chisel

It’s quite scary working with someone of the calibre of Cathy Naden. Anyone who’s done a Drama degree at a UK university in the last thirty years has studied Forced Entertainment; so when a founding member of the company walks into the room, you take note of what she has to say.

Cathy Naden

‘So you want to generate some material?’ Cathy asked.

‘Yes’, we replied.

At her request, we stood in a line.

Not as characters, as ourselves.

We told stories.

Not about made up worlds full of made up people, about our own lives.

In between confessions there were pauses. Very awkward pauses.

Cathy, Chris and Sheena are three of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet – a very supportive audience. Yet we felt very exposed, and not very comfortable. Particularly in those pauses.

Cathy Naden  IMG_0002B  Cathy Naden

Over the course of the next few hours, Cathy probed our stories, questioned our choices and offered a series of fascinating insights into the way that she constructs work.

Slowly, we became more comfortable talking about ourselves.

Maybe we were beginning to understand this nature of work.

Maybe it was just a case of getting to know the other people in the room – we’ve all heard each other’s stories hundreds of times.

We’ll never be Forced Entertainment. Or Drunken Chorus.

But nor will we ever be Les Miserables.

There’s a vast chasm of artistic practice in between.

Where abouts in that chasm are we?

We tell stories.

We enjoy conjuring fictional worlds where these stories can take place.

But we want to nuance those worlds, and to populate them with characters that feel totally real.

We want to play with the audience, in ways that feel genuinely fresh.

We want to take risks.

Some of the stories in our Drunken Nights piece will be true.

Robin did actually wake up in a taxi, in Scarborough.

Some of the stories won’t be true.

If we manage to take on Cathy’s advice, maybe you won’t be able to tell which ones are which.

Drunken Chorus would never, we think, have commissioned us if we were trying to be anyone but Fine Chisel.

Fine Chisel are somewhere in the middle.

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ENTRY #1 – Monday 14 January 2013

– I once woke up with a three week beard in Singapore.
– Really?
– No. That was Raymond Chandler.
.

Fine Chisel  Fine Chisel  Fine Chisel

– So. Day one. What shall we do?

Let’s tell a story. We’re good at telling stories.

– About what?

Well, it’s about pubs. It’s called #DrunkenNights. We should tell stories about drinking.

– Fine. But what, specifically, about drinking?

Everything. Anything.

– Too vague. We need limitations. Or we’ll get halfway through a story and forget where we were going.

Is that a problem?

– Yes? No. Maybe?

I don’t remember half of my drinking stories.

– I once woke up with a three week beard in Singapore.

Really?

– No. That was Raymond Chandler.

.
Rob  Rob  Tom

.
Maybe we should tell a story about the bits of story that we forget… After a big night?

– Or a small night, that becomes big – in our memories.

The more we talk about it. Drinking myths.

– Drinking myths.

Like the time when we mixed ______ with _______ and woke up next to _____ ?

– Exactly.

Do we have enough stories?

– We’ve got quite a lot.

But we should have more. Maybe people could help us?

– Help us?

Yeah. Send in stories.

– About their drinking myths. Those moments where you wake up and don’t quite remember what happened the night before.

Or you do remember, but you’d rather forget.

– Or you don’t remember, but piece it together with your friends.

Or you think you remember, until you find the traffic cone.

– And then you forget about it. For years. Until someone reminds you –

Of the traffic cone.

– And it becomes bigger than it ever was.

A story.

– A myth.

Do you think anyone will help?

– If we make it easy. And fun.

Simple.

– Like a game.

Consequences?

– Yeah. Just fill in the gaps…

It could be one story or bits of lots of stories.

– Fingers crossed people will help.

– And send it in to info@finechisel.co.uk

Or @FineChisel

– Or facebook.com/finechisel

It all started with a sip of ________

It wasn’t helped by the cock-up with the ________

I wish I hadn’t said ________

We shouldn’t have mixed ________ with ________ (and definitely not with _______)

It took a turn for the better when _________

I don’t remember what happened between ________ and _________

I will never look at a ________ the same way

Tom  Fine Chisel

All photos by Sheena

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