Halloween. A three-day leave from the Dungeon starts today and I can tell it's gotten colder while I was inside because my shirts still aren't dry and it was British Summer Time when I hung them out five days ago. I've not that many work-related scars to show for the half-term push: a slight wonkiness from where I cracked my nose on Bedlam, a black toe from where I dropped the cleaver, some blood in my hair that turned out to be real from where I failed to clear the chain hang on no, okay maybe I have been showing signs of tiredness... A corporate event on Monday evening saw us warming up in Torture with an exercise that required us to evoke through collaborative improvisation a given landscape which the poor schnook who'd just been sent out would then have to guess ("Chess Championship", "The Final Frontier" etc. It's not that easy to evoke Uhura actually if you don't have a chair, very easy to topple). When the final landscape we were given turned out to be "Inside Simon's Head" everyone just started screaming. So yes I must have been showing signs of tiredness. Oh and he guessed it. Meanwhile next door in Shunt, Luke was stuffing my rubber double into a minicab to take to a party.
With my looted corpse the toast of Stoke Newington and the contents of my head a warm-up exercise I went to relax in Gordon's Wine Bar with some churlishly unloaded cheese, a deck of cards, a bottle of red and Ms. Meikle who was down from Potters' Bar, herself fast becoming the toast of the cat-neutering circuit. She taught me Shithead. It was very relaxing...
I'll explain those in a minute, but no I've been fine fine. Just busy. Simultaneously occupied and vacant. None of your business. Been looking forward to a few days off and a chance to kick back and enjoy some perspective.
... So it was very profitable to find myself at 11 o'clock this morning summoned to the twenty-ninth floor of Centre Point and staring out of a sound-proof window at Hyde Park, Wembley Stadium and this evening's weather rolling in over Chiswick. Here was perspective alright.
"Our clients have decided to write their own copy I'm afraid, and it's, um... incredibly repetitive. But what we want is, you know, warm and friendly... " In my booth there was a pint mug of about thirty pencils to the right of the microphone. The engineer, seeing that this was clearly too many as we came in, left me with three for some reason. On the other side of the glass before me was a plate of perfectly arranged biscuits no-one dared touch, an equally untouched dish of fuck-me fruit and two warm and friendly men unwittingly slinging my financial ass out of the fire. And beyond the sound-proof glass to my left: the bigger picture... SHIN! GURUN!
An hour later and twenty-nine storeys down I happily bumped into David from Shunt outside a coffee shop in Portland Place taking a quick break from his day-job in anaesthetics, writing in a notebook. It's the first time I've seen him in a suit. I told him about the medical modelling. The last time I bumped into him making notes outside a CoffeeSomethingNationBucks he'd told me about the theatrical commission he'd just got from the Lyric Hammersmith which would let him try out the forty-odd remote headphones he'd already bought in bulk: The audience would stand outside on the balcony, watch an actor or actors in the building opposite, and through the cans be able to hear the inside of their heads (not screaming, I'm assuming, other stuff). Today he asked me if I wanted to be in it, and was I free to help him try something out at the Lounge next week. It wasn't even midday yet...
But man it's got late now. I'm meant to be resting. Instead the area beyond my peripheral vision has just switched from black to white.
I'll leave you then with some Manga sound effects from Eiji Otsuka and Housi Yamazaki's excellent "The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service" which I bought because of the cover. All the speech balloons have been translated into English of course, so you have to keep switching between following the action from right to left and following the dialogue from left to right, while the sound effects - the Kapowees, the Screeches etc. - have been left as pictograms and then translated in a big glossary at the back (ie the front). And here, in no particular order, are some examples, verbatim:
sound of a refrigerator door popping open
sound of propane stove
body slowly climbing in
sound of flapping mouths
splash of pebble hitting water
spirit being pulled into the bullet
last bit of the spirit being pulled in
KAR KARI KARI KYUDWOOOON
air crackling then loud lightning
TSUU TSUKU TSUU CHA ZUNCHAKA ZUTCHA TSUU TSUKU ZUN
sound of music being overheard on someone's headphones
sound of silence
sound of world spinning
sound of a bolt falling through glasses at terminal velocity into eye socket