There are as many ways to tell a story as there are varieties of coffee in Starbucks. I’ve written for the stage, and published in paper form, online and in e-format, while others use pictures (Instagram, Tik-Tok) or sound. (I say “others” because, while I’m a pretty keen amateur photographer, I don’t yet feature in a pictorial community of storytellers – although you can find me on Flickr.)
I was first introduced to the concept some years ago by a theatre colleague, who explained how this was a new thing from America, and was going to be very big in the UK. (How right they were.)
As a child I found my imagination fostered by entertainment on the radio, so I could relate to the idea of an audio facility exploiting the platform of the worldwide web. It’s now commonplace for many of us to “go online” for a regular part of our day, and if you’re reading this, you’ll know what I mean!
So, do YOU cast pods?
My own experience in that direction began over three years ago when, together with two actor friends, we formed JAPE Productions. I’d known Peter Franksson shared my interest in writing, and we both felt capable of performing our own stuff, assuming we could add a female voice: Jacqui Padden. The initial vehicle was THE RED ROSE TATTOO – live sketches performed radio-style – which naturally lent itself to being broadcast over the internet. The pandemic put a stop to our live shows, but the podcasts we subsequently created have never lost their appeal – or their audience.
The present project is DUMMY CABS. Peter originally wrote this as a stage play, but I saw its potential for adapting as an audio performance, or as a series for podcasting. It is beautifully written, a nod to Peter’s time working as a taxi driver in the Nineties, and the characters are drawn from life. I took on the task of tweaking the script to make it more suitable as a radio show, edited into five episodes. I am proud of the result, and particularly of the recording quality we achieved. Why not check it out yourself? Follow the link above or search “Dummy Cabs” on Spotify, Apple Music or your usual provider. While we have almost completed the present series at the time of writing, we are confident there will be more to follow.
Of course, the great thing about taxis is you can share the fare. So, if you like the ride (by podcast), please feel free to tell others how you got on. Or comment on this blog!
Have you joined?
I don’t know if it’s my generation, but as a kid I could be happily occupied for lengthy periods with a pencil and an image made from dots. They were sequentially numbered, so all you had to do was draw a line from 1 through 2, then to 3 and onwards – when a picture would miraculously appear on the page. Nothing spectacular, and hardly challenging (assuming you could recognise numbers), but presenting mum with a completed drawing vaguely resembling Donald Duck was a heck of a triumph to a childish mind.
I bring this juvenile pastime to your attention because I think we sometimes need reminding that “Everything Is Connected”.
We are currently beset by a worldwide pandemic that is making (some of) us aware of the value of good personal hygiene. We have been educated about “social distance”, and understand that breaking down boundaries risks a dangerous infection. (Which in my opinion makes a total mockery of keeping your friends close, and your enemies closer.)
Some connections are more important than others, and need sensitive handling. Take the UK Government (please) – leaders of an island nation with a fair old history of waging war between neighbours across the Channel – who recently tore up a political agreement/connection with those same neighbours and immediately began looking for more distant friends to cuddle up to. Fixing long-standing political feuds needs more than a shot in the arm. Personally, I’d go for a kick up the backside.
But now politics is “following the science”. We have vaccines, and suddenly being a scientist carries a lot more street cred. Connect that phrase to the other threat facing the world (Climate Change) and we await salvation from political leaders doing the unthinkable – uniting together behind a common policy to save the planet. Why? Because the scientists and Greta Thunberg tell us that is what we need to do.
I wasn’t into science at school. I never got beyond “the hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone”, and I dreaded visits to the dentist. But I knew when I was being told something important that could affect my health. So, I braved the nasty needles, and I brushed my teeth thoroughly, and I promised my mum I’d be a good boy when I went to the doctor’s surgery – so long as I could take a pencil and look at the comics in the waiting room. And find the pages inside with the puzzles.
And join the dots…
Need to know:
I don’t just write fiction.