My wedding suit trousers fit, much to my surprise. Not only that but my hair has been “restyled” to accommodate Maria’s mowing so I am all set to shine at Avani’s mum and dads tomorrow and ED and Claudia’s wedding on Saturday. ‘Radiant and confident’ -like I have had a full Clinique makeover or got a new brand of toothpaste.
I have a Spring, spring in my stride because I really believe (yes really ally) I have completed all the major technical challenges with the phone box installation as well as some challenges that only became major challenges once I had obsessed long and hard.
Now for a confession. I have been completely unable to concentrate on anything but this project for months now. The various nobbly, nitty, techy bits and pieces that needed doing really got under my skin and into my head. I don’t know how to describe the feeling. Maria gets it with sewing projects. She just has to keep going back and trying to improve what she has done. The improvements are invisible to the rest of the world but to her they are critical. I thought about my nobs when watching telly, driving, eating, and even sleeping. I am afraid I particularly thought about them when talking to other people about dull stuff. That is anything that I am not interested in. Which is almost everything that most people want to talk about. Why can’t there be more people like me in the world! It must have driven everybody mad. It has been a deep deep spell of preoccupation, like other people describe depression, only not sad, just impossible to break free of.
Of course the results are far from spectacular. I liken it to achieving nothing more than baking 6 good currant buns for tea. Something appreciated by just a very few and not appreciated that much. Something very quiet and missable. But utterly joyous none the less. The feeling of freedom to think about other things is just brilliant.
So now I won’t.
Granted some of the tasks were very tricky, not because of any integral programming complexity but because I have been trying to do things that no hardware and software combination has ever been designed to do. The mix of very old technology and new technology has led me to some extremely Heath Robinson solutions and these spaghetti junctions have snowballed into pile-ups further down the road. It’s been like making a bike from bits of a pram, a TV and carpet offcuts.
On the way I have resolved the content issue that has been bugging me for several months, ever since I launched the prototype and got that “something ain’t right” feeling that comes when an audience quite like something – but despite the applause you the author, director, actor don’t. I am now fairly confident I have the content concept ready to match the technical concept. It all comes down to whether or not to use the first person. “Who cares” you may ask. Who cares what a computer voice impersonating Chris would say in a 1937 telephone box. But if you can be bothered, and I suspect most of you cant, it is a very interesting problem. Even “hello” is problematic because the caller may say “hello” back and expect an answer, in this new manifestation this is sometimes possible but even so should an inanimate impersonating an animate say “hello” at all? Would A G Bell’s “ahoy” be more fitting, or funnier, or be somehow subliminally hinting at a historic telephone context, thus routing the piece in some sort of framework. These are very fine judgements that distinguish a piece as either – gently thought provoking, utterly incomprehensible or so comprehensible it’s hackneyed and cheap.. I am aiming for the first. The second is the easiest by far, and the last is where I usually end up. This is the sort of stuff that both keeps me awake and send me to sleep. This is my therapy.
I have not written much of the content yet but that should be the fun bit. I have made one more compromise to accessibility and you will be able to access the content of the installation from any landline by dialling a York number I will release in due course. The experience will be nothing like being in the box but it’s been fun to figure out how to do it. Turned out to be easy peasy. The hardest thing about a project like this is knowing where to start and of course when to stop.