Saturday, 19 September 2009

Confessions of a Crap Artist

‘It should be a binding clause that when you find God you get to keep Him.’

It wasn’t Philip K. Dick’s fault that God started talking to him in 1974. Confessions of a Crap Artist, my programme on PKD’s twisted exegesis, has recently been posted as an MP3 on the Speechification site. A strange tale of madness, machines and attempted suicide, it features contributions from Kim Stanley Robinson, Ray Nelson, Brian Aldiss, Tim Powers, James Blaylock and, for the first – and last – time on British radio, the Philip K. Dick Android, who went missing right after the show was first broadcast.

This amazing robotic replica (pictured above) used to be a life-size fixture inside the ‘Valis Lounge’, a recreation of PKD’s old Orange County front room, where he would sit on a couch and talk with visitors. The skin was lifelike flubber, his facial features could communicate a comprehensive range of emotions, and his memory housed the complete transcripts of all Dick’s recorded interviews, plus a wide selection of his written works – ask him a question, and he’d draw up this huge recourse to craft a reply.

For the programme, we had the Philip K Android recite relevant extracts from his books and give information about himself – my favourite part of the programme is where my voice and the his are cut together to recreate Dick’s own account of the original moment of divine invasion back in 1974. The android has been missing now for over three years and the makers have already stated that they won’t be building a replacement anytime soon – so I guess the only thing to do is to wish him well, wherever he may be, and to hope he is happy and well cared for. The guy was a pro, after all, and a pleasure to work with.

Confessions of a Crap Artist
Written and presented by Ken Hollings
Produced by Mark Burman
Mixed by John Calver
Monday, January 16, 2006, 8.30-9.00 pm on BBC Radio 4
Find out what happened when a Californian science fiction writer went in search of the divine with a typewriter and a tape recorder by clicking here.

1 comment:

tuffy777 said...

"It wasn't Philip K. Dick's fault that God started talking to him in 1974."

You must remember, too, that God never told Phil to get naked at the airport.
~~ Tessa