Friday 15 May 2009

The Dragman Goes Online

Just posted on YouTube is a short movie that Howard Walmsley filmed in Beijing with calligraphy students from a local art college. The storyboard was based on an old text I wrote for Biting Tongues which was never recorded but featured in some of our live performances. It was originally written for three voices but has a certain fragmented intensity when delivered by only one. Howard had always thought the individual lines of the text could be read like panels from a comic book, and so he storyboarded a set of scenes that have expanded on this effect.

To me, the shift from the comic-book format, which had a huge influence on my development as a writer, to that of the music video makes total sense – the cropping and chopping of texts and images in the former is reflected in the tightly edited rhythms of the latter. Each image hits you and goes, only to be replaced by the next.

The soundtrack was assembled last summer, and a mix of it has been on the Biting Tongues MySpace page for a while: produced by Graham Massey, it features the original line-up and is the first studio recording we have done together in a very long time. Reading aloud a text written so many years before is a little like receiving a message from a previous incarnation. You suddenly become another person.

‘And you ask: who is speaking?’

The lines delivered by the girl in the video aren’t on the original track, I'm sorry to say, but I hope she will be included on any future mixes. My thanks to her and to all the other students who took part in the filming – I don’t think any words of mine have ever been interpreted with such enthusiasm or concentration.

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