Appearing on a stage near you soon: Technobabble

One of the things that The Lady Scientists taught me is that I cannot easily learn a script. Not easily – but I can. Glowing with joy at having learned 1,700 words and remembered them when it mattered, I signed up for Illicit Ink‘s next Underground event, Technobabble. All I have to learn for that is 1,000 words.

I felt confident about doing so until I sent the organisers my story yesterday. I only have two weeks. Gasp!

It won’t be a problem. The structure of the piece is such that it should be relatively easy to learn and for most of it, it’s not important that I retell it verbatim.

Writing the piece for this performance was fun and let me play with an idea I’ve had for a while. Usually, I write something and hope to be able to sell it on after performing it. Not this time. This is written as a one off. My aim is to do a performance, feel confident on stage and prove to myself that I can learn a short text. That’s it. There will be no dancing, but there might be sound effects. And a feeling of achievement.

Illicit Ink Underground Technobabble

The Bongo Club
66 Cowgate

Sunday October 5, 20:00 – 22:00

Words with sounds for Illicit Ink

I’m reading Baby Ben is Crying at Illicit Ink (at The Bongo Club) on May 5th. This time, Babs, Illicit Ink’s benevolent dictator, opened up the floor for performances with a little extra. Costumes are welcome, of course, as are story telling without notes (gasp!) and collaborations.


My friend Rhian Thompson makes electronic music. She likes sine waves and interesting sounds. We first talked about doing something together last year, over beer after the New Writing Scotland launch. When I read the call for Illicit Ink’s Sleeptalking I thought of that chat and got in touch with Rhian. Could we do something together? Yes, we could!

Rhian’s developing background music and Foley and I’ll provide the voice over and story.

So, what was the story? Ah. Well, you know. I hadn’t written it at that point.

So I wrote a story, let it rest, reviewed it, re-wrote it and wrote a second story just in case. Rhian, meanwhile, started collecting sounds. A call on Facebook for the sound of children crying made me very excited: crowd sourcing sounds is collaboration above and beyond my expectation.

Now the story’s written, edited, recorded and submitted. We’re locked in to baby Ben and his pain. Rhian’s collected sounds and we’ve met to talk about lighting and costume. We’re good to go, pretty much.

Come along and hear us. R. A. Martens, George Anderson, Kirsti Wishart, J. A. Sutherland, and Andrew C Ferguson are some of the other writers performing on Sunday. It’ll be awesome.

The Seven Wonders of Scotland launch and Illicit Ink

The Seven Wonders of Scotland
The Seven Wonders of Scotland, an anthology from Birlinn examining Scotland today through tales of fictional wonders, is out early November. The book was launched at Changin Scotland last weekend, and has a second launch at Blackwells Bookshop on November 27th, 2012, 18:30 (not 18:00 as first advertised). Gerry Hassan will introduce the book and there will be readings, from me, Kirsti Wishart and other of the writers.

I’ll also be reading at the next Illicit Ink event, 20,000 Words Under the Sea, at The Bongo Club, on December 2nd, 2012, 20:00. The inspiration for my piece, The Corals Wave Back, comes from my natural history hero, David Attenborough, and The Living Ocean. I don’t think I’ll be alone in taking inspiration from that quarter. You’ll also hear Helen Jackson read Ms Chalmers and the Silent Service, Lynsey May and other local writers.