When Is It Impossible To Be Distinctive and/or Original?

Here follows a thought experiment. It’s very unlikely – I know – that this experiment is itself original, but I haven’t consciously read it elsewhere. I start with a question: What is the least within which it is possible to be distinctive or original? The least what? The least stuff, scope, area. For the moment, […]

Samy Moussa

Samy Moussa is the amazing Canadian composer I’ve been working with on an opera for the Münchener Biennale 2014. In English, the opera is called Vastation; in German, it’s Wüstung. There’s a little information (in German) about it on the Biennale website. This has been a really unusual collaboration for me, certainly compared to that […]

Emily Hall

On Thursday last week, Emily Hall – with whom I’ve been co-writing songs for quite a few years – won a Paul Hamlyn Award. Emily had been nominated on five previous occasions, so it was starting to look dangerously like what book-world-people would know as Beryl Bainbridge Booker Syndrome. Paul Hamlyn have put a few […]

Why Write About Unimportant People? – Part 4

Having buried epiphany stories last time, I’m now going to try and dig them out. To start with, I need to do a little clarification. One of the things I attacked epiphany stories for was being secularized religious experience. If you don’t believe in anything transcendent, then it’s bogus to have your main character experience […]

Why Write About Unimportant People? – Part 2

Going back to the ‘Why write about the domestic lives (sorrows’n’joys) of the unpowerful, the unexceptional?’ argument – last time, I put forward one well-meaning reason why. This seems to come from a basic democratic instinct: ‘We are none of us unimportant’ which transposes to, ‘We are all important.’ Or, to go further: ‘We are all of us equally important.’ But […]