Each time I begin to write in this blog it seems as if I’m apologising for not having written anything for the last few months. And this time is going to be no different. Since Lucy was born (and before, if truth be told) it’s been increasingly difficult to find the time or the inclination to keep any sort of blog active. I get tempted by Tumblr, but feel like I need a really good reason – or a project – to take up something completely new. This blog, on the other hand, has survived the abuse of complete strangers, a public spat with a noted sub-politico, and had served me well throughout the run of a PhD, before and after.
Which is to say, I’m not giving up on this. Especially, as if you’re reading it, it’s survived migration from one server to a new one, with all the functionality intact (thank you Damien, for seven years of excellent service).
I went to Ghent at the weekend. I made some spurious comments online about a book and soundtrack service and before I knew it Duncan Speakman had invited to me to come and put my money where my mouth was, story and sound-wise.
Now, going away to Europe isn’t something the mother of your eleven-week old baby normally welcomes, but Ghent is in Belgium, and the Belgians know how to make chocolate, so I had a covering reason/excuse/reason to live if I brought some back with me. Which I did.
Ghent was stunning. Like being in Bruges (pun intended) without the hitmen – a fairytale city centre (three cathedrals – photos below) and they know how to light a building at night. They also know how to make gin, and beer.
We wrote, Duncan and I. We wrote about families and loss and boats leaving Port-au-Prince in the darkness of a nineteenth century night and losing something precious on the Atlantic ocean. About what people think about when they are alone, when they walk through city streets ay night, and what the look on their faces might mean.
We threw stories away, and I learned about iteration (I knew about iteration before, but hadn’t been that ruthless for a long while) and new platforms and reminded myself how sound is a landscape and not a backdrop. We watched a very old episode of the Simpsons and read some John McGregor, we ate scrambled eggs (the finest in all of Europe, I am told) and drank beer sitting in the window of a bar too beautiful to believe.
And now I’m home, and my daughter has forgiven me for going away, I have brought chocolates back, and sometime soon, a little gothic horror story will get its first airing in Ghent. Once it’s been rewritten, recorded by professionals and generally taken beyond a first weekend draft that is.
An aside: I sat on the Eurostar at 11am on the morning of the 11th of November. I’d thought about that before I left the UK, but didn’t realise that was part of the story we told until it was written.