A lost day…

I don’t know what happened in between Monday and now, but somewhere, I lost a day. Potentially this has to do with a 9.30am bedtime on Sunday. We’ll let that slide. Between then and now, the lovely Hannah Waldram (the Guardian’s Cardiff Beatblogger) gave this project a little publicity on the Guardian’s Cardiff blog (which I am very grateful for), which has resulted in over two hundred visits to the blog! Welcome to all those folks who Hannah sent this way, and to those of you who have subscribed to the blog, I hope you find the rest of the posts entertaining and hopefully a little interesting too.

A lot of people commented on the blog, and some of the comments require answering:

  • I already have a list of people I want to interview and bands I want to feature, and that list has very little to do with either universities or the BBC – these were merely places I was heading to try and recruit volunteers or beg kit.
  • Truckers of Husk, the excellent Cardiff band whom I identified as RIP, as risen from the grave and have a new album due out soon! Actually they were never RIP, apparently they were only ever having a hiatus. Trust, I shall be bothering them to be featured in this project verrrrry soon.
  • THANK YOU to everyone who has volunteered themselves or their kit. I really appreciate it and will be in touch with you all soon.

On to other things that happened this week.

I met up with James McLaren a couple of days ago. I’ve known James for a long time – since the early 2000s when he was editor of Sound Nation, the Welsh Music Foundation’s (now defunct) magazine. I think I had to write up a Welsh Music Awards Ceremony, perhaps? Who remembers. I was working at Catapult Records (an excellent dance music record shop in the High Street Arcade in Cardiff) at the time (Catapult is a store I plan to cover in the project, along with Spillers, the oldest record shop in the world, of course). James now works as a web geek at BBC Radio Wales, looking after the online content (along with an ex-Kruger colleague, James W Roberts).

We chatted about Bethan Elfyn’s recent documentary “Start Something – The Story of South Wales Rock” (which is a great listen and highly recommended), and James suggested that rather than diving and trying to film all the interviews straight off, perhaps I’d be better taking a dictaphone or audio recorder and recording the interviews that way, then listening through and pulling out strands of a story from what I’ve heard, and perhaps filming those bits. It makes all sorts of sense – it’s far simpler, I’ve recorded hundreds of audio interviews, I don’t need anyone to help me do it, and it means I can create more of a structure for the piece before heading into filming territory.

James had a slightly different take on pitching the documentary: if you’re going to do all the hard work and the background research and running around, you should aim to have as many people see it as possible – and that means being broadcast on TV. It contradicted the thoughts I’d been having about just making the thing guerilla style, and as I left our little chat, I wondered about whether I should restructure it into a strong storyline, and pitching, and all the potential headache that might come with it.

It was these things that I mentioned to Ewan Jones Morris who I met later in the week. He works full time making music videos for bands and artists, so he’s too busy to commit to helping out permenantly. But he very kindly agreed to meet me for a pint to chat over plans and structure for the filming. Although he thought the idea was a good one, Ewan said he doubted any company or channel would go for the project as it was. It doesn’t follow one person overcoming an adversity, or any single strand of story – it’s a more informational, and as such, he explained, it would be nigh on impossible to pitch.

I know he’s right. And I guess it comes down to the question, again, of what do you want to make: something that you can sell, or something that you’re really happy with? Clearly any money I can beg or scrounge from anywhere will be welcomed, but I think I’ve already established that it’s going to have to be made on the kindness of strangers.

I have no problem with that. I’ve come across some pretty kindly strangers in my time.

He recommended keeping the final project to 25 minutes long, and also suggested getting it done in time to screen it during the Swn festival in November – not a bad thought, given I haven’t had an aneurysm or a nervous breakdown by then. He also promised to pass on details of Skillset Cymru, who have provided him with student staff to work on projects in the past when he’s needed them. And he was kind enough to offer help in the future should I need it.

There’s another week down. Next week Gethin Jones has kindly agreed to give me some of his time – and I will begin the first round of audio interviews. Eeep!

Hope you all have something glamorous planned for your weekends. Here in Cardiff there’s a 30th birthday party and a picnic in Bute Park awaiting me.

To finish off, I’ll leave you with something to celebrate the fact that the AWESOME Truckers of Husk AREN’T dead at all, merely hibernating. Here’s them playing my favourite Truckers song – Panther Party – live in Spillers last August.


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