Yes, I know, you don’t have to say it – I really should stop trying to write music for Action Science Theatre.
Why? What possible reason could I have to go and stand in a field in Wales for two days? It’ll be raining and there’ll be sheep and hippies and people who haven’t bathed, and there’ll also be Action Dan and Science Brian (aka. all of the above). You are kidding, right? There is no way on Earth that I would ever, ever, produce a live podcast at Green Man festival.
Wait – how did I get here? Ergh – get that unwashed science hippy-sheep away from me…
Ground control to Major Tom
Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong
- ‘Space Oddity’, David Bowie
[Beep] [Static] … [Beep] [Static] … [Beep] [Static] … Houston, we have a cliché … [Beep] [Static]
It seems that my last tirade about Science Brian’s ludicrous sound effects has borne fruit. He has now started inserting apologies into his scripts to pre-empt my wrath. Well, sort-of apologies…
But the thing is, ‘punching a robot’ is not a particularly difficult sound effect to create. It’s just a case of mixing the ‘cartoon punch’ effect that I’ve used in many previous episodes with any of the 272 hits* produced when you enter ‘metallic clang’ into the Freesound search engine.
So that’s that dealt with. Now, what am I going to fill the rest of this blog with?
Oh, I know – let’s talk about equalisation.
And it was all going so well…
Every now and again, I am persuaded to string together a few musical notes on some instrument or other. The ‘jaunty’ (©Action Dan, 2013) Action Science Theatre theme tune, for example. So, when we needed some music to underscore the exciting alien-hunting montage in Episode 10a, I duly obliged. And people were generally very kind about it.
They won’t be doing that again.
Growing up in the north-east of England, it was impossible to remain unware of the region’s industrial heritage. In particular, shipbuilding on the Tyne has a distinguished 800-year history. As a child of the 1970s and 80s, however, it was also impossible to ignore the decline in shipbuilding – indeed, in all forms of manufacturing industry – in northern England at that time. Unemployment rose, and once-busy docks and slipways fell into disuse, lending a melancholy air to the river, and a sense of dispair to the region as a whole.
Since then there has been massive regeneration. Like similar areas in cities such as Sheffield and Birmingham, Newcastle’s Quayside has been transformed into a centre for arts and culture, as well as new housing developments.
So what does all this have to do with Editing Episode 10? Well… not much. But after 10 episodes, I’m rather running out of things to talk about.
At the end of last month’s thrilling instalment, you may recall that the heretofore reliable AST technology had undergone catastrophic working-properlyness failure. Episode 8 was eventually rescued by a man on a motorbike, but we couldn’t rely on that happening every time. So, I had to find a way to make sure that we could get safely through Episode 9. For reasons that now escape me, the first step involved inviting Action Dan and Science Brian to my house and feeding them steak and chips.
Seriously – I’ve got to work out what they’re putting in my water.
We then ran to Producer Dan and said, “We have no idea how to actually turn all this into reality! Help us!”
- Science Brian
That, in his ‘how it all started’ blog, is how Science Brian described the moment he asked me to get involved in Action Science Theatre. It’s quite charming, in its way – glowing with the enthusiasm of a young Irishman making his way in a strange, faraway land, hope shining in his eyes, alight with the realisation that all his Christmases have come at yearly intervals.
It is, of course, a thin, supermarket-brand, single-ply tissue of lies.*
…oh no, this is the road to hell
– Road to Hell (Chris Rea)
Now that I come to think about it, the lyrics of Chris Rea’s maudlin masterpiece are a fairly accurate description of an AST recording session at the best of times.
And I’m underneath the streetlights, but the light of joy I know
Scared beyond belief way down in the shadows
But recording of Episode 8 was hellish in ways that went way beyond the usual Producer Dan grumbling…
And the perverted fear of violence chokes the smile on every face
Common sense is ringing out the bells