In no particular order…
1- Met Darryl from The Archers!!!!1!!!!!!!11!!!!!!!
He’s called Dan and he temps in the box office we were using when he’s in-between acting jobs. He signed a card with his face on and everyone on twitter said he had lovely handwriting. HE CALLED ME LOVELY. I said that if we weren’t renting I’d DEFINITELY get him over to Leicester to fit new taps for us.
2- Stage managed 65 dachshunds
A couple of days into placement, one of the Artistic Directors noticed my exceptional organisational flair and no-nonsense authoritarian persona and asked me to work inside the Dachshund UN structure, managing the loading in and out of dogs and owners. Dachshund UN is a live installation by a guy called Bennett Miller, where dachshunds recreate a meeting of the UN’s Commission of Human Rights. I totally fucked up at the start because I went for a wee and when I came back all the dogs had scattered, but once the first lot were in it went like a dream. And I even managed to tell the owners to “try wiggling your fingers up the crack in the front” if their dogs got restless without falling to pieces. It was fucking sweet.
3- Loaded and unloaded 30 blindfolded people onto 2 minibuses without losing anyone
I don’t think I’m allowed to say any more than that. Pretty sure it was written into my contract that I would be killed if I disclosed any info about Secret Show, but a Tumblr about the event went up a couple of days ago.
4- Won a bronze medal for making a film about a chicken taking a shit
I was actually a stand-in during the final podium moment in Talking Birds’ film-making competition, but was personally congratulated by several Hull university students who thought that it really was my doing. Apparently, it was the close-up on the chicken’s contracting sphincter that made the work what it was.
5- Was pushed along underneath Spaghetti Junction on the BLUEST day
This I did purely as an audience member, with no responsibilities. I even got lost trying to find it, so got the full joe public experience. Track was designed by Graeme Miller, and it was really simple, but such an otherworldly experience. You lie down on a small wooden bed thing and someone pushes you along while the traffic buzzes about overhead. I can’t really describe how calming it was. Just a totally zen experience. Fucking beautiful.
6- Accidentally put my fire-proof curse on Eloise Fornieles
Eloise is a performance artist who had an installation running all week at the festival. All week long she collected messages of fear and hope and posted them into a box on a mound of chalk. Then, on Saturday night, it was set alight to reveal the sculpture inside. Except that the box just acted like a little stove and you could only see the flames by looking through the hole in the back. I told Matthew the Production Manager that the one time I went to Burning Man the man didn’t fall when it was set alight and the crew had to pull it down for safety the next morning. He reassured me I wasn’t to blame and Eloise’s box had just got a bit wet in the rain, but I’m not convinced.
7- Acted as Project Lead on Time Has Fallen Asleep In The Afternoon Sunshine by Mette Edvardsen
This was a brilliant project to look after. Mette was inspired by Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, where books are outlawed and an underground movement of people (‘living books’) commit stories to memory to preserve them. There were eight living books taking part in Fierce, five of them from Birmingham. I think I was given the project because no-one else wanted to look after something that kicked off at 10am nearly every single day, but it meant that I got to bond with a whole group of people throughout the festival. We were like a little family by the end, conspiring to see how far we could push the library staff before they came over to tell us off for eating in a no-eating zone. Mette bought all the books a copy of Fahrenheit 451 and I got one too. Had a little tear in my eye like a proper pussy.
8- Made a pope costume covered in hardcore gay porn
This was for the Shabba Dabba Da party on Friday. Gay porn is pretty hilarious. All their faces are totally serious, as if the poses they’re being asked to strike aren’t the funniest thing ever. (I could never work in porn. I’d get sacked for laughing all the time.) I mostly chose the group shots for my costume. Poor Ben who I was staying with had to come home to see the magazine remnants all over his dining room table. He coped remarkably well.
9- Sourced discontinued typewriter ribbon like it wasn’t even a thing
I spent days stressing about how I’d managed to find old manual typewriters for a Ron Athey performance but they had no ribbons, then I found the number of this AMAZING TYPEWRITER RIBBON PROBLEM SOLVER HERO MAN and got him to FedEx the right ones to me. I felt like a fucking genius. Then a day or two after that the show’s producer told me that carbon paper is just as good, but whatever. I FOUND THE RIGHT RIBBONS INNIT
10- Became an archery champion
This was another show I went to as an actual normal audience member, after I’d finished in the library for the day. Cupid, by Subject to Change. It was just the kind of show I love; a series of different tasks to complete in order to discover the story slowly. Really lovely, gentle interaction. It started off with us all painting a design onto a plaster-of-paris heart, and then by the end of it we’d hung our hearts like a constellation of stars and got a chance to shoot one with a bow and arrow. Turns out I’m a fucking natural and scored a heart on my first try. (I didn’t tell them it wasn’t the one I was aiming for.) It was Eloise Fornieles’ heart that I pierced and I’m now working on a Saatchi-like media campaign for her so that I can flog it for BAJILLIONS in 30 years. Pension = SORTED.
I had a day off today, basically just lying in bed and watching a whole season of Eastbound and Down. The heating’s borked, but Emily has creme eggs in her cupboard and says I can “just keeping eating them till they’re gone”. What a fool. Tomorrow I make my return to the uni library. I bet it’s missed me.