Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Will Work for Foo

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  • Roger,

    Not quite on thread, but I was checking out of a hotel on Sunday and 'enjoyed' this conversation from the person in line in front of me...

    Guest: I would like to get some of that moisturiser that they have in the Spa?
    Reception: I am sorry the Spa is not open on Sundays
    Guest: So the Spa is not open?
    Reception: No, I am sorry the Spa is not open on Sundays
    Guest: When will the Spa be open?
    Reception: It will be open on Monday
    Guest: And it is closed all day today?
    Reception: Yes
    Guest: Where can I get some of that moisturiser that they have in the Spa?
    Reception: I am afraid that they only sell it at the Spa
    Guest: And the Spa is closed today?
    Reception: Yes?
    Guest: When will it be open?

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I think both Guest and Reception failed their Turing Tests.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Okay, I'm dressed now, I can comment.

    Though I tell you, working a morning in my little blue satin dressing gown is an effective way to make Jehovah's Witnesses leave.

    * must remember to speak to husband sitting only 2 m away rather than using IM.

    Heheh, guilty. The children do generally have to be in another room to email me, but it's better than what appears to be the only alternative; yelling.

    I try to have designated working hours and playing hours. It frequently doesn't work. Right now, with the kids home for the summer holidays, trying to work is a nightmare.

    I don't have a contract right now, so I'm working on a short fiction piece for Strange Horizons. Odds are they won't buy it, so is that work? I dunno. But I have a scene I can't make flow, so normally I'd go out in the garden for an hour and mull it while I work there. (Work?)

    That ain't going to happen today though, unless it rains a lot in Napier.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    when I was a student in ChCh my flatmate (who worked nights in a restaurant) used to let her robe slowly slip until the mormons went away

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2605 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    when I was a student in ChCh my flatmate (who worked nights in a restaurant) used to let her robe slowly slip until the mormons went away

    How much slippage does it take to get rid of a Mormon? There's a joke in there somewhere...

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 948 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    until the mormons went away

    Not sure letting my bathrobe slip open would have achieved anything other than getting a visit from the constabulary. Our solution was

    We used to invite them in and make them tell us about the magic glasses

    I don't know why but they really hate it when you ask lots of detailed questions :).

    I think we got blacklisted because after a couple of times they skipped our flat

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Playing this in the background usually works as a repellent... ;->

    http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=AUOpUqni0_g

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Graham,

    Never worked in the performing arts then?

    Nope, never. The idea appeals, all except for the being in front of people bit.

    That's not at all the sort of group I was imagining though. That's more of a hierarchy of fairly well defined pockets of creativity. I'm not sure if I've ever encountered something that I could see was created by more than two people of level standing.

    Even with improv it doesn't really occur so much, The main skill in improv (from my vast experience of watching who's line, scared scriptless and some dire amateur stuff) seems to be the ability to pass the executive seamlessly, watching for who has the good idea. Time slicing rather than multi-processing.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 118 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    No, see, I'm in a different time-zone. It's Wednesday night for you, but it's Thursday for me, so…

    Once, a few years ago, I checked my email and found some guy in America had emailed me asking a simple question about something I'd written about on my website. I replied and didn't think much about it.

    A few hours laters he replied, more or less like this:

    "Whoa! That was such a quick reply! And you replied at 4.30am! Do you ever leave the house? Do you have nothing better to do with your time than sit at your computer all night waiting for emails? I don't want to judge you, but I think you need some help!"

    I replied with, "Dear Chad. I live in New Zealand. It's lunchtime. The sun is shining."

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    A few hours laters he replied, more or less like this:

    I've been boggled by the way that people who live in a country that contains different time-zones can be so unable to handle the idea of people living in different time-zones.

    Most are fine, of course. And more can cope with a difference of a few hours. But there are a few whose heads obviously melt when trying to deal with the concept that you're talking to them from the future .

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    I've been boggled by the way that people who live in a country that contains different time-zones can be so unable to handle the idea of people living in different time-zones.

    It's entirely possible that they don't even really handle the concept of timezones within the country and get confused every time the TV announcer says that a show is on at "8/7 Central". Perhaps they think that TV announcers have special names for numbers, in the manner of bingo callers.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    the ability to pass the executive seamlessly, watching for who has the good idea

    That's fair, though not how I'd have put it (even if you're deliberately letting someone else lead, you end up making a big contribution - being actually forced to run a scene on your own is agony). And even what you describe does sound like a collaborative process to me.

    But there is a fair quantity of very much group-devised work done. It can be vibrant, various and often incoherent. Partly because of the process but also because it's mostly done by students or community/political types.

    I think of even the more compartmentalised jobs of a standard heirachy as part of a scale. At the very least, it helps if everyone thinks they're making a creative contribution. And mostly they are doing creative jobs that nobody else can do for them, as part of one big thing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    actually I think people find the dateline confusing - and the idea that countries south of the equator might have DST at different times of the year (and the timezone offsets might change 4 times a year) more than difficult

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2605 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    The BBC World Service emailed me in the wee small hours, with an offer I would not have refused, had I been awake.

    I thought they, of all people, would know better.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'd just like to say that I'm posting this from the Chrome for Mac OS test shell.

    It's quite nippy.

    (hey, it beats banging my head against the wall trying to moderate user behaviour in copyright threads ...)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Emma Hart: Wot an interesting post and susequent commentary.
    Some have written here that they just write the words. I disagree in that you must have an audience in mind. The audience here are entertaining and responsive in probably a rare manner. Imagine your words appearing on say the Auckland Herald???
    eg: Jesus replies from Glenfield: "If God wanted Emma Hart to swan round in her underwear all day, He would have said so in His Bible. It is people like her who are bringing our society to ruination and she is beyond..........."

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Jesus replies from Glenfield: "If God wanted Emma Hart to swan round in her underwear all day, He would have said so in His Bible. It is people like her who are bringing our society to ruination and she is beyond..........."

    Heheh, underwear, sorry?

    Actually, this is the first time I've done a satirical or humourous column for PA where I haven't either Got Letters, or had someone in the comments thread utterly fail the Sense of Humour test. I assume it's universal to all PA writers that they occasionally get emails of Your Views quality.

    When I write here, I certainly write with the audience in mind. I find myself trying to work out what people will pick up and run with in comments.

    When I write fiction, however, I don't have a constant awareness of audience. That's when I get to write to please myself.

    I can see both sides of this individual/collaborative art thing. At Bardic Web, when we're working out what to write, doing plotting, etc, we all bounce ideas off each other. Even though there's a designated leader, it's genuinely collaborative. We make ideas together that none of us could come up with alone.

    But when you actually get down to the writing, it's just you, a keyboard, a blank piece of 'paper' and a little blinking cursor. The work that's done there is completely individual.

    (hey, it beats banging my head against the wall trying to moderate user behaviour in copyright threads ...)

    Mff, users. That's a whole 'nother whiney post. One of the things I don't have a nice slang label for is 'people who behave just like trolls but who are actually entirely sincere'.

    (I spent the morning at BW dealing with a very pissy user who wanted to make a submission for our 'best of' book but 'hadn't been told' where to send it or how. That information was in three different places, including the post he was replying to.)

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Ian Mackay, of course you are entitled to disagree with me, but be assured, I do *not* have an audience/reader in mind when I write.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Ian Mackay, of course you are entitled to disagree with me, but be assured, I do *not* have an audience/reader in mind when I write.

    Not even a notional reader, which might even just be yourself in a reading rather than writing mode? (Apologies if you've already made this clear, but I'm curious, both personally and as someone who reviews occasionally, just as a coda to other's writing processes :)).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Actually, this is the first time I've done a satirical or humourous column for PA where I haven't either Got Letters

    Oh, would that we could read those letters. If it wasn't ethically iffy, it could be like Jezebel's Crap Email From a Dude.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Creativity, collaboration, etc ...

    There's no creative form that's as much of a group effort as screen production. It amazes me how people different skillsets (and peole with them) it takes to make a TV programme.

    And we're a low-budget affair -- the small army marshalled to produce, say, a high-end TV ad is astonishing.

    But I still write nearly all the show sitting at home on my own.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Ian Mackay, of course you are entitled to disagree with me, but be assured, I do *not* have an audience/reader in mind when I write.

    Did nobody tell you about the Death of the Author? Get with the programme: Critics know best.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Dear old postmodernism eh?

    Sam F, nope, not even a notional reader...when I read work, it's to see how I can improve it (and it's frequently, read/rework/reread/work it over again etc. etc.) What fascinates me is character & story building - which is why I have mss in drawers - I explored an idea, made a story through the people, and then left it. Finished with that. Dont want tor try & publish that. But cant quite bring myself to burn that, yet.

    Kerry W - am happy to talk about work process & routines - why not pm me?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I hate you all. :)

    That's fine Danielle -- I hate me too. :) Another peril of working at home, when the phone (and internet) goes down, you have to be your own IT department. Telling yourself to get this shit sorted before you go postal isn't quite as satisfying. Way too Norman Bates for comfort...

    How much slippage does it take to get rid of a Mormon?

    If you tell them you're a homosexual Catholic who's just put on a fresh pot of coffee at the same time, surprisingly little...

    Not even a notional reader, which might even just be yourself in a reading rather than writing mode?

    Won't put words in the mouth of the person who's actually sold a couple of books (and won a couple of big-arse prizes while doing it), but not really. I tend to try and surprise myself, then worry about whether anyone else is going to think I'm drunk afterwards.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    I've been boggled by the way that people who live in a country that contains different time-zones can be so unable to handle the idea of people living in different time-zones.

    I get time-zones, I even get how they come about, but half-hour ones are bollocks. SA is half and hour behind NSW, NT one and a half hours... sure I know why (Darwin being where it is and Adelaide where it is) and sure it makes sense in terms of consistency... but half an hour, what's the point? Australia ought to have two time zones, East and West - NT goes west, SA comes West.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

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