Narrative – rough draft and discussion

I want to add a narrative to the sound of my video that conveys something of my experience of the canal, including the psychogeographic. I was awake early one morning and started writing, quickly getting something down, to make a start. I made a few quick edits afterwards but didn’t spend time thinking to much about what was there. I also recorded the draft narrative and added it to my video and ambient sound to get a feel for how it sounded and fitted with the rest of my work. I felt there was enough to continue with analysis and improvement. I dropped a text to a writer friend, James Wall, and asked if he would read and give some input to help me move the draft forward. The rough draft is attached at the foot of this post (more as a record of work and progress than anything else). I spoke with James for about an hour about the words and video and this triggered some very useful ideas on how to take the narrative forward. The main points from my written notes are:

  • Use objects to evoke meaning and connect to the images – for example, instead of ‘neglect’ use rusty bikes.
  • Use a constant throughout the stanzas, for example the journey (place and history) or slow, still water.
  • James commented on the idea of ‘time lapse’ in photography and wondered if this might be used as a metaphor. I had considered using time lapse photography at an earlier stage of the project. I think a verbal reference to it without any inclusion of a time-lapse could be confusing?
  • A couple of places where the narrative became muddled because of a change in voice or expressions that were unclear. Including ‘trampled’ in connection with water, without mentioning the tow path. Also the only place where there was a very direct reference to an image re the Yorkshireman – didn’t seem to fit well with the rest of the narrative.
  • Noted the double meaning of ‘reflection’ and how that could be used. Also of the work ‘lock’ – the physical locks on the canal and the idea of being locked in time and place.
  • Suggestion that each stanza could reflect different stages of the journey (physical, metaphorical, or psychological).

The discussion left me with lots to think about. However the narrative is concluded, it should remain in the shadows of the images – I think this is achieved by allowing plenty of space around the spoken words.