John Walker's Electronic House

by on Aug.12, 2004, under The Rest

I had a photoshoot for PC Format today.

Because I don’t often do photoshoots, that’s not a phrase I can say very often. But because I hang around with people who do such things much more frequently, they are spoken of commonly and quite dismissively. “I had to go to the photo studio this afternoon,” is the casual beginning of a tale about some event related to or happening nearby. And hence the expressions have entered my vocabularly as purely descriptive terms.

Which means anyone not in the Future Circle gives me a horrible look when I put it into a sentence, no matter how innocently. And then I hear myself, and realise what a tosspot I sound like. But it’s not fair! It’s just the term. Poor, poor me. Poor maligned, hard-suffering, me, struggling through each day with the weight of work pressing down upon me. But do you care?! No! You just tsk at my insufferable verbiage. Well, I hope you feel sorry now.

Anyway, so I did a photoshoot for Format today. It’s for a feature that’s been bubbling away for a while now, and involved my standing on a specific “don’t move!” spot for twenty minutes, while looking cross at an imaginary foe. At one point I was stood with my ‘dukes’ up, eyebrows furrowed, being told, “Snarl more. A bigger snarl… Show more teeth.” And for a moment the thought rushed through my head, “this is part of your job”.

I think I can safely say it’s the first time my ‘dukes’ have been necessary for anything. I’ve never been in a fight. Apart from when Simon Somethingorother pushed me over in the playground and I hit my head on the wall, and then that doesn’t really count as a fight as I hardly responded. Unless hitting my head on the wall was my clever satire of his attempt to damage me with his boy-hulk fists. Yes, that’s it. But I didn’t even get a chance to find out if my fists would automatically raise to defend myself in a conflict situation. Although I doubt this very much. The only self defense I ever learned was judo, when I was 11. I’m not convinced an attacker is going to be prepared to change into those white jackets, or even just start the fight by gripping my clothing in the correct positions so that my evasive manoeuvres can be carried out. “Use their own weight against them,” we were told. Does that work? “Oi, mugger. You’re a bit fat, and it makes your arse look ridiculous in those trousers.”

We also did lots of being photographed for Negativeland tonight, going all over Bath for various scenes. If you’ve not read it, I highly recommend it. The link above takes you to Big Robot’s main image page. Click on “GILLEN” on the left for the archive of episodes. There are only four or five more episodes to come, so now’s the time to catch up.

But doing that, waving our arms around at each other, crawling around on my hands and knees in the populated streets of Bath, endlessly walking in and out of Kieron’s flat – that’s for fun and giggles. Clearly Negativeland is bigger than that, but as for our participation in its creation, we’re some mates having fun with a camera. The proper work comes in when Kieron puts it all together, and writes the scripts.

But doing both in one day only highlighted the weirdness of this lunchtime’s… I want to say “shoot”, because that’s the word, but then it’s all that tosspottery again. It’s a genuine, bonafide part of my real paying job to be told, “show more teeth when you snarl”. So weird.

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