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The first in a series of posts where the {lace and Memory artists tell you what they’ve been up to… first up:

NIGEL STONE

They’re talking about zombies on Radio 4. Did you know I was a zombie last year? It was at The White Cloth cafe, in Leeds City Centre. I can recommend the pizza there.

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Nigel Stone in full Zombie mode.

 

Being a zombie wasn’t as much fun as being the ghost of a long dead, mad monk though; despite the fact that being the ghost of a long dead, mad monk, involved haunting the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey for 3 nights; and there was no pizza.

Today is a day off, so I’m writing this blog post. What do you expect me to do with a day off? Relax? That’s what sleep is for. No, I’m going to write this blog post, because I’ve been asked to, and because I have the time to spare.

I want to edit the film I shot before Christmas, but the man who is helping me out with the technical side isn’t free until Thursday. The footage is in my rucksack. We shot the film in one day, in one location. I wrote the screenplay, cast the roles, directed the shots, and will edit (with help). This was very much a team effort, but there’s no denying, the end result will look a lot like the idea in my head.

There are a lot of ideas in my head: plots, characters, scenes, dialogue. I put these ideas down in notebooks; which I keep on a shelf in my studio. Every now and again, I will find someone who can help with the next part of the process; transferring these ideas onto the printed page, or the stage, or screen, or online, or on air; or whatever it takes to make them real.

I do have some lines to learn. They’re for a play I’m in. It’s a favour for a friend. We met when I appeared in another production she wrote and directed last year; and she recently asked me to audition for this one. I don’t often have lines to learn, because a lot of my “pretending” work is improvised. I suppose that makes sense. I am a writer. I also love to act. By improvising, I am able to combine the two, on the spot. It’s a lot of fun.

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Nigel doing his mad monk thing…

I subsidise my projects, and the favours I do, by pretending to be a zombie, or phantom mad monk. I’ve also pretended to be the Queen of Hearts, a murder suspect, a policeman, a snowman, an angry farmer, a panda, you name it.

Just before Christmas, I bumped into an old work colleague. It’s over 25 years since we last saw one another, and he asked me what I was doing these days. I told him, then said “I don’t know why I’m laughing. I have a published book, a short film to edit, and will be in the Lake District this weekend, performing in a murder mystery”.

It was the last time I laughed with embarrassment, when telling someone what I do for a living.

I was asked if I’d provide the Place and Memory blog with some kind of update. You’re reading it right now. I guess, on reflection, what I’m trying to say is that since Place and Memory, I have achieved some degree of recognition. More importantly though, I am no longer embarrassed by what I am trying to do with my life.

#jesuisnigel

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