Are you sitting comfortably?

November 11, 2009

Last Thursday our online lecture was given by Daniel Meadows. Opinion about the lecture is split between those who saw it as irrelevant to journalists whose job is to report facts, and those, like myself, who think that finding alternative ways to tell the same old stories is what makes journalism interesting and gives creativity to an otherwise fact-based enterprise.

Daniel’s life has been fascinating. He has not worked for one ‘dinosaur’ organization all his life and, as a self-confessed ‘hippy’, has very much done the things that have made him happy. His first, and perhaps most interesting endeavour, was larking about on a bus for a bit taking photos. I won’t tell you all about it; check it out for yourself.

Free Photographic Omnibus

Perhaps why I was so impressed by Daniel’s approach to story-telling is my slightly art-farty, pseudo-magazine, approach to writing. Maybe (swinging it back to the lyrical aspect of this blog) it is because, essentially, lyrics and songs are alternative story-telling devices as well. As soon as Glynn, our online course tutor, offered a bottle of champagne to the best alternative story-telling submission my head swam with what songs I could put to video to tell a story.

One of the best examples of a stories told in song, Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat aside, of course, is ‘Mmm mmm mmm’ by the Crash Test Dummies. I am going to save the song for proper analysis later in the year but just give it a listen and listen to the stories. Haunting.

I was trying to match lyrics to stories in my head all day after the lecture. Stories that are told from a different angle – one that leaves the viewer/listener deciding some of the tale for themselves. Some of Daniel’s work which he showd us did this perfectly- his work at a psychiatric ward really left the story open to subjective explanation.

I like to think the world is not black and white, and alternative story-telling is a perfect way to expose the shades of grey.


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