From the Archives.

October 2nd 2014.

Phil writes on some of the ideas behind Nudge.

Last night my youngest daughter was sick three times.Why am I telling you this? I don’t know to be honest. I’m pretty tired and the process of writing this blog entry has taken on the form of a stream of consciousness. If I continue to write I’m sure I’ll be able to tell you much personal – and to you inane – information about my life.

It’ll help me stay awake though which is important.

How I saw a Partridge out of my office window for example, or how I surrendered to superstition and saluted a Magpie. The cunning bird was giving me the eye earlier. Finally how I’ve come to the conclusion that most coffee tastes like shit.

Nothing I have said will have any effect on you of course.

If I have got you to stay reading this new paragraph here, right now in its own small way it’s a victory. I’m swamped by content, like yourself no doubt - as we all know there is always something better to read. How you came to be here reading this I will never know of course.

Everybody is producing content on social media in the same way that every cow is making milk or contributing to global warming, consume and excrete. When I was a lad before the mobile phone before the Internet, content was supplied within rather regulated hours. T.V was not ‘always on’ and you needed to wait for the papers be they broadsheet or the tabloids.

Now we’re reaching saturation, we’re soaking in juicy content.

Content is king…so it goes… then it follows click bait is a court jester, leering at you and getting your attention and prodding you

“Come Nuncle I have a riddle for thee, what do all these vapid celebrities have in common? Dost thou want to see the thrice breasted woman?”

It was a piece of ‘click bait’ that actually led me to write a particular sequence in our forthcoming show Nudge. It’s a dream like sequence – a response to a particularly insidious post that spread around my Facebook feed for a while. The post in question was a macabre picture of a malady, an insane skin condition that despite my disbelief I found my mind returning to, fretting on the horrible reality of what this fantasy affliction could be.

I dreamt about it too, this bit of content, this fabricated image. It was a dark dream, and one that’s detail faded back into my subconscious as I woke up. I say the detail because like the most profound of dreams the atmosphere, the emotional sense of it remained all day and created the scratch that I had to itch within the script. We suck up so much information now; we’re addicted to it. There are those of us of course that do not use social media channels but these people seem increasingly rare. We can point at them with our phones and scream like Donald Sutherland does at the end of the ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’. Even if you don’t access a video of a beheading first hand you are still made aware of it, the impact of it causes ripples in our society. These ripples could have been caused by the older media forms of course but it is the sheer volume of content and ‘feeds’ that we receive now that is very different to say, twenty years ago. We suck it all up, we unconsciously take so many micro meteorite nudges to our psyche these days that its inevitable that the companies that ‘gate keep’ these castles of content want to play around a bit to see how we are influenced by it all.

Facebook has been experimenting on us but it’s nothing new, the Daily Mail and a host of newspapers do it, and we buy into it absently or deliberately when we look for content. Something to engage interest and stimulate. Nothing is for free. Come and watch Nudge at the Wardrobe Theatre in Bristol 6-10th October 8pm

More archive blog posts from Darkstuff Towers can be found here: archive.fo/t8sUG