Sunday, 4 September 2011

Return of the Questionnaire

For a change, the next few blogs will be coming thick and fast. That’s because they’re not written by me but by more respondents to…
(Psycho shower scene sound FX)
… The Questionnaire
(Extended scream).

When I started this blog, it was because people who knew told me that writers had to have this sort of online presence (well, maybe not THIS sort, but some sort). And it’s true that it’s got me some readers (as well as friends) I wouldn’t otherwise have had. (And, by the way, I do think some online friendships are real. There are, of course, those which mainly pay lip service to the idea of friendship, but others are the genuine article.)

It also brought me into contact with Diane Nelson, who is definitely a friend but now also, thanks to her energy, enthusiasm and willingness to respond to a challenge and take risks, my publisher. This year, with surprising speed, she’s set up Pfoxmoor Publishing  and gathered a highly talented team of writers who are producing books and stories across several genres.

I don’t want to name names or turn this into a promotional handout so, if you want to know who these writers are and what they’ve produced, just check via the link. Very quickly, we’ve blended into a group of mutually supportive friends as Diane and others have slaved away reading, editing, formatting and submitting manuscripts to various electronic outlets and printers. But you see how, even when all I’m doing is relating the facts of this enterprise, I’m beginning to sound like every other spin doctor and the language starts to seem artificial.

So, instead of presenting you with soft-focus shots of dreamy-looking artists gazing into the distance as their muses drift around them, I invited some of them to answer the questionnaire I set recently. The reason was that, despite the fact that it was designed as a bit of fun, an absurd parody of an interview, it turned out to be quite revealing and slyly drew people out of their comfort zone – or at least into areas other than ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’.

So, the next five blogs will lay bare the secrets of seven of the Pfoxmoor stable. They are: Maria Kuroshchepova, R B WoodGreta van der Rol, Heikki Hietala, Michael Pollack, Gev Sweeney and Sessha Batto.

And their starter for ten was: What music would you play through loudspeakers at night outside the house of someone you disliked intensely?
(MK) Anything by Gustav Mahler, whose music I dislike just a little bit less than the only person in my life I’ve ever hated.
(RBW) A compilation of 70’s and 80’s commercial jingles. 
(GvdR) Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man”. I wrote that without even a  moment’s hesitation.
(HH) Ah- you’d not know this, but it’s a song by a Finnish artist, Ismo Alanko, and the name of the song is (very loosely translated) “Fuck how fucked I feel”. The net result would be well worth watching.
Something I hate, like 80’s glamor hair metal bands. That garbage.
(GS)  The soundtrack I composed for an indie film.  Haha, ask Diane. She’s heard it … :P
(SB) Bagpipes. I love them, but they can wake the dead, no matter how much you crank up other music it doesn’t drown them out ;) Of course, I have to say now that a steel drum band school moved in next door to my house, ANY music played continuously and repetitively will drive you certifiably insane in a very short time.

And, in the best Hollywood tradition, coming very soon:
Son of Questionnaire
Daughter of Questionnaire
Second cousin of Questionnaire by marriage
Bloke who knew Questionnaire slightly when they were students together.

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  1. I’m looking forward to reading your next five posts, and I don’t view you as a spin doctor, but a humble compatriot. I would shine a light on my friends, as well.

  2. Being humble isn't an option for writers nowadays, it seems, Jackie. I'll practise, though.

  3. My favourite question!
    Greta, I thought for a moment that it was you who wrote the song 'Stand by your man'.
    And Heikki, it's hard to imagine that anything bad can come from the country of Sibelius and Arto Paasillina, but did you mean the song 'Vittu Kun Vituttaa'?:

  4. Definition: polymath, Anneke Klein.

  5. @Jackie, I love your comment, "I would shine a light on my friends, as well."

    If your friends don't talk you up, they're not really friends, are they?

    Looking forward to more Q & A.

  6. Bill, not really. I had to look up the definition of polymath.
    Just like doing research. I looked up Ismo Alanko in youtube and put a few of his song titles in the google translator.
    If you want to scare your neighbours off with a Duth song. Try Frans Bauer, with a song (roughly translated): Do you have a moment for me?
    Compare the results with Heikki's song and write a blog post about it.
    Can't wait.

  7. Yes Linda, Jackie summed it up very nicely.

    Anneke, remind me of all that in October. Time is very short at the moment.

  8. Yes, I guess that could look like I wrote 'Stand by your man'. Tut. And I call myself a writer.

    Rest assured I did not write the song. I put my fingers in my ears at the first chord and grit my teeth at the dreadful refrain. Grrrr.

    I hope that's clarified things.

  9. That did occur to me, Greta, and I thought of putting brackets around the 'I wrote that.. ' part, but that might have seemed as if I was correcting your prose and I'd never dare do that.