Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Lost in the Fog; Where has everybody gone…?

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I am off to the USA THIS weekend!

This is something I have been looking forward to my entire life, so it’s making me feel dizzy and thrilled all at the same time. It’s a shame my trip is to settle a legal case, but I will get to look around New York for a while, so I’m ready for anything.

JB is coming to the USA!

If there’s anybody out there, in New York or Connecticut, that fancies hooking up and having a beer, please DO write and let me know. Right here, on the blog is the best place to contact me, as I won’t have email access as such. Quite honestly, I would really like to meet some people, so spread the word to those who don’t dig through the blogs! There must be someone who fancies a natter?

Without some local knowledge it’s likely I’ll just sit in the Holiday Inn, and stare out of the window in absolute terror at the bustling world outside. I’ve seen so many corners and sights of the USA, on TV and in film, it will be a truly mind-blowing experience; I’ll probably think I’m playing some sort of Big Apple adventure game, and refuse the evidence of my own eyes. (It’s Real, it’s real!! I wonder if there really is a ziggurat under Central Park?). What a sad case. But, it does make me realise how many of the US fans feel about good ‘ol blighty, sometimes. I imagine it must be a similar, if smaller, thrill seeing old, well known British landmarks, and visiting locales often imagined from books, music and games. A special relationship, indeed!

So, if you are nearby on Tuesday May 25th to Monday the 31st, please do let me know, as I would love to meet some genuine Americans! Oh yes!

The Pinnacles, with Jonathan Boakes and ghost...

Cornwall is a strange place to be, these days, with scarily schizophrenic weather; I was out with the camera, earlier this afternoon, to photograph The Pinnacles, at one end of Looe beach. It’s foggy, eerie, quiet and deserted around these parts. Yet, I still have bright red sunburn from yesterday’s sunny scorcher! What’s going on? I suspect something supernatural is afoot. The tourists must still be here, somewhere, yet I saw no evidence of them. Perhaps they are holed up in the B&B’s, watching re-runs of Murder She Wrote…

Friend or Foe? The gulls plan their assault on the 'No Wings'.

I have been struggling with some of the characters, for The Last Crown, these last few weeks. I’ve been distracted by legal paperwork, most of the time, so it’s not too surprising that my fisherfolk struggled to make it onto paper in a satisfying, and naturalistic way. Everything else is fine, but the locals just felt, and sounded really odd. As I reach the end of the screenplay (yay!) I worried that Saxton was becoming too dark, too surreal and…dare I say it…too Monty Python. So, today’s weather, and the unsettling atmosphere have been wonderful. I am too stupid, sometimes, to realise that I have the best source of inspiration right on my doorstep. So, with camera in hand, I took to the beach and streets to capture some moody, melancholy scenes. This page is dotted with a few of them, but do click one of the images to see more of Looe’s Moody Blues.

Crustation in The Pinnacles, East looe.

Where has everybody gone…

The beach was packed, yesterday afternoon. I had a black cherry ice cream from the seafront, and watched as tourists and locals splashed around in the crystal clear waters, and created sand castles that put my humble home to shame! (“Hey, that sand castle has a second bedroom!”) But today, there’s no sign, nor sound, of anyone… at all. It’s a perfect time to go and wander around one of my favourite TLC locations, The Pinnacles. They are back in game 2, but not quite as you’d expect them. The tide comes in, drowning that crustated world, hiding it from us. Lucy and Nigel will have to do a few quests for Old Moby, the fisherman, before they can navigate those treacherous waters. Moby is a lobster pot man, so he knows those old rocks like the back of his hand. I’ll add that Old Moby’s hand may also have a few barnacles, and limpets, living between his fingers and on the back of his wrinkly old palms.

Dave The Ferryman...foggy May in Looe.

He’s going to be quite a character, and is based, in some ways, on ‘Dave the Looe Ferryman’; who I watched disappearing out into the fog earlier today. I should add that Dave is not covered in crustations, nor is he wrinkly, and makes quite a dashing ferry and fisherman! But, watching the small boat drift silently out to sea, alongside the Banjo Pier, was really quite eerie. Fog has a way of messing with your senses, so everything takes on a slightly dreamy, no time/no place, kind of atmosphere.

Nothing to see, nothing to hear...Looe Beach.

I did see several figures while out wandering, but for the most part I was alone in the ‘real’ Saxton, with only my thoughts and plans. I have to admit to feeling rather melancholy these days, as the pressures of my US trip creep nearer and nearer. (Isn’t melancholy a lovely word?! It sounds so much nicer than ‘bloody miserable’). Ghosts of the past seem to approach, with distant, echoing voices, to offer advice and good will, but they only seemed to linger for a moment, before becoming faint, and then disappeared completely.

Footstep in the sand...

The moodiness left me with an increasing feeling of helpful loneliness, and isolation. Fog does that. You are alone in the few meters that surround you, where no-one can see or hear you. It was perfect time to contemplate the fisherfolk of Saxton…whose lives are dictated by the weather, water and wildlife. Old Moby kind of wrote himself, into the story, where there was once a bland fisherman stereotype, with no humanity, soul or purpose. So, I thank Looe for helping me out, once again, and providing as much food for thought as any amateur writer could ever want!

Till I arrive in new York, that is! :-)

Jonathan

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Start Spreading the News.... doop doopy do do.... Hey, seeing as I'm on the same plane over to the USA, we should see some of those NY sights, but where to start! Matt Clark.

James CW said...

Visiting the USA for the first time, eh?
Our country is a lovely one, but..it can feel very hugely endless and uncontained, sometimes. This can be a good thing and a bad thing, to me.
It's so enourmus that transversing the line between North Carolina and Virgina can seem like you're entering another country in if itself, which can feel wonderous....and daunting. I do look forward myself to visiting the tiny UK at some point.
I'm glad things are going well for TLC2 so far, and I'm sorry for the depressing reason of your visit.
Have fun in New York!

-James CW

Agustín Cordes said...

That's the spirit, J! Hope you have a really nice trip, all things considered.

Wombat said...

Stonkingly good photos, Jonathan - make sure you find some time to photograph whichever part of NY you're in. And good luck with the legal crap - is Matt involved in that too, or is he just coming along as a mate?

Jonathan Boakes said...

Thanks guys!

Fog has a lovely way of making sure you can't take a 'bad' photo. There's just something brilliant about it, especially by the sea. I'm now in full-on The Last Crown mood, following my explorations, experiments, so I'm looking forward to getting stuck into Wintermute, once again, and get some scenes up on screen.

The writing stage has taken ages, this time round, as I've planned a non-linear story, (with a beginning, middle and end), and made sure my game document is bulletproof. There's nothing worse than getting half way through a game production, and changing your mind (for various unseen reasons). It's wasteful, so I made sure my script and docs were as best as I could make them. I even had Matt and Emma Harry acting out scenes, in the Kilminorth Woods, the other day, so I could see if it worked...and, I think TLC fans are going to love it. The Last Crown is much more 'live' and involving...and scary.

As for NY; Matt's got stuff to finish off too, so it's a big, important trip. Nuff said.

James, I know what you mean. Anyone watching Heroes would imagine you can nip around the USA in a blink of an eye, but the scale of the place is quite amazing. This New York trip will not be my first and last!

Jonathan

Wombat said...

I'm sure fog helps the atmosphere, but it was you framed and focussed the shots, and dicked about with the colour. You have talent.
I feel like I know Looe really well now, from your games, photos and blogs. Saw a photo the other day and went "Oo, that's Saxton! I mean Looe!"
If you're interested in bits of various towns that you might not normally see, check out http://twitterwanders.blogspot.com/ where we try to get a new angle on places we visit.

Maer said...

You're going to be too far south for me, but if you ever make it to Toronto I'd be happy to join you in a pint and a natter.
Have a safe trip. NY is not on the list of places I'd like to visit, but the state is pretty. My friend went riding in the park when she was there, though I can't picture you doing that, somehow. I have other friends who can't wait for a trip down there. I'm not a big city person, even in Toronto I lived on a little dead end street that didn't feel like a city. I remember the first time I visited London, I just kept looking out the window of the hotel and thinking "I can't believe I'm really here!" It was a whole different world.

Maer in Ontario

Loved the pictures, by the way. Especially the rock and shell.

Shawn said...

Sorry to hear about the legal stuff. I'm sure it will all turn out just fine. But you will LOVE NY. Whether you're in the city or venture a bit upstate...the scenery is quite nice. I'm in NJ and I'm about an hour and a half outside of NYC. If my work schedule permits...I would love to meet up with you and Matt and have a Beer. Feel free to shoot me an email and we can figure everything out. shawnmbaran@gmail.com

Also glad to hear about the progress of The Last Crown! The pictures you took look fantastic! Really can't WAIT for this game! Keep up the awesome work!

Hopefully I'll catch up with you guys soon!

Julie Gerber said...

You sound just like me talking about my trip to Looe next year!! If I lived anywhere near NYC, I'd love to meet up. Unfortunately, I'm about 1200 miles away. But I can't wait to see you next year and we can have some beers then! With you, too, Matt!

Julie Gerber

Jessica said...

If you are going to be in New York City, by chance, I suggest taking a look around Times Square. It may be a typical tourist spot, but at least there you can find plenty of places to eat and shop, if you want a souvenir of sorts. I've been there twice, but my favorite part of New York City is going to the island of the Statue of Liberty and visiting Ellis Island. There is so much history in NYC, you could never be bored. BUT! Always keep your belongings to your front (so you don't get things stolen from your back pockets). I just kept everything in my camera bag since I take my camera everywhere. NEVER walk in Central Park at night! If you follow those rules, you shouldn't have to worry the whole time you're there. I had a lot of fun as I'm sure you will! Read some of the history of the place, it is all too fascinating!

Jonathan Boakes said...

Hullo all, thanks for the tips. It's scorching here in Cornwall today, so I'm sunburnt and dizzy, and praying that fog will come back!

Shawn, me and Matt would love to meet up. I'll let you know when we've arrived safely in NYC!

Jonathan

TJ said...

Great news and amazing pics. Yes, you do have the source of inspiration at your doorsteps!
I've never been to the US, but I've been told that NYC is not all about buildings, there is that side where some nice homes and gardens lie, out of the rumble of the city. you might wanna explore that!
Keep your camera ongoing if you are interested in architectural photography. NYC is an amazing opportunity as I see it and who knows, it might inspire you for some "ghostly" stories for the future for a game theme that might look like DF, but out of the theme of the 40s!

I hope the legal matters are not troubling. I have an allergy against legal papers and courts. Been through so much of this that I can't help it now but to curse whenever the mention of those come along...

Right now I'm planning for a vacation in Ireland for the second year, but with the pictures you've put in here, I guess I have to include Cornwall among my options!

Good luck with it amigo!

Jay jay said...

Hey, big fan here. TLC2 looking awesome. Great photos! Walking around in circles waiting for it. Is there any preliminary release month you can tell? Been looking around but perphaps i missed it?

Take care J and thanks for an awesome game!

Best wishes J.J

Jonathan Boakes said...

Phew, it's all over. A day early. Good result. It feels sad that it had to go this far, but closure is a wonderful thing. Also, I am loving the USA. Amazing storm last night; magenta fork lightning that broke the heateave. Just. :-)

TJ said...

woohoo!

hope you took your camera with you :)

James CW said...

I hope so too. Do we get to see you gaping at the NY sights?:)

-James CW