Video Stills from 2 July 2008

Jana did a brilliant job filming the two talks, and we agree that her being there somehow made things seem under control, whatever else might have been going wrong. But this week I’ve been editing the footage she took and it’s excruciating going back through all the concern which, to me at least, was so obviously present during my solo talk.

There was a traffic accident outside my window in the early afternoon so all the buses were diverted and I got to the gallery later than the three hours early I’d planned, I crumpled my script ramming it into my bag when a bus eventually arrived and people would see it was crumpled as I read from it, and there were no possible moments for me to sip water from my plastic cup while reading all the crumpled pages dried up my tongue, and the lid got stuck on the pen once when I had to draw the next bit of a dome.

The fact is that performing a talk without once looking up at the audience is really frightening. Once someone near the front to the right sighed! The sigh was the sole reaction that reached me throughout the talk, and so until I looked up at the audience when it was over and they started to clap, I could only assume the whole audience was affronted by the talk, which must then have been ill-conceived and poorly delivered.

Subsequent feedback has been largely positive, and very positive in some particularly zealous cases, and so I’m more fond of What To Do now than I ever was while I was developing it. I’m very fond of all the dome pictures I have on bits of rough paper everywhere. Next chance I have, I’m looking forward to getting my notes out again and making a few amendments so so I can re-stage it elsewhere without any creases.

But in the meantime there’s this video to edit together, which means looking at myself hour after hour not looking up at the audience, stopping and starting and cropping and zooming at my poor terrified self up there next to my crinkled flip chart, thinking it was all going terribly wrong.