Techie recce

After fighting with myself a bit more about the thing we are making in a van in Waterloo, I met up with my friend and fellow maker Mel. Things are always less of a tangle when you have someone to untangle them with. I know it won’t be the horrorshow I’m imagining it could be where I end up chained to a wheel in the poorhouse being whipped by orcs, but it’ll be tricky nonetheless. That’s okay. Good to crack the back of it.

Mel reminded me that the reason we wanted to make it is because we enjoy it. She reminded me that the original concept was just simple and fun. I got mired in the bureacracy and temporarily forgot about the fun. Risk Assessments and Public Liability Insurance and proof that we have copyright and Press Releases and images and what if this and what if that and particularly what if the other. Aaargh.

We wandered over to Waterloo, to The Vaults, and eventually spoke to a very calm slightly bemused man called Andy who knows about things. “Can we run power?” “Will we have to wrap the van in pallet wrap every night?” “Can we have a live snake?” I’m still working out what this will cost us. We are going to have to sell a lot of tickets and right now sales are at zero and I can’t work out how that’ll change between now and opening, particularly as they aren’t on sale yet, we’ve done no marketing, and the Twitter account I set up has been suspended because I gave a fake name. Mel is determined. “I flew back from America for this” she tells me, and I hear the creaking of that poorhouse wheel, the cracking of the orc whips.

Everyone around us for the tech open day was so young and chipper. It was like being in some sort of time loop. I kept on seeing people I knew, but they looked like the people I knew looked twenty years ago apart from a very slightly different shaped nose. The clothes, the physicality, the demeanour, the makeup, the voices – all so familiar. Mel, myself and our mutual friend Melissa (there are too many Mels in my life) stood around in the reception area for about an hour feeling like old lags while we waited for someone to show us our bit.


The Vaults are in Leake Street – the graffiti tunnel in Waterloo. They’re a network of tunnels run by the Old Vic as an arts and theatre venue. The festival is a chance for people to air their mad ideas in a reasonably safe context. If this mad idea works out, we can take it wider. But for now we have to think about insurance. And heaters. And can we boil a kettle without overloading the power? And how do I work two jobs simultaneously? And how do we dress the set? And what if the snake escapes?

Waiting in reception we were assaulted by the competing stenches of weed and spray paint. Now I’m back at home I’m not sure if it’s left me feeling high or low. So I’m off to the shop to buy milk. Rock and roll.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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