Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Surrealist Cut-Up in Wetherspoons

A few months ago I attended a class called Ghosts on the Dancefloor, ran by local poet Segun Lee French. I learned about surrealist cut-up techniques, and how to make bizarre stories and poems inspired by the mashing together of completely unconnected pieces of writing.

The results were very interesting.

I figured, why not have another go at this with my local writers group Writers Connect? I told them it might take a little longer than 10 minutes to perform, but with my own adjustments it should make a fun experiment…

I asked everyone to bring in a pair of scissors to the meeting in Wetherspoons. I brought in a bundle of A4 paper and a newspaper.

I gave each person a sheet of paper. I asked them to write a roughly 100-word synopsis of a popular film, spacing the lines out.

On the second sheet I asked them to do the same for a popular fiction book.

I pulled apart the newspaper and gave them a double-page spread each.

Next we took the scissors and cut the handwritten text up line by line. We cut the newspaper into strips, bunched up all the mixed strips like marigolds and snipped the strips into 3. Then we laid out the writing, mixed together. I asked everyone to look for connections within the different pieces of text that wouldn’t normally fit together, and to write out a new surrealist poem or vignette based out of this. With a further 10 minutes on the clock, here’s what I mashed together…

Chelsea boss Jose Mohrino hinted at a further bid: the robbery is botched! The police set up a fake assassination: when they find the young man, he’s beautiful, tall, a tanned god with a hockey stick. They walk alongside each other to the central line, a new warning. Joe Cabot wants to rob a jewel, but is subsequently killed by the cyclist whilst driving. But, after finding the 18-year-old boasting months earlier about speed, just as the police find them, the men search out the traitor. CIA operatives want to scare Jose, who has Roo in mind. He hires 7 men who continue the debate in a complete series on DVD and Blu-ray. The rat admits he is a policeman in a legal Twitter trap.

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