between Howard Christie, Nina
Simon Poulter & Karen Guthrie, following Nina's
letter sent to Howard at the Wasdale Head Inn.
You might have some questions for us .. about what we're doing at Grizedale
Howard: Not really, no. It's not my favourite place, I don't
like organised paths and sculptures and stuff like that ..
Karen: It's terribly busy in the summer .. in the summer it's
Howard: Well, I fail to see the point in trying to improve on
a tree, to be quite honest ...
Nina: So, you don't want to know any more about what we're doing
.. you feel fully informed.. that's not a trick question!
Howard: It would just confuse me .
Nina: So, did you think that you could make up a lie based on
what I sent you?
Karen: That's quite radical ...
Nina: Do you know any of the other characters that were in the
diagrams that I sent ... like George Harrison .. the Grizedale Santa
Howard: I've heard of David Shuttleworth
Nina: We went to this storytelling evening and it was quite kind
of, confusing thing to witness, really, cos it was very uncontemporary,
there were a lot of people who obviously weren't Cumbrian, in the audience
.. and yet it was kind of pertaining to being Cumbrian culture . ...
It's quite a weird dilemma I think ..with it ..
This year ... I've always got my stories down to five minutes, cos that's
the rules.. I don't know exactly what I'm going to say until I go on,
I don't know if James is the same, but I rehearse my story and time
it, paragraph by paragraph, and chop a bit out, so it hits five minutes,
more or less, and the first year it hit four minutes 58 seconds so I
honed it ... but John this year, went up to the judges and said yatter,
yatter, yatter ... . It's alright boys, we don't have the five minute
rule any more! I could have thrown something at him ... ! but then,
his story was simply wonderful .. y'know, his actions, and the fact
he doesn't use a microphone .. James needs a mike ... . Well, all of
us need a mike, bar John, really.
They were a bit odd about us being artists and interested in lying it's
like they wanted to know .. what's this all about then?
Karen: It took a lot to convince them that
we weren't a kind of media team out to asassinate them or ridicule them
I suppose our interest in it is very broad though ..it's not just
about the local culture its about the whole sort of science of lying
Nina: And it stems from, in a way, the way
that people see artists as liars and so ...
Howard: I honestly think that anyone who
tells a story that doesn't have a smack of Cumbria about it , or isn't
a Cumbrian will never win ...
Howard: I was quite surprised when I won, because I thought,
well, I'm a Scot and no Scot has won before ...
Simon: What comes out of this is because of the way the media
is driven, is people are actually ninety per cent heading towards the
belief in the story, and the thing is that newspapers are the same,
they aren't really that bothered about checking stories, because if
it sounds good, and its got the right spin on it, put it in, don't worry,
and in a sense you get into a middle area where its neither fact or
fiction, its just something which hovers in between the two.
I've got people coming into the pub,
who want to go walking, right? And they'll say 'how long do you think
it will take to get up Scafell Pike? Well, we haven't a clue ... because
we don't know what fitness they have .. but we'll say 'how long is a
piece of string' and after a few times of saying this to people on a
Saturday morning, we'll say it'll take you fourteen and a half hours
to get up there and six and a half to get down ..if you use the water-chute
... and they go Ð err water-chute? I say, just get to the top .. and
down you come! No problem, it's really quite good, and all the rest
of it .. and they'll believe it ..
Nina: Doesn't seeing people consume landscape, as you must do
here, make you cynical about it, though?
Howard: About ..? People consuming landscape
..? The landscape in the Lake District is especially man-made . . .
Anna: What .. even round here..?
Howard: Especially round here ... .
In what respect ..?
Howard All the fields are Viking fields, based on little churches
now, if you look down from the top of Wasdale, you can see the things
radiating out - walls and stuff ... and one assumes that there would
have been trees in this valley - no reason why not, there's no trees
Nina: So we're straying wildly from the topic of our lying
festival ... I mean the first question is whether you're interested
in trying to collaborate with us in some way on the piece of work that
we're making ...
Howard: I would come back to saying that the lying is almost
coincidental to the story in taking the piss from my point of view,
so I would say it's not deliberately to mislead people, if people go
up the wrong path because they're ignorant to what its about, or don't
see the joke, that adds to it really .. I take your point, that you're
looking for something more concrete than a story..
Nina: It was initially to see how four different people would
come up with a story based around the facts, everything we sent you
was true, even though it may have seemed .. quite fun .. us going out
for the day .. the limousine ... with
people, all that's true to that point ....