between John Graham, Anna Best,
Nina Pope, Simon Poulter & Karen Guthrie following on from the
letter that Anna sent to John.
I just ramble on too long really, but what I wrote down were a series
Simon: I think it was an outline, really...like some bits of
information that could be threaded together... to make a story...?
John: Yeah, I could understand that...but I couldn't understand
whether you wanted it... err... sort of... exaggerated...or ...and how
you wanted it put together ...But you see, you did say summat in there
about... you wanted summat that you could possibly act? But the lies
I've told, I mean .. the stories I've told ...are outrageous ...they'd
be impossible to act ... y'know?
Anna: No... I don't think it was acting... we've heard about
the Lying Competition, and people
basically stand up, don't they?... and tell a story. All the things
that we've done since we got here at the beginning of December, they've
all been true, so that led to trying to turn Ð or include them - into
a lie. So the end result would be a lie that you'd made up, including
some of those ingredients, really... and then it would be told by you...
possibly... including us, I suppose, as subject, somehow in the story...
Why do you think you're good at it... ? We spoke to Cliff
Atkinson,and he said you're fantastic ... why are you so good at
John: Well, I think .. when you go, you've got to go with the
intention of gripping the audience, y'know ..And every time I go, I
tell 'em I haven't got one , I just make it up as I go along
Simon: Is that true?
John: No... I've gone through it fifty times or more at home
before I go, y'know... I know how to emphasise it... I've never told
anyone else before mind, and I've never writ it down at all ... the
one I'm gonna tell on the night...Its very competitive ... but there's
various people come once and twice but then they disappear and they
maybe come back the year after or two year after ...
Nina: Is everyone local... ?
John: No... no there's a chap from Manchester or somewhere down
that area comes up in an areoplane ... there's three of 'em comes up...
We've had chaps from all over, we've had some from Australia and China,
and some from Germany...
Anna: It's really local, and really international ...
Simon: What makes a good liar do you think? What's the essence
John: Well, I always base 'em on the truth ... always, every
one of my lies, that I've told, is something what's happened and exaggerated.
I'm always talking about myself, yeh, but I bring other people in. But
I got into trouble this time - well, not really - but the Lady Mayor
of Allerdale, she comes from Silloth, you see, and I know her very well,
eh, and she's a strong Labour supporter, and I took the mick out of
her, and then she's been done for parking, the mayor's limousine, in
a no parking zone - fined for it you see - and so I got that in, and
things like that ... I told it at a 'do' in Silloth, and one or two
people took offence... cos I'd poked fun at her ...
Simon: Is it right that lawyers and politicians come?
John: Well I reckon that they tell lies anyway, eh?!
Nina: Yeh, so they're 'professionals'...
Simon: Is it clear what we'd do from the
John: Yeh, I'm thinking - what type of artists are they? I imagined
you walking round Grizedale with a brush,
y'know..... So are you actually people who perform plays... or things
like that ... ?
Karen: No, no, we're visual artists
Simon: Well, I'm a conceptual artist, myself ...
John: No, you've got me lost now ...
Simon: It's about ideas, but it's very similar to what you do,
John: Come on then, how are you funding yourselves ?
Karen: We get paid to do this, this is our job ...we came to
Grizedale, and we looked around to find what we wanted to be the subject
of our art - we don't make things, we deal with situations and people
and ideas, that's what Simon said... we thought one of the most interesting
things was this lying ...
John: And how did you come on with Jimmy?
Anna: By phoning Whitehaven Council.
We did research to find the others... 'cos we wanted to find one liar
to work with each artist 'cos there are four of us.We found Cliff Atkinson
via word of mouth.
Nina: I've got Howard
John: he's only competed once. But he won ... I was judging that
year...I went to talk to him afterwards and he said that it had taken
him ten years to put it together... he didn't even class himself as
a competitor he classed himself as more telling about what a lying contest
was about ... which is what he did ... because it'd originated from
the pub, his inn, you see, years
and years ago... and I don't know how much longer I'm going to be entering
in because I've now made stories up, I've been to it ten or eleven times.And
I find it more and more difficult of something to try and find a story
Nina: Well, here we are! (laughter) We're not local, though
Anna: Do you think that the subject matter that I put in the
letter to you Ð I mean, do you think you could make that interesting
to an audience here in Cumbria?...
John: Well, I think it would be difficult ...
it believable? Could it be made believable... maybe you ought to try
and make it sound believable...
Karen: As an example, we're not going to tell you what Jimmy
told us that he might write in his lie. But he looked at this, (I
did a version of what Anna sent you) and he immediately changed us into
four scientists who had come to Grizedale .... a kind of skeleton of
John: Well, thing is, I will come up with summat... now that
I've met yer ... and talked to yer ... you see, talking to someone over
the phone ... you could be taking to somebody eighty or ninety... what
could be pullin' your leg, eh? And you don't really know if they're
meaning it or they don't? I don't mind telling yer, I've had one or
two people who've wound us up over the phone ... When you first did
ring up I began to think - 'Is this just somebody havin' me on...
Nina: Especially when we started talking about the limo
John: Then when I got all this information... it sorta said ...
this is real like, y'know...you'll give us a few ideas, anyhow... But
it's still difficult and it still won't be easy... short-time thing,
it might take a week or two to get summat put together but, when I do
something ... no matter what it is, I like it to be right.....