What is it with me and obsolete art forms?
I love westerns enough to actually go out and, y'know, research and write one. Walked the same paths as my hero, cast my eyes on the same sights he would have seen more than 125 years ago. The Last Hunt is a deliberate homage, a love letter to a genre I look upon with great fondness. You don't believe the field has spawned some classic works, think about Alan Lemay's The Searchers, Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, James Carlos Blake's In the Rogue Blood...and so on.
And for my thoughts on western movies, all you have to do is check out this essay on my film blog. Nuff said.
But westerns aren't the only quaint by-product of another age I still pine after. I also own a shortwave radio, Daisy air pistol, numerous unassembled plastic model kits, two Super 8 cameras and, gulp, confess to an over-fondness for old time radio plays.
Yeah, "The Shadow", "X Minus One", etc. The wonderful thing about the internet is that it allows me all sorts of access to radio drama sites, the opportunity to download or buy hours of vintage radio programs.
I've written a number of radio plays and am truly saddened that the format has been on the wane for some time. The Brits still do a good job (I regularly tune in to the Beeb on-line) but over on this side of the pond...not so much. My last radio piece, "The First Room", was broadcast nationally on CBC Radio a couple of years ago but cutbacks have really curtailed original drama and arts programming in general. If there were "golden days" of CBC radio productions, they are, sadly, long behind us.
But I refuse to give up hope. Thanks to various advances, I can now create a home recording studio, with microphones, multi-track recording, special effects...if I want, I can produce my own radio plays and release them through my blog or other venues out there. Perhaps I can help bring back what is truly a lost art. Let people experience the wonders and inimitable charm of "theater of the mind".
Maybe I should kill two birds with one stone, start with a western.
Sound FX of an approaching rider.
Cue the guys on the coconut shells!
Causes Cliff Burns Supports
The Stephen Lewis Foundation, Community Radio