Benji recently dropped me a line telling me how much he had enjoyed reading my graphic novel The Tale of Brin & Bent and Minno Marylebone. I looked him up (as you do) and, blown away by Benji’s own work, dropped him a line back casually suggesting the possibility of us working together on a project sometime. One enthusiatic response later and we found ourselves sitting at a back table in Manchester's Cornerhouse, chatting about collaboration.
Collaboration is a patient art – like any good relationship. You have to take the time to get to know your partners, and to see things from their perspective. Benji is amazing at what he does. He's also an incredibly vibrant and unique character – with an utterly infectious and slightly manic charm. It was good to hear his thoughts and learn about his processes, and fascinating looking into and slowly unravelling the highly charged energies in his mind.
We talked about ideas. I had HOAX the graphic short story script, and the visual ideas I’d tossed around with Danielle Shaw. Benji loved the idea. However he was looking for something more physical. So we talked about the physicality that could come out of the graphic short story, and what the setting for such a physical representation might be.
Calling upon Danielle again for her ideas, she joined us a week or so later for a second meeting at the Cornerhouse, and we pushed and teased the concept of HOAX into a myriad of avenues. Eventually we settled on the bones of a possible plan: to create a stage performance, with breakdance and light, followed by an associated graphic short story. It was up to me to provide the wider context of the story, and I left the meeting reassuring Benji that I would deliver. In fact I felt a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information we'd generated, but since then the spinning has calmed down and I’ve begun to see very clearly the direction I need to take things in.