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Dennis Potter in the Present Tense

Dennis Potter in the Present Tense is Project Adorno's tribute to the television screenwriter Dennis Potter. It brings together the Adornos' words/music with samples from interviews with the following people: Potter's daughter Jane Chowns; his long-term producer Kenith Trodd (sic); academics John R Cook, Hannah Grist and Jason Griffiths; and John Belcher, the keeper of the flame in Potter's native village.

The show charts Potter's course from humble beginnings (he was the son of a miner in the Forest of Dean) to celebrity status as the man behind Pennies From HeavenThe Singing Detective and Lipstick on Your Collar. Project Adorno's accompanying film was shot in the Forest of Dean and other places with Potter associations.

1) Intro (ambient) Daughter Jane sums up DP's character and themes, accompanied by a roll-call of elemental-sounding place-names from the Forest.

2) Arena (spoken word) A pastiche of one of DP's often scathing television reviews - the subject of this one being himself.

3) Seeing the Present (song) Celebrates one of DP's best-known interviews, in which he speaks of 'the nowness of now'.

4) The Church of the Mixed Metaphor (song) Alludes to DP's upbringing as a chapel-goer and to the imagery in Sankey & Moody's famous collections of hymns.

5) Club Nights in Coleford (song) Forest leisure-time revolved around the local social club. DP, for better or for worse, saw this as a symbol of the class that he was leaving behind.

6) Al Bowlly Part 1 (spoken word) Imagines DP at a Fulham FC match in the early 1950s and links it with his feelings for his favourite singer, the '30s crooner Al Bowlly.

7) Blackeyes (song) Explores DP's most controversial work, the novel/screenplay Blackeyes: was he being misogynistic or simply writing about misogyny?

8) Hammersmith Bridge (song) DP's mother came from Hammersmith, and the bridge is used emblematically in both Pennies From Heaven and The Singing Detective.

9) Potterhead (song) Inspired by Hannah Grist's revelation that DP still has a number of obsessive fans: 'Potter-mad is an understatement.'

10) 'Singing Detective' sequence (ambient) The interviewees discuss their first impressions and lasting memories of DP's meisterwerk.

11) 1993 (song) Praveen connects his own experience of working in the civil service with watching the similarly-themed Lipstick on Your Collar on TV.

12) Al Bowlly Part 2 (spoken word) Focuses on Bowlly himself, who was killed by a WW2 bomb-blast as he sat in bed reading.

13) 'Blue Remembered Hills' sequence (ambient) Jane Chowns and John Cook discuss Blue Remembered Hills - DP's play in which children are played by adults.

14) Potted Potter (song) As much a tribute to the Lou Reed/John Cale album Songs For Drella as to DP himself!

15) Razoxane (song) A reggae number concerning the miracle drug that came close to curing DP's debilitating psoriasis.

16) Hide and Seek (song) Asks whether the novel Hide and Seek is really 'the key to Potter' - and also whether DP's narrator-characters are really DP himself.

17) Famous Last Words (song) Inspired by DP's final interview with Melvyn Bragg, tipping lyrical nods to Ira Sankey and The The, and segueing into Jane Chowns's summing-up.  


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