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« Hot New Band Discussed In Guardian Music Podcast | Main | The Great Hargeisa Goat Bubble »
Sunday
May172009

Goats! Trains! Aeroplanes! Pet Shop Boys!

 

I've finally heard The Great Hargeisa Goat Bubble, and it's fab! Hurrah! Hugh Quarshie is a splendid Ibrahim Bihi, utterly real and grounded. And Sam O'Mahony-Adams as Jude is a terrific comic foil to Quarshie. The BBC economics correspondent, Stephanie Flanders, really threw herself into it, and her interviews from Hargeisa Goat Market are a delight. (I love creating such unstable moments, where the real and the fictional are perfectly mixed. A real BBC correspondent fiercely interviewing a fictional character about theoretical goats... Bliss!)

The director Di Speirs did a great job making all these elements, and performances, work together. A tricky task, mixing actors and non-actors, present tense and flashback, thoughts and actions, and keeping it all clear and artistically coherent. And I'm very happy with David's sound design... Goats! Trains! Aeroplanes! Pet Shop Boys! Beautifully blended.

 

That distant wind you hear is my great sigh of relief.

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Reader Comments (52)

The radio play was a great way to spend my first sunday hour awake (it took me a while to get the BBC web player to work). I had some troubles understanding Jude's ingenius remarks due to his thick Irish accent, but since you also offer the original story on the site, I was able to read the passages I didn't quite get. All in all, a great start into a productive sunday.

Are you back in Berlin already? I'll be there to check out cafés and bars on tuesday (slight delay, planned to visit tomorrow)!
May 17, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrobert
Glad you liked it Robert. I had trouble getting iPlayer to work too! Yes, I'll be in Berlin all this week... Give us a shout when you know your plans for Tuesday..
May 17, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian Gough
How's Julian?
I've just finished listening to the play. Priceless. Is it part of the new book or is it a seperate project.

It reminded me of a joke I heard recently

Two goats were behind a Hollywood studio eating an old movie reel.
One goat said to the other: "Pretty good, huh?"
The second goat replied: "Yeah, but not as good as the book."
May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNoel Kenny
Hey Noel! It's part of the new book, Jude: Level 2. Due out later this year, though that may change. In the book it's set more recently, and not at a railway station, but I played around with it for the radio.

Great goat joke...
May 18, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian Gough
I gave my husband Galbraith's Great Crash as a crash course in markets and he recommended Hargeisa GB right back to me this week - so I did listenagain and thought it was great. So succinct and funny.
May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFrancesca Greenoak
Ah, Galbraith's Great Crash, and the Great Hargeisa Goat Bubble! A perfectly balanced course in economics...
May 18, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian Gough
Hi Julian - thanks for a brilliant play. I picked it up by mistake on the radio and then just had to listen again on the BBC site. Sadly it has just been taken off... The play was both entertaining and informative which is a very impressive mix. There is so much incomprehensible rubbish out there trying to explain economics that your play was a breath of fresh air. I think it should be give serious consideration to being included in the national cirruculum.

I will certainly tell everyone I know about it and link it to you name and Jude. Can I buy the radio play?

But most of all... THANK YOU and when will it be on again?
May 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJonnie Barnes
The play was great and so is the short story which I have just copied to my class at the London Business School.
May 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMartyn Williams
Hurray! Thanks Martyn, that's IMMENSELY gratifying...

Jonnie, thank you. I've no idea when it'll be on again, but we've been working behind the scenes to get the play's run on the BBC website extended. Not sure how that'll work out, lots of rights have to be cleared (actors, director, me...) I'm up for it, but everyone's agent has to be contacted, agreement has to be nailed down, it's a bunch of work. I know we weren't able to get it all done before the one-week run on iPlayer ended!

Can't buy it anywhere I'm afraid (though I'll happily email you the script - not sure what use it would be to you, unless lots of your friends are actors... and can do impressions of goats being hit by aeroplanes...). I do hope the BBC repeat it, they might...
May 23, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian Gough
Heard the play last Friday, best thing I've heard on radio for a while What a shame by the time the next momentum market takes hold everybody's going to have convinced themselves that 'this time is different: no more boom and bust.'

And thanks for sharing the short story. But what would a Tu-144 Konkordski be doing landing at a small provincial Somali airport?
May 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSavvo
I missed the play, is there somewhere I can listen again? Iplayer are no longer showing it.

Thanks

Ian
May 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterIan F
Ah, how we have tried to get it back up, Ian, but (like the banks), we foundered on the rock of Equity.

Savvo, good point. I put in the Tu-144 as a private joke in an early draft, and forgot to take it out again. I had meant to replace it with some sturdy Soviet workhorse, an Ilyushin turboprop of some kind... I think my subconscious fell in love with the image of the mighty Konkordski landing on a goat...
May 30, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian Gough
I heard the play on a Friday afternoon and was absolutely blown away by it. I thought it was brilliant - clever, funny, challenging. I looked it up on your website afterwards so that I could re-read the bits I'd missed first time around and email appropriate links (with great enthusiasm) to family and friends I thought would also enjoy it. Am I right in thinking the radio script went into more detail on some things the short story version didn't? Is it possible to get a transcript? Thanks for providing the best radio play I've heard in a long time.
June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDorothee Muller
Hi Dorothee, sorry about the delay, I was away in Ireland... Yep, the radio script has a lot of new material, on derivatives, hedging, the invisible hand of Adam Smith etc. (I'll email you the script...) The original story takes about 22 minutes to read aloud. The radio play was commissioned for a 45 minute slot, so I had a lot of space to expand on the original story. I also wrote new framing scenes at the beginning and the end, to position it in England in the 1980s, just before Big Bang in the City of London deregulated the markets, which I thought gave the story an interesting new twist for a UK audience, and tied the play into the current real-world crisis.

I'm very happy you felt that the play worked.
June 10, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian Gough
Wow, absolutely awesome and insightful This has been written for all those bright Wall Street boys on steroids.

This should be made compulsory for all business school students
June 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAraj
Thanks Araj...
June 25, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian Gough
Heard the play on Radio 4 just after visiting my 91 year old mother in hospital who had just broken a leg and I was feeling a bit down.

It was laugh out loud funny, and oh so true - a real joy.

Should be required reading for all bankers, stockbrokers, etc.

Thanks so much.
July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLyn Cuthbert
I agree. This was quite splendid.

I heard it a while ago and was surprised to come across this blog.

Great work!
August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKelli Garner
That story is genius, and if I can get hold of a copy of the play I'll definitely have a listen.
September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHB
Thanks for the best play I've heard on the radio for years. Laugh out loud funny, engaging and enlightening. I'm looking forward to reading your books.

Many thanks
September 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErmie

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