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Techniques can be more absorbing than the final product to some people. And through technology the possibility of celebrating the craft and the precision made tools that are essential to create it– are all that is required to stir a nerd into speech. The nerd, the geek, is so dedicated that they ensure cult status is accorded to movies, music and very occasionally, books.

The movies seem to have an abundance of geeks. With the technique of acting and directing a mystery to outsiders coupled with the technology to make a film, it combines elements that geeks adore. “It was the longest continuous shot in Polish cinema; running eight minutes forty-two seconds, until the closing sequence in Nowak’s ‘Last Summer with Irina at the Tractor Factory’.” The shot, the process, the camera crane motion, the CGI all permit technophiles to revel in how a sequence was made.

Music too has its fair share of geeks. Whether it’s about the brand and width of guitar strings, amps, or pedals, the possibilities for talking about equipment endlessly, in place of music, is assured. And it’s not just rock; classical music attracts the nerd, precious old instruments and hallowed performances of the past get plenty of attention. Jazz geeks concentrate on technique over technology. They are deliberately arcane as they discuss chord sequences, time signatures, appreciating inversions and other harmonic tricks.

Sadly, writing lacks the technology geek. It’s not really possible to have one, though e-publishing may create the species at a future date. There are antiquarian book geeks but they are a rare breed and don’t really count.

The challenge for writing nerds with technique is that it’s not very absorbing: “In the first draft it was in the present indicative, which, in the second draft was modified into a subjunctive mood and used a relative clause to add the sense of indecision. Her publisher said, the whole editing process went so smoothly; they inserted commas and semicolons just where it seemed right.”

No, not really. It’s about grammar and that isn’t exciting – well not to most people. It’s impossible to share it with anybody, let alone impress someone. It seems, that writing and editing will remain dark arts, untouched by technique inspired geeks.

Guy Cranswick
29 January 2012

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