The phrase 'Culture My Arts' popped into my head on Bangor Mountain in Summer 2017. At the time, I was utterly convinced I'd subconsciously nicked it from another programme and my brain had passed it off as an original thought. However, after multiple Google searches, it returned no results. "Brilliant," I thought. "I can use it without guilt."
Culture My Arts was originally my third year dissertation project. Most original cast members remain apart of the project today. In 2018, two episodes were commissioned for BBC Radio Stoke as part of their 'Wildcard' initiative, which sought to highlight local talent. This led to us taking some silly photos for the iPlayer (see above).
I won't tell you how much I got paid. Not because I'm concealing a Gary Lineker sized salary, the total fee barely covered half a month of rent. In fact, when divided by the amount of time actually spent writing, recording and editing, it totalled around 50p an hour. It was tough at the time, especially as I was receiving higher paid job offers from Nike to sew trainers together.
For some odd reason, the BBC cut the word 'anus' from one line. But left in another line where a character asserts he's much healthier after swapping alcohol for ecstasy. Nevertheless, myself and all the cast were ever grateful for the opportunity to put such ludicrousness on the actual radio. It was a real, albeit absurd moment of pride. Shout out to Lillie-Mae, without whom it wouldn't have even happened.
What started as my dissertation project, evolved into something else. During the BBC 'pilots' - as we now affectionately call them. Culture My Arts stopped being mine. It became ours. Each member of the cast brought ideas I would have never thought of; delivered performances I could have never directed; improvised things I would have never written. It was beautiful.
I don't like being referred to as the creator of Culture My Arts. I'm just the writer. That's only half the job. It's only a skeleton. The creation is done by all the brilliantly talented cast & crew who bring their own unique flavour to the f**ked up worlds we create.
It's also worth noting that audience reaction (be it good, bad or indifferent) is a crucial step in creating satire. And so, it's you, the listeners, who are also part of the creative process.
Because of these things. Culture My Arts definitely has more life left. As it's the wonderful people involved who breathe that life into it.
So, after a Masters degree studying satire, a brief mental breakdown, and a difficult season watching Stoke City. Culture My Arts is back with a bigger cast and better than ever. This team is chock full of ability and passion. But, most importantly, they're my friends. And I bloody well love them. Can't wait to collectively birth this weird Jerry Springer baby - together.
A 6 episode series is coming your way in November 2020... and the word 'anus' will most definitely be included.