Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Phonogram - Unity - Max Barnard

The Premise: Phonogram is this perfect concept for stories, this simple idea of music = magic. I was tempted, upon missing this week long ago, to do a story using the characters from the books, but that's not Phonogram, not really. The characters are just examples of how the world they're in, the music they experience, can affect people. So instead we have an idea formed almost half a decade on, that of music as literal protest against those who seek to oppress the very people they
serve. And indeed music as a great unifier.


A person sits in front of a television, in a somewhat delapidated room, their expression unseen, as the screen shows the bloated pustule that is the face of one David Cameron, with the simple BBC news ticker below his visage read simply " Cameron in for 2nd term". It doesn't matter what the person looks like, anything unassuming would do the job (after all, in many ways they are so many of us), but really I give free reign to you, the artist, to do as you like. I would, however, edge towards the person being in the young adult, 18­25 range, if such a thing can be conveyed, simply for the relevance to those most affected by this recent political outcome.

CAPTION: And so it happens. We lose our rights and have our faces stamped on by those we ourselves have voted for.


A view of the person's upper body and face, leant forward, with a tight­lipped anger on their face. Think less rage and more... A frustration with the news they have seen.

CAPTION: Well...

CAPTION: *I* didn't vote for them.


They are up, throwing a beaten­up jacket on, moving with determination and purpose. Hard to convey in a static movement, but the sort of positioning one would have when marching, or even bounding across a room, would probably do well here.

CAPTION: It might technically be fair, democratic, even, but to so many of us it's nothing but a sign of the unfair things to come for us.

CAPTION: The young, the poor, the old, the unwell, we're all in for it.


And out the door of the flats they live within, a ratty backpack and headphones added to their person, striding down a street in residential London, one of the areas prone to increased gentrification, like Hackney, if you need a strong visual reference.

Our person's eyes are glowing white with the brimming magic filling their ears.

CAPTION: So we do what we can to fight back against it.

CAPTION: Bringing a bit of our own little brand of magic along the way.


Our person approaches the thronging crowd, now in central London, where our most recent protests garnered the most attention. They are chanting, unified, in one purpose. People of all religions, colours, and creeds. A varied mass of the young, rebelling against a system victimising them.

CAPTION: 'Cause we are the world, and we are the people.

CAPTION: And we will be heard.


And now our person is in amongst them, one of the many, chanting along, fighting for what they believe in through the power of the song flowing through the crowd, their eyes all lit up with the magic of music, as characters in the world of Phonogram are wont to do when at their most powerful. This is a surge of that, spread amongst many. Protest music.



  1. I love this. Phonogram's music = magic concept is so simple, but it can also really difficult to properly get across. However, you make it look easy, building on the solid foundation of political disenfranchisement into something that's simply bigger and more than that. A really honest and genuine page and I'm all upons it.

  2. Totally with Grant on this - I love it. You take the cool core idea of Phonogram and expand it into this modern take. The way you build the scene slowly whilst also building another layer of story with the captions is a neat little skill.


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