“The O2 Tales” by Anna Pitt

Screen capture from “The O2 Tales” by Anna Pitt. A background of a drawing of a red train with only one white and blue door. A picture of a blonde woman is on the door that is white and blue, and another one in another window. Below the white door woman a text reads “The hedgefund Manager’s Wife’s Tale” and below the other woman is the text “The Lolipop Lady’s Tale”. There is a text between them reads “I used to go to a lot of concerts when I was in my twenties. I love the atmosphere, anything from a small pub gig to the huge stadiums.” There are a arrows below the windows and a strange picture in the middle of the screen shot of animals with only a bird’s head and legs.  Their feathers are black and their beaks are yellow.
Open “The O2 Tales” by Anna Pitt

This charmingly handcrafted hypertext work is built upon the narrative framework of The Canterbury Tales, but in a completely contemporary fashion, using the Simon Cowell’s popular tv musical talent show The X Factor as the motivation for a pilgrimage to the O2 concert arena in London. The inviting hand-drawn train (reminiscent of Max Dalton’s art used in Wes Anderson’s films) uses its characters as an interface to learn about their motivations and interconnected stories. The background music consists of amateur performances of popular songs, of a quality that might give Simon Cowell abundant opportunity for a snide remark, but in this case fits the tone and aesthetics of the piece. The poem in the Prologue echoes Chaucer in its structure, but is cut from the same cloth as the music— offering lines that win readers over with enthusiasm and charm, as it does when it rhymes “telly” with “melée.”

For the most reading pleasure, leave any snarkiness at the door and be willing to sing along.

Featured in New Media Writing Prize 2010

Read more about this work at elmcip.