Motorcycle Poet Solves Murder

direct link: Motorcycle Poet Solves Murder

Brenda Clews interviews John Oughton on his new novel, Death By Triangulation.

'Motorcycle-riding poet Aaron Miles makes some of his daily bread as a cultural investigator.  He likes nice little cases with an element of art or literature, and no violence, thank you very much. But a wealthy Toronto family hires him to wrap up the affairs of their recently deceased black sheep uncle, a notorious anti-Papist and man of letters.  In particular, they want him to erase any traces of a past conspiracy the uncle had alluded to. Rich families hate scandal. Against his will, Miles uncovers a plot, both large in scope and decades old, to keep the lid on the truth about a major mystery of the 20th century. Set mainly in Prince Edward County, the story accelerates to Toronto, upstate New York, and the Dominican Republic as Miles tries to stay ahead of the secret's shadowy enforcers.'

Bio: John Oughton is Professor of Learning and Teaching at Centennial College in Toronto, and the author of five books of poetry (most recently, Time Slip from Guernica Editions), the mystery novel Death by Triangulation, and over 400 pieces of literary journalism. He is also a photographer and amateur musician.

John Oughton's website:
Death by Triangulation at NeoPoesis Press:
where you can purchase it. It is also available at all major booksellers.

The interview, video and video-editing by Brenda Clews

In the interview, I propose, though a novel that follows normative variations on a prescriptive plot trajectory with a cast of individualized yet expected characters, which the author mines to add humour to the novel, that the way scenes are structured through the imagery Oughton uses makes the detecting work, the crime fiction itself, the solving of a murder, a maze of a poem.

The interview took place on a warm evening in early November 2015 at John's apartment, and I used what turned out to be an impossible-to-key-out-green-screen fabric backdrop, which presented numerous challenges not only in FCPX's keyers, but a keyer I purchased from FXfactory. Because I had a small clip with this fabric of my cat shot in 2013 and discovered iMovie '11 could instantly key most of the olive and pale greens out but leaving an interesting mottled effect, I assumed it could be done with any newer keyer. Not so. Eventually, I remembered the old iMovie, and that I had bought it as a CD. It was a bit sticky, but I was able to install it on my Mac in a separate folder in Applications. It doesn't do a refined job of keying, but I was looking for more of an artistic effect.

Because 'talking head' videos can be bland, I asked John to video a motorcycle ride that I might put in the background. He duck taped his iPhone 4 to his helmet and nearly lost it in the ride! He also sent me some of his nature photographs. That clip is in the interview, and some of the photos are obscurely layered in circling effects. Then I shot some slomo video with my iPhone6s+ while traipsing about empty roads in Ontario in January 2016. Using the iMovie '11 keyed clip, and a number of effects in Final Cut Pro X, I produced a moving roadtrip background that, I hope, will be just a bit strange and keep the eye visually entranced for the 18 minutes of the interview. The keying is what it is and took days to figure out and I decided that the buzzing pixellation in John's hair and the noisy cloud next to him only add to the slightly surreal presentation of what is a talking head interview.

It is a good interview with a conversation of some depth on the novel itself.

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