Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Gobsmack My Bitch Up

Level of conviction in own genius: 7
Amount of creative activity acheived today: Don't be ridiculous.
Hair day: 3 weeks ago I had a brilliant streak of deep pink in the fringe. Now it has faded to a peculiar peach/blonde. Think I will sue Zoology in Wanstead.

Man, I've been busy. Teaching aside (yawn), I've been talking to the Forestry Commission about being a possible composer-in-residence (they took me traipsing through the mud and wind in their forest in Farnham; I think it was a test. I hope I passed, my boots are ruined...). I've been to three 30th birthday parties (one more year left for me to cling onto my twenties, thank the sweet Lord.). I've been reviewing gigs for spnm like mad, allowing me my free intravenous shot of high culture, to seeing new 'semi-operatic filmspiel' live scores to Chaplin movies at the Coronet, new dance to Scanner (good) and Michael Nyman (very bad) at the QEH, and the Brodsky Quartet and crooner Jacqui Dankworth at LSO St. Luke's. The latter was enojyable but silky smooth and rathr genteel, so we messed it up afterwards by drinking at the Foundry, where the wallswere falling down, there was an unfazed artdog wandering around and a pianist and sax player spewed raucous free jazz in the corner. Proper jazz, baby..... I've checked out the Gilbert & George at Tate Modern, which I was ready to rail against but actually warmed to - they're so damned English! I've learnt how the English saw America in 'The New World' at the British Museum.

Mostly, though, my time's been engulfed with the run-up to Gobsmack, the experimental vocal night put on at one of my favourite venues, the Spitz, in East London. I curated the thing, meaning the last few months have been spent trawling through myspace for innovative vocalists to support juice or be in the open mic session. It was fabulous in the end, with a great crowd, a warm and soulful vibe and some amazing acts. The open mic session included singing to found street sounds from Japan, French singing plus sitar, the esteemed contemporary singer Linda Hirst giving us a blast of Scelsi, the 'cellist Laura Moody banging her bow against her throat and the very funky Bunty making the most of her loop station. The support acts were amazing: singer-songwriter Jenni Roditi was followed by the button-cute Jamie Woon, who frankly should have been at the top of the bill seeing as he's all over the press at the moment having put out a lovely version of 'Wayfarin' Stranger' on a grime label; we also had the earthy and playful Curious Voice Dou from Leeds/Norway and beatboxer WanDan popped up throughout, astonishing everyone. juice had a great time too, performing some of our grooviest stuff (our version of 'In My Room' by the Beach Boys can't be bettered, I say) to visual canteen's visuals and also performing with WanDan. Phew. Went so well we're starting to think about Gobsmack 2...... Rather nicely, the night was something of an Andy-Kerry double, meaning the hardest and most eclectic among us then trotted down the road to the Rhythm Factory and got down and dirty to Step 13's live drum 'n' bass....