Thursday, December 20, 2007

School's out for the winter

Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: does wrapping presents in recycled crepe paper and masking tape count?
Level of conviction in own genius: Waiting to be reawakened.
Watching/Listening: 'Oliver Twist', in rollocking soap-style version - am sucker for glossy period drama / anarcho-jazz-funk from Londoners Porpoise Corpus
Hair day: Visited Mile End hairdressery for entertaining local fun and a half-decent do from Beverly Knight-loving, arch put-down-delivering chap.

It's over. No more shlepping to NW London to be shouty, hair-tearing-out Dr Andrew. Come January I'll be shedding my permanent teacher's skin and wriggling into the glistening, dewy-eyed world of the Freelancer, a world that I'm anticipating being filled with early morning swimming sessions, dreamy composing, wheatgrass shots, more singing, contemporary dance classes, more promotion of self, juice and DOLLYman, experimental soup-making, etc. In truth, I'm doing tons of educational stuff still, but it's the kind with English Pocket Opera, Wigmore Hall and the like, where I get to be called Kerry, wear my jeans, leap about for a couple of hours and then make a swift escape. I can't wait to get back to my real self, put some colour in my cheeks and breathe some zesty creative spirit into my lungs again.

juice have been madly busy, rather brilliantly. Most recently we did a lunchtime concert at St James' Piccadilly largely to oldies and tourists, whilst two nights' previously we were in the Astoria 2 for an eclectic multimedia night involving animation, fashion, live music from great chamber-cabaret-melodramatists The Irrepressibles, dance... and us! We were given a louche Brazilian hair and make-up artist who, with the help of smoky eyeshadow under the eyes, hair extensions, glue and industrial-strength hairspray which made us swoon slightly, fashioned us into part-'Lord of the Rings', part-Japanese horror characters. We stood on separate podiums amongst the audience and did a juice mash-up for 10 minutes, hushing the pinched-face, trilby-wearing art student crowd into awed silence. Groovy.

Much more juice fun to come next year, from working with special needs teenagers in North Yorkshire to uni teaching in Liverpool, performing at the Purcell Rooms, a gig at the Luminaire in a re-imagining of our fashion show installation from last year, devising live music for a silent film in the Bird's Eye film festival hopefully at the ICA... and much more. This is more like it. I'm also curating the return of the experimental vocal night Gobsmack, and planning to write on the one hand: a) pedestrian choral music for Oxford University Press's new carol collection to add to my four already published by them, and b) chamber contempo-songs about wine and whisky for politico-cabaret outfit Pulse. Ah, I feel the genius stirring... but first: chicken soup!

Merry Christmasxxx

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Toil and trouble

Amount of creative activity acheived in last 24 hours: nil
Level of conviction in own genius: 6.5
Hair day: crrrrrap.

The far and hitherto-unexplored extremes of my musical life were definitely laid bare yesterday...

1) During the day and evening I accompanied the doe-eyed, snotty-nosed Year 1s and 2s of St Saviour's C of E Primary School, Maida Vale, in their newly-purchased George-at-Asda angel dresses as they very slickly performed their Russian-slanted Nativity production of 'Babushka'. This included masterful tambour playing on my part and much frowning at child-distracting flashbulbs from hideously clamouring parents. Thankfully not much more of this stuff, as bidding farewell to school in a week and a half now for those freelancey climes.

2) Andy and I hot-tailed it to our much more culturally-spiritual home back east, scoffed a quick Thai at Yelo on Hoxton Square and then dashed to The Macbeth on Hoxton Street, a scuffed and lovely pub/venue, complete with ceremonial sword and blood-red walls alongside the posters for high-art events. It was one of the monthly nights from cool, avant-garde label and night nonclassical, run by Gabriel Prokofiev, who as well as of course being Sergei's grandson, is a cutting-edge modern composer, producer of grime terrier Lady Sovereign and performs in an art-romantic-punk band to boot. juice had been invited along to do a very quick set as a precursor to hopefully a juice-featured night in the Spring. Before our turn we heard two sets from luscious Italian pianist Genia, featuring her rumbling and athletic playing alongside fizzing electronics. Our three numbers were slightly hair-raising, us all (including now-7-month-plump-as-a-watermelon-pregnant Anna) being utterly knackered, but it went down well, and we were promptly pounced on by two ebullient Resonance FM DJs who immediately signed us up to do at least one of their shows. Hurrah!