Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Like the echo of a...

Level of conviction in own genius: 8ish
Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 3
Reading / Watching: 'Amsterdam' by Ian McEwan / 'Red Riding' on Channel 4
Hair day: Long bit at the back has got so silly I've starting plaiting it.

Went to the rather lovely Toynbee Studios at the beginning of the week to see something rather unusual: Paper Cinema with Roger (bruv of Brian) Eno. Two people manipulated cutely drawn cardboard marionettes to create a beguiling live piece about people's dreams in east London, with nothing more than hands, paper, a video camera and a couple of cleverly poised lamps. The film, populated by idiosyncratic animals and humans bobbing on buses, bicycles and cars, was not without a little of 'Belleville Rendez-Vous''s gothic quirkiness and had some remarkably deft jumps in perspective. Eno's piano/synth/accordion accompaniment was a little 'Amelie'-lite in places but matched the charming mood and helped in turning an arty adult audience into delighted children. A rather fanciful miniature delight for an ordinary Monday eve.

It was my turn to perform last night, doing three solo looped numbers for Music Orbit to open one of spnm's monthly Sound Source shows at King's Place. Pretty marvellous to be able to perform in Hall 2 to 200 people and with a crystal, confidence-inducing sound system which made me sound actually quite good. The night was called 'Crazy Wisdom' and was supposed to marry film, dance, music and words, so I did a storytelling introduction to 'shamansong' followed by some drowning Inuit gasps (very specialist technique, you know...), then 'trainsong' with Andy playing glowing guitar, then 'catalunyanpoemsong'. It generally went very well except for two hiccups: well, one technical hiccup where my loop stopped but I got it in again very quickly, and a rather larger phlegmy belch when, in my last tune, I went to add another loop to my atmospheric coda and for the first time ever, my loop station screen said 'Sorry, too busy!' and cut out rather dramatically. Oops. I did get it back in but that was a rather glaring mistake. Whatever next from my up til now reliable Boss RC-50? I press a pedal and it says 'Sorry, have gone out for a fag. Back soon!'? Most amusingly, in the interval a very polite and very posh lady came up to me and asked if one of my lyrics had been 'like an echo of a cunt'. I had to take a second to remember it is in fact 'like the echo of a gun'. She seemed rather relieved as my subsequent lyrics had been about the sky being knifed and bleeding all over the place and thus I wasn't a militant sex-is-rape feminist. My laughter echoed all the way up the five floors of King's Place's atrium... ha ha ha!

I have to say the rest of the show (we escaped after the lengthy first half proper) was not so great. Whilst promising a relaxed, walk-in, walk-out atmosphere, you could do anything but, the seating was terribly formal and restricted viewing for most people, the musical performances were waaaay tooooo lonnnngg, and there were silent films with no music at all which thus had the air sucked out of them. Must do better. And appoint me as freelance, drift-in-when-I-want-to-and-offer-nuggets-of-advice, producer.

Connecting these two events, besides Andy and myself, was the presence of a larger than life character we once saw on train: a rotund chap who only wears bright pink, orange and yellow from top to toe, right up to his oversized spectacles. Sort of like looking at Christopher Biggins having eaten too many lollipops whilst you're on acid. But who is this mysterious rainbowish artman? And at what high-art mixed-media event will we see him at next? The story continues...

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