Friday, July 02, 2010

Summertime, And The Livin' Is Busy

Level of conviction in own genius: 7.5
Hours of creative activity achieved today: 2
Reading/Watching: The Crimson Petal and The White by Michel Faber; Andy Murray bow out
Hair Day: Post-swimming haystack

Cor, another whirlwind couple of months has corkscrewed frantically, taking in lots of gigs and educational work. I caused some politely middle-class frissons of controversy at the (deep breath) South Bank's Chorus Festival London Contemporary Church Musical Festival preview (phew) by saying I wasn't religious whilst talking about my sacred choral writing, followed by a disappointing lack of outrage on the Radio 3 message boards after my Choral Evensong-broadcast magnificat premiere.

juice have been continuing to take their 'squeal!-pop!-grunt!' mantra to the masses, first taking the sedately-swaying marshes of Aldeburgh by storm with their week of teaching Aldeburgh Young Musicians; these are the cleverest young musicians in Britain, the sort of kids who think nothing of creating a Beckett-esque avant-garde recorder/voice/theatre work setting their own haiku in five minutes flat, or combining contemporary dance, chair-scattering, monologues and tuba-deconstruction in a hommage to Pina Bausch. Ha ha. We also toured special needs schools in South Yorkshire for Live Music Now, finding the time to zoom around various country parks sampling regional cakes (my first Bakewell pudding! Mmm...) or walking around our sublimely remote farm accommodation, surrounded by hundreds of sheep, fields of madly bleating vuvuzelas. We've also gigged at the Whitstable Biennale (getting down there early to dip in the blissfully tepid sea, yelping at the single large fish that kept belly-flopping near Andy's head), at King's Place to a great audience for our silent film soundtrack, and a few others besides. THIS week, juice have finally started work recording their debut album on nonclassical, our resolve and ability to only glow like ladies should being severely tested by the obscene heat of the studio once the air con is turned off.

In jazz news, the DOLLYman massive had a day of recording their rockiest numbers in an extremely non-rock 'n' roll private school in leafy Surrey, so look out for an EP soon... Elsewhere, Metamorphic had a nice gig at Leytonstone's Luna Lounge (a retro venue below an all-you-can-eat curry joint, with a lunar landscape badly painted on the walls). I sadly missed the High Art Drama when the last band played: the drummer apparently abruptly stopped mid-stick to accuse remaining members of the Metamorphic crew of talking through his set, culminating in near fisticuffs between the jazzers! Brilliant! Had I been there, I would have, of course, kung-fu'ed wildly in defence of my homies. Hiii-YAH!

I've managed to see a gig or two, including a stimulating OperaShots night which you'll find on my other blog given the high football content. It's nice to meet some like-minded musos in the field: You Are Wolf played a sweet gig at Green Note in Camden this week, and got chatting to a lovely American experimental guitarist who'd dropped by to watch before flying off to Berlin. Here's his shizzle! And at last night's nonclassical gig at newish venue the Horse and Groom in Shoreditch (probably the only place that evening showing a Brooklyn-based banjo player doing electroglitch remixes of Madonna's Like A Prayer), I met the very charming Tansy Davies - I have always imagined steeling myself for a girl-composer-hair-battle upon our first encounter, but thankfully, though she does have a right good barnet, we look sufficiently different at the moment not to have to enter that ring. Hee hee.