Monday, January 31, 2011

Sexy Thermals

Hours of creative activity achieved in last 24: 1
Reading: J.G.Ballard's dystopian novella High-Rise
Hair Day: rock 'n' roll
Things I Can See From My Flat Window No. 6: masses of clouds and blue sky

Have had a quite bonkers week of workshops and gigs and things, beginning up at Anna-juicette's temporary new home in the coun'ryside east of York. Juice gave a seminar and a composers' workshop at York University, in the latter being as versatile as attempting bars of 26/16, reversing words and growling on inbreaths - yowza. I dashed down to London to whip the Wigmore Hall Young Producers into shape (their curated concert in April is finally starting to take shape) then bounced straight back up to Leeds for a marathon day getting College of Music students to write (at least one of) us a vocal piece in 6 hours. They were nothing if not eclectic, with Berio-ish solos about bananas, me bashing my chest like a gorilla, African chants, loops, belting opera versus croony blues, and much more. Having performed them at the end of the day, I then hot-footed it to Santiago's for Leeds' premier cutting-edge jazz night, The Spin Off, to do a lonnngg late set (flippin' jazzers!) with Metamorphic, after which I was so tired I practically curled up on stage and conked out. 

Instead I had 3 hours' sleep and shivered on the train down to London at dawn under Metamorphic's Chris' big coat, and hooked up with juice again in Brighton for the final leg of Mikhail's 'exploded opera' project Xenon: recording a video. So it was back into my least-favourite-looking version of myself (the  besuited, hair-slicked-down office worker; for Anna and Sarah, it's a cool androgynous look, for me it's more an ugly NERDBOY) for a few hours in front of a dollying camera. When 'it's a wrap!' was finally called, my hair was spiked up so quick I probably looked like I'd jammed my finger in the nearest socket. Hur hur.
Finally on Saturday, juice and recorder quintet Consortium 5 gave the world premiere of Luke Styles' new piece for us, A Stratagem For Light, a 12-movement beastie with some exhilarating moments, particularly when all five 'corder gals were on the sopraninos, giving it some stratospheric welly along with us shrieking blue murder, and later the sound of five bass and sub-bass recorders bubbling away like a load of brooding bitterns. The downside was that Grosvenor Church was so cold that the bottom half of my body went completely numb and I gained an involuntary tremor that hopefully came across as a slightly spasmodic vibrato. Time to find sexy thermals, I reckon...

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