Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Firsts! Party, Gig, Film - And Skydiving (Sort Of)

Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 0
Listening/Reading: The Filter Queue, who DOLLYman will play with soon...
Hair Day: Temporary hot pink streak after being inspired by cheapo girl-mag
What I can see from my window no. 21: Piccadilly Circus, just, blinking its little tawdry captions

My first party of the year saw me finally donning my black jumpsuit and heels (verdict: NOT tragic! Result!) to go to the PRS Foundation's New Year party at Cargo, meeting and greeting many a musical acquaintance (Tansy Davies, Luke Styles, Sarah Nicholls and Claudia Molitor, and Mira Calix, telling us about her exciting Olympics project involving an installation in a load of igloo-like stone slabs) and meeting some new ones (such as Trish Clowes, cool sax-player/composer). The PRSF were using the opportunity to showcase a few of their funded projects, but there were rather a few raised eyebrows and quivers of mild embarrassment for the first piece: we gathered outside for hot toddies to listen to Howard Skempton's church bell piece, rung over in Shoreditch Church. Sadly, the bells were mingled, nay obliterated by the sounds of traffic, and were so quiet they just sounded, well, like church bells, perhaps in a neighbouring village, and had no impact as a piece of new music. We all huddled there very politely for 12 minutes, and I at least enjoyed the Cage-ish framing of the city's sounds, but that wasn't really the point. Anna Meredith's piece for the National Youth Orchestra, another 20x12 piece, was showcased by a small troupe of NYOers; while nothing new to me and the juicettes, who invite people to yell and whack themselves at every opportunity, it's a great idea to liberate the players of their instruments and show off their musicality in an exuberant, bodily way. It was slight shame we couldn't really SEE the performers to appreciate the choreography as they were crammed in amongst the revellers. I love the PRSF to bits and they are phenomenally supportive of new music including mine, but it strikes me that a bit more planning/forethought might not go amiss at times like these...

First gig of the year was at the Lexington, to see Yorkshire surreal troubadour David Thomas Broughton. He was supported by Elysian Quartet alumni Geese, doing their noisy post-rocking violin/viola/drums/electronics shizz. DTB himself, who juice had first seen at South By South West last year, inspiring at least in me starbursting epiphanies at his off-kilter craziness, was just as charming and silly this time around. His yawning baritone, simple guitar and desolate lyrics would be unremarkable on their own, but he mixes it with something nearing performance art, creating a theatre of mic stands and leads, accentuating his mistakes, freestyling with fruit and shakers and dictaphones, letting his loops spool over until they're fugged in feedback... there's no-one quite like him.

Shame, Steve McQueen's follow-up to his stunning (as in you feel like you've been stunned by a Stonehenge-sized slab and left dribbling and half-dead) Hunger, was my first film of the year. Not quite as extreme as his debut, it still leaves a mark, and I don't mean the memory of Michael Fassbender strolling around with his cock out. An distinctly unerotic but beautiful-looking movie, what stayed with me was the amazing single tracking shot of MF running through New York, and Carey Mulligan's desperately delicate, super-slow version of New York, New York. Another favourite British artfilm director to add to Andrea Arnold and Lynne Ramsay!

Finally my first adventuring of the year: going with Sarah to the Ballardian, mall-like weirdness that is Milton Keynes, to go indoor skydiving. YES! The whole experience was utterly hilarious, with a range of very cute yet very solemn instructors leading us through our moves (cue us trying to keep straight faces whilst the Spanish instructor earnestly demonstrated the importance of leading with 'your 'ips' as he gyrated unsubtly in front of us). The skydiving is done in a specially-made air tunnel fired from below with 150mph winds (the British skydiving team practise there!): you fall in and hang over the pummelling, screaming chute, being occasionally corrected by your instructor and trying not to let the spit that is uncontrollably flung from your mouth go straight into his eye. I spent the whole, short time laughing my head off, even when I got to do the 'high-fly', which means shooting straight up and down 10 metres several times with your instructor in a spiral, skydiving-formation-style, like riding a rollercoaster made solely out of air. I think I left a small part of my stomach flailing around up there. Hysterical!

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