Two exciting developments! The first is that this August it was my great pleasure to rejoin the stalwart Hand Of team, enhanced by a crack team of musicians and educators I had yet to do art with, to do a project with students from three secondary schools in North Tyneside. Over the course of two weeks (slightly longer for the adults involved), we made three sound walks (see the work of Janet Cardiff, Justin Bennett, or Soundwalk Rotterdam if you’re new to this world) covering historically fascinating routes in and around North Shields. The work is–without wishing to toot students’ horns too loudly–really, really good. The walks will be made available in collaboration with Nexus, the purveyors of note of public transport on rails up in this part of England. Hand Of are putting together a guide on how to run arts education projects like this one ahead of the next year of activities, and I have taken their cue to think a bit deeper about being somebody who makes art for a living, and might also put the skills that such employ requires to practical use in the community. I haven’t written this essay yet, but when I do, I’ll post it here. Bait your breath.
The second of development is that for the coming year, I’ll be one of four artists in residence at Sage Gateshead. Properly exciting. Depending on how our collective public lives unfold over the next ten months, the outcome may be a performance of a ridiculous gesamtkunstwerk about near-death experiences, Greek myth, Riviera House and ‘90s Glasgow pop’s relation to Nashville (you know, the usual), OR all of these things in some kind of interesting online format. Presently, I’m veering towards internet-conspiracy-theory-land-meets-easter-egg-hunt–that is, hiding links to beautiful and sincere chamber music in the darkest threads of 4chan and beyond. Whatever the outcome, it will include two things for certain: the establishment of a new local music and art band by the name of NORTHUMBERLAND RADICAL FUN GROUP–if you are or know one or even two boss drummer(s) in this part of the world who would be up for making seriously fun music, email me and/or keep an eye on the community notices at the Asda at the bottom of your road–and also the starting of a reading and writing group based in the North East that meets (or doesn’t, as fate may have it), to think collectively about what the hell is art and also about what is it, more or less, that we think or want art to accomplish as the world burns and floods etc etc etc. If that sounds like a good time to you, email me.
Finally, look mom I have been reimagining smooooooth classics for the NRFG’s debut. Also the only baritone saxophone player I know well enough to subject to rudenesses such as these basslines is a very nice German gentleman, ergo not local, ergo if you play said saxophone in the far north of England, let me know you exist via… email me. Or go to your nearest Asda’s noticeboard.