Today’s musical styles couldn’t have contrasted more. The afternoon was upbeat reggae and African rhythms in one room, West Papuan and pacific in another and smells of cooking wafting through. This evening was serious young men (and they were all men), black-rimmed glasses on structured white faces, hunched over laptops or electric guitars, creating squirls and beeps against a backdrop of experimental art, cigarette smoke and scotch and dry.
I loved both of them.
The best of the afternoon’s music all seemed to feature Nicky Bomba on percussion somewhere in the band while the evening’s best were Amplifier Machine and Because of Ghosts, the first a dreamy ambient excercise is sparseness with violin and guitar and a real drum kit, the violin dragged gently across the cymbals every so often as it wailed, then held close to the speaker for some feedback, loops and pedals and distortion as far as it could be pushed; the second reminded me of Godspeed You, Black Emperor, quiet, drawn-out beginnings leading to walls of guitar and drum, crashing crescendos of sound and then back to looped tinkling from brandy balloons filled with water, their rims rubbed into a mic.
As for the art, it’s harder to remember which bits were which as I wasn’t taking notes. I thought the birds of Zero Dollars piece was great, especially when filled with manuscripts in Latin and red ink. The beginning and middle section of Cornelius Wilczek’s work was amazing: the russian animated carriage racing through the snow and the boy in the jungle with the animals who is then transfixed by the mirage of the dancing fifties’ stripper in the heat of the dry grasses. I’m not sure whose work it was because the programme lists two names, but the 60s footage of Australian children playing during Becuase of Ghost’s set was great too.
And of course, I had great company: first fizit, where we caught up on our lives and talked of work and other stuff, and then James Geurts, my artist friend, where we spoke of art and life and politics and being driven.
One thing I’ve realised from today is how much I enjoy having purpose. I love having this magazine company starting and organising the picnic again because I love being able to say to people, “so, I’m doing this thing, can I get you involved in some way?” Teaching wasn’t like that. It didn’t have the same external focus and engagement that is energising me now.