Sunday, 2 November 2014

Weekend Other World, a letter of appreciation.


Gyrus discussing Polar Cosmology and The Thing - photo by Jack Hunter


Weekend Other World was a blast and I think everybody who attended and spoke had a great time.
We will be looking to put together a publication of some of the papers in the near future.

I received a very nice and thoughtful email from Russell Cuzner which serves as a lovely appreciation of the day.  Russell's kindly allowed me to quote his correspondence as a means of thanking all who took part:

Dr Riley's demonstration of the 'death of the sixties' was very nicely framed and emphasised the longevity afforded to the heady cultural mix of the time - I certainly don't expect anyone to be talking about the "terminal decline of the 1990s" or "...2000s" in years to come (sadly)!

Hannah's fascinating, anthropological lens on horror films has been stirring my head ever since as I consider other movies and the motives behind their manoeuvres. In a similar way to the folk horror demonstrating localised alienation, I wonder if class could be observed as another, similar facet - does the political wax and wain from Tory to Labour and back again get reflected by films whose threats are respectively, the secretive indulgences of the rich, or the wild, waywardness of disaffected youth and the poor? (stuck at work I can't think of many examples, though I'm sure there are many - maybe the perverse rich in 'Society' and the killer hoodies of 'Eden Lake', perhaps?)

The very dapper Mr Hunter covered areas I've only started getting into - to my shame - in fact I'd begun reading Machen's 'A Fragment of Life' just a few days before the weekend, and now greatly look forward to the 'Great God Pan' chapter; while my experience of MR James is, like many, limited to BBC dramatisations. I wish my RE teachers were as open minded when I was at school - all I seem to remember doing was trace maps of Israel and colour them in!

Evie Salmon's insights into the increasing influence of place confirmed the current of psychogeographic concerns that seem to making their way through much of modern musics. I'd like to think that part of this will flow into musicians becoming more concerned with actually playing and recording in specific places, or composing for particular environments even, so place and music become closer once more.

Gyrus' cosmic extrapolation of The Thing went far beyond (no pun intended!) the scope I was anticipating. I loved the way it resonated with Hannah's illustrations of fear of the foreign, but turned it on its head to suggest that we are the aliens we're struggling to understand within the context of the rest of nature (as we continue to pillage it).

John Doran's confessional chapters were as wryly humorous and affecting as ever and certainly cleansed my palate (although I was thoroughly enjoying all previous flavours!)

Lisa Cradduck's brave solo speech peaked (ahem!) my interest on yet another book that I've somehow managed to miss so far - to put things right Under the Volcano is now on order from eBay! (and then, weirdly, an unpublished manuscript of Lowry's was reported the same weekend).

Unearthing Forgotten Horrors was a revelation - Darren Charles' curation swiftly travelling from the romantic orchestrations through prog to more 'post-industrial' pastures deftly demonstrated the important changes in approaches to sonic scariness over the years. I wonder what he thinks is coming next?

For Will Fowler's summary of Jarman's more experimental (and, in my opinion, strongest films) - I particularly appreciated the way he emphasised how this work wasn't something that necessarily needed de-coding, and can be rewarding by merely letting the combination of images and sound flow over you uncramped by comprehension.

It was an ideal prelude to the actual thing which was simply awesome to behold - as I think I mentioned, the fact that the sound came from a separate source meant that the quality was likely better but also lent the showing a deft aptness - the 'tracking' of sound to image being slightly different, and so, unique to any other 'copies' - particularly given this was how Jarman showed the films originally to friends at home.

As ever, English Heretic's outline of approach to cinema and its use as a 'score' to inspire and guide  recorded work I found dangerously catalytic.


Thanks also to Matthew Shaw, Teleplamiste (Mark Pilkington and Mike York) and the Pond Scum light crew (Jamie Sutcliffe and Jennifer Pengilly) for their audio visual extravaganza's on Friday night.

Here's a couple of them pics in action: