Showing posts from February, 2019
40 years # 7
headphones or decent speakers will be needed for this one: a piece composed from recordings made during my first residency in topolo during their annual arts festival, to which I returned several times along with my daughter, Pheobe, who now attends with her own friends to enjoy the various performances, readings and, of course, good company of our friends there. The piece features a recording of ants eating an apricot - a process that took several hours and involved the use of adapted c-series contact microphones inside the fruit, and further contact mic recordings of metal railings around the village.
resonances / residences by Jez riley French
when pheobe was young she would have little collections of things she found
acorns still in their cups conkers that we would pick in a secret spot near a park - there were hundreds of them and we would go by once in awhile to see if they had begun to fall to the ground naturally. when they did we would hide behind the hedge and pick as many up as we could, and we’d see other children and parents throwing sticks into the trees in the park to get one or two. i don’t think we ever actually played conkers more than once or twice but each year we’d collect them and watch them slowly dry day by day. i still have a glass jar, for spaghetti i think, full of some of the best ones
pheobe told me one day that she had a new collection. ‘what is it ? ‘ i asked ‘buttons that are off’ she replied
buttons that are off this phrase, this way of describing her small handful of spare buttons and her face as she looked at me for my reaction - this is love
every now and then i would see some special buttons in a sh…
there is an extra on the dvd - two years later agnes open letters and parcels from people who have seen the gleaners and i she visits a young couple who are making things from what they find this is 2002 i recognise their enthusiasm for an unconventional life and i recognise my cynicism when i hear him say that the letter he wrote to agnes was him speaking for them both, or when he repeats that he is a man who ‘doesn’t cry as they say’ i find myself asking if he at least is conventionally unconventional, thinking if it's possible to find them now and see if they survived together. she wears her hair bunched up on top, held with a pencil this makes me think of julia who did, sometimes, put a pencil in her hair also in the film they eat lunch, with sunflower seeds in the salad julia became a vegetarian whilst i knew her (and she knew i) we visited cranks in london - i wonder who remembers cranks but she also cooked a dish of chicken grilled covered in a puree of charred red peppers
i don’t know …
watching the gleaners and i (agnes varda)
there is a scene where she is eating figs from a tree, then the camera pans past a bonfire of fig tree branches
i remember so clearly the smell of smoke in the houses of holidays in france with my daughter and with my mother

i want this smell again
it is connected to other memories of course, of my daughter being young and full of wonder, holding her felt tips and concentrating hard on her latest picture - or dressed as a lion on her birthday
and my mother sitting outside in the sun waiting for us to finish cooking normandy chicken, with garlic and apples


paused again
agnes has returned from japan with a case full of souvenirs. her house has a leak and mould on the ceiling.

pheobe and i returned from japan with our cases full of souvenirs; books, tuning forks, postcards, wooden objects from the flea market, a cloth cat dressed as a post person, a set of wooden blocks showing characters and household objects or food, and th…
40 years # 6
the bright work
confession: the first crush i can remember was, aged 9 or 10, for the actress suzanna hamilton in swallows and amazons, a film about childhood of course but with water as the setting. i don’t remember much in the way of connection to water before this - i couldn’t swim but had of course been taken to the seaside on holidays, though i have only very vague memories.
in my early teens i remember reading about martin hannett using a waterproof microphones to record cymbals being dropped into a bucket of water - i think during the recording of the 1st joy division album.
i joined the school cnd group and went on a few marches - one to menworth hill to protest us nuclear weapons being deployed in the uk. it was reading the cnd newsletters that i first came across the word ‘hydrophone’ and read about how the us government had patented hydrophone technologies, technically owning the gathering of all sound in the ocean below 25 metres.
in hull if you had an in…