Listed only briefly, regretfully. Not that the enjoyment was short (well OK, it was, but the buzz will linger), but chiefly because this blog has a backlog, so they don’t get the space they ought. And this week OCD (olympic compulsive disorder – who’d have thought archery and judo could be so interesting?) threatens. So …
ONE: Collective Spirit, the fruits of the Lone Twin Boat Project, an actual sea-going yacht built of memories, a piece of performance art, no less, that was moored in Queens’s Court in the centre:mk (sic: what we mere mortals still call the Shopping Centre) all last week:
Beautiful in concept, beautiful to behold. And it sails. And will go on sailing. People were asked to donate wooden objects that had meant something to them and from that wood was made a boat. In essence, simple as that – an idea that had been floating for a while but was made possible by the Cultural Olympiad. Somehow, it restores hope. Needless to say the project has its own website and there’s a book about its construction and the stories behind the donations, all 1,200+ of them (including our mate Isabel’s). Here’s a small jingle jangle section to give an idea:
And here’s a shot of the deck. Check out the turtle, now put to practical use:
There were cricket bats, hockey sticks, toys, driftwood, tools, furniture, bits of shed and ships, signs, many many things. And set in the tiller, a shaving from one of Jimi Hendrix’s guitars:
TWO: It didn’t rain for Wired Aerial Theatre‘s As the world tipped. This extraordinary performance started off slowly and, frankly – it seemed – somewhat tediously, with a long tape loom of looming disaster sounds, then repeated sound clips from world leaders at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (hello Gordon – how soon we forget) and a bit of clanky mechanical stage humour as the extinction of species (listed alphabetically …) was rubber stamped and the paper work mounted. In retrospect this worked as the stage started tipping and, without giving too much away, the floor started tipping and the office furniture slid off the edges of the stage as it was raised 90° to form a screen to which five gymnasts clung and swung from dramatically against a projected backgrounds of all variety of ecological disaster. At times it was unreal, like watching great cartoon animation, and the sequence where they interacted with the actual text of the Agreement was a wonder to behold. Technically brilliant and not without wit, it certainly got the message over in human terms.
THREE: James Hunter in the Victoria Spiegeltent – a wondrous temporary venue worthy of a paragraph of its own – set down in Campbell Park. ’50s and ’60s jump blues and soul with a bit of ska and a hint of rock and roll thrown in for good measure. Great strong soul voice, falsetto and all, fine guitar, great 6-piece band (including the man) with great horns, a stand up bass, and some merry stage banter (that Essex accent – Ian Dury without the gravel – cannot but charm). They were enjoying themselves muchly and so were we.
All of the above were part of the bi-annual Milton Keynes International Festival (aka IF), which I’ve already written about previously. It’s been an extraordinary 10 days with a tremendous energizing vibe – could have, should have gone to far more – nicely summed up in a poem fresh off the page and stage (and blog) of Stony Stratford bard Danni Antagonist, who was one of the many volunteers involved (to whom great thanks), which you can read for yourself here.
And I haven’t even mentioned the Scribal Gathering tent at the IF World Picnic, in which Danni performed, so I will. In and out of the rain, more than decent sets from The Box Ticked, Nicky & Naomi (assured, with their greatest hits) and the mighty The Antipoet. Among many others. Photos from my bottom of the range (and proud of it) mobile phone.
Oh, and we had a frog in the pond (albeit a temporary triumph so far), and Nice one, Danny Boyle for ‘Isles of Wonder’.