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Boat Life - it's intense

I practically never leave the floating cinema at the moment as the programme is very intense. Despite a few hitches with a lot of floor mopping and sporadic downpours, we are generally having a fantastic time. I highly recommend our screening tomorrow night of the work from Fugitive Images - especially if you are local to Hackney.

I think the highlight so far for me has been A Smaller Sound, A Bigger Crowd by Ian Giles which took folk song and a fictional tale deep into the heart of Docklands. During the first performance we scooted past the biggest boat ever to moor in the dock and came into Middle Dock via a raised bridge in the road. I listened to the sound of Sam Lee's ballad and thought how beautiful it was to focus just on his voice and the story of the Docklands Bell, below the city workers looking down from the bar terrace above. On the other side of the dock we were serenaded by a small group of hand bell ringers - their modest sound managing to pierce and interrupt the dominant culture and noise of the literally towering surroundings.

You can see more images of Ian's work here.  

Pope & Guthrie
practise their moves

New Japan pictures online

With thanks to KIDA photostudio (Tokyo) we have been able to add more photos of our cult performances in Japan in summer 06!

Look here to see Pope & Guthrie as you've never seen them before....

and endure an interminable opening ceremony
with Barnably Hoskins (l) and Marcus Coates (r)

Aiko watching & waiting

Performance Anxiety

We’re all sitting under the Snow Centre waiting for our ‘performance’ in about an hour – which, it seems, will be the launch of the actual Triennial. Kumagai (from Art Front who are running it) is sitting next to me testing his mic for the ‘eurovision song contest’ style simultaneous translation he’s meant to be doing. It’s hard to tell what he thinks about our line up, despite our definite weirdness he’s maybe getting into the idea in a very low key Japanese way …
No matter how you organize these affairs there always seems to be a lot of sitting about and cable twiddling before hand, interspersed with ear-splitting sounds from the PA. The last hour sends everyone into their own particular ‘auto-performance-paranoia’ behavior pattern. As I blog (!) Tim and Jamie are still tweaking the ultimate audio/visual arrangements; Barney is strumming an impromptu acoustic set, resplendent in Hawaiian shirt and balloon pants, he might be the male rival for Karen in her pre-performance grooming routine. Ben is relaxing after rocking out during rehearsal and Marcus seems to at last be giving us a break from ‘checking the levels’ on his radio mic animal noises, maybe he’s brushing his wig.

Having dreaded the communal living conditions at the house I have been surprised on two counts – one that they were ‘worse’ than I could have imagined (4 rooms, 9 people, sliding thin walls) – but two, that it’s been OK. More than that I’ve actually really enjoyed hanging out with the 7 Samurai, and despite being totally on top of each other it’s been great - and I’m now slightly sad that we’ll all be splitting up for solo rooms in our Tokyo hotel week.
The other surprise has been tonight’s performance. When Karen and I arrived at the start of this week – jet lagged and ‘Tudor tired’ from our recent month long stay in 1578 – Adam’s suggestion that we’d all be performing on stage in one week, all singing, all dancing - filled me with horror. My singing is erratic at best and if you’d told me before I’d got on the plane we’d be doing harmonized backing vocals I’d have probably just lay on the floor at Heathrow. Now with an hour to go & the dress rehersal under our belts, I find myself suggesting that Karen and I join Ben on stage to form a Tudor backing group for the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ freak out – we’ll all have white face make-up on after all …

Karen - smock off, during rehersals

Marcus - testing, testing

The final countdown

As Nina finishes her packing before we join 1578 for our new film shoot, I thought I'd share my latest craft outbreak - a range of bespoke Tudor handbags to conceal our stuff. The one on the far right is - sad I know - exactly tailored to hide a one litre plastic water bottle.
I think I might have become a fully paid-up re-enactor....