Attack of the art-errorist

Festivals, Groove, Music

If you’re near Hamburg this weekend, then there’s only one thing you should be thinking about doing – heading to Faust bassist Jean Herve Peron’s Schiphorst Festival, a gathering of some of the continent’s finest established and upcoming avant-garde musicians. As Jean Herve puts it:

Our purpose is to give a platform to dedicated/renowned yet not famous avantgarde artists and give you / many people the chance to get to know a style which still suffers from negative prejudices. Avantgarde is full of life, full of humor, without any restraints or boundaries. Open to everyone and everything.’

I played over there a couple of years back with the Stellas; between the music, the beers, the frankfurters, the parachutists, the aikido display and the general huge commitment to making wonderful spontaneous sounds using any means available it was a fantastic weekend. Alas, prior commitments stop me from going over this year, but you’ll love it.

Oh, and here’s this year’s line up. But like all festivals, it’s not the individual bands that make it – it’s the event as a whole! It’s also going to be webcast, so I’ll link to that nearer the time…

Taking liberties

Liberties, Music, Poets

Mike Harrison very thought provoking today on control, mass trespass and fantasies of childhood in the English countryside:

‘The utter brilliance of the Kinder mass trespasses was that they gave the non-magic kind of children permission to occupy some of those landscapes.’

A forced ceding of control by the controlling classes. This conflict over control seems to me to be a key feature of the broader English landscape. It’s there in the battle between our two national anthems, ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘Jerusalem’ – thus:

‘…God save the Queen:
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the Queen…’


‘Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear: o clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariots of fire!’

The official anthem is a call to be commanded, to become entirely passive. What riches there are in the world – material, spiritual – are to be administered for us, by our betters:

‘Thy choicest gifts in store,
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign’

The second a great dynamic roar, demanding the tools needed to get out there and actively remake the world – as unpassive as you can possibly get:

‘I will not cease from metal fight;
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.’

Blake used to say ‘I must create my own system, else be enslaved by another man’s’. Two different Englands to choose between; I know which one I want to live in.

Oh, and, for a modern take on how we’re controlled, check out new documentary ‘Taking Liberties’ – on cinema release this weekend.