Monday, January 18, 2010

Radio Joy at the Foundry (part of it, anyway)

After returning from the North, I decided to reacquaint myself with the ways of the South again, and drove down to Old Street to experience Radio Joy's first outside broadcast.
The Foundry is a quirky place, containing as it does the raw ingredients for an episode of Dr Who before they have been scrubbed, edited and baked for mass consumption.
Like the great Radio Joy itself, it's a shopping basket of the weird, the dark, the humorous, the clunky and the gauche, nestling in an aura of error and gentle wonder.
A paper Daddy from Daddies Sauce peels from the wall above the stage, its manic grin reassuring us of our insanity. Two orange semi-deflated halloween balloons dangle upside-down from the ceiling in a deadly embrace.
Earnest men in furrowed conversation clutch trendy beer bottles to their black woollen chests, part of an audience of loners and the lonely that sprouts like weeds between assorted TV screens and electronic sound paraphernalia. Johny Brown pops up now here, now there; a man prepares a theremin, his right hand clutching a wire strung with small blue lights.
Two of the screens glow orange with nasturtiums: how did they know I liked nasturtiums?

They provided me with a constant supply of little caterpillars to keep in jam jars when I was a little girl; they danced optimistically in the West-country sun at my ex-honeymoon; they flowered heroically through the deadly weeks when I was packing up our big house and getting ready to move on, exhausted by it all. 
Their happy morning song of shades of orange, sung through autumn frosts and dismal rain, reminded me that life can be beautiful even when it is disguised as a nightmare.

The band, Stasis73, interrupted a vintage Kurt Weill recording and began to loop everything: the sounds of the room, an accordion, the theremin, mobile phone messages, and even (was it an accident? I'm not sure) the sound of feedback from the microphones, the layers of sound gradually decaying to be replaced by clarinet and de-tuned guitar. The TV screens played images of processed light.
There was something very calm in their chaos.
After half and hour they drew their set to a close and Johny asked us to mingle. I was one of the loners, so I sat still till he beckoned me over to introduce me to a woman called Sukie, who is also a singer and performer. I liked her and I am going to listen to her music later, when I have listened to the students songs I'm marking. But I had to go: being a Mum beckoned, as it does sometimes, and I headed home to the little house on the hill.

Poetry: Beuys will be Beuys (I liked this scary poem)
Images: Adventures in a Suburban Garden by Nicola Jayne Maskrey
Radio Joy broadcasts every Sunday at 8 p.m. and they will be at the Foundry next Sunday too.


Anonymous Nicola Jayne Maskrey said...

Hi Helen

Glad you liked the nasturtiums - I loved what you wrote about them, they've always been one of my favourites.


8:06 PM  

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