Jessica Akerman and I submitted a proposal to the Artangel Open 2013. And out of 1,500 submissions, ours was one of those selected for the Open 100. I’m really pleased. We had the idea three days before the deadline so spent a frantic weekend with our heads immersed in physics, philosophy and most importantly, RHUBARB. What fun.
Read our proposal here: http://www.artangel.org.uk/open_100/jessica_akerman_and_dicky_moore
Jessica and I worked with 60 amazing kids from Darlinghurst school in Leigh-on-Sea to create 4 new playground songs.
Playground songs are those which accompany and inform the motions of group play. They include:
- Dancing games,
- Oranges and Lemons
- Clapping games,
- A Sailor Went to Sea
- Skipping games,
- Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
- Pretty Little Dutch Girl
These are often ascribed to historical events. Although folklorists reject the idea that Ring-a-ring-o’-roses describes the plague, this link exists in the social conscious. Other songs can be confidently traced to their origin. For example, The Grand Old Duke of York started as a satirical mocking of Prince Frederick, yet became a historical artefact kept alive in the playgrounds of British schools.
We and the pupils of Darlinghurst developed new playground songs which reflected upon the shared heritage of the Thames Estuary, specifically in relation to security; its role in the Second World War and the search and rescue activities of today’s Coastguard. This work was carried out over 6 workshops which included a visit to the Shoeburyness Coastguard’s Tower, the Shoeburyness Garrison and a brief look out to sea at the WW2 relics located in the Thames estuary.
The final works of this project are:
1) The play songs to will be “released into the wild” through the children, in the hope that they will keep them alive, update them and pass them on through group play. Although out of the scope of this project, it would be interesting to return in a number of years to see if any remnants of the songs are still being used by children, and in what form.
2) An audio recording of the songs being played by the children in group play
3) A poster, depicting the lyrics and melodies
4) 1,000 or more A4-sized Broadsides, for general distribution, depicting the lyrics, melodies. Broadsides are single sheets of paper printed on one side with a song lyric and melody, and accompanying woodcut illustrations. They were one of the most common forms of printed material between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries and were responsible for keeping many folk songs alive, through their distribution. A broadside is the name given to the side of a ship above the water line, and is a navy term used to describe the simultaneous firing of all guns along one side of a ship.
The poster and broadsides are here. Click for bigger:
Here are the lyrics and actions to the songs:
The S.S. Richard Montgomery
Richard rumbles to war war war
Down she tumbles splash splash splash
Sleeps so soundly snore snore snore
Wakes us loudly CRASH CRASH CRASH
Phone is ringing! Phone is ringing!
Someone’s drowning! Someone’s drowning!
Sirens singing! Sirens singing!
Wind is howling! Wind is howling!
Torches flashing! Torches flashing!
Coastguard’s diving! Coastguard’s diving!
People splashing! People splashing!
All surviving! All surviving!
Salty water rushing past Shivering Sands!
Fire and smoke from ocean blasts Red Sands! The soldiers shouted, lonely and scared Tongue Sands! And then pop music filled the air Sea land!
Sailors went to sea
Sailors went to sea Stuck in just like sardines I’ve been so scared since war declared The bombs may fall on me The bombs are banging loud The storm brings dirty clouds I’ll try to brave the crashing waves And make my country proud The captain’s fast asleep The anchor’s in the deep The ship struck land upon the sand And now it’s in a heap
High-ten with your partner
Clap your hands
Roll your hands
High-ten with your partner three times
Slap your partner’s hand, one at a time, down the ladder alternately whilst moving to crouch down
Clap your partners hands with your palms facing up or down three times
Hands together, by the side of your face, sleeping
Hands together, back-slapping your partners hands up the ladder whilst moving to stand up
High-ten with your partner three times
Hand in a phone shape
Hands around mouth, shouting
Finger pointing up, drawing a circle in the air
Wave your arms like the motion of the wind
Mime searching with a torch
Mime diving in the water
Splash your arms
Jump out of the skipping rope
In this game, some children act as the sea forts, while others act as vessels passing through the sea forts
Represent the sea-forts by holding your partner’s hands high up in the air
Take a name of one of the sea forts
In a line, the remaining children snake through the sea-forts one by one
When you hear the name of your sea fort called, lower your arms to capture one of the vessels passing through
All hold hands in a big circle, sway from side to side
Run into the centre and squash tightly together
Curl yourself up in a ball
Jump up and backwards like an explosion
Clap your hands like the banging bombs
Link hands in a circle again, sway from side to side
Stand to attention and salute your captain
David Cameron has modelled himself on Tony Blair, with particular enthusiasm for Blair’s strategy to modernise the party he took over.
Both men believe that success comes from winning the centre ground. That certainly worked for Blair. But why isn’t it working for Cameron?
By dragging their parties towards the centre, Blair and Cameron expectedly upset many of their core supporters.
The Clause IV moment is a metaphor which is widely used in political commentary, named after Blair’s successful wrenching of his party’s roots. We are repeatingly being asked the question “Is this Cameron’s Clause IV Moment”? It’s now seen as an indicator of a leader’s success, showing strength to control their party.
But I don’t believe Cameron will ever get his Clause IV moment.
Many of Labour core voters were alienated by Blair’s New Labour project. Between 1997 and 2010 Labour lost 4.9 million votes. The largest losses came from the groups C2s and DEs, otherwise known as the working classes. When the opportunity came to exercise what power they had, they voted elsewhere or stayed at home on polling day.
In contrast, the core Conservative party support comes from social groups AB, ABC1 and C1. In other words, the wealthy, the powerful. Voters in these social groups are much more likely to vote. They don’t do “staying at home”.
Where alienated Labour supporters may feel powerless to affect change, core Tory supporters are affluent enough to be able to kick up an incredible fuss. They lobby, they write letters, they sign petitions, they organise events, and they seize the opportunity to vote. They are an incredible force, and one of the reasons why the Conservative party has always been so formidable.
Could the strength of this grass roots election winning machine which has been so successful in the 20th century be what is preventing Tory success in the 21st?
It certainly seems that way. Any attempt David Cameron makes towards the centre ground ignites a powerful rebellion. The grassroots could barely accept Cameron’s embrace of Huskies, Hoodies and the Health Service. His embrace of Homosexuality was to them, unacceptable.
And now, on issues such as the UK’s membership of the E.U., even trying to maintain ground is impossible. Rather than dragging his party towards the centre, they are dragging him rightward.
Unlike Blair, Cameron’s attempted exodus to the middle is taking place amidst recession, nay an economic crisis, which is likely to shift voters to extreme positions.
And that is what compounds Cameron’s problem. Right-wing UKIP’s increased poll ratings and rural council successes, although to be expected during a depression, are used as justification for opposing Cameron’s centrist ambitions.
Stuck in-between the Centre and the Right, his party are surely doomed.
They cannot pick up the extra votes a “modern” party would as their leader cannot take them there.
But neither can they rely on the support, or even the indifference of their core voters.
David Cameron regarded Tony Blair as unbeatable, but by mimicking the strategy he used in a completely different setting, he may have just found the way to lose.
I have a vivid memory of proudly showing off my record collection to a house-guest. I was twelve and she must have been in her forties. “Oh how sweet” she said, “In a few years you’ll be so embarrassed of these records”.
I was upset by that remark, and resolved to never be embarrassed by my record collection. I thought that due to having a “good taste” in music, I could never be embarrassed. This morning I came across an old mixtape I made around that time, and whether it’s my resolve or my taste, I’m not embarrassed of it*, so here it so to share.
*Making a mixtape which features the same artist about 20 times is a bit embarrassing.
Pixies – Here Comes Your Man
The Charlatans – The Only One I Know
Happy Mondays – Step On
Jesus Jones – Real Real Real
James – How Was It For You?
The Wonder Stuff – Circle Square
Inspiral Carpets – So Far
Happy Mondays – Performance
Northside – Shall We Take A Trip
The Soup Dragons – I’m Free
Happy Mondays – Kinky Afro
The Farm – Stepping Stone (12″ Original Mix)
Happy Mondays – Hallelujah
Blab Happy – Down
Primal Scream – Sonic Sister Love
Ride – Taste
Happy Mondays – Dennis And Lois
Inspiral Carpets – Besides Me
Happy Mondays – Clap Your Hands
The Charlatans – Over Rising
Happy Mondays – Lazyitis – The One Armed Boxer Remix – Remastered version
The Wonder Stuff – The Size Of A Cow
The Stone Roses – One Love
Inspiral Carpets – She Comes In the Fall
I took the novel Summer Lightning away on holiday with me this year, and was about 80 pages in when it suddenly occurred to me that I’ve read this book before. I struggled to imagine how I could get this far into a book without having realised, but nevertheless Ronnie Fish, the entrepreneurial nephew of Lord Emsworth proceeded to steal his uncle’s prize pig, Empress of Blandings, and hastened to secrete her in a woodland cottage.
Of course, it turned out that I hadn’t read this before. A quick search of Wikipedia revealed that the Empress had in fact been kidnapped on numerous occasions in a number of P.G. Wodehouse’s stories. So I eagerly continued on.
The balmy summer at Blandings Castle was very suitable for my summer holiday. Laid out in the lawns of Blandings Castle sipping wine, strolling through the rose gardens and striding through the woods, singing merrily whilst being pounded by evening rain were all experiences I shared with the characters, experiences which are very reminiscent of a good old British summer.
There are delightful love stories involving the double-act of Ronnie Fish and his pal Hugo Carmody. Ronnie and Hugo become entwined in a romantic mix-up which causes them to become betrothed to those they do not love, namely the lovely Sue Brown, a chorus girl, and wholesome Millicent Threepwood, whose squeezed position among her aunts has led her to develop an assertive demeanor. The unrequited love meets accidental engagement is a theme so ubiquitous in P.G. Wodehouse novels that it happens more times than pig-kidnappings, but is just as welcome. To further trouble the otherwise tranquil Market Blandings, Hugo, having recently become Lord Emsworth’s (amateur) secretary, meets the stern disapproval of erstwhile secretary Rupert Baxter, who is invited back to Blandings Castle by the meddling Lady Constance.
Woven among these plots is a tale involving Percy Pilbream, an unpleasant private investigator, hired not only to track down the kidnapped Empress of Blandings but also surreptitiously destroy the memoirs of Galahad Threepwood before they can be published. I was so pleased to see Galahad enter into the plot. He’s a warm and entertaining character who is as keen to embroil himself in the controversies and conspiracies of Blandings as he is the drunken wildness of bachelorhood, although now in his later years he embarks on reminiscences rather than the real thing, much to our delight.
As with all P.G. Wodehouse books I’ve read so far, I would highly recommend it. I bought it for next to nothing from Amazon and suggest you do the same before the summer is out.
I’m so happy with this.
On Saturday night I was dragged away from the #dolectures party whilst mid-dance. @rhodri captured me articulating my disappointment. CONTAINS SWEARS.
At first it may seem like the rant of a drunken man, but on closer inspection you will find a discussion on the computational theory of the mind, the evolution of dancing and Alien intelligent design.
And then, I don’t know where it was like (swears) we’ve been designed by aliens yeah? And they’ve just tapped into my BIOS and they’re like reconfiguring my (swears) my RAM, like they’ve put me onto 64-bit, when previously I was on 32-bit. Like that. But, but, for the reason of, it’s not like there’s like, you know, maths. I’m like “Yeah, I’m good at maths” and then there’s 64-bit maths. NO! It’s like, I was like dancing! And then they’re like “WOAH”. Like, you’ve got your brain, and there’s like, yeah there’s like eating dinner and going to the shops and having a job, and then, then we’ve doubled the cqapacity, and the other half is for dancing. (inaudible)
And I thought this was brilliant, this is my calling and then I got the “oh, we have to go home now” and then we’re not even home! I’m not even in bed! I’m in a (swears) pub! I mean, to be honest though I probably would have preferred to be in the pub. But you know, but like, what about the aliens?
You wait 6 months for a mix and then two show up in one week.
This one’s better than the previous. It’s alright. Sorry about the glitching 36 minutes in. Technological mind vomit.
Twin Sister – Bad Street
Tim & Jean – I Can Show You (Jump Jump Dance Dance Remix)
Marius – Yester
Savoir Adore – Loveliest Creature (Lightwaves Remix)
Rubblebucket – Silly Fathers (RAC Remix)
Mitzi – India
Body Language – Falling Out
SHINDU – Happy House
AUSTRA – Spellwork (MNDR Nighttime Remix)
Tycho – Hours
Mayer Hawthorne – A Long Time (Chromeo Remix)
Cassian – Getting High (Original Mix)
Whitest Boy Alive – Golden Cage (Fred Falke Remix)
Madeon – Pop Culture (Live Mashup)
Mitzi – All I Heard (Radio edit)
Purity Ring – Ungirthed
Wild Belle – Keep You