I really hate the sea of phones at concerts, but in the absence of official footage, a reasonably good recording can sometimes be a lovely reminder of a wonderful experience. The press has run out of superlatives for David Byrne’s American Utopia tour, so I shan’t add too much other than to say I’m the luckiest human alive to have been gifted a once-in-a-lifetime ticket for the New Theatre, Oxford, to see what was probably the best concert of my life!
Shukhov, Kandinsky and blue satin drag queens, Bleak urban landscapes and old 80s has-beens, Ballet and Bartók and synthesised strings, These are a few of my favourite things.
I experienced my first ever Burn in 2017, and it blew me (and almost everything else there) away. Brian Doherty’s book on the birth, development and future of this extraordinary arts event is an excellent complement to the experience. I was particularly drawn to this paragraph, which references the first time Burners from San Francisco encountered the Black Rock desert: ***The notion of the “Cacophony Zone Trip” was derived from Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, a beloved art-school film that features a mysterious Zone that looks like the rest of the world but in which bizarre, inexplicable things occur … They all got out of their cars. Michael Michael drew a line in the playa surface, and the Cacophonists walked over it. They were in a different place now. Reality had mutated because they willed it thus. They had crossed into the Zone.***
Talking of the Zone, it’s one of my favourite films.
Lovely podcast here (featuring my hero John Foxx) celebrating what would have been Delia Derbyshire’s 80th birthday. She was an electronic music pioneer who worked for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and famous for creating the Doctor Who theme. Her other work, often dark and transcendent, is well worth exploring.
I worked with Dani Lam while living in rural France, and contributed vocals (singing, cursing, screaming) to a few tracks on this album.
In 2015 I got to share a stage with the inimitable David Byrne, as part of the Atomic Bomb choir at Meltdown. It was one of the most joyous, high-octane experiences of my life! RIP William Onyeabor, who died in January 2017.