Away with the Birds: a digital landscape of birds, mimesis and song

30 November 2015 // Art


An interview with Hanna Tuulikki by Rob St John

In 2014, a group of ten women performed a new vocal composition inspired by birds, Gaelic music and the landscape of the Isle of Canna, a small island off the west coast of Scotland. The performers – each dressed in costumes inspired in part by the plumage of waders such as the redshank and oystercatcher – sang together in the water of the island’s harbour, on the shoreline and on a floating, skein-shaped jetty. The piece “Air falbh leis na h-eòin – Away with the Birds”, explored the tradition of the mimesis of birds in Scottish Gaelic song, and was written and performed by artist and composer Hanna Tuulikki as part of a project commissioned by the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme. (more…)

Archipelago 10th anniversary celebration. Somerville College. Oxford.

29 November 2015 // Events //Magazines

from-the-wheelhouseAndrew McNeillie

Andrew McNeillie and friends launched the tenth issue of the literary magazine Archipelago in Oxford recently. Sue Brooks was lucky enought to join them:

At night aboard the Archipelago, we steer by the stars. We study charts and flows and promises of fair weather, threats of foul – deadlines sworn to on an author’s life, deadlines run aground on the rocks…….

One of the great pleasures of the magazine over almost a decade, has been the editorial by Captain A. McNeillie, owner, publisher and instigator of ten voyages in the good ship Archipelago. The charts cover the margins of the unnameable constellation of islands on the Eastern Atlantic coast. The Captain navigates by the stars above and the contributors below – his stellar crew. (more…)

In praise of being lost.

29 November 2015 // Miscellany //Radio //Walking

By Sue Brooks.

There are pleasures in being lost – I know some of them well – but not if time is against you and it’s getting dark. Walking out of a newsagents in a back street in Oxford with a tiny folded street map was a moment of pure joy.

I thought of Will Self. A great champion of the art and skill of being lost. His inaugural lecture at Brunel University (Walking is Political ) shines in my memory. A young woman is walking along a London street, that much is clear, but what is happening in her consciousness seems to take place in another dimension. It is a world totally divorced from her surroundings: she is listening to music through MP3 earphones with eyes glued to the arrow on the GPS screen on her Iphone. At the moment of leaving a Tube Station, stepping into the street and pressing the GPS button, you are lost, says Mr Self. You have your exact location, but without orientation it is meaningless. The skill of being lost is allowing ourselves to be disorientated, rather than handing it over to the SatNav. Internal map-making, which starts by paying acute observation to our surroundings, is basic to human memory. We abdicate it at our peril. (more…)

Nature Goth Walks 1

28 November 2015 // Nature Goth Walks

Following her ‘Ghosts of the Great North Wood‘ series last year, Karen D Tregaskin has been doing a lot of walking through the great ring cemeteries of outer London. She has kindly allowed us to post the resulting words and sketches. Here is the first instalment.

1: Juggernaut Oak – Camberwell Old Cemetery
This massive oak probably predates the cemetery, as the heavily wooded Northeastern section featured gracious avenues interspersed with memorials. Although overgrown now, and lush with wildflowers (the woods support several apiaries) the whole area is under threat, as Southwark Council plan to open the area up for new burials, and there has been heavy local opposition to the plan.

For more illustrations, please visit Karen D Tregaskin’s Flickr / Tumblr/ Twitter

Caught by the Reaper – Allen Toussaint

27 November 2015 // Remembrance

Allen Toussaint died on 10 November, aged 77. Tim Tooher pays tribute:

The world lost something last week. Allen Toussaint left it. Nowadays, when famous musicians die, Facebook gets filled with YouTube clips posted in tribute. Two weeks ago, Allen Toussaint died after a concert in Spain and my timeline was filled with videos of Allen’s songs sung by the man himself, as well as by artists he produced. This time though, there was something a little different about it all. This time, the loss somehow seemed to be personal. It wasn’t just that a musical hero was gone, but almost like people had lost a friend. I even received a few messages from people telling me how sad they were and how they were seeking consolation in Allen’s music. (more…)