The fifth instalment of Darren Hayman’s Thankful Villages project
Unlike most of the villages, Stoke Hammond has a huge sign as you enter saying ‘Stoke Hammond – A Thankful Village.’
It is also one of the biggest villages I have visited, almost a town. I struggled to find somewhere I could hide away. I was drawn to the town outskirts. At the end of a dusty lane I happened upon a stretch of the Grand Union Canal. Everything was still and the sun was slowly setting.
I tried to clear my mind and thought of the endless movement of a river or canal. I thought of a musical scale I sometimes taught beginner musicians, a simple scale in C, but going from F to F. I recorded it on the portable recorder I had, then I recorded it again and again and again. The flies over the canal fluttered and the water rippled so gently it almost looked like glass.
I tried to make the music ripple and flutter too. This was the first piece in this project where it took me some months to come back and finish it. When I came back to the canal recordings I was filled with regret and wanted to be back there with the low sun. I had stones I wanted to bury beside the river.
View the previous Thankful Villages posts here.
Darren, along with his band, will be performing songs from Thankful Villages at the Caught by the River Calder Festival on Saturday 23 January. More details here.