Sunday, November 10, 2013

Free Range lecture night (with Arlet)

Veg Box Cafe, Canterbury

"Performance lecture" night with musical interludes from a five-piece Arlet (the usual quintet, no Lucy this time), including a new tune ("Swiss Gourmet"),a surprise rendintion of the quasi-aleatoric "Bell Tent" tune, and a remarkably well crafted medley of classic horror film soundtrack themes (Psycho, Halloween, The Exorcist and The Shining, I think) — another example of Aidan's skill as an arranger...the overlaps and intersections between themes making it sound not like a conventional medley, but instead a coherent whole, almost like something he mighthave written for the group.)

Andy Birtwhistle, who I've seen do readings at Free Range Dada nights, gave a dry film theory lecture on optically generated film soundtracks and the materiality of sound (I think) while gradually being drowned out by his own soundtrack. Ben Hickman, accompanied by gentle, odd piano interjections from Sam Bailey, gave a surreal lecture starting with the history of biscuits and then tangenting off in countless directions, a kind of ultra-deadpan abstract standup comedy, almost impossible to describe in words here, the only comparable speaker I could only think of being Reggie Watts. My choice of topic, it being Hallowe'en, was the Fischer—Griess Monster (generally known simply as "the Monster"). "Perfoming" as my eccentric alter ego Prof. Raphael Appleblossom, I was accompanied by Sam on prepared piano, one of his CCCU music department improvising Scratch Orchestra students, Adam on clarinet, and another one or two SO members vocalising. Taking people on a whirlwind tour of the theory of finite simple groups in fifteen minutes, I was gradually being drowned out by my crescendoing accompanists. This wasn't pre-arranged, they just got very intensely into what they were doing (just as I was, in my cloud of chalkdust and flailing arms), but it happened at about the point that most of my non-mathematical audience would be giving up on trying to follow what I was saying, so it worked really well I thought. The Prof. became quite animated, ending up standing on a chair shouting at the seated audience "THE MONSTER HAS 808 THOUSAND MILLION MILLION MILLION MILLION MILLION MILLION MILLION MILLION ELEMENTS!!". And we somehow all ended together. A video of this, filmed on a camcorder being passed around the audience, may eventually surface...


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