Just in case you haven’t had enough of my recent demands for fundraising cash, what with the Resonance FM auction and all (with thanks to Mr. Nick Stone for a very generous winning bid on my tape-loop editing workshop), I’d like to draw to your attention another most worthy cause; this time set amongst the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles, California (rather than just opposite the Pret-A-Mange on Borough High Street). You may recall a few weeks ago my mentioning the publication of Drink The Rest Of That, a collection of short stories by Foggy-collaborator and genius raconteur Guy J. Jackson? Well, a few weeks is a long time in Hollywood, possibly the only city in the world -as I discovered last year- where you can be heckled for walking; so now Guy has another project on the go, as the writer for a contemporary film-noir currently in development entitled ‘Day For Night’:
(Obviously this video is embedded from the Kickstarter page, so instructions to scroll down and sideways should be taken with a pinch of Hollywood salt)
If Alfred Hitchcock, Raymond Chandler, and a desperate actress/waitress had a love child, it would be Day For Night. A tightly wound psychological thriller set in present-day Hollywood, this film examines the fine line between nurturing a dream and fueling an obsession—and what happens when you cross it. Populated with distinct and dynamic characters, Day For Night comes from an award-winning team of filmmakers who have been inspired by the L.A. Noir genre.
Fans of Guy’s amiable surrealism and dark, twisted comedy will already have a pretty good idea of what to expect of this collaboration with Tasmanian director Michael Chrisoulakis. Those wishing to learn more can find further information on the film’s Kickstarter page, as well as Facebook or Twitter accounts. The film is already partially shot and has reached 50% of it’s funding target, but there’s still quite a way to go on this ‘all or nothing’ Kickstarter campaign and just over two weeks to reach their goal, so please go to their funding page and just do whatever feels good and right.
OK, that’s the hard sell over. Here’s another story from Drink The Rest Of That as a reward:
It’s #FundRaisingWeek once again at Resonance FM, which means another seven days of special broadcasts, one-off events and lots and lots of highly desirable items up for grabs in this year’s Ebay auction, with all money raised helping to keep the greatest radio station in the world on air for yet another year. And in these straitened times they need your help more than ever. So, what’s up for grabs in 2015? Here’s my own contribution:
‘A Howl-To Guide’: A Day Of Tape-Loop Creation With Robin The Fog
“A glorious morning spent searching for extraordinary noises in ordinary places in the company of sound artist and composer Robin The Fog, followed by an instructive afternoon dubbing those sounds onto magnetic tape and creating and editing wondrous tape loop compositions, with the results to be broadcast on Resonance FM at a later date. Recording and editing equipment, including tape machines and razor blades, will be provided and the lucky winner(s) will be sent home with a tape spool of their handiwork”.
Speaking personally, a day spent doing this sort of thing is my idea of heaven, and I’m hoping lots of you will agree at least enough to make a decent bid. Further details (including an important disclaimer against razor-related loss of thumbs or other injuries) plus innumerable other delightful items available at the Special Resonance FM Fundraising website here. But the vast majority of you who require no more persuading to support this worthiest of causes can simply whizz straight over to the item’s Ebay page and BID NOW!
Please make the bids nice and high, because 100% of the money raised goes straight to Resonance, and of course because playing with tape is tremendous fun and I’m reliably informed that I’m reasonably affable company. If this workshop ends up being even half as profitable as last year’s ‘Howlround Haunts Your Home’ project, the lucky winner is in for a very enjoyable experience indeed:
Another item currently up for grabs is an old favourite – ‘Play OST For Me‘, in which the highest bidder wins the chance to present their very own bespoke edition of The OST Show, with all their favourite soundtracks and every whim indulged by that redoubtable broadcaster, smutty raconteur and general man of letters Jonny Trunk, who has promised to be on his very best behaviour for the occasion. This item always proves surprisingly popular, so GET BIDDING QUICKLY! I shall be popping up on this Saturday’s show to promote both this and the aforementioned tape editing workshop, plus we’re also expecting a visit from the brilliant Pete ‘Monsterism’ Fowler; who has very kindly donated this completely awesome original work to the cause:
My sources tell me there may also be a four-year-old guest on the show, but he is purely there for entertainment value and most certainly NOT up for auction. More details on all of this as we get them and I might even be able to shoe-horn in some new tape music by Howlround that’s currently in production. Unless Jonny pulls that face again. You know the one:
Presented for your approval, my report on the magnificent Konono No.1‘s three-day residency at Cafe Oto in London, as broadcast this week on the BBC World Service programme ‘Focus On Africa‘. Freshly arrived from Kinshasha, and with translation provided by Ata Ahli of BBC Afrique, band leader Augustin Mawangu talks about his reaction to London crowds and the history of the band he now leads, originally founded by his father back in the late sixties:
I was lucky enough to snag a ticket for the opening performance before their unprecedented five-show run sold out, and to interview this relaxed and talkative chap enjoying an entirely justified after-show high – who could blame him? But the path of the broadcast journalist is seldom paved evenly and this first commission of the year came with a minor caveat: along with my usual list of questions, I had been asked by the Focus editorial team to obtain ‘vox-pops’ from members of the crowd after the group came off stage, just in case the following afternoon’s interview should fall-through and the package need fleshing out. Now, I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I am most certainly not a fan of our on-going mania with soundbite culture, encouraging random passers by to engage in idle conjecture in lieu of actual meaningful or factual content. In fact, I object to it all rather strongly. But, as you may have noticed, the BBC are all for it, and I like to think I’m mature enough to put my own mis-givings aside and go with something vaguely resembling the flow, especially when finances are tight and my editor is calling the shots – ‘bitch gotta make rent’ as Caitlin Moran might have put it.
Of course, walking up to complete strangers brandishing a recorder is seldom an agreeable position to find yourself in, so as I strode semi-purposefully through a venue packed to capacity with post-gig revellers, I resolved to ease myself gently into the proceedings by starting with someone I recognised. Quickly spotting an old acquaintance whom I knew to be something of a music expert, I reasoned he would be as good a place to start as any.
Or so I thought. In hindsight, my polite request for his thoughts on the evening proved to be quite an error, for they opened up some kind of internal flood-gate, resulting in a rather unexpected torrent of vitriol about just how much he hated soundbites and interviews of this nature and mainstream broadcasting in general; finishing with the suggestion that I go stick the whole endeavour up my proverbial – not quite what I was looking for. Attempting to pour oil over these ridiculously over-troubled waters, I explained that I wasn’t terribly keen on this approach myself, but had an editor to answer to; which was met with the snarky riposte ‘No you don’t. You design your life how you want it to be!’ While I was momentarily trying to figure out what the hell that actually meant, my subject then delivered what he clearly considered the killer blow by proceeding to ruminate for the benefit of my recorder on just how harrowing the holocaust must have been – his idea of a compromise, presumably. Such thoughts off his chest, and with no apparent plans on the horizon to design a life other than that of the pretentious, self-righteous ass-hat he had apparently become since our last meeting, I decided to leave him to it. Surely one of the strangest ever responses to a polite ‘How did you enioy the show?’
The funny thing is that in principle we appear to agree on both the subject of soundbites in journalism and the horror of Hitler’s final solution, but I can’t help thinking that it’s a little unsporting to try and shoe-horn the latter into an item that, given the current state of world-affairs, was presumably one of the very few remotely positive or light-hearted news stories Focus On Africa ran that day. I also like to imagine that I can maintain such opinions without having to resort to being a complete dick about them when probed on the subject. This is after all a report on a concert, an enjoyable and friendly social event, not the scene of some unholy apocalyptic massacre. Thankfully all this nonsense was rendered entirely immaterial the following afternoon, when Augustin gave such a fine interview that everything else was deemed superflous to requirements. I had originally decided that this encounter was the single most ridiculous thing to have happened in 2015 thus far until a bizarre incident this morning in which some mad old trout branded me a ‘Popinjay Hipster’. Now THAT is how you do soundbites! Or at least it would be, had I been recording her…
These minor quibbles aside, thanks must go to Augustin Mawangu for being such a candid and interesting interviewee, Ata Ahli for the translation from French, Kim Chakanetsa for being super and tour manager Michel Winter for his help in arranging everything. I should also thank Vincent Luttman of Nostalgie Ya Mboka for providing an equally fascinating history of the band that was very sadly cut for time. I shall have to make use of his contribution one day, but meanwhile you can take advantage of his expertise on Congolese music for yourself by tuning to Resonance FM every Saturday at 1330. He was also the very first person in the UK to host a live performance by Konono No.1 way back in 2004, though everybody else seems to have forgotten this fact.
Seriously, this band are one of the most incredible live acts I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing and I urge you to go if you happen to have access to any of the cities they’re visiting as part of their European tour this month. It’s a pity we couldn’t have had longer with Agustin as there were so many more questions I would have liked to put past him, but the interview had to be slightly curtailed – partly because it was freezing and partly due to the presence of two middle-aged men dropping C-bombs and borderline racist remarks within earshot of my recorder. Weirdly, they appeared to have actually attended and enjoyed the gig as well, which made their aggressive and confrontational posturing even harder to figure out. What a confusing mix of human nature I’ve encountered while compiling this report. I suppose we shall just have to chalk it up to people increasingly designing their lives how they want them to be, which may prove rather tiresome for the rest of us in the long-run…