I’m listening to a recording of Phenomena: The Forgotten Works. And, I’d like to tell you why you should listen to it too. Please listen to the recording before it is taken down from the web. I admit, I was tipped off to it (and positively encouraged to listen to the piece) by one of the performers of the piece, Oz.
Oz is a good friend and dear chap. He has got me out of all sort of scrapes with his books. Especially when I have been down on my health. I joke to Oz that “It is the ones who’ve cracked that the light shines through” and he understands – at the same time he gives a proverbial kick up the arse. Oz has a knack of articulating the un-sayable. Be that a nod of greeting between old friends or in his writing as a turn of happenstance that affirms greater humanity in me, its reader.
I like the man’s work.
Oz pointed me to the radio piece he did for Chapel FM in Leeds, Phenomena: The Forgotten Works, with Amina – a fellow poet. Chapel FM is a local arts radio station who I try and tune in to when I am not listening to ResonanceEXTRA. I know a few people who have been broadcast on the station and it is always heartening to hear familiars broadcasting through the æther.
What did I get from the work? Well, as a species there has never been a point in history when there is more that unites us. Yet, we choose to focus on the negative and the divisive – we are, as humanity, having a fight with ourselves. Oz & Amina manage to articulate, through the forty five minute recording, the ‘loving-hate’ of what it is to be alive in this millennium. Yet – it is a great ‘listen’ – for it gives you hope for the future. A future that is warts and all. A “Human” future.
The point of Art is to give a voice to the voiceless – so it is also with community radio – I think that is what Good Art should do; give a voice to the voiceless. Art is a community enterprise and a community investment. And this is Art. Phenomena: The Forgotten Works is a piece that would not be out of place on Klang Records, Room40 or some such label but being broadcast on a public medium. I am a fan of the quote “Where there is no gift there is no art” (attributed to Lewis Hyde). This work, being broadcast on local radio, took the sentiment literally – it was compelling radio. Great verse and great musicianship.
I have to note that the musicianship was tip-top – Karl Baxter is the name of the man holding it all down. One to watch out for.
In the work Phenomena, the giblets of mankind are picked over, as if under a microscope’s acute gaze. In essence, the acute gaze of a pair of poets (insert collective noun HERE). The hyper-text style verse of the narrative blends trauma with glee.
I thought that this recording is the anti-thesis to the current trend sweeping avant-culture at the minute. Said trend is to play sugar-pop in art institutions (think Britney Spears in Bauhaus). Phenomena: The Lost Works is people huddled around a cup of tea, in their houses, tuning in to the wireless and listening to something out of their comfort zone. I loved it. Forgotten works? Maybe – but, I am the better for finding them.