Monday, May 19, 2014

Veryan Weston, Patricia Farrell, Jennifer Cobbing, and Rene Van Valckenborch

‘The film was called [Project 87] because Jennifer Pike was 87 years old the next day. She drove up to the studio with her artwork and equipment in the back of the car and I filmed the event on a little point and shoot camera. Jennifer is a very special person who is a very gifted and imaginative artist, performer and dancer with loads of unique ideas.’ (VW)
Last Monday we went to see Veryan Weston, Hannah Marshall and Jon Rose performing at the Blue Coat School (not the Bluecoat Arts Centre in town) with local boy Steve Boyland (who has collaborated with Scott Thurston).

It was a brilliant exploration of the organ in the chapel and was an experiment in half and quarter tones. I’ve got Veryan playing with Hannah Marshall on the CD Haste. And he has worked with Jon Rose a great deal. I don’t think all three have recorded together, and certainly not with Steve on vocals.

See Veryan’s website here, with a page of films here. Including the one above.
Patricia (Farrell) performed with Veryan and Jennifer Cobbing as recorded years ago here (and the visual text she made for it which was performed at the first Bury Text Festival and in London with Veryan Weston on piano in 2005, ‘something I had secretly wanted when I devised the piece but hardly thought possible’, as she wrote at the time, and which will be published by Veer soon). Go here and scroll down the page for Patricia’s images as separate posts; go here for her explanatory prose. 

 After the gig we retired to The Coffee House (a pub, despite the name!) and Patricia and I talked to Veryan about Jennifer (and many other things). I also fessed up about one of the odder poems in A Translated Man. Asked to write a poem for Jennifer Cobbing’s 90th birthday I was put on the spot. Either I broke my self-imposed (and generational) rule to ONLY write the poems of Rene Van Valckenborch or I had to stay in role. I chose the latter, and remembered in time that I had a recording of Veryan Weston’s brilliant Tassellations recorded – magic! in Brussels – at a building Van Valckenborch had written about in his ‘twitterodes’ (‘fixed point or vortex/canopied ingress egress/the solidity of glass held by black wrought ironwork a cage for shoppers musical instruments’). You can hear Jennifer dancing on the CD and I decided that Rene Van Valckenborch was there (that he is also clearly watching Kevin Ayres in the Waloon south on the same testifies to more than his bilingualism). Thank God Veryan didn’t think that this was the maddest thing ever. Hear an extract of Tassellations here.  

Here is VanValckenborch's poem, written in French. (I would like to have been there with him.)

from background pleasures

from book two

with veryan weston

for jennifer                               for luthéal piano
pike                                          composition
for improviser
too quiet to be heard’

we hear her
dancing in
brussels / rustles

a brush of heels
on floor gushes
printing vibrant scrolls                                                (2003
the clavecin                                                                 14)
stop out the quills
quiver zitherly

the tap with a clap
or slap falls into frenzied
pentatones the harpe-

tirée stop pulled free
felt drops to
strangle an octave & lift it

this                                      (mute)                                      (stone


moment                                   (voice)                                     (mask


jennifer                                   (over)                                      (monument                                                                                       

flattens like a kiss
the floor raising itself
to choreograph its tesserae       

modestly pianissimo her
strings do not vibrate                         
against the quills                                            

Watch Patricia Farrell and myself performing  this part of ‘Background Pleasures’ in the (visible) presence of Jennifer here:

Jennifer is now living in a nursing home in Bristol but we saw her last year at the opening of the Bob Cobbing exhibition at Liverpool John Moores organised by Rosie Cooper and William Cobbing. She seemed well for a woman (artist) of 94.

There is a further post about Veryan Weston here.