Last autumn, the filmmaker Angela Guyton approached me to make some videos about/around my work The wreck of former boundaries. In her initial proposal, she was interested in probing some of the issues around creativity, creative blockages, and some of the practicalities of ‘making’ that I’d been talking about in various settings over the last few years. We’ve worked with Angie quite a lot at CeReNeM over the years, and her work has been unceasingly brilliant, no matter what task we’ve thrown at her. She’s also a regular attendee of the CeReNeM postgraduate seminars (her partner is the fantastic composer and improvisor Rodrigo Constanzo, a former PhD student at Huddersfield), and her contributions have always been elegant, personal, and well-considered, and she’s an important part of our post-graduate community. And she’s definitely become a friend. In short, I had no idea what she’d actually make when she asked me to make these videos, but I’d learned to trust her over the years—I knew that whatever she made would be personal, intimate, and innovative, and would almost certainly bring out something in my work or in me that I didn’t anticipate. It’s what she does.
In the end, what she proposed was very simple: she wanted to film me listening to the electronic version of my piece The wreck of former boundaries (here in a stereo version of the 5.1 channel original). I can’t say I was entirely comfortable—there were multiple cameras on various tripods and portable mounts, and quasi-choreographed/quasi-improvised portable lighting rigs moving around me (Angie was controlling the cameras and was giving instructions on the fly to her two assistants)—so all I could do was close my eyes and do my best to block it all out and listen, partly knowing what I was about to hear, partly knowing I was being watched, and partly just enjoying listening to a piece I’m actually rather proud of. Which, in the end, was surely exactly what Angie wanted to capture. It’s weird to watch it now … but I really like that it represents a very particular kind of trust. I’m used to being on the radio or on TV (something I’ve been doing since my old boychoir days in the 80s), but this was clearly something different, and there are very few people I’d trust to put me in this situation.
She also filmed about an hour of interview footage. Whatever trust she’s established over the years came through—the conversation was deeply candid and deeply enjoyable, and she managed to capture some insights into my recent work that I don’t think I’d ever quite articulated before. (David Pocknee, who is one of our PhD students at CeReNeM and was assisting with the audio recording of the interviews, certainly played an important role in the questioning as well, particularly towards the end of the session.) The edited version of that interview will be available soon in the lead-up to the release of the CD on HCR/NMC of the full ensemble version of The wreck of former boundaries in mid-May 2017, for which Angie also made this rather extraordinary trailer.