The past is a foreign country they do things differently there. The opening lines in L P Hartley’s book The Go-Between resonate now that we are in lockdown as we struggle to recall how life used to be. Our memories now, more than ever, precious examples of the way we were and may never be again.
In Mind Travels, I read from postcards sent to me over a period of years by my parents. The holidays they took long gone mementos of their pleasure in the world sent from countries recently overwhelmed by the current plague.
Interspersed are recordings of people playing their favourite tunes on the pianos at St Pancras International accompanied by the hustle and bustle of travellers, train announcements to destinations such as Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Corby and the City of Light, Paris. Reminders of the life now stationary.
With thanks to the St Pancras pianists and William English for producing this programme.
I was delighted to be included in this event. Here is a link to a section devoted to small pieces. My work is called Ex Post Facto a three minute collage taken from a work in progress of the same name which includes text, readings, images and sound:
What is this thing called love?
On St Valentine’s Day DJ Hybridist and William English explore love’s variants through music and text: older woman, younger man, lost love, the stark reality of love’s transience, love for place, the environment, nature, sons and mothers and the ultimate magnificent obsession akin to madness. Hear from RD Laing, Herbie Hancock, Anne Sexton, Abby Lincoln, Simone de Beauvoir, Claude Lanzmann, Nick Cave, Blue Nile, Roland Barthes, Laura Nyro, Erwin Mortier, Mandy Patinkin, Patrick McGuinness, Pharoah Saunders and Marc Ribot.
Find us on Resonance Radio 104.4FM
What Did You Eat Today?
This week’s guests are Steven Cleary, Lead Curator, Literary and Creative Recordings at the British Library and Sandra Cross whose extensive recordings of her journal ‘Limbo’ are now available via the British Library Online Sound and Moving Image catalogue. On November 8th, Sandra’s film ‘Limbo’ overlaid with readings from the journal, will be screened in the Knowledge Center at the British Library. Free, ticket required. 19.15-20.45
The British Library has one of the largest sound archives in the world, containing over 1 million discs, 185,000 tapes, and many other sound and video formats, including born-digital files.
Steve has worked for the British Library sound archive since 1994 and was lead curator of the recent free exhibition ‘Listen: 140 Years of Recorded Sound’, which ran from 6 October 2017 to 13 May 2018.
His department collects and makes accessible documentary recordings of literary readings, drama, live art and other non-musical performance in Britain, together with recordings of ancillary material such as interviews and discussions.
The Library also generates its own recordings, made on location or in the British Library studio.
Limbo: A film by Sandra Cross
Fri 8 Nov 2019, 19:15 –
A hybrid film-journal
Artist and writer Sandra Cross introduces a screening of Limbo; a lament on loss in which ‘A landscape haunts as intense as opium.’ (Stephane Mallarme 1888).
Ten years of writing about and visiting her Mother who had ‘Probable Alzheimer’s’ resulted in a 2,000 page journal and a four-day reading. In this hybrid film journal we hear Sandra’s voice overlay the weekly train journey from London-Leicester as she reads the first extract, written in 2006. The recordings were made in public spaces symbiotic with the original writing on the repeated train journey, and the words blend with accompanying mechanical sounds and announcements, piano playing at St Pancras Station, whistles and slamming doors.
The complete Limbo recordings are available to listen to at the British Library.
Introduced by Stephen Cleary, Lead Curator, Literary and Creative Recordings at the British Library and followed by Q and A with Sandra Cross.
Part of our Season of Sound, the British Library’s annual celebration of all things audio.
Explore the British Library’s Sound Archive today and discover over 6.5 million extraordinary recordings covering speech, music, wildlife and the environment.
Name: Limbo: A film by Sandra Cross
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
When: Fri 8 Nov 2019, 19:15 – 20:45
Price: Free Event: £0.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
Wavelength broadcast 21st December 2018
on Resonance 104.4fm Friday 2:30pm ( repeats on Mondays at 5am)
To listen again, visit: http://williamenglish.com/category/wavelength/ (choose Yearly Archives 2018)
DJ Hybridist takes off her hat to Gil Scott-Heron
“The public ‘lifetime’ of an artist is comparable to that of an athlete – about five years. From thousands of individuals who consider themselves candidates for visibility and public notice, few ‘make it’. I have been blessed by the grace of the ‘spirits’ with the public’s attention for nearly six of those lifetimes – songs that I’ve sung and poems that I’ve written have been heard on every continent, in every country where people have records and books. How could I possibly complain?” So said Gil Scott-Heron in ‘Words Are for the Mind’ the introduction to his collection of song-poems ‘Now and Then’ published in 2000. This week, DJ Hybridist (Sandra Cross) looks at the man some called the ‘Godfather of Rap’ – a term he disputed as he explains in his own words.
Funny women, sensual women, suicidal women, joyful women, sassy, screwball women, protesting, politically engaged and annoyed women, musical women, modernist and modernising women, originators and original women. One day after International Women’s Day (March 8) and 90 years after all women over the age of 21 were allowed to vote, I, in my DJ Hybridist guise will share my selection of the strength of the female voice with the host of Wavelength, William English and his listeners: Yoko Ono, Mary Wollstencraft, Mary Shelley, PJ Harvey, Virginia Woolf, Angela Davis, Anne Sexton, Jean Rhys, Aretha Franklin, Dorothy Parker, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Little Axe, Nina Simone, M.I.A
You can find the programme here:
Film screening at the Poetry Society
22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX
Saturday December 2, 2017 2.30-4.30pm
‘Limbo’ Sandra Cross
Between a film and a journal
Colour with sound DVD 2017
a lament on loss
Ten years of writing about and visiting her Mother who had ‘Probable Alzheimer’s’
resulted in a 2,000 page journal and a four-day reading. In this hybrid film-journal
we hear Sandra’s voice overlay the weekly train journey from London-Leicester as
she reads the first extract written in 2006.
‘A landscape haunts as intense as opium’ Stephane Mallarme 1888
From Limbo, the journal:
‘I see her face reflected in the wing mirror. All of the harsh observations I have
made and will continue to make, are swept away as I see her face go through a
series of gentle transformations from sad and lost to hopeful as the sun warms her skin.’
races through her
wracking it with
where she is
the cries rise up
out of her
quaking body like
time known only to
‘Winder’ Gerry Smith
Colour plus sound DVD 2011
A film inspired by Paolo Uccello’s painting ‘The Battle of San Romano’ 1440
a work depicting part of the battle fought between Florence and Siena in 1432
which in turn inspired Gregory Corso’s poem ‘Uccello’ from his collection
A young girl reads from Corso’s poem:
‘They will never die on that battlefield
nor the shade or wolves recruit their hoard like brides of
wheat on all horizons waiting there to consume battle’s end
There will be no dead to tighten their loose bellies
no heap of starched horses to redsmash their bright eyes
or advance their eat of dead
They would rather hungersulk with mad tongues
than believe that in that field no man dies’
‘Chest Freezer’ William English
16 mm colour film plus sound
Out-takes from ‘Heated Gloves’ 2015
Footage dates from 1980-1990
A portrait of Captain Maurice Seddon (Royal Signals Retired)
A record of Maurice’s telephone conversation between him and someone
offering him a chest freezer.
Listen to me talking about my journal ‘Limbo’ and recordings with William English on his programme ‘Wavelength’. The programme was broadcast on 28 July 2017 and can be heard via: www.mixcloud.com/Resonance/playlists/Wavelength
Limbo is a journal written over a period of ten years, consisting of diary-like entries written after a weekly or bi-weekly visit from London-Leicester to visit my Mother. The 10 year journal amounts to 2,000 pages or 4 days worth of readings.
The repeated journeys, repetition of each visit, together with the movement from city to city, gave the work an ‘engine’ a dynamism. I wanted to retain this as a one-take experience. The text was written up from notes written on each visit, but there was no embellishment, changing, working on the text or what I can ‘baroquifying’. The text needed to be plain and true. The text which I subsequently recorded is read warts and all, all faults. Writing up the journal in a rush as close to the experience as possible is what I wanted. So there are grammatical errors, tense, etcetera, but these are part of that rushed lived exeperience. When I first started the journal, I wrote up the notes as quickly as I could, as I needed to remember as much as I could, what had happened, what was happening. It’s raw and hopefully true. Now, several years later, I wanted to reenergise the text which has led to me reading in environments associated with the visits ie on the train, on both St Pancras and Leicester stations and at the Curve theatre in Leicester. Taking the work back home to its roots as it were. In this way, the journal is brought back home making Limbo as much about place as time. The public environment with its ambient sounds reduces the content of the journal from being too personal and, instead of recording in a quiet, dead space, reading in a more public renvironment gives the work more life. There is something sad and strange about revisiting, by reading, events which took place some years earlier too. There’s a strange psychology to this. The repetition. The insistence on revisiting. Of reading something that happened before. Reading made me realise several things including just how skilled actors are. The voice is something which needs proper training and exercising. I discovered how exhausting it is to read and read…