Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands

Getting Better

September 1st, 2014


The Commentators were much better on Sunday than they were on Saturday. After that first day we reflected on what went well and what could have gone better. As each outing for The Commentators is a new setting we have to answer the question as to how it works in that setting. Sometimes that can be established in advance; at the BE Festival we made a plan and executed it. Sometimes we have to learn from experience. Continue reading “Getting Better” »

Folk Commentary

August 31st, 2014

The Commentators did a full eight hour shift at Moseley Folk Festival yesterday. Their coverage of events was audible through speakers at various points around the site and now in bite size podcast form via Soundcloud. Remember these are not carefully crafted pieces made for radio, they are slices of the vast sprawling rolling thing.

There is more to come today.

Access All Areas

August 29th, 2014


Terrifyingly someone has slipped The Commentators Access All Areas wristbands for the Moseley Folk Festival, which means they can now bring their loyal listeners exclusive coverage from everywhere and anywhere. Tonight Johnny Marr was able to suit-up un-commentated upon backstage but tomorrow night will Richard Thompson be so lucky? On Saturday will The Waterboys escape having their entire rider inventoried over the airwaves?

Visit this website regularly over the weekend for regularly posted podcasts bringing you the ‘Almost Live’ experience of Moseley Folk. If you are on-site over the weekend seek out any one of nine listening posts to find out exactly what’s going on where you are and in areas not everyone can access.

Look No Rice!

August 27th, 2014

Our agent in Denver has sent us news of a neat piece of ‘Data Art’ – as I’m learning to call it. Where we traditionally use rice to count things, here the artist uses time. Not being at full mental flexibility just now it took me a moment to cotton but not I have I think it’s great. If you like Of All The People In All The World there is a good chance you may like this.

Sporting Performance

August 20th, 2014

I have been very much enjoying this summer of sport. The domestic football season seems to go on so long and become so all pervading that it’s a relief when other sports get some exposure.

The double dose of athletics has been particularly refreshing. This very excellent TED Talk helps us see all this running and jumping in an arresting new light. Are athletes really getting Faster, Better or Stronger or are they just being more carefully selected and using better equipment with a different mindset? Watch and learn.

Tune in to The Commentators to hear if the Moseley Folk Festival really is getting better each year – they will be using the same lip-mics they always have.

Furious Folly

August 19th, 2014


There has been a lot of art sloshing around the centenary of the start of WW1, including our own collaboration with Nenad Prokic, Finger Trigger Bullet Gun, but there is nothing that I have wanted to see more urgently than Mark Anderson’s Furious Folly.

Mark is a brilliant artist and spot on person. He is bright and imaginative enough to draw inspiration from the Dadaist response to World War 1. He has the pyrotechnic skills to make you feel you are stood in the middle of World War 1 but the sensitivity and artistic craft to resist doling out shell shock to his audience.

In Northcroft Park, Newbury he is curating a team of artists to make something that is bound to be extraordinary. The real blow is that it is the same weekend (last weekend in August) that we’re engaged with The Commentators at Moseley Folk Festival. Which could become the dictionary definition of The Sublime and The Ridiculous.

Pif-Paf Whoosh

August 18th, 2014


I have just spent a somewhat ill-judged couple of days in a field. Fortunately, just as I was starting to drown in the mire Pif-Paf sailed to my rescue. The company had spent a few days @ A E Harris way back in November 2011 working on a show which I am sure was going to be called something else but must have eventually became Something To Hold.

The show was perfectly judged for this family festival environment. The children were instantly enchanted by two sprite-like beings who evoked the wonder of stardust. Then the music kicked in and the running and spinning started and I couldn’t help but be enchanted.

Performed without words around a large gyroscopic contraption part telescope, astrolabe and ship the piece is has a great spinning energy. The narrative is tight enough to give a dynamic sense of direction and lose enough to accommodate interpretations and diversion. As I read it a ship’s captain / navigator is charting the stars and his route, is swept around and lost in a storm, haunted by sirens / sea spirits who he wrestles. He is subsumed and beaten. He is rescued and abandoned – something like that, but it doesn’t matter. The piece is performed with verve and focus, the music drives it on and takes it places. There is a fantastic sequence with ropes becoming a bull’s head on the sailor. The piece is choreographed by Motionhouse‘s Kevin Finnan and the teaming of him and Pif-Paf seems to work extremely well. It was twenty glorious minutes in weekend mild aesthetic torment.

Thank You

July 30th, 2014


Thank you for everyone who listened in to Tuning Out To Radio Z last night and to our volunteer sleepers Roger and Andrea as well as Ester, who helped us make the show originally and was at the conference so stepped in to help me deal with incoming text messages.

Our installation Of All The Creatures Across The Globe remains at Warwick University as part of the IFTR conference until Friday afternoon – please ignore the conference literature that says you have to book time slots, this turns out not to be the case.

The original Of All The People In All The World continues at St. Martin’s Parish Centre in Worcester until Friday at 5pm.

Tune In

July 29th, 2014

Listen to Tuning Out With Radio Z 19:45 – 21:45 here. You can also communicate with the show by logging into its website.

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Radio Z Returns

July 28th, 2014


On Friday things weren’t going so well with our efforts to revive Tuning Out With Radio Z, we’d forgotten quite how complicated it all is – despite being an improvised show. Continue reading “Radio Z Returns” »

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