I went along to this event fairly early, so I think that there were probably a few things I didn’t get to see. Even so it was pretty good and there were definitely some excellent pieces there which were very inspiring. So I’m pleased I got along there.
I’ve been a fan of the Radiophonic workshop even before I knew who they were. Since I started watching Doctor Who. I could probably say that their music was a contributory factor to me being interested in electronic music. So whenever I can get to see them, be that a talk or a performance, I make the effort.
The best part of this evening was the talk. In fact it was the best part by far. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the performance, I did. I was just a lot more interested in their stories and hearing about how they did some of the amazing things back at the height of the workshop’s era.
The best part of the talk by far was the description of how the original Doctor Who theme was made. They had a multitrack version that showed all of the individual parts of the track and how they work together. Of course, Delia didn’t have anything like this when she made it. She had to splice individual notes for each and every track.
They had great stories too. Stuff about how they made things. How they solved problems and made incredible music in a totally analogue environment. It was awesome.
Well it was a must really. I try to go every year anyway, but this year, as it was the 40th anniversary. I had to go. No choices at all.
It was a good beer festival too. I tend to go now on the opening night. It’s not as busy as the Friday, there’s more and if not all beers then almost all are available. I especially liked the glass this year, which I managed to get home in one piece, which was excellent.
On Wednesday I was lucky enough to get a ticket to a completely unique event at the building site that was BBC Television Centre. Resonance FM were running an evening of live broadcast from the east tower, which is due to be demolished in a month or so.
I found it to intriguing to not grab a ticket and go along. But I didn’t exactly know what to expect. At best I’d say that I’m an occasional listener to Resonance. I enjoy it when I do listen, but I couldn’t give you a clear idea of what their schedules look like. So it was a real adventure from every perspective.
Getting there was quite easy although the entrance wasn’t entirely obvious even though Resonance had given excellent directions. Once in we had to walk through the site and up in a very slow lift to the 9th floor.
The broadcast began at 6:30 with “The World in London”, which was extremely enjoyable and I learnt a lot about the Notting Hill Carnival. It featured live music by veteran Calypsonian Alexander D Great and steel pan virtuoso Debra Romain. Following that was a live performances by Howlround: a new musique concrète commission of Robin The Fog, using sounds recorded exclusively in TV Centre. Then Encounter with John Escolme, exploring the modernist design of TV Centre with contributions from architect Arthur Hayes and tv producer Emma Cashmore. Then the Resonance Radio Orchestra with Dudley Sutton, presenting a site-specific radiophonic extravaganza featuring the cult TV actor, and that was completely amazing.
I hadn’t really appreciated just how much of an emotional resonance the site would have for me before I got there, but the experience was actually very profound, very moving for a lot of reasons that I haven’t entirely thought through as yet, but I will.
Anyway, I wanted to share the pictures and a few thoughts too. It was a special evening.