Wednesday, 21 September 2011

New arrivals/inspiration

At work, the academic year is starting, new students are arriving and milling about the campus. It's the pinnacle of a long summer of preparation.

Yesterday, I met Paul J Abbott, induction manager at the University of Salford, a man who genuinely has an excuse to be busy at this time of year, what with 6,000 newcomers on campus and him expected to welcome them all. But that's not stopped his creativity. He's an experimental musician and as he watched the freshers zig zag across campus an idea came to him. He would make their journeys into a piece of music.

It would have been really easy for Paul to say this is the wrong time of year, I can't compose now, I'm much too busy. But instead he turned his day job into art. He made a large map and asked students to mark on it the beginning point of their journey, and to tell him how long it took them to get there.

He explains what he did next:
"By working with an acetate overlay I was able to identify musical lines from using rotations around the point of the compass. These were interpreted into a series of rhythmic phrases by normalising the start points for each journey and using the various times of landing, or points of arrival, to establish a series of complex patterns. The score is in part a text piece around a series of phrases which can be performed by three or more performers."
The result is called Points of Arrival. It was commissioned by Manchester's own Chiasmus Ensemble and you can watch its first performance here. It's had several outings since, including a performance by Paul himself last night.

Musicians make music. Artists make art. Writers write. No matter how busy they are. Because everything around us (even pigeons, see previous blog post) is potential inspiration.

One creative idea often leads to another too. One of Paul's latest projects is to lend a hand with the rehabilitation of the Black Lion pub, on the corner of Blackfriars and Chapel Street. It's been shut for a while, but is now coming back to life as an creative centre for the arts with a live performance space, cinema and bar, thanks to Salford film production company Future Artists.

This Saturday, 24th September, they're holding a Pledge, Pitch, Play, Party event - the public votes for one of ten shortlisted acts - Paul is one of them - and the winner will receive free performance space at the Black Lion.

Why not get down there on Saturday and be inspired?

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