Seattle International Film Festival..

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me and harold performing at the egyptian theater…picture by eric edelheit

Here I am flying over Montana, going home via New York and London, on my way back from the Seattle International Film Festival. Now before I do my usual rant about travelling I’d like to assure you all that it pains me greatly to criticise my other fellow passengers but sometimes I really do feel that the experience for others travelling with me cannot be nearly as bad for them as it is for me, travelling with them. Take for example the person in front of me who has had her seat in full recline since take off. I can’t imagine I’m bothering her much. Then there is the budding child psychologist behind, that’s right the one who just asked me not to recline my seat as it may upset her child. The one whose small child has been crying in pain since we reached a pressurised altitude, the one that, when the flight attendant suggested giving the child something to suck, responded that she couldn’t possibly ask (?) her child to suck something is was habit forming and anyway it’s good for the child to cry as it releases endorphins… mmm, hey, I’m releasing endorphins here myself, lady…. Anyway this is one part of my life, the travelling in close proximity to others while my brain is disengaged from gear where I find myself intolerant but at least I have come to smile and just get on with it and badmouth them behind their backs on the internet instead of leaning over and pouring my complimentary drink and pretzels over them..
OK, I’m not really getting to the point so I’ll try to clarify what I’ve been up to.
I came out here to join Harold Budd in performing a live score to an evening of short surrealist films at the Egyptian Theatre in Seattle as part of SIFF. I love that acronym, they can’t possibly realise that in Scotland it means a sexually transmitted disease. Anyway, as I was saying, we were asked to perform we felt it’d be a nice thing to do so we agreed a couple of months ago and thought not much more about it. I’d been playing some shows around the UK and Harold had been moving home, so we actually talked about it much. The choice of films to work with was made by Reed O’Beirne, a friend and expert in the field, a man who has evidently ingested a halliwell’s at some point in his life. The program was varied and interesting and we had problems only perhaps with two pieces as the content was seeming just a little busy and erratic for us to play to, but hey, you can’t have everything. So I arrived in Seattle and greeted warmly at the SIFF Guest relations, which shouldn’t have seemed a surprise, given that it’s their job, but for me it was a nice feeling to be made feel important for a change. I met up with Harold and almost straight away we were ushered away for a rehearsal at the music department of the Cornish College of the Arts at Capitol Hill, a most intimidating establishment, where real musicians were practicing real music. That was the first time in my life that I’ve entered into a place like that and apart from having a feeling like ‘the only way I could justify being here is if I take a job as the janitor’, I was amazed to see what a sterile environment that musicians learn their craft in. It has to be said, though that harold seemed to know his way around but then he’s a proper musician and doesn’t even flinch at the mention of black notes..

The films that we worked with were the following :
Meshes of the Afternoon [1943 Maya Deren]
Tung [1966 Bruce Baillie]
Hands [1934 Ralph Steiner & Willard Van Dyke]
Oramunde [1933 Emlen Etting]
Thimble Theater [1938 Joseph Cornell]
The Furies [1934 Slavko Vorkapich]
The Fall of the House of Usher [1928 J.S. Watson, Jr. & Melville Webber]
Spook Sport [1940 Mary Ellen Bute, Ted Nemeth & Norman McLaren]

The show? well, it was kinda fun, very simple setup, just guitar and piano. Some of the films I liked immensely, well the Maya Deren and Bruce Baillie especially, some of them I didn’t care for, which is a polite way to say that they sucked. Harold, never one to make it easy for me, used lots of black notes (er, see earlier janitor thought) but I countered this by playing the same chord for what seemed like a couple of hours. At times it was almost transcendental, although I’m sure if I ever heard back a live recording I’d think ‘OK just where are the black key notes on this guitar? I should find out really… maybe my guitar doesn’t have them, it’s old’ or something equally as pathetic. Ah, thank goodness for my highly developed denial system… I enjoyed myself, I think Harold did too. But we enjoyed ourselves even more listening in on the conversations of the filmmakers, producers and general film industry hustlers over breakfast at our hotel. This was, well as entertaining as when I wrote before about going to Starbucks at the Sundance Film Festival. Except that when two people eavesdrop for the purpose of cynical entertainment, it’s almost impossible not to laugh out loud, but thankfully when we did, no-one noticed because they all had their heads stuck so far up their own assholes that it must have been impossible to hear anything.
I learned something, though, probably another of many reasons for my marginality. In this business one has to have people. Let me explain. If I want to give you a CD of some music to listen to I, well, er give it to you. Right? Ha.. Big mistake… I have to have my people give it to your people. Problem is, I have no people but I’m sure if I could find some, well, I have my people write this weblog so that your people can read it… See I get it…

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carl spence, myself and harold doing a Q&A after the show..picture by eric edelheit

So… it wouldn’t be nice if I didn’t mention some of the folks who made my stay more interesting. Carl Spence for asking us in the first place, Barbara, Randi, Amy, Davie Blue, Eric, Holden, Kris, Ken, Reed, Ted, Tom, Igor, Josie and Holly….

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3 Responses to “Seattle International Film Festival..”

  1. Just slap a capo on the 1st or 5th fret and lose your inner janitor (although I’m pretty sure you have many a ‘virtual capo’ setting in that roland vg 88 unit)….I think it is much more rewarding to learn music in smelly, moldy basements, garagelands and smelly, little clubs with ungrounded circuits that give you budget ECT to kill the musician blues……good to see you back (although the dates of June lead me to believe you are still in Guantanamo Bay……)

  2. ah so wish i could of made this show,
    cheers

  3. my comment is not realy comment,well, its more like compliment,I dont know… . Shall You planing visit some of baltic states, estonia for example, or even scandinavia-finland ? Cocteau is, was (?), everything for me, starting year 84,
    when I discovered You.
    And Your solo is even harder, Im slowdiving into this, its amasing, dont have words for this…..
    Where from all this gold,honey,Music is goming…,
    how You do this, where You finding inspiration.
    Thank You, You did lot for me, do understand world…

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