October 10th 2014

Hello there. Remember me? I used to trouble you with all manner of audio bewilderment on a regular basis. Believe this is only my second mail-out of 2014 though. Perhaps you imagined you’d shaken me off?!?

Well the news is you haven’t escaped a thing. Here I am, after several months of literally no time to update you, craving your indulgence, and a few moments of your time once again. Actually that was disingenuous: I’m after hours and hours, days in fact, of your time, because I am hugely hoping you will come and join in with Sonophilia, Lincoln’s new festival of Sound and Music, taking place in 2 weeks’ time, produced by a team of volunteers, largely bossed about by me! That’s right: the Slavin children are once more airing their early-learned promo skills and nobody is safe from flyers and goodwill.

We’ve a treasure trove of Sound Installation, experimental performance and live music lined up for you over the 4 days from Thursday Oct 23 until Sunday Oct 26. We’re also launching the Sonophilia Conference, within the festival programme, on Fri and Sat, Oct 24 and 25, for anyone with an interest in sound and music-related careers and techniques.

I won’t bang on about the detail here, as you may have other stuff to do this week, so please check out our website and Facebook presences:

I must tell you though, Sonophilia’s headline show, Fractal Sparks, is a unique adaptation of the show I worked on for the Durham Brass festival. We premierred it in Durham Cathedral back in July only I didn’t tell you about it properly, so you may not recall.

Fractal Sparks features music from multi-instrumentalist, singer and pioneer of the amazing Air Piano, Jo Hamilton, with songs from her forthcoming second album, Fractals. The songs are set amid immersive visual projections, wrapping the audience in breathtaking sound and light ... Yeah I know, sorry about the promo-speak already. It is a really great show though! Come and see it for yourselves!

Fractal Sparks is coming to Lincoln, to close the Sonophilia programme. The show takes place with two brilliant support acts, at the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC), Brayford Pool, on Sunday October 26 (that’s two weeks on Sunday), at 7pm. Please visit Sonophilia’s website and join us on Facebook for more information.

For ticket info, including great group deals, please visit LPAC’s website or call the Box Office on : 01522 837600

Thanks as always for making it this far.

Until soon.

Warmest Autumn wishes


May 2nd 2014

Hello friends

Hope this finds you thriving, and enjoying Spring weather. It’s been a while since the last of these updates, but you must have known your luck couldn’t hold! :o) Here I am back, with this new show, and a burning hope that some of you will be joining us in Durham, to experience what promises to be a truly amazing evening (if I says it as shouldn’t!). This time my role has been on show production, so it’s other peoples’ music we’ll be hearing. Here’s how I’ve been keeping out of trouble for the last year or so...

Next up, ‘Other Ranks’ is coming to the end of its run down at Fort Nelson in Hampshire. If you’ve been meaning to get over there all these months, but haven’t quite managed it yet, then please note: ‘Other Ranks’ closes at Fort Nelson on May 11. It returns, for its next showing, at Lincoln Drill Hall, in October this year.

...And speaking of October, the other thing keeping me focussed is Sonophilia, a very pet project, creating a brand new festival of sound and music, here in Lincoln.

Much more of Sonophilia over the next few months: watch this space!

For now though, your mission is to grab yourself a ticket and make that trip to Durham Cathedral. Hope to see you there.

Warmest wishes to you all

April 3rd 2013.


Usually, when I’m writing you an update on my work at this time of year, there are fair references to be made to the oncoming Spring... Moving swiftly on then...!

Big big thanks to everyone who’s been to see ‘Ors’ so far. The feedback is very good. It’s a terrible dicey business to comment on one’s own work, of course, but discovering that both my arts and military friends are touched and moved by it is the best evaluation there is. I poured a lot of love into ‘Ors’; am beyond chuffed to be learning it was a worthwhile investment. I’m now working on new projects arising from it; you’ll be the first to know.

‘Other Ranks’ continues to show at the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, until July-ish (end date still tbc). It will then transfer down to Fort Nelson, near Portsmouth, to reopen in the Autumn. NO need to mark your cards now though; there is more than a fair chance that I’ll be mentioning it again, nearer the time; you know what I’m like!

For now, here’s a link to the updated ‘Ors’ page of my website, where you can read the various texts which appear alongside the installation, on-site, and a stereo mix of one section of the piece, featuring Henry Reid’s Naming Of Parts, performed superlatively by Jim Broadbent, set among the voices of real weapons’ training and handling. There will be further extracts appearing online over the coming months. Much better if you go to see it in person though, of course (she says, bossily, but it is true!):

(The above link takes you straight to the page, by-passing the dedication which you can read by clicking through on ‘Other Ranks’ from my homepage:

Meanwhile, brilliant news from the SoundSpiral, now under the leadership of Daz Disley: the new season’s first outing, exhibiting to looked-after kids, as part of a SoundLincs project, was a thorough success. Special thanks to Gaz Bailee for all his Trojan work, helping to turn out our “friendly camel”. Diamond geezer!

Next for the Spiral is a brand new project, delivering public consultation and show-casing for Transported, South Lincolnshire’s fabulous and ambitious ACE Creative People And Places project, taking place later in the year. Even though I’m now only advising and nagging re- the direction of the Spiral, I’m thrilled to be watching Daz demonstrate the legacy and resource I designed in, ready and fit for purpose.

We’ve also been commissioning for the Spiral, with new work by two of our favourite artists, Chrissie Caulfield and Stuart Russell, now in the pipeline. Tee-hee; am sooo excited and pleased about this. Watch this space.

In other news, Sophia’s Web continues it’s run as part of Shape In The City, Shape Arts’ Grace Church Street show... and I’ve been the proverbial pig in sh*t, working on a commissioning project for the Durham International Festival of Brass; more of that as the project proceeds.

Last but not least, for those who don’t know already, I’m emerging from my box once more, this time to begin the lengthy and complex process of delivering Sonophilia, a brand new festival of sound and music, here in Lincoln, hot-bed of audio love, along with Daz. Much much more of this project in coming months. For now, please click through and Like the project’s FB page for news as it happens:

Thanks as always for taking the time to read this. Your comments on anything and everything always welcome.

Here’s to 2013 containing Summer at some point, although preferably not with the usual snide timing of polishing up the sunshine just as I set off, dressed for the icy platform blasts, on work-related train journeys, which then leave me trapped idiotically in wool and fleece. Taking it personally from the weather deities? You betcha! :o)

Warmest wishes to you all.

Feb 04 2013.

Hoping this finds you thoroughly stuck into 2013 and alight with the joy of it!

Just a quick round-up of current stuff; won’t keep you many minutes this time.

‘Other Ranks’ is holding its own and receiving good feedback up in Leeds at the Royal Armouries. It’s even been reviewed, I’m delighted to discover. Here it is at:

(by the way, as the review touches on it and it does crop up quite often: it’s not your hearing that benefits from blindness. If anything It’s the necessarily learned ability to hold highly complex soundscapes, both real and conceptual, in your head (she avered, pompously, but it’s true! :o)). I do also listen well; case of having to; this isn’t a swipe at anyone who gets it wrong. (I’m very grateful for any and all interest in my work; hope that goes without saying). Sometime I’ll trouble you with further thoughts on this, to me most boring, but to the world understandably puzzling topic though. Don’t say I didn’t warn you...!)

Anyway, I’m proverbially chuffed to be telling you that ‘Other Ranks’ looks set to remain open in Leeds until the end of the Summer (precise date tbc). After this it will now transfer down to Fort Nelson, Royal Armouries recently refurbished site near Portsmouth, for a further run. More details on this as the year proceeds.

Sophia’s Web is still showing in London and will be for a little while yet:

The show’s end date is still tbc so do please drop by and check it out while you can. This is a handy chance for all you Londoners who turn to jelly in non-metropolitan air to meet my second ever stand-alone piece, initiated in 2005 using the maternity ward’s phone, in my dressing-gown (working motherhood began early for me!), and completed back in 2007.

Shape In The City sees SW set within a provocative and varied line-up, featuring the work of artists with disabilities (Or ‘disabled artists’, as the Social Model would have it; hmmm...). It’s a large scale and impressive show altogether; please do go if you can. I particularly liked the community-designed road sign on the top floor:

Looking ahead for this stroppy crip, it’s all about new projects and ideas with which to burden your in-boxes as the year gathers pace. These include the intention to do something definite with the Holton Community tapes, btw, so anyone with an interest in that, please drop me a line; thanks. You’ll also be encountering the beautiful words “Durham International Festival of Brass” on this page, before long. I’m thrilled to be embarking on a potentially gorgeous project with them. More anon...

Right now your pace and mine will be enhanced by a nice cuppa tea. Here’s to you!

Oops; sorry; just one more thing: a link to this Ouch piece on disability arts funding. They do quote me, sounding very Ee-Aw-ish, given the thriving state of my practice, but it’s an interesting piece apart from that!

Okay; enough from me already.

All the best


December 21st 2012

First things first: very warmest wishes to you all for a cracking apocalypse and a joyful Xmas!

Hoping this finds you happy and thriving, wherever you are and whatever you’ll be doing over the holiday.

Whatever else it may be, the ending of the Myan calendar cycle marks an ending and a beginning with knobs on; like Hogmanay on vodka, ironbrew and Pro+!

What better moment then, to pause and take stock, prior to making a selection of impeccably intentioned,if undeniably grandiose resolutions and promises pertaining to future behaviour, both individual and collective?

With this in mind, here’s to humanity moving to a higher vibration, entering the fifth dimension and finally figuring out how to get along with itself, whilst I learn to knit my own yoghurt and become the next Danny Boyle!

... Well what a year!...!

I remember the feeling, last Xmas: “My Hecate but somehow, by this time in 2012, SoundSpiral will stand up and play Babel Spring. Not only that (gulp-gulp-gulp) but ‘OtherRanks’ will also exist by the end of 2012. It will have all the boots, photos and voices it needs to make a good account of itself in Leeds.

...And we dunnit!

All of my work this year has been made possible, and even successful, by the depth, breadth and strength of help and support it has received.

Daz has, as ever, been my righthand man, tackling to everything I’ve asked of him, from emergency fitting of ventilation holes into SoundSpiral’s computer pod, in the baking heat in Bristol, to shoveling snow off the structure and defrosting it in the icy blasts of Nottingham. Daz has been absolutely central to the delivery of SoundSpiral and I’m delighted to be handing him the reins, moving forward. My apologies to you pedants for using “moving forward” but if you quit grumping for long enough to think it through,what other phrase serves the same purpose? Do feel free to shout at me about it though. I’m well aware that it’s being so cheerful as keeps us all young ;-)

Daz, essential as he has been this year, is just one of the very many people I have to thank for helping bring this year’s projects to life. Far too many to begin listing now or you’ll still be reading this as the world ends. Suffice to say that both SoundSpiral Babel Spring and ‘Other Ranks’ are products of the amazing heart of everyone who joined in with me, on manufacture, production, contributing, participating and plain old turning up! I am both humbled by your warm engagement and proud that, in my small way, I’m using the public money I’ve worked so hard for, to make work that truly speaks for the people who have helped to make it, and which says something substantial, something I felt worth saying.

Both projects are now complete, vivacious and growing.

SoundSpiral is already taking bookings for next year, both for playback of existing work (that’ll be Babel Spring then, until more pieces are created) and developing new work with the spectrum of practitioners, from school kids to leading mainstream artists; yes, really!

We’ve run out of days for tidying and polishing SoundSpiral’s web presence fully this side of Xmas; new year new web content; promise!

‘Other Ranks’ seems to be hitting the spot for its audience. reports are good. Please help spread the word: the Xmas holiday is really an extremely good time to visit art in museums: you get the place to yourself!

(click here) for new ‘Other Ranks’ audio and visual. Further web content to come in the new year so, as they say, watch this space!

...And for the cherry on my 2012 work-cake, Sophia’s Web is out again as well!

Shape In The City is a new Pop-Up show by Shape Arts, in the heart of London, featuring work by artists with disabilities, in a range of media. I’m proud, as a Trustee of Shape and an exhibiting artist, to be associated with this ambitious and impressive show.

Shape In The City is currently taking a Xmas break but will be open again on Jan 07, continuing right through till May. I’ll remind you about it, in greater detail, in the new year!

Now, as usual, you’ve got me talking and I should be rushing off to devise the Mayan chilli/stew for our end-of-the-world party. Looking forward to seeing some of you there.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, do please come and find me on Facebook and Twitter : @AmieSlavin ... no you really don’t have to be on either to look

Wishing you all a wonder-filled Solstice and Xmas!


October 26th 2012

Hasty one this time :

SoundSpiral and Babel Spring are showing until 5 pm today and tomorrow (Saturday) at the Lakeside Arts Centre Nottingham. This is Babel Spring’s last scheduled show but it will be out again, from time to time, I’m happy to say.

Please keep chirruping. We’re playing back now, and will be again in the New Year, so your audio uploads are still most welcome and wanted. From here on the plan is to get lots more artists making work to playback in the Spiral so, those of you who’d like to compose for the big friendly inflatable, time to don your thinking caps and start planning projects. We’re taking bookings for next year and beyond.

Meanwhile, ‘Other Ranks’ opens next Thursday at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds. First half of next week will see controlled mayhem in progress as the allocated space gets cleared, painted and prepped; photographic flooring laid; boots arranged; 16 playback channels +4 subwoofers mounted and wired, mix levels adjusted for the space, finalised and rendered. ...Yes of course we’ll be ready by Thursday morning! This is the team who wrangled SoundSpiral into life after all.

Nervous? Moi? Haha; you betcha! Massively excited as well though. 4 years’ of blood sweat and tears and now, at long long last, you can come to see what I’ve been making all the ‘Other Ranks’ fuss about all this time.

Finally for now, before anyone else asks me: yes it is the truth that the ‘ORs’ Private View will take place on Nov 22. Not a typo; just the venue’s preferred modus operandi. If it’s glaring errors you’re after then I’m interested to hear from anyone incensed to find themselves not on the PV guest list. I compiled my guest requests for inclusion at the same time as working most intensely on the sound mix of the piece. If I should have included you and didn’t then please don’t be offended. Just put it down to an extended period of high octane stress and graft finally taking its toll and administer a well-deserved kick when you next see me. Please do, joking aside, let me know if I’ve been so crass as to omit you when you could and would have come to the PV and I’ll see what can be done.

Other than that, does anyone know how to make proper tooth-cracking bonfire toffee like they used to make in Sheffield when I was a kid? No child should, in my view, reach the age of 7 without experiencing the sweetly masochistic pleasure of devouring jagged rocks, at low (as in Yorkshire-in-Nov) temperatures, in the midst of flying sparks so, as my senior daughter approaches that landmark birthday, I’m open to recipes. Hope you’re all enjoying, those of you in line for it, the new season of frost and fog. Not quite sure where the gentle “mists and mellow fruitfulness” went. Subject to austerity cuts most likely.

Stay safe, wherever you are. Hoping to catch up with lots of you very soon.

Warmest wishes


August 8th 2012

Just a quick note this time (at least by my garrulous standards), and new subscribers please relax; I’m usually silent for weeks on end ...

We’re heading for Bristol, opening on Thursday this week, at the International Balloon Fiesta. Very pleased to be taking SoundSpiral and Babel Spring back to the source of the inflatable structure, as well as many of the voices of Babel Spring.

We’d love to see you there if you’re within reach; weather forecast is friendly and the Fiesta pre-show pop-ups are looking great:

Very exciting to be a part of it!

(we, in case you’re wondering, is Geoff, daz and me, +the back-room team of my mum, the kids and my dog!)

We’re hoping for lots of chirruping activity over the weekend. Whether or not you can join us in person, you can join in by sending us your own recordings: voices, sounds, anything that’s meaningful to you. Simply use the voice memo/note/(or similar) on your phone, then ‘Share’ it to

or visit the Join In page of the website for full chirruping instructions and info.

Can’t wait to hear your sounds, whatever you feel like adding to the Babel Spring mix.

Finally for now, a huge “THANK YOU!” To everyone who has sent me photos for inclusion in ‘Other Ranks’ so far. Every single one of them is valuable and massively appreciated.

We have around 235 in the bank so far. Time’s getting short but I’d really like to double that, before embarking on the graphic design phase, at the beginning of September, if you’re game...?

Please, those of you who haven’t already, do have a quick flip through any photos you have in digital formats and send me copies of any you’d be happy for me to use, either via the website, or as email attachments to:

To reiterate, civilian pics are very welcome, as well as military ones. The idea is to represent the human cost of warfare. They don’t have to be of historical significance or anything. They just have to show human beings; anyone who could be a victim of war, if war were to be visited upon them.

Thanks as always for your time and your brilliant help with all my strange requests. I am truly grateful for all your support.

Hoping to see some of you in Bristol at the weekend
July 18 2012.

Well I’ll go to the foot of our stairs: I turn around for a moment, harmlessly “Gallopping about doing good,” in the manner of Stevie Smiths chaotically well-intentioned feline... and suddenly it’s a whole month already since SoundSpiral Babel Spring’s launch and I haven’t bothered you at all, hardly.

Here I am though, bringing you news (if you’re not on Facebook or Twitter) that SoundSpiral is booked for the International Balloon Fiesta, Ashton Court,Bristol, Aug 09/12. We’d love to see lots of you Southerners there; apart from our spiralling presence it’s set to be a really vibrant and fun event. It’s doubling up as our main Summer holiday this year so it had better be good, and we’re sure it will be. If any of you fancy joining Daz and me in keeping the structure safely guarded then we’d love to hear from you. One or other of us will be beside the Spiral continually; your company most welcome, especially in the middle of the night!

The X-Church launch of SoundSpiral Babel Spring went really well, thanks to all of you who turned out, defying the rain, the concurrent events, the England game and the significant distance from almost everywhere, to join us in blessing her, and all who spiral in her. The team and I were amazed and delighted by your number and general brilliance. Greater lunacy hath no man than he lay down his Friday evening in the cause of Sound Art; your support was and is most warmly appreciated.

For those of you (and I find there were quite a few) who wanted to come but couldn’t, remember we’ll be out in Nottingham, after Bristol, for our main show at WEYA, Sept 13/16; watch this space for details nearer the time.

Moving along...

I’m now immersed in the business end of making ‘Other Ranks’:

Nine primary source interviews in the can; just the published sources to record now, with help from the good folk of Legsby and Wickenby by the looks of things; hooray!

Two published sources already recorded, and not just recorded: performed by Jim Broadbent - big big thanks to Jim for fitting ‘Ors’ into his hectic schedule. This project has some incredibly good friends!

This week, thanks to one of ‘Ors’ ex-Signaller contributors, Barrie, we’ve bounced comfortably past the 200 photos mark. Really heartfelt thanks to everyone who has taken the time and trouble to upload photos. Among which is a batch sent by Jack the Bootneck (Royal Marine), on exercise in the desert; now that’s what I call participation and engagement!

I’m still hoping for lots more pics but am already blown away by the kindness of everyone who has joined in with the collection of photos. Just hoping (and most firmly intending) to make the work do justice to all of you who have permitted me to drag you into the project.

Please keep your photos coming; the more the better, and remember they can be squaddy or civvie, just as long as they’re of people. Photo upload page here.

My other ongoing obsession, some of you just might have noticed, is shagged-out old boots. Anyone harbouring aged boots: now’s the moment to dig them out and wang them in my direction ... as gently as possible, please. :o)

Big big “thank-you!”s to Derek and Adam (Ex- infantry and serving Sigs respectively) for getting the boots ball rolling with their donations. I’m on the trail of many more though, so please bring me yours, and watch this space for the rising boot thermometer, over the next few weeks. (okay, ‘boots thermometer’ maybe conjures unsavoury images of heated bacteria, but you get the drift, don’t you?)

Finally, for now, I was fortunate enough, last year, to be allowed to visit Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, recording various activities for ‘Other Ranks’. It was such an entertaining and eye- opening experience for me that I wrote a handful of pieces about it with a view to sharing with you when the project was further along ... like around now.

So, this link takes you to my new Other Ramblings page, where you can read them things what I wrote ...

They’re now over a year old but I reckon they’re aging alright; see what you make of them. My thanks to Denis, yet another diamond friend of ‘Other Ranks’, for lending his editing skills to the matter.

Now, shall we take a vote on whether it’s high time I desisted and left you to continue with your day in peace? Alright, alright, no need :o)

There’ll be another update prior to the Balloon Fiesta. This one ends just here, however.

Wishing you all a great weekend.

Weblinks for any of you who have thus far escaped the FB page or SoundSpiral’s website.

Wednesday, May 16. - Inspire Day, London 2012.

Lots going on, so this is a more businesslike update than usual. Begging your indulgence...

SoundSpiral now stands up and plays Babel Spring, subject to some post-production tweaks. There’s still work to do but we’re getting there. What a relief, to put it much more mildly than I would if you had nothing else to do with your day than wade through the mind-bending detail of the inside and back-end of, well, all of the following :o)

We’ve been prepping some new web pages for you to explore, marking Inspire Day. Hope you like them:

We’re pleased to present SoundSpiral’s Project Partners and Associate Artists, properly credited at last

And we now have a SoundSpiral schedule page too.

Owing to the cancellation of St Pauls Carnival, we are looking for additional dates over the Summer, while we mark time until our big show in September, with WEYA and the Lakeside Arts Centre. IF you are on the British mainland and would like the Spiral, and Babel Spring to come lolloping along to your Summer event then do please get in touch. Have Spiral, will travel!

Our chirruping functionality is now ready for you to put it through its paces too. Check out the new web pages for chirruping info and instructions. If you’d like in-person guidance through the process of chirruping then, once again, watch the schedule page for details of chirruping workshop sessions as we pin down the various dates.

SoundSpiral events begin next week, with the first chirruping drop-in workshop, at the ImpArt Centre, Lincoln, from 2 pm on Tues 22. After that we’re underway in Gainsborough, in June. Please check the schedule page for details and developments.

Also please note that SoundSpiral’s Facebook page is public, so even if you don’t use FB you can still drop by and browse our production photo albums; well worth a visit, if I says it as shouldn’t:

Other Ranks’ meanwhile, only comes second in this bulletin because I haven’t figured out a method for typing concurrently.

Ors is entering its final recording phase prior to hitting the studio and, THREE years later, getting down to the realisation of the work I’ve been imagining all this time.

Hey, and Did I tell you already that ‘Other Ranks now has the official support of the British Army?

This would be a decent moment, then, to note My most sincere gratitude to all the bemused military types who are engaging with the project.

Sometimes you make art and it doesn’t matter what people think of it, but sometimes you make Babel Spring and ‘Other Ranks’, and you feel the responsibility of doing justice to the people who’ve been both its reason and its means of being. To be honest, humbling doesn’t really begin to cover it.

Notwithstanding my well-intentioned pomposity, the order of the day remains all hands lively: ‘Other Ranks’ really needs your input. Yeah I know; I’ll give you a break once we’ve mustered full kit; promise.

I’m urgently seeking your photos and any worn-out or otherwise unloved military or outdoors boots you may have.

Realising that most of you don’t have military boots kicking around the place, but let’s not be thinking this lets anyone off the hook! You do have photos of the sort I need; bet you do! I’m just looking for pictures of people, military and civilian. Next time you’re in a stationary position, adjacent to your photos and net connection, please take a few minutes to upload images to the ‘Other Ranks’ project. Thank you masses for every photo; each one is most sincerely appreciated.

Finally, a word of thanks to those of you who faithfully read these updates and follow my work, despite finding it all somewhat opaque. To you, and to all, my warmest gratitude for all your support, help and encouragement. It means the world to me.

Hoping to see lots of you in person in the next few months.

Enjoy the sunshine when it deigns to favour us. Otherwise enjoy the rain, to which we owe the thanking, if we manage to deflect the ever-dilligent and delightful ConDemNation from instituting its rumoured Minister For Standpipes, next Winter. Those Westminster types really know how to charm, don’t they?

Projects update March 2012.

Hi all

Trust that March has landed on you all with Leonine abandon. Next stop the Easter holidays: CHOCOLATE!!

First big news for this update is that ‘Other Ranks’ has successfully become an Arts Council Grants For The Arts beneficiary for a second time. In the current climate this is a humbling endorsement of the project, its values, creative and intellectual content and its potential to serve effectively to widen the reach, appeal and purpose of Installation Sound Art. Thank you, ACE!

Last week I submitted the final funding application on behalf of ‘Other Ranks’; outcome due in April; now sworn off funding app’s and deep in rehab’...until the next time :o)

‘O R’ is beginning to gain pace, with new support from the British Legion and the Territorial Army. I’m very grateful to both for their friendly support and am looking forward to working more closely with both organisations in the coming months.

‘Other Ranks’ has also become the reason I am groaning and griping and...gradually getting the hang of the Twitter network. Look out for me, all you techno-supremoes, I am on my tweeting way!

You can find me if you hunt down Amie least I think you can. So far I haven’t even figured out how to view my list of followers, so don’t take my word for nuffink, please.

Twitter or not, I’m after photos, voices and anything else you care to offer me. I’m promised a full scaly-back (Soldier of the Royal Core of Signals) mannequin in full dress uniform, for example. If it represents the ranking soldiers, bring it on!

And so to the SoundSpiral...

I’m delighted to report that our very own Duncan Chapman has now had his fill of organ extraction, for the time being at least, and is, joking apart, manning-up to recovery from his gruesome brush with the surgeons in a manner which leaves me agape with admiration. It’s barely a month and the man’s driving, cooking, working and generally setting the world to rights. I’m beginning to feel quite relieved I wasn’t working with him at full fitness; imagine the sense of inadequacy!

Our other Duncan, Parsons, is on the point of delivering the completed chirruping software functionality, so big-up the Duncans altogether!

The inflatable itself (and yes this did deserve to appear nearer the front of this bulletin), is now safely tucked into its new den in Gainsborough. It goes up; it goes down; it wriggles and jiggles in a most friendly manner and those awesome tech’s have, this very day, set about wiring it up for sound.

My biggest thanks to Daz Disley and Geoff Middleton for their sterling work so far, and for their resolution to keep up the pace so we get properly configured ASAP.

At time of writing (Monday evening), they’re on their way home, only pausing to phone and tell me we need an accident book as they’ve both had minor injuries today. I told them, in true Equine Studies graduate sympathetic style, that as they’re both still clearly moving and speaking they can get themselves home and tell me about their bumps and bruises over the supper I have waiting for them.

In the way of tech’s the world over, this seems to make perfect sense to them :o)

In other SoundSpiral news and switching, to your probable relief, out of diatribe and into headlines mode:

We changed the lighting and flooring plans. The floor is now going to be smart silver play surface and the lights are 7 thousand LEDs, 1 for each million people living on our planet at the moment.

Do you like them? ...I mean the lights; those 7 billion may be more of a challenge, what with one thing and another.

Anyway, we’re happy with the changes; the lighting and flooring are both now cheaper, smarter, more practical and more congruent with the project ethos.

All comments welcome.

What else?

Oh well only minor details... like one hundred and fifty likes passed on our FB page... Hooray-Hooray- Hooray!

Forty-two translations of Tanya Myers’ piece, To my Mother, recorded, edited, processed and ready for use in the Babel Spring.

The new SoundSpiral website on the point of launch...

And quite a lot of other developments which, if you’re not as obsessed as I currently am, may not be of such burning fascination but which have everything to do with SoundSpiral whirling away into a bright and busy future of showing people how they can be a part of cutting-edge creative endeavour.

I’ll let you know when we have the beast playing back.

It’s really beginning to come together though, now and at last.

Till next time; do please, as always, throw your comments, concerns and cor-blimeys this way. All received with variable but sincere grace.

Here’s to the Olympics, and all our London 2012 Inspire Mark projects. The UK had better be ready to get creative; the next few years are going to set our cultural landscape ablaze.

It takes more than viscious slashes at our financial arteries to keep us down. We, the arts, are here and gamely lugging inflatable buildings about the countryside.

Watch this space for website developments.

More soon.


News update, January 2012.

Hello to all, and wishing you a belated Happy New Year (or “preposterous new ear” as one of my more eloquent friends puts it) if we haven’t spoken already in 2012.

This is a SoundSpiral-focussed update as the year’s ride has well and truly begun, for me and the project.

‘Other Ranks’ is ticking along, awaiting a funding outcome, but this is not leaving me free to hibernate after my preferred manner; not this year...

We’re currently experiencing delays (she says, sounding like a station tanoy) with the inflatable held up due to the need for on-the-fly redesigns in Cammeron Balloons’ factory. The end result will be more flexible and lighter, so the wait will be worth it. Nails are being bitten here though, I shall confess to you (but don’t tell anyone, ‘kay?).

The inflatable is now due for completion and first inflation next week, and it’ll come to Lincolnshire very soon after that. Many long-held breaths will be released when we finally get into the space to begin the heart of Babel Spring’s creation.

Just to add to the general sense of relaxation around the place, my collaborating composer, Duncan Chapman, tasked with contributing a properly grown-up musical aspect to Babel Spring, has been called in to be relieved of a troublesome kidney on, what other date but January 30! I’ve told him that, if he opts for parting with his harvested organ via EBay, I at least want a cut of the profits. He’s thinking about it...

Seriously though, the project has had better news than this, over the months, but the Blitz mentality is all: Duncan and I, along with Daz, who’ll be tech’ing every step of the way while we chew on sounds, are all primed to wrestle the work to the ground and nail it forthwith, just as soon as we can finally get underway.

Daz and I have been making good use of the unplanned hiatus in proceedings by setting to work on SoundSpiral’s bespoke website, together with the requisite software for the Chirrupping aspect of the project.

Duncan Parsons is currently putting the finishing touches to his tech’ contribution, about which I’d love to tell you, if only I understood what the heck the boy’s up to. Big-up those essential, if somewhat impenetrable techie guys; I’d be stuck without them, for sure! They certainly do seem to be doing a wonderful job as the project software clicks into place, piece by piece.

Hi-Q Sound, who are supplying the playback hardware, have also been doing us proud, delivering kit and advice with the calm precision which has earned them their excellent reputation. The new site will have lots to look at and will, at last, be proudly showing the London 2012 Inspire

Mark which has, so far, been one of the project’s quieter achievements.

I’ll let you know as soon as the new site goes live. We’ll be starting to seek your uploads and

involvement more generally at that point; don’t say I didn’t warn you...

This week sees the language gathering race reach its climactic closing moments; the heat is on!!!

We ‘canned’ Mongolian and Sinhala, thanks to Sasiki Hubberste, YuMI and friends, during another heart-swelling session. Yet again I finished recording blown away by the kindness, warmth and talent of all taking part. This project is introducing me to some outstanding human beings. Sorry to go all hippy on you for a moment but I don’t ‘alf feel blessed to be doing it.

Burning question: who will be first to get their recording made and sent my way? Will it be the Welsh or the Scottish Gaels who complete the forty translations? Both languages will, all being well, feature in Babel Spring, along with Hindi, which I’m also still stalking. Once the necessary forty are in the can though, we’ll really be cooking! Languages forty-one and forty-two are less essential to the initial design, and can fit in later if necessary.

Other minor details, such as rethinking the lighting and flooring solutions for the SoundSpiral are also serving to keep us out of trouble. The new adjustments will bring improved functionality along with reduced cost; it’s all good. Every day in every way it gets, not only “better and better” but also later and later... We’ll get there though.

One huge advantage of recruiting the best professionals to work with is that they make sure the job gets done, no matter what.

My biggest thanks to everyone helping to pull SoundSpiral together, from every angle. It’ll be worth it, in the Summer, when we can sit down beside it with an iced drink and invite everyone to come and play.

See you then, if not sooner!

Stay warm, and maybe get the bbq polished: we’ll doubtless soon be in for the newly instituted UK March heatwave.



Wednesday November 16 2011

I’d sit down for this one if I were you. Lots to tell you; best stick the kettle on...

Hello again

Here, with apologies for the intervening silence, is the latest news of SoundSpiral and ‘Other Ranks’.

SoundSpiral has, at last, a place to live while we grow the Babel Spring work:

"Frabsious day, caloo calay..." (thanks due to Lewis Caroll for tooling us up with words for this manner of occasion).

Those of you who have been following my trail around the barns and hangars of Lincolnshire will know what a relief this is, both to me and those who are fated to listen to me on the subject! I am, as forecast in my last bulletin, a happier creature for having this question resolved.

My warmest thanks to Marcus Hammond and SlumGothic for offering me, along with Duncan Chapman, Daz Disley and a right lot of plastic, nylon and metal, sanctuary in St Johns Church Gainsborough, from the freezingest beginnings of January until the thing stands up and declares itself a completed installation, somewhere around March. Whew!!!

St Johns is double-good, as it goes: working there means we can have the public come in and take a shufty at the work in progress. I can jabber about it to increased numbers of friendly people and there’ll be more opportunity for additional workshop activity on an ad hoc basis. We also get a kitchen, possibly a space heater and the vestry to hide in when the going gets tough... (Carry on Padre).

So, it’s all good.

The software has had an exciting few weeks, with my tech’ team first discovering and then causing the resolution of a significant bug in the Reaper software. The bug is now fixed, thanks to the Reaper development team doing something deeply clever; I have little notion what.

The bespoke software is coming on nicely, it seems, and of course the inflatable itself is now physically in existence, under the delicate blades of Cameron Balloons, down in Bristol.

The language translations are accumulating steadily. I’m still interested to hear from anyone willing and able to voice translations into languages not yet included. Please take a look at the prose translation page to see if your language is on the list yet ...

I am sorry to say that I haven’t, in the event, been able to find a Roma translator to put the prose into Romani. I was hoping to do this to honour the travelling people of the UK and the world, but no translator, no translation.

We do have Cornish, Welsh and Gaelic all on the way, though, so my commitment to prioritise the native languages of the UK still stands.

We’re getting there... I have five voices scheduled for recording in the next ten days, and Simon Whetham is still drawing together Bristol voices for me, taking the total slowly but surely up from the current 21 we have in the can.

The recordings are all going up onto SoundCloud so if you have moments, please check them out.

I’m pleased to say we are getting a good gender mix, and everybody sounds gorgeous to my ears. I had feared that we might find men more forthcoming than women about being recorded. I am thoroughly pleased to report a fairly even balance, so far, although I haven’t done an exact tally.

It’s looking good, As long as everything’s canned, edited and processed by Christmas we’re on-target for a smart start to the compositional phase from Jan 3 2012.

Meanwhile ‘other Ranks’ is also living in interesting times:

I am delighted to tell you that, thanks to Jo the Purple, our friend and helper at Royal Armouries, we appear to have found the right lever to unleash an avalanche of Army boots onto the project. I appreciate this might not be the news to lighten up your week, all things being equal, but in my world these are goldentidings...

the installation will be surrounded by empty boots, commemorating the fallen in service, and, thanks to an illustrious gent’ by the name of Trev, somewhere deep in the British Army’s boot infrastructure, I can write this paragraph without recourse to the words “I hope”. An excellent feeling!

I’m currently making pathetically heavy weather of drafting the two major new funding applications necessary for completion of the work, so excellent is very good, if you see what I mean...

Other current tasks include trying to get permission to go and record at the British Military Tournament at Earl’s court, where they’re going to be re-enacting the charge of the Light Brigade, using the Lancers’ original bugle, as part of this pan-service benefit event organised by the Army Benevollent Fund.

(...and yes, I know I said in my last update that I’m done recording bed sounds, but the Light Brigade with their original bugle... and with it the justification for revisiting old Alfred’s throat-constricting poem..? Come on; I’m only human!) :o)

I’m still very much looking for individual guys with combat experience, to lend their voices, opinions and thoughts to the project, so if you, or any of your friends and family fit this description and might consider having a chat with me about it... Well, I don’t bite...

I’m also beginning to look around for someone with an interest in the subject. To help handle the photographic aspects of developing the work, so if you are that person, or you know someone who is, please drop me a line. It’s not a job that’ll bring great riches, but it’ll be fairly easy, rewarding and good on your CV in terms of the skills you’ll be able to demonstrate at the end of it.

Finally, I’m delicately toying with the idea of making the flooring for ‘Other Ranks’ into a more permanent thing by commissioning a specialist to capture the pictures in a laminate structure. This will be much more expensive than my current plan but will make the whole installation more durable and portable.

If anyone has any thoughts on this, or anything else, do please share them with me. I’m always glad of your input and feedback.

Finally, I’m now glad I didn’t get around to warning you I was going to be grilled on Radio Lincolnshire this morning as it seems I was double-booked with a female lorry driver (such are the glamorous circles in which I move), so for anyone who happens to have nothing better to do next Monday morning, the theory is that you can catch me waxing lyrical on the wireless, somewhere between 10 and 10.30.

Other finally... I hope we’ll be seeing some of you at LDA’s Gone To The Dog event, at the Dog And Bone, John Street, this Friday evening: digital work from 6 till 8; acoustic music from then on.

It would be grand to have you along; should be a fun night.

My biggest warmest thanks, as always, for all your support, encouragement and interest. I promise the next news update will be both sooner and shorter than this one.

Stay warm.


Tuesday 18th October

I make it just over three weeks since I last updated on my activities. My quietness has not been a symptom of idleness however...

Firstly, and to get it out of the way:

I am still, at time of writing, looking for a fabrication space for the SoundSpiral, near as possible to Lincoln but the main thing is the space.

I am following several leads, with some hopeful possibilities in the offing, but I’m still very open to offers, until the matter is settled. All suggestions welcome.

Otherwise, SoundSpiral is rolling along merrily.

We have several languages translated now, and a new web feature, showing the progress of the translations. The same page will show the recordings, when we reach that stage:

My thanks to everyone helping with the translations. Great work guys!

I persuaded my family along with me to visit Culture Box, our newest partner in translation, two weekends ago. It was brilliant to experience the vibrant buzz and happy atmosphere of their gathering, and exciting to meet some of the translators. I was personally delighted to be given the Mongolian translation in person, by James. Having once visited Mongolia, riding the Native horses as a Guide Dogs fundraising challenge, I have a particular fondness for that beautiful, delicate and savage country. It is wonderful to have the Mongolian translation ready for recording.

Thanks to Culture Box and all who attended the gathering, for allowing me to present the SoundSpiral Babel Spring project to them. My own five-year-old daughter was the only slightly descenting voice, plaintively asking me afterwards:

"Mummy, why did you talk to ALL those people?"

Really, if your kids find you embarrassing, just remind them it could be worse: they could be mine!

I’m now looking forward to returning to Nottingham, and Culture Box, to record the translations, once they’re complete.

Meanwhile, recordings are scheduled in Bristol, thanks to Peninah Achieng and Simon Whetham for their sterling work on this aspect of the project, and the Gaelic Language Centre, Islay, are exploring translating into Gaelic as well.

My family had another joy/confusion brush with the SoundSpiral the following weekend, when they found themselves dragged along to the Wickenby Airfield, one possible venue for fabrication of the work. We all had a great time watching the ancient and the modern planes doing their funky stuff, and mission Find-Hangar-Space gave us the ideal opportunity to nose around the place, interrupting everybody and generally making free in the cause of art. We were even lucky enough to see a real life aerobatics display by one of the little planes. Fantastic! We’re all fans now.

...And speaking of matters loosely military:

Other Ranks’ is moving ahead apace now too.

I have the funding strategy complete; ready to crack on with writing applications.

I have secured the ear of Royal Armouries newest recruit, the fabulously friendly and reassuringly expert Jo Sullivan, and have license to bend it at my will, whenever she’s having a "purple day". So, ‘Other Ranks’ is not only now scheduled, barring accidents, to show in Leeds, Lincoln and Fort Nelson, but it is also Jo’s Purple Project. Wowsers!

Last but emphatically far from least, my huge thanks to Geoff Middleton and Daz Disley for venturing forth with me to Longmoor last week, and to James Cook (Major, Royal Artillery) for hosting us, recording Army cadets being trained in urban warfare (or riot control, as we might recognise it). No space or time here to give you the full rundown, otherwise you’ll never get to bed today. Suffice it to say that Geoff, who is almost vegetarian, was loading up with piles of sausages and bacon by day 3, on the grounds that "I’m in the Army now".

The material we got,in all seriousness, was fabulous. I don’t need to record any more bed sounds for ‘Other Ranks’. Time to focus in on the detailed stuff, the interviews and other voices, as well as the pictures and boots.

For more details on all these aspects please visit the ‘OtherRanks’ pages of this site.

Finally, for anyone still managing to evade my clutches, please do come and check out my Facebook page

And the SoundSpiral page

Thanks, all, for your interest and support.

Until next time.


Friday September 23, 2011.

Autumn Equinox; two beautiful words and this is the day when they can be placed side by side...

Hi all

This has been a busy and productive week for me and both my current projects...

The biggest and best news is that I have received news that SoundSpiral has been granted the London 2012 Inspire Mark. Better not say much more than that until I’ve signed the license and sorted out the paperwork which gives us permission to say all sorts of exciting things. Just had to let you know though. It was such a battle getting this project funded and underway. Feels amazing to now be up with the UK’s cultural leaders for the Festival Of Festivals, next year. Hooray hooray hooray! Watch this space for further developments.

The SoundSpiral project is gathering momentum with some of the Babel Spring prose translations complete and lots more in the pipeline.

The software development proceeds a pace too.

We’re off to Nottingham tomorrow, to catch up with Juliet and the Culture Box folks; another exciting step on the way to getting the translations and recordings completed.

Meanwhile I’m on the trail of a bit of a hangar to inhabit, for the composition phase of the work. Turns out the enormous barn I had ear-marked for this purpose is nowhere near wide enough :o(

Still, chasing about after the RAF makes a sweet complement to my extended stalking of the Army, for ‘Other Ranks’.

...And I’m loving the idea of holding the first press day in an aircraft hangar; all things crossed for an early resolution of this question of work space, which has been worrying me somewhat, during the last week. Luckily I have until December to resolve it, but I’ll still be a happy person when it’s a done thing.

If you haven’t already, please check out the SoundSpiral page on Facebook, and ‘like’ it for updates as they happen.

‘Other Ranks’ has also taken a good step forward this week, with the provisional arrangement of an additional showing at the Drill Hall , Lincoln, in January 2013, subject to all the usual stuff. This is not only a brilliant opportunity to show in Lincoln’s most exciting (in my view) performing arts venue, in the newly refurbished Room Upstairs (The Ruston Room as was). It also significantly strengthens the ‘Other Ranks’ funding strategy; a big relief to me.

...And if this wasn’t enough, we’re now in the run-up to the moment when three lightweight sound people plunge into the midst of the British Army learning how to conduct urban warfare. Rest assured, you’ll be the first to receive updates.

I’m still seeking project participants for ‘Other Ranks’ so please visit the recently revised Briefing To

participants page of the ‘Other Ranks’ section of this site.

Last but not least, this week marked my first attendance at a board meeting of Shape Arts, of which I am now a trustee. Warmest thanks to all at Shape for appointing me and making me so welcome. I’m looking forward to learning more about the organisation, enjoying what I’ve learned already, and hoping to earn my place on the board of trustees, with many a helpful contribution in the future.

For now, however, the weekend beckons, with a community party for the Autumn Equinox, out in the tiny village where my mum and her brothers attended primary school. Time to down tools for this week.

Wishing you all a great weekend and success in all things next week.


16th September 2011

This week has been another important one for the SoundSpiral:

We now have the winning prose for Babel Spring, selected and on its way into translation: Warmest congratulations to Tanya Myers ( for her brilliant work.

Thanks also to Tom Forrest for editing it and to all the selection panel members for their help in whittling. Last but certainly not least, big big thanks to everyone who sent in prose submissions for our consideration. Couldn’t have done it without you, guys (and girls, for anyone feeling gender sensitive).

I’m planning to show off some of the excellent submissions we received. My thought is that we’ll use some of them as inspiration for those of you (and I hope that’ll be all of you) who feel like joining in via the chirruping function of the SoundSpiral, in a few months’ time. There are several pieces I can’t bear to abandon, and several more which you might find interesting, as I did. It’s possible that some of you will disagree with the selection we made. This is where the chirruping function comes into its own. Anyone is free to record the prose pieces, off the website, and fire them directly into Babel Spring by chirruping them.

Don’t worry...all will become clear. Watch this space, and the others. This project has many windows...

Speaking of which, for anyone who hasn’t yet done so, please come and ‘like’ my FB pages for more regular updates and to avoid missing anything - my creative practice page and here for all matters SoundSpiral.

On the SoundSpiral page you will find, just for instance, news of the 60 speakers which have, this week, arrived in the Slavin Disley home, reminding us of the increasingly urgent need to finalise the location of the space into which the giant inflatable will be delivered, come early December; yikes :o)

You can also find news of Daz Disley’s immense number crunching, if you’re of an audio nerdy turn of preference. It’s all good, and is even getting this technophobe pretty dashed excited.

Next week will be all about translating the prose. I’m also going to be updating some of the ‘Other Ranks’ web pages. Someone advised me to alter the tone of the brief to participants: it shall be so!

After that it’ll be time to get the Babel Spring recordings underway, to make space for a volley of ‘Other Ranks’ activity.

Keep watching... My heartfelt thanks to everyone taking the time and trouble to keep up with my various doings. Your support, encouragement and friendship is everything.

Till next time.


2nd September 2011

This has been an important week for the SoundSpiral and Babel Spring.

Recordings for Babel Spring will now take place on several continents, with help from brilliant friends and colleagues, all around the world.

Thanks to everyone who’s joining in; really exciting to have your input...And congratulations again to S o l R ez z a for achieving airplay on Radio 3's late junction this week with a track from her latest album 'SPIT' released 12th August - more information on her facebook page

For the Spiral itself, things are really beginning to happen:

The massive SoundSpiral software is now in development.

I have no idea what the code-ninjas, Daz Disley and Duncan Parsons are actually up to. I’m just handing them lists of what the completed cleverness must be capable of, and so far, they seem to be muttering and chuckling in a pleased sort of 'Yep; we can do that' kind of a way; Just the way I like ninjas, of any kind; all good.

Beau Selectors...

The selection process, for the Babel Spring prose has begun this week. The selection will be completed Next Friday. Thanks to Jenny Clarkeson, poet, and Paul Sutherland, Editor of Dream-Catcher, who joined me to compile the shortlist.

Next week will also mark the real beginning of the inflatable manufacture, as it enters the technical design phase, prior to physical construction. An exciting moment for the project.

The next few weeks will see the language translation and recording schedule completed, with help from SoundSpiral’s friends, and then the project will really gather momentum.

Watch this space :o)

Meanwhile, ‘Other Ranks’ continues quietly. I’m looking forward to visiting the British Army again, this time to record cadets training in urban warfare. Please, Crunchy, let us not see a day when those cadets are called on to suppress civilians on (democratic) British streets.

More soon.