Loopiness at the arts fair

Last Friday was the Loop Arts Fair, organised by a bunch of talented folk and featuring an array of other talented folk, along with yours truly…

Setup was not quite on the mammoth scale of that at the Hepworth Gallery, but the never ending talk from James Jarvis ate a good way into my slot, so I was keen to get up and running asap. Unfortunately I was reacquainted with a nemesis of mine from the Papergirl Leeds launch, a dodgy PA that seems to have taken a dislike to me. Despite endless variations on plugging in and knob twiddling from myself and the exceedingly helpful Bodie Bestjoinedup, it still sounded thin, tinny and headache inducing. Eventually I had to go and steal the amp & speakers from the cafe area, which I have to say, sounded a proper treat.

So finally I was ready to rock, with my 3 hour slot now having a mere one and a half hours left. Being quite stressed by this point, I knew I needed a quick breather to regain my composure if I was going to salvage anything from the set. Inspiration struck, and I lobbed on a 10 minute mockumentary about an imagined Black Astronaut programme from the 1950’s “It was a different age then”. This set the tone beautifully. I let it play to the end, gradually fading up the next track and launched into it proper.

Early on I managed to get in the Getty Mishmash Award winning mashup from long time compadre Mr Hopkinson. Featuring spoken word from the legendary Grand Master Flash, along with delightfully edited stock footage from the Getty Foundation, I’m still loving the look, feel and content of this 2 years on from its production. It’s a meta comment on mashup culture.

Recalling a conversation with one of the organisers, Neil Testspace, who claimed to enjoy the bits between the music the most, I’d been trailing on Twitter that I would be playing “lots of confusing videos”. I went so far as to consolidate my ballooning playlists, leaving me with the best part of 200  videos to choose from between muzaks. Maybe the choice went to my head, or maybe the boozes from the bar went to the audience’s head, but mid confusing video flow I got a request for “…more music, less spoken word…”

As it happened I had just kicked off a cover of ‘Bittersweet Symphony” from the brassy horn loving Mexican Institute of Sound, so I followed through with some more horn driven funkateers including Hot 8 Brass Band and fellow Mexican brassers the Nortec Collective. A neat segue using the unstoppable D’n’B of ‘Flute tune’ set to a bunch of drunken Turkish farmers dancing around, forward rolling and generally having the best time EVER took me into the realm gypsy-step & dubstep.

However, like the perennially spotted Leopard, it was only a matter of time before I was back on the interstitial videos (that is genuinely what my playlist is called) and dropping the Armstrong & Miller ‘Pilots think Vera Lynn is well fit’ sketch. From then on it was pretty much a steady one two between some of my favourite comedy skits and bizarre overdubs and their most relevant muzaks. We got through the Fast Show (“nice!”) Gilbert & George dancing with David Dimbleby, a stoned caller on Richard & Judy (“he looks like a big frog thats died”), Flight of the Conchords and yet more Armstrong and Miller. Musically we peaked with Buraka Som Systema’s J-Wow ‘O Dedo’ and calmed things down for the close with Nouvelle Vagues delightful cover of the Specials ‘Friday night, Saturday morning’, well it was Friday night.

I had a blast as ever, got to meet a couple of folk from the Twittersphere (have to say thanks again to @Jamesadphoto for the stand in PA) and generally enjoyed myself. Though I am kicking myself now for not taking the time to check out the other stuff there. I barely clocked any of the Bestjoinedup graff that was going on, and hear I missed out on some DJ Woody Turntables in Technicolour stickers (now there’s an av artiste!). Also didn’t really check any of the other stuff being exhibited, though even I couldn’t fail to be impressed with the cracking installation from @LordWhitney, which I hear is now up for grabs on teh internets.

Finally, geek fans may like to note, the entire thing was run from my Mifi mobile broadband wifi hotspot, which worked perfectly. I can honestly say it’s connection beats the wired one in Seven Arts Centre hands down. Unfortunately I had to ration bandwidth, so I’ve still not managed to stream a set back to the net and complete the feedback loop. Who knows, that may be a good thing, I might be in danger of warping the space time continuum if I did….


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