Sunday, 6 May 2012

Time flies by when you're the driver of a train

It might be possible to explain all of this - but frankly there isn't enough time.
 It's a busy old world out there: World Cups, Wimbledon, women PMs in Australia; England beating Australia at cricket and no one cares. Now, all-of-sudden our Fringe is but 5 days away. Here's a couple of bits of news from old friends to whet your appetites for what is to come between 7-25 July.

If you are already suffering from excess football, the Amaretti Chamber Orchestra can offer you an entertaining alternative to the World Cup Final on Sunday 11th July. The orchestra will be performing the World Premiere of Nick Simpson’s new work, “He was Despised: Variations on a theme by Handel, an entertainment for string orchestra.” The piece written for the Amaretti Chamber Orchestra, describes aspects of the composer’s life.
In Nick’s own words:

“I had the idea of writing He Was Despised at a time when I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, and thought I could write some of my miseries into a set of variations on Handel's Messiah aria. But after two or three variations the best I could come up with was that I was going a bit thin on top and I wasn't much good at football - there's a bit of the Match of the Day tune in my piece. So I thought I'd better write about how lucky I was too, and it turned out there was much more of that than I'd expected. So what started out as a gloomy piece turned out to be pretty cheerful in the end.”

The variations are quite lively, and could be described as modern baroque. There are eight movements which become progressively more positive:

  1. I lament that I am Not a Famous Conductor 
  2. I regret that I am Not a Famous Composer 
  3. I notice that I am getting A Bit Thin on Top 
  4. I acknowledge that I am Not Much Good at Football 
  5. It occurs to me that nonetheless I have Drink in the House and Money in the Bank. (Pre-credit crunch. Please do not ask for a loan.) 
  6. I consider that I have a Lovely Wife and Kids 
  7. I contemplate the Little House in the Country 
  8. It occurs to me that I am Not Dead Yet. (Correct at time of composition. Please check press for details.)
In 2005 Nick Simpson’s Symphony No.2 was recorded by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and broadcast on Radio 3. His 2006 piece for the Fell Clarinet Quartet, Mardale Changes, has been recorded for Edinburgh-based Delphion Records, and the CD was released in July 2008. In addition to the premiere of He Was Despised, 2010 will see the first performance of his Micromass.

Nick is currently working on a piano concerto for performance next year.

The concert will be conducted by Richard Davis, and also feature the Barber Adagio for Strings, Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings, Purcell Chacony and Corelli Concerto Grosso Op.6 No.3. The concert will be held at 7.30pm on Sunday, 11th July at St. John’s Church, St. John’s Road, Buxton SK17 6XN.

A particularly cherished friend, Matt Pritchard - aka Dr Johnny Facade - is back at the Pauper's Pit with a new show. More about that that in a few days time perhaps. Meanwhile here are his answers to our questions about the meaning f life.
1] Matt – you’re a local hero. Does this worry you?
It is always fantastic to be welcomed back to the town each year. The support and encouragement I receive from the Fringe committee and Underground venues is appreciated. There is also a pressure to come back each year with new and improved offerings – but that isn’t a bad thing!
2] Is the new show written yet? Anything you’d like to tell us about it?
I’ve written about a third of it! This is fairly typical though so don’t get too scared. I pretty much empty my diary for June each year and go into a creative cocoon. Ideas scribbled down on scraps of paper over the last year are collated and hopefully a beautiful butterfly will emerge in July. This year especially I’ve not set myself too much of a structure for the show as I’m wanting to play around and see how ideas evolve.
At the moment the show is looking to be a more personal and darker offering than previous years. I’m wanting to explore the area of subversive storytelling this year. My theme for this year is winning, losing and finding the route to success. So expect to find a few familiar childhood games featuring alongside the usual mix of surreal silliness.
3] More magic at Buxton this year – do you watch other magicians much and do you always know how they did that trick?
To be honest I don’t watch many magicians nowadays as frankly I find the vast majority of performances dull or poorly executed. The same tricks presented in the same way with the same bad jokes. Thankfully there are a few innovators out there who are pushing the art forwards. I have a close group of friends in magic that I used to bounce ideas off (and who I know won’t steal my routines). The more you study magic, the easier it is to figure out the tricks. There aren’t many tricks now that leave me baffled; which is another reason I have lost interest in watching magic. These comments aren’t meant as a slur on the other magicians performing at the Fringe. I’d recommend going to see their shows.
4] Has Dr Johnny Façade changed much over the years - or is he trapped in some sort of time field that means he cannot grow old?
That’s an interesting question. In essence Johnny Façade is just an exaggerated me but with a tendency to talk more rubbish than usual. In the last year I’ve experimented with a few different approaches and have come close to dropping the pseudonym. However, this year the show is shaping up to be more character driven. There’s always a risk with this that the audience takes a dislike to the character. So we’ll have to see whether Johnny Façade survives into 2011.
5] When you’re not in Buxton what do you do?
As of Easter this year I’ve returned to being a self employed creative consultant. Or as I like to think of it: a mercenary for hire. I work as a magician but also in the field of science communication. Currently I’m working with the ss Great Britain down in Bristol on a Royal Society funded schools outreach project. Over the summer I’ve got a few bookings to perform my shows at science festivals – we’ll see how they go down with the serious scientists.

by Keith Savage - Published 02/07/2010

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