Thursday, 20 December 2012

Winter Cycle Redux

Thanks to circumstances beyond my control - mainly to do with having a family and not having been grown in a jar from a mixture of dancer's sweat and playwright's blood as I was told growing up - I am going to miss The Winter Cycle Redux. This makes me sick at heart - at least I get to see Tut Vu Vu tonight, before I get on the train down south - so I am going to encourage everyone in Glasgow to get to the Old Hairdressers on Friday 21st December. It won't be the end of the world if you don't, but...

Two years ago - remember the Christmas with all the ice and the cold and I got stuck in Scotland because the snows surrounded the Vile ancestral mansion - Jer Reid performed The Winter Cycle. Thirty one days of duets, every day at midday. Jer's no slouch on the guitar, but his imagination goes beyond the expected tropes of rocking out with his mates.

Between improvised action with RM Hubbert, Luke Sutherland and members of Tattie Toes, Jer called in dancers and visual artists. Jenny Soep told a charming story of festive cheer using pen and ink and projection, Christine Devaney made me a cup of tea and across the month, The Winter Cycle challenged the limited ideas of what musical improvisation could be. 

I think there's the beauty of Jer Reid, right there. How often does an artist make me realise how limited improvisation can be?

He has pulled together a few old allies to remember the shows - and hopefully sell a few CDs of the original gigs. And apart from Mr Reid himself, he has three absolute heroes of mine on the bill. Not that the other guests aren't great - I have a bias towards dancers and guys who can get hip audiences to join in during the chorus.

I last saw Rosalind Masson mixing it up with Jack Webb in The Arches. Masson is an improvisor and choreographer - she has worked with Reid before, most notably upstairs in Tramway during one of their festivals for Young People. In 2011, she shared a bill with The Ultimate Dancer with a short work castigating the oil companies for their lack of environmental concern. She's lively, enthusiastic and always ready to interpret Reid's guitar into precise movement.

Christine Devaney is the genius behind Curious Seed. She is one of Scotland's most vital choreographers, knows what dance theatre means and can use it to devastate and enchant. She is also big on the improvisations - she recently acted as a mentor to the Scottish companies in Breakin' Conventions' Open Art Surgery. I remember her Winter Cycle duet as being the most playful and warmest.

Wounded Knee: I love his mix of folk and soul. He is another artist, like Reid, who straddles the boundaries of rock'n'roll and performance art. I know that they'll both be asking me what I mean by this, so I'll be rushing on.

And as for Jer Reid himself... well, he's been on the Vile Arts Radio Hour often enough now. I am nominating him for the title of "most eclectic musical knowledge master in Glasgow."

Full Line Up
Jer Reid/ Rosalind Masson/ Monica de Ioanni/ Stevie Jones (Rude Pravo, Alasdair Roberts etc)
Fritz Welch & Rafe Fitzpatrick (Tattie Toes, Alasdair Roberts)
Wounded Knee & Christine Devaney (Curious Seed)
Cheer & Jer Reid

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