An improvisation that I did at the now NOW series in September of 2012 in Sydney.
So the story goes like this – I had a gig in Basel, Switzerland – at this great little artist-run place called Schqrzwaldallee which was in an old train repair-yard. I met all the people who ran it who were very nice hipster artists – very nice people. I was setting up, and a few people had arrived, I had bare feet on concrete, I was holding my guitar – and there was this nice little lamp on the ground with a shade on it – it was on, I reched down to move from one side of my guitar pedals to the other – as my hands closed around the base of it (made of metal)- I had this vibrating sensation throughout my upper body – I knew in my mind that I was being electrified but I couldn’t open my hand to release the lamp. An involuntary noise came from my throat and I could see the people at the door looking at – it all happened very much in slow-motion – I noticed a lot of things in what was probably a short space of about 3-4 seconds of the current passing through me – I fell over on my knees, which must have knocked the lamp out of my hand. I was very shaken up … everyone rushed in – I think everyone was in shock (no pun intended). I had a lot of adrenaline pulsing through my veins and was apparently as white as a sheet. The artists fussed around and couldn’t believe it was the lamp … they thought it might’ve been my guitar … I didn’t know which it was … could’ve been both … I could’ve bridged the electricity between the lamp and the guitar or the lamp and the concrete … I was certain it was the lamp. I got a little cranky at them suggesting it was the guitar when it clearly happened when I picked up the lamp – their safety switches didn’t switch off either which was also concerning. Anyway – Nadine was adamant that she didn’t want me to play. Nadine’s Dad came in a started giving the artists grief, making suggestions in a commanding voice. It was quite a scene. Anyway, I decided to continue playing – they got a different lamp out. I walked over to pick up my guitar and the lights went out … I panicked and ran away from the setup. They fixed it again … and I decided to man-up and play the gig.
I thought I played pretty well … Nadine recorded some of it … ages later I listened to it again – I played terribly.
The next day Nadine convinced me to go to local doctor to get checked out – he did and ECG … or an EKG in German. There was a slight change on my EKG which indicated that a part of my myocardium had suffered a small amount of oxygen loss – he told me to come back in a week for another EKG and a stress test – he expected it to be fine again. I came back in a week – it was fine. Phew!!
The S&B was first performed by Chris Downes and Josh Santospirito as part of the 2011 Sound to Light evening which pitted a visual artist with a sound artist. Josh approached Chris in early 2011 about doing something together and they slowly developed the idea of performing a ghost story based on the Derwent River near Hobart, Tasmania.
Chris came up with the slow-burning 20 minute story of a young Shipwright meeting a banshee on the banks of Derwent River and Josh wrote the music and created the soundtrack and the music that he also performed. The story was cobbled together from various myths about banshee’s.
The second performance was at Chugnut (comics camp) in Victoria on the 31st of March 2012 where it was watched by every comicer worth a damn in the country (except for all the others) … who loved it.
The performance was then dissected for its weak points and turned into an interstellar monster with the addition of the idea of having an animated component along with Chris’s drawing … then we decided against that.
Then we asked Brian Ritchie (of the Violent Femmes) to include it in the MONA FOMA – an awesomely amazing music and art festival in Hobart, Australia … where Chris and I both live. The video is from the performance at the Rosny Barn as part of the festival.