Saturday, June 29, 2019

'No holiday' - York, UK

A recent visit back to the UK to see my parents gave me an opportunity to take my 'No holiday' performance on a further episode, this time in the historic city of York.

The trip to York spanned two days, which didn't give me much flexibility if the weather was not favourable and up to that point on my trip it had not been too good. In fact the first day in York was marred by heavy rain and so filming was postponed until the following day. If the rain persisted, then it would be necessary to film with the aid of umbrellas etc. Luckily, however, the next day opened to bright sunshine and blue sky.

The performance followed the route of the old walls of the city beginning on Lendal Bridge and passing close to the Multi-angular Tower and Yorkshire Museum before mounting the walls themselves at Bootham Bar. The walk then continued clockwise via Monk Bar, Jewbury, The Red Tower, Walmgate Barbican and Fishergate Bar to the Fishergate Postern Tower after which both the Foss and Ouse rivers were crossed before the walls were remounted at Skeldergate.
The route then continued via Victoria Bar and Micklegate Bar before crossing over the roads near to the railway station and descending to the gardens on Station Road where the walk began at Lendal Bridge.

The weather was magnificent for most of the walk and only became cloudy, threatening rain, towards the end. Passing behind York Minster, just after Bootham Bar, I was fortunate enough to be greeted by the Sunday morning peal of bells which enlivened the walk somewhat on this bright Sunday morning.

Besides the expected groups of students on field trips it was also great to see many people out walking the walls and even 4 or 5 energetic runners circumnavigating the old city at a brisk pace.

The recording of the walk can be viewed via the embedded video below or by visiting my YouTube link here.

Friday, June 21, 2019

'One Step Forward, Two Steps Back' - 6.6.2019

I had been considering the potential elements for a new performance within the pages of one of my notebooks and it was earlier this month during a trip to see my parents in the UK that the opportunity came to bring this piece to completion.

The world today seems to be fraught with so many problems that appear to have no current answer. Since the Second World War there had been a vague but nevertheless inexorable move in support of what we could for convenience sake call 'progress'. This development has been hardly ideal but for sure things were improving and we could have been confident that at some time in the future the world would be a fairer and safer place.

However, in more recent years, many of the positive gains made since the war have begun to evaporate or to be more accurate, have begun to be deliberately unravelled. Hatred and conflict have increased in intensity and hurtful intentions towards certain sectors of our societies have reemerged from their hiding places. These hiding places, it seems, were not so deep or remote after all.

On a more personal level, everyone faces challenges and usually we can face those challenges and in many cases overcome them, or if not overcome then at least come to terms with them. Sometimes though the challenges seem to arrive quicker than we can deal with them.

In this new performance I take on the role of another Sisyphean character attempting to scale a flight of stairs. Unfortunately, and frustratingly for him, with each step he takes towards the summit he must take two further steps away leaving him further back than when he made the initial progress. Sisyphus was not a man to give up easily so this new character persists with the task again and again until finally arriving against his wishes at the bottom of the flight of stairs.

Sisyphus was able to enjoy a brief respite from his labours during the short period as the rock rolled back down the hill and he was able to walk down unencumbered by the load, and so our new character takes some time out at the bottom of the stairs to look out at the ocean, finding a moment of calm before possibly beginning again.

The performance was conducted on the steps between the cliff tops and the beach at Sewerby near Bridlington in East Yorkshire, UK on 6th June 2019.