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Here’s a clip of me playing the title track of my latest CD ‘Gravity’. I filmed this at home, might do a series called ‘songs from the sofa’. Btw if you like the song it’s available to buy at http://www.tomgeorge.bandcamp.com

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Dreamcatching

TOM GEORGE ARTS

Yesterday I met someone in the Egg cafe to talk about my Dreamcatcher project.

This is a series of interviews with folks about interesting, bizarre or memorable dreams they’ve had. I’m editing them into little films for the internet, with some of the dreams being visualised with dream sequences (obviously, the relatively low-budget dreams will stand the best chance of visualisation, as I can’t stretch to victorian costumes or alien battlecruisers at this stage)

Denny gave me a wonderful dream which you will have to wait for the new instalment to see. Meanwhile, here’s a reminder of the first dreamcatcher film.

Anyone with an interesting dream that wants to take part, please get in touch via spooneditor@hotmail.com

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Barcode Man

This is a piece that I am currently exhibiting at Arts Hub 47 on Lark Lane as part of Not Just Collective’s new show. The name of the show is ‘Practitioners of the City’ and features work inspired by the experience of urban living. I had previously exhibited video art with the group and this is my first sculpture, although I have always made things…

15241209_10153831565171735_1131450318289429216_nIn my teens I has a phase of making heads out of papier mache and recently went back to the practice, for no particular reason. This rather primitive human-like head was lying around my flat unpainted for a couple of years until this new show came along and I decided to do something with it.

For a while now I have been paying more attention to a spiritual essence that has become obscured by our obsessions with technology and consumerism. I have always been fascinated by evolution and early human relics – just when did we start being human?

15350458_10153831563891735_8096096447571652291_nIt occurred to me to make something that would reflect the impacts upon the human psyche of capitalism. These days, especially as we brand ourselves on social media, there is a tension between a kind of tamed, commodified self that we want to present to the world almost like a product, and a freer, more implusive, ancient human essence that we have almost forgotten.

The ‘hair’ on the sculpture is made of bar codes which I collected from products in my home and the base is a domestic cleaner bottle. The eyes are reflective plastic from teabag packaging – you can see yourself reflected if you get close enough.

I titled it ‘Something Deeper’.

 

 

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“Evidently, it’s elementary, they want us all gone eventually…”

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Humankind’s first steps into space inspired a rash of pop songs. In the wake of the first moon landing in 1969, songwriters started to imagine what space travel might mean for matters of the heart, and a mini-genre was born. Future-tastic sound effects, weightless melodies and tin foil in the videos all contributed to the kitschy glamour, as these mini-melodramas played out against the background of the cosmos. Set the controls for the heart of the fun – it’s time to find your inner space cadet…

  1. – David Bowie – Space Oddity (1969). The song that kicked off this trend (if we don’t count The Byrds’ Mr Spaceman) Bowie’s classic song features ‘lift-off’ sound effects and a general zero-gravity vibe, perfectly capturing the zeitgeist when it was first released, just before the Apollo 11 moon shot (this is the original lesser-known recording and video)

2. Elton John – Rocket Man (1972).

Perhaps a touch po-faced for this list, but the lyrics and ascending guitar motif place this track firmly in our spacey genre.

3. The Carpenters – Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (1977).

The slightly disturbing brother and sister duo join the space party.

4. Shelia B Devotion – Spacer (1979).

Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards from Chic add a touch of class to this sci-fi disco stomper.

5. Sarah Brightman and Hot Gossip – I Lost My Heart To a Starship Trooper (1979).

“Tell me captain strange, do you feel my devotion? Or are you like a droid, devoid of emotion?” sings saucy Sarah. A double clip with lashings of glitter and dry ice.

6. The Police – Walking on The Moon (1979)

This song is not about walking on the actual moon, but rather the semi-weightless feeling of being in love, but it earns its place in our list with a low-gravity arrangement featuring Andy Summers’ spacious, ambient guitar chords.

7. Rah Band – Clouds Across the Moon (1985)

Based around a lovelorn phone call, this would a great song in any genre, but in this case the two lovers are seperated by interplanetary space. A great video bursting with low-budget sci-fi camp.

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bob and..

It could only happen in America. I can just picture hundreds of thousands of psychedelic beach chairs, picnic hampers and parasols spread out on the ‘Empire polo field’ (that famous rock’n’roll venue…) as Bob Dylan, the Stones, Paul McCartney, The Who, Roger Waters and Neil Young perform at a mega-gig in Indio, California this October.

The organisers of Coachella festival have persuaded these fading legends with more wrinkles between them than the Grand Canyon to unite for a three day mega-gig, for an estimated fee of £1000,000 per act.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with celebrating music history, but old legends banding together like this for a quick buck underlines the rift that exists between the older generation and today’s talented musicians. Now that record companies don’t put time and money into developing new artists, musicians are swept up and down on waves of hype, easily disappearing without trace if they don’t make quick returns. If they do get noticed, will their fans actually buy their music or simply play it on youtube, or Spotify where the royalty rates for artists are so pathetic?

This gig will be another easy earner for already-rich performers whose careers blossomed during a ‘golden era’ of huge record sales and music industry largesse. Their generation still have a dependable audience – many of whom are well off enough to afford what are sure to be obscene ticket prices.

It will be like a psychedelic Glyndebourne, glasses raised to the spirits of the past, without the risk of any new blood to spoil the orgy of nostalgia.

This is just another reminder that the music industry is dead on its feet. With no new acts being developed, where are the future elder-statesmen and women waiting in the wings? And there’s another point –  this assemblage of musos is the last gathering of the original rock brotherhood, time-travellers from an era when virtually the only important musicians were male. How dated that looks now.

Don’t they feel uncomfortable turning the stage into a retirement home without any sort of organic connection to what is going on in today? An event like this could easily have included some support acts, I would have thought Neil Young might feel this, or Pete Townsend, or indeed Jagger – who always likes to appear aware of what goes on outside his bubble, at least.

It’s great when old-timers headline Glastonbury; often they can whip the asses of their younger comrades in terms of stagecraft. But sealing themselves off like this is unhealthy. It stinks of greed, complacency and theme-park culture.

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In the seventies there was a slew of tracks that blended folky balladry and rock textures and, although not neccesarily sounding like Dylan, they were clearly in debt to his epic style of songwriting. A long and winding melody would be combined with tasteful instrumentation and cryptic, poetic lyrics that were sometimes comprehensible, sometimes not.

Typical examples include American Pie, Hotel California and Sultans of Swing, and at the louder end Born To Run, Stairway To Heaven and Bat Out of Hell. The long-form song was nurtured by the album culture but these tracks were also catchy as hell and often big hit singles – that fact that I don’t need to mention the artists here attests to their iconic status the songs achieved in their own right.

Here’s a gentler example of the species – Al Stewart’s Year of The Cat. As seventies as cheesecloth and homebrew, and featuring a gorgeous alto sax break. Enjoy.

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