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Parallel Lines

Sue, Lou and Nicola with Kate Davies

Group writing session with Kate Davis at MIND in Barrow

Poet Kate Davis has been working with a women's group of staff and members from MIND, introducing writing techniques and examples and offering them as means of recording some accounts of our personal and public encounters with music and with the social worlds it helps to build.

It's been a lovely group; Kate began with an exercise on group writing around a remembered sound and the atmosphere surrounding it. The conversation has explored the pleasures of sharing a parents music with them, of working in record shops, and of shared and sharply contrasting accounts of the ritual preparation for a night out.

We were soon burrowing deeper into what music is, where it takes us, and what is the thing that hooks us.

For some it's a mood created by a sound in the right place and the right time, a soundtrack to a shared one-off experience, or a route to a peaceful feeling. For some its a voice singing with quiet conviction

The work mingles anecdotes, a snatch of song, reportage from clubland, evocations of feeling and states of grace. We take our listeners on a tour of the intimate spaces in which music goes to work on us. Some of these are public spaces, spaces in which we might feel alone and vulnerable, or connected , confident, unstoppable.

The atmosphere in the work room and in the recording studio has been warm and generous, the talk is interesting, the writing is touching, empathic, funny, full of sharp observation.

Sue brought chocolate. Thanks Sue.

We got our usual warm welcome from Robbie and Josh at the studio, the kettle was located in the debris from The Lock In's (marvellous) Coastal Roads Festival, and the serious fun of recording began. The written and recorded work has been composed into a script, with additional bits from Kate, me, and the result is a slice across time and place, reflecting shifts in the nature of preparations for nights out, and the role of music in our social and private

Sue writes about the buzz she can find in a near-empty venue in the hours before a gig, and about the peace she finds in contemplative, enveloping sound. In Nicola's account of a day out at the Radio One Road Show we hear the fizzing adrenaline of teenage fandom. In Louise's pieces, read by Nicole who we know from her work with Theatre Factory, we hear a contemporary anxiety worm its way onto the dancefloor, hollowing out the buzz of release and abandon, and then we hear that anxiety justified as an unthinkable act takes place in the darkness, a particular darkness that the light show can't reach.

In some ways, the work here is about shared experiences across decades. The conversations around it revealed parallels between very different lives. Discussions around technique with Kate sharpened the focus and placed the work within both the personal and the universal.  In another way, the work is about confidence; in ourselves, in our social skills and in the environments we move within. Confidence and security, and the right we all have to it.

Original Music: John Hall, Steve Adams, Phill Gregg.
Mind in Furness:
Kate Davies:

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