So today was the last gig of our Following The Fleet: Drifters tour. This evening I played to a sell out (cues around the corner) audience at the Dreel Halls in Anstruther with the Newhaven Community Choir doing a support slot before the show. The last few days have freed up a little head space to reflect on the gigs we've done, the people we've met and all the stories we've heard. I've also been thinking about how I can technically and creatively build the show for future performances. The show has gone to various spaces, including cinemas, community halls and mutli-arts venues. Every space has bought with it a new challenge of acoustics and the affect this has on the show and my headspace.
Speaking of headspace, like the tour, its been varied. I've been constantly challenged by what I think I know of myself and how I interact with people. I absolutely love performing and socially interacting with the world but hadn't quite realised how much I need silence, solititude and space alone outside of performances.
Meeting people on every stop has been pretty mind blowing. We've delivered Beatboxing workshops to young people in schools, I've met the descendants of herring fisherman that went out on Drifters and also some of the relatives whose forefathers appear in the Drifters film! Sometimes I've just been stunned into silence knowing that I am speaking to a living, breathing person who is telling me "that was my great-grandfather in that film". It's like somehow there is an inner responsibility to maintain the integrity, honesty and need to keep performing this live score. I really hope that I can.
There have also been some suprising happenings along the way. I've seen a crew of grey seals chilling in the bay in Shetland; met a person who lived on the same street as me growing up in Tower Hamlets in the 70's and 80's in Helmsdale; chatted into the early hours about record labels, breakbeats and single malts in Stromness and also unexpectingly danced into the early hours at a funk, soul, hip hop jam in a pub here in Anstruther, reminiscing on all the tunes i've grown up with and heard through the various stages of life so far.
Overall, this has been an incredible tour. I've received new information about the herring fishing industry and the people whose lives and livelihoods depended on it. Its been fascinating finding out more about John Grierson and how he put the film together (even if there where some shady moves in his techniques!). Its also been wonderful seeing buildings, harbours and locations where Drifters was filmed and also seeing how those places and communities have changed over time.
Following The Fleet: Drifters has been produced by Shona Thomson of A Kind Of Seeing and funded by Film Hub Scotland and Creative Scotland. I would like to express a huge Thank You to Shona, our funders and the BFI for their belief in my work as there is no way I could have done this alone.
Having now explored a small part of the east coast of Scotland, in the future I aim to take Drifters further around Europe, Scandanavia, Greenland, Norway and the rest of the world. It's truly great to see who much discussion and debate has arrisen whilst on this tour around the topics of work, community, ecomonics, migration of people, technology, nature and climate change. Lets see where we drift...