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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006
    Musical first awakenings
    Doing some background reading and thinking on The 17 today, it seems that Bill's rationale for this project (creating music the like of which has never been heard before - and will not be again) is tied in with an ache to recreate that special moment when a piece of music first awoke something profound in him.

    I guess we've all had that experience, though just now I'm struggling to bring my personal musical epiphany to the surface. U2 at the Royal Court in October 1981 was a true awakening for me, a realisation that songs of the spirit could be sung with the energy and drive of punk, an embracing of that energy. But I'm sure there had been earlier awakenings than that. I'm probably hiding them for shame as they may well have come through the medium of Gary Glitter, Sweet or Slade (currently unfashionable but for a 10-year-old in 1972, very powerful).

    Bill's method of trying to rekindle that first flame of musical passion involves clearing away all semblance of memory or record of existing musics and starting all over again. That's an idea also behind another of his projects, No Music Day (which I've blogged about before), November the 21st, on which no hymns will be sung, no records played, no concerts held and no music shops open, a day in which 'you will not take part in any sort of music whatsoever', and - here's the point - 'Then you will decide what you want from music.'

    The questions these projects raise are interesting; the methods are pretty fundamentalist - even puritanical - it'll be interesting to see how the audience at our music festival next weekend, engage with it all.