I can think of a few more South Essex-based musicians whose thoughts on the subject would have been welcome - Johnny Navarro springs to mind, as his brilliant novel Kill Devil Delta is set around Leigh-on-Sea and the Thames Estuary (and is sold with a CD of tracks from local imaginary band Crowstone!)
The relationship between music and place: this is an endlessly fascinating subject, one that can be observed, analysed, dissected and commented upon for ever and ever. We all have our very own take on the subject, our unique personal journeys through music and place, perhaps exacerbated if we happen to be a creative person - music and place feed into what we produce ourselves.
This is something I am very much working on/with at the moment with my third novel, The Right Place - I am trying to construct a contemporary narrative rooted in the ancestral landscape of Dorset and inspired by the lyrics of a PJ Harvey song, itself written about a particular Dorset location. Events such as Sound of the Thames Delta help me find inspiration and motivation by looking at what other artists and writers do, and how they do it.
Sound of The Thames Delta took place in the criminally under-used award-winning Royal Pavilion at the end of Southend Pier - the world's longest pleasure pier.
We listened to "train music", to some curlews, to a little bit of Pierre Schaeffer and were told to check out the Mexican legend of The Llorona (The Crying Woman), the ghost who invited herself on one of Chris Watson's field recordings.
As an industrial music fan and Nature lover, this talk was just heaven to my ears... I could have listened to them for hours...
When young people say they have a passion for music, it is very important to tell them about the exciting opportunities available to them - being a pop or rock star is definitely not the only option - if you are ready to work hard for your art... And we adults should be encouraging them and opening their horizon to the possibilities.... Those two gentlemen are here to show them the way!
It was a real privilege to listen to artist and musician Karl Hyde (KARL HYDE, PEOPLE!!!) and respected filmmaker Kieran Evans talk about their 2013 film The Outer Edges: a poetic, arty, socially aware, moving, democratic filmic essay about the Essex egdelands, those areas between town and countryside which are forever forgotten. Beauty and hope is found in chaos and decrepitude.
I loved the interaction between Karl and Kieran; you could see a real bond of friendship there. They talked about their work on the documentary with warmth and intelligence. The film came out the same year as Edgeland, Karl's solo album which was intricately linked to the film project.
With them was award-winning writer Michael Symmons Roberts, whose book (with Paul Farley) Edgelands is a tribute to those in-between zones which are always overlooked; his edgelands are located in north west England - an area scarred by post-industrialisation.
The festival bookshop had ran out of copies of Edgelands when I went to get the book, but I will make sure I get my hands on one asap - for inspiration, of course!
Edgelands forms a critique of what we value as ‘wild’, and allows our allotments, railways, motorways, wasteland and water a presence in the world, and a strange beauty all of their own.
I have learned many things and I have been inspired.
A fitting conclusion to this blog!