“there is something so wildly unreserved about it that it sends you reeling into the night more than a little dazed.“
The Guardian, 12th February 2012
“…mesmerises me into some sort of hypnotic state.“
Spoonfed, 14th February 2012
“one of the most thrilling things I have ever seen….must be seen to be believed.”
One Stop Arts, 27th February 2012
Name: Bobbie Gardner
What do you do?
Musician, (Composer, Keys Player, DJ), Project Management, Facilitator, Social Media facilitation for Education and the Arts.
Where are you based?
Birmingham, but work all over.
Who are your key collaborators (or who would you like to collaborate with)?
Kismet team – Rose Oliver; visual artist and curator, Ian Sergeant; arts administrator, curator extraordinaire, (made films back in the day in Brizzle), Saad Bashir – project management, wordsmith, journalist , Ross Cotton – (the future) music journalist, they are beautiful, driven people who inspire, feed and humour me, young people I teach and do workshops work with.
I’d like to work with Arvo Part and John Adams, two amazing composers, oh and Williard White – I met him when a kid singing in the CBSOYC.
What keeps you working in Birmingham?
Love for my nuclear family.
The strong connections I have with my artistic family and arts organisations/schools.
I have forged national and international connections and am continuing to do so with inspiring creatives – social media is great for this. The rent is considerably cheaper here, for the £600 I was paying a month in the smoke, I had a tiny box in what became a rapidly gentrified area of Hackney and didn’t feel particularly safe. I now pay a lot less than this, in my abode I have space to rehearse, compose and practice capoeira moves, oh and a garden!
Is there anything about the city you find difficult in terms of what you’re trying to do?
I initially found it hard to connect with musicians, as in when trying to join bands, found the scene very male dominated, (which is not to say that this was down to a conspiracy by Birmingham based male musos to shut ladies out). However this is changing, I’ve found an amazing reggae band and am hoping to start an ensemble with some very talented ladies.
I used to struggle with people’s attitude to Birmingham; those who have never stepped foot here can be very opinionated, some (mainly Southerners) see Brum as the countryside/backwards. Brummies are quite humble and on the whole understated. I feel that because we don’t blow our own trumpet we are overlooked by cities such as Bristol and Manchester.
Type into your search engine of choice “What’s On in Birmingham” and behold the results. The top websites that come up I think are pretty dire, they read so corporate. Does it really assist tourists or people new to the city in finding the wealth of creative goodness here? A stronger online presence (or joined up one, as there are some great sites out there, CiB, LiveBrum) can help artists connect with new audiences.
Signage – we need to work on this too, there is so much amazing stuff happening in Digbeth and the Jewellery Quarter but not much work has been done to make this easily accessible.
Transport networks – wish there were more trains South Birmingham side (Moseley, Kings Heath). god bless the no. 50 route! If we could connect the city a bit better (and not make it extortionate in price) it might enable greater exploration of the city.
If you were trying to persuade someone to make a living in the arts in Birmingham what would you say?
Come! Check it out, the more the merrier, it would be great to have a influx of creatives, come take advantage of the great transport links, dive into a community of salt of the earth, friendly, artistic folk. The more creatives who reside here the more competitive it will make the artistic scene which would be really exciting!
What’s your next project?
I am working on all of these and sleeping a lot less:
1. March 17th -as part of Flatpack Festival, Kismet (based at club PST cafe space) will host a fantasy/spiritual themed space for those in need of a little respite in between events. We will be armed with seasonal herbal teas, freshly made cakes, mellowing incense, short films, and a sound and animation – created by myself, illustrator StinaJones and woven together by Leon Trimble.”
2. 30th/31st March world premiere of “Push and Pull” by Uchenna Dance Co. I have written the score for it.
3. Film project soundscape score to complete.
4. Film and music events for my promotion Rea River Soul in partnership with Mr. Sergeant, April, May and hopefully a biggie in June.
5. A personal composition project based on my hometown – and the different wards – inspired by Mr. Sufjan Stephens.
Whilst Pinter was giving Absurdism a place in British theatre culture and John Osborne was creating a whole genre all by himself in the Angry Young Man, Bill Naughton was grafting away at the kitchen sink, writing plays that were huge hits of their time but no longer hold the same cachet of his peers.
Yet watching Alfie on our stage tonight, I find myself marvelling at the expertise of this dramatist. When we collaborated with Bolton Octagon on RaftaRafta, Ayub Khan Din’s adaptation of All In Good Time, I admired the truth of a working class world where privacy is a precious commodity. When we included Spring and Port Wine in last year’s rep season we were surprised by its popularity – and moved by the letters we received from audience members who felt the detail of a snap tin, a work box or a bill for an overcoat mirrored precisely their experience of growing up.
In the case of Alfie, I think perhaps Michael Caine has been accorded more than his fair share of the credit for creating this era-defining character. His performance was virtuoso, of course, but the quality of writing he had to work with was staggeringly good and perhaps hasn’t been accorded the credit it deserves. Bill Naughton’s turn of phrase; his confident theatricality; the way that, without Michael Caine filling the screen, the character still leaps off the page and into our laps, but the other characters get a look-in too.
But mostly I was left in awe of Naughton’s ability to write a whole play about a young man’s relationship with his parents, with no appearance by either character, not even a single overt reference. The unwrapping of Alfie’s past happens entirely in the present. A nursing woman who smells a ‘bit milkified’ he likes, because ‘it smells mumsie’; all children ‘need proper fathers, and proper bleedin’ mums, come to that,’ but ‘it seems there aren’t enough to go round’; Ruby, the woman he considers settling down with, is both a mature woman and ‘quite mumsie’; his relationship with his own son, Malcolm, suggests that poor parenting is one of the things a child inherits. I’ve been pondering why Irish-born BoltonianNaughton decided to create a footloose chirpy Cockney when his usual world was the Bolton terrace hemmed in by family and community. Is it because he knew that the glittering tower blocks springing up over 60s London and spreading inexorably northwards, whilst a solution to insanitary old housing, were going to fracture families and communities?
Expertly directed by David Thacker, it has a terrific cast led by charming David Ricardo-Pearce in the title role. It’s much funnier than I remember the film being, and moving too.
Kindle Theatre take THE FURIES to VAULT Festival, London.
Since we started in 2005 we seem to have thrived off some kind of horror or another, whether that be a story that informs the content of a project – blasphemy, cannibalism, murder, or whether that be an actual part of the making process; we went through a phase of using an excessive amount of fake blood and stained lots of things: the herringbone tiles of a church floor, a ceiling and various articles of clothing and costume.
Kindle Theatre take THE FURIES to VAULT Festival, London. Since we started in 2005 we seem to have thrived off some kind of horror or another, whether that be a story that informs the content of a project – blasphemy, cannibalism, murder, or whether that be an actual part of the making process; we went through a phase of using an excessive amount of fake blood and stained lots of things: the herringbone tiles of a church floor, a ceiling and various articles of clothing and costume. (We do always repair …