A Year in the Life of
Jenny on the Batphone
In February 2001, three ambassadors from Trash Music Projects flew deep into the heart of the holy land. Their mission: To Make As Much Noise As Possible.
This turned out to be easier than expected. When they arrived their band were already assembled and awaiting orders. The band consisted of adults with special needs from the organization Shekel and young volunteers from the local high school. With unquestionable grace, rhythm, energy and spirit they rose to the challenge admirably. Despite the jet-lagged fatigue of the three Scots, work commenced immediately.
Week one was a week of preparation. By the end of it the new band had created a 20-minute performance which they could proudly call their own. It was time to take the show on the road…
For the next four days the band could be seen travelling around the capital in a luxury coach; their multi-coloured water storage barrels stored underneath; their spray-painted boiler suits on stand-by. The unmistakable sound of Trash reverberated around the city; emanating from venues as diverse as a community centre, four schools and a busy shopping mall. The finale took place in the Israeli Science Museum where the hardy drummers played 3 energy filled shows back to back. As the last beat echoed away into the dusty horizon the three Scot's (Bill Muir, Jenny Miller and Alan Govan) packed their bags and bid farewell to Israel.
Trash would like to sincerely thank Shekel and Akim of Jerusalem, everyone who participated in the organization of this fantastic project and especially the band for all their hard work and boundless enthusiasm.
In Norway in June it never gets dark. Thankful were Jennifer McKie, Bill Muir and Alan Govan as they frantically made their last minute preparations at 3 am on the morning of the first performance.
The setting for this scene is the serene surroundings of Eggedal: A mountain settlement, surrounded by lush green forests and crystal clear lakes. For the last two weeks, the only thing disturbing the serenity was a group of three foolhardy Scots and a hastily put together and highly multi-national trash band. The band consisted of two groups of adults with special needs, from Germany and from Poland. Language was not a problem - proving the international flexibility of Trash - and before long all barriers had been broken down as the group developed into a tight-knit band.
Brilliantly spray painted boiler suits completed the look and the next day the band played their first of three shows in the heart of Oslo. The performances, played by a band with a wide spectrum of abilities and a large selection of languages, attracted interest from a variety of media sources - including two TV stations - and raised rapturous applause from the appreciative crowds.
We all returned to our respective homelands with a feeling that something valuable had been achieved and that warm friendships had been created out of the most unusual of circumstances.
November - Trash become Inspired
At the beginning of November, Trash packed a van and headed to Glasgow for three days in the Arches – surely one of Scotland’s best-known arts/music venues. We were invited to work there as part of the Inspiration festival: three weeks of high quality Arts activities for Young people.
The first day was a resounding success. Bill Muir and Alan Govan works with two classes of 30 children, each for two hours. We brought with us a selection of spray painted paper boiler suits, which the second group climbed bravely into. This led to much hilarity as Bill also convinced the teachers to put them on. We also brought with us a new structure: a tripod and a frame featuring a suspended batphone, small barrels, tubular bells and various other bits and pieces. We let the children play the structure in groups of four and as one boy put it:
“I learned that you can make music out of everything. I liked when we got a chance to make our own tune: I thought I was in a real gangster band”
November - Trash and the Ark
November Trash put on a show of biblical proportions in Innerleithen Parish Church. 30 members of the Crusaders youth group starred in ‘The Story of Noah’: a bible story told through rhythm. During the October holidays Jenny McKie and Alan Govan worked for three days with around half of the final group. The group learned and rehearsed the piece in only an evening and an afternoon. The preparatory workshops were funded by the Community Support Fund as part of the OutThere project.
For Trash this performance was a first: telling a story using only musical devices. Luckily the story in question was a well-known one and leant itself to relatively painless translation. Highlights of the show included an ark building section with a huge array of overlapping rhythms and an enormous storm as the flood raged upon the earth for 40 days and 40 nights. The acoustics in the church only added to this effect: the hand drumming producing rain sound effects worthy of Hollywood.
The success of this performance adds strength to long-held belief that Trash could be combined with other art forms to create high quality theatrical style productions. We are currently looking into projects that will build on what we have achieved and bring us closer to making this a reality.