It was a wet Saturday, and I got up late, so my plan to go into the city early was subverted. I wanted to get on the visual art trail, and particularly see what is in the Undercroft in front of City Hall - artist Kathy Hinde with Tipping Point, and audio-visual installation exploring water, a kinetic sound sculpture which sounds interesting. Tim Davies' exhibition Within at NUA Gallery in St George's Street, and the Last Travelogue of Albert Sitzfleisch by Stephen Brande - a series of billboards in Cathedral Close but it was all too cold, wet and windy so I didn't go as they are running throughout the Festival and I will make sure I catch them later.
However, I did want to see the People's Tower being built, guided by French artist Olivier Grosstête - but same story - cold, wet and windy and a pressing list of Saturday tasks to do. I finally made it in to see the final structure though, at around 3pm, just as a fresh downpour started - it looked impressive in front of the Forum and quite accurate, give or take a few details. And some friends were there when it was pulled down which they enjoyed. It was a fun piece - shame about the weather though.
Saturday evening we went to see Long Live the Little Knife at The Garage in Chapelfield. The Garage has a really nice small auditorium and for this show, the racked seating was put away and the entire room was covered in paint spattered dust sheets. The play, by David Leddy, is about a couple who are con artists, trying to make it in the art forgery world. It's a complicated tale of bluffs and double-bluffs, very well acted by its two-person cast (and occasional input from the sound man). The dialogue is fast and complicated with the actors changing accents at the drop of a hat, exciting, hard to follow and with a few radical twists and turns - it's on around the county over the next week or so – try and catch it if you can. The friends who we had dragged along at the last minute really enjoyed it too.
Because we had friends with us, I didn't head off down to Norwich Arts Centre for The Neutrinos' Klang Haus late night Midnight Feast but I must get down to some of the late night Live Art events down there too. Though we never worked out how the title fits the narrative.
Sunday, a more quiet day, but we were at Open this evening for Dave Okumu & The Invisible with Shingai Shoniwa. I have to say that on this occasion I was quite disappointed. After the rave of Friday night with Snarky Puppy, we were expecting great things but somehow, it never quite got off the ground in spite of having some great ingredients.
It was the first time that Okumu and Shoniwa had played together although they have worked together at a distance apparently. And they were evidently excited by the prospect of playing this gig. Shoniwa was stunning (although she was having trouble with her strapless dress and too-high shoes) and engaging. She was almost trying too hard and although the audience was enthusiastic for the most part it seemed as though she didn't quite win them over for all her efforts. Somehow, it was musically a bit flat and lacklustre (my friend blamed the drummer). Shoniwa brought on a choir of about 20 female voices but even that didn't seem to lift it. Don't get me wrong, they were good musicians, but something wasn't right.
The gig ended quite abruptly and without an encore and I have a feeling that it was all a bit too much for her too. Who knows, and maybe also she would have been better in a smaller venue - you have to have a big sound to really get that hugely lofty hall pumping in the way that Snarky Puppy and all their instruments did. But I hope that she will remember Norwich in a good way, and that there weren't any arguments. Plenty of people did seem to be enjoying it, maybe it just wasn't for me. Sorry Dave and Shingai - I hope there weren't any arguments backstage!
So, that's it for now. I didn't get to any of the literary events either, which was a shame but I will be on the Festival trail again tomorrow and will tell you what I find!