Tuesday, 31 May 2011


Before I was asked to be part of a celebration of John Cage in music/spoken word/dance/multimedia performance, all I knew about Cage was that he was the guy who did the silent piece called 4′33″ .

The more I read about Cage the more fascinated I became. I think the problem is that when you label him as a musician some people get annoyed and say that he was making some kind of anti-music ... I don't see Cage as just a musician: I see him as an experimental artist. His music teacher told him he had no ear for harmony and that he'd come to a wall and wouldn't be able to get through. "So what will you do, John?" he asked. John Cage just said "I'll bang my head against that wall!" That's an attitude I like!

John Cage was very into Zen, and wanted to create art without using his ego. By composing, painting and writing using chance and consulting the I Ching he claimed that his work was free from ego. I first thought he was improvising a great deal, but he called it "considered improvisation" and thought that pure improvisation actually was egotistical ...

- the band who hosted the Cage tribute evening don't totally agree with Cage's view even if they're influenced by him. 4thirtythree always improvise. At rehearsals, in the studio when recording albums, and on stage. I think that's very brave, letting go and just moving on ...

The CAGEungaged gig took place almost two weeks ago at the Green Door Store in Brighton, but the reason I didn't get round to blog about it until today was that I didn't have any good photos, but I hope the images above will give a flavour of the evening anyway.

Apart from music by 4thirtythree, VV did some improvised dancing, John Lake played the piano and Simon Mclennan showed some images. I did some improvised spoken word with Tim from 4thirtythree, read a part of John Cage's Lecture on Nothing, performed my own piece Ode to a skull-shaped maraca, and lastly I had the audience helping me to write a mesostic on my top ...

And what I love is that that whole thing was so random. In the beginning of one of 4thirtythree sets Tim made some noise (sounding like banging metal against the floor, still don't know exactly what he did) and it was totally in the spur of the moment. Some of my friends couldn't help giggling, and when I bumped into Tim the week after the gig he told me the other guys thought that something had fallen from the ceiling ...

The whole process of working with 4thirtythree has been a real eye-opener for me, and I feel that I can take more risks when I'm performing and writing, leaving more things to chance, rather than rehearse everything to perfection. Thank you guys!


  1. It was a really good gig. I'm waiting for the day when you and an instrument turn up to jam with us all.

  2. Thanks, Annie! Me and an instrument? I've only got a maraca :)

  3. It was a good gig. I was totally impressed with the research you did into John Cage.

  4. ...and you don't need an instrument at Safehouse, though you might want a microphone and amplifier.