Cirque du ArtSwarm: First Time by Mark Sheeky

Cirque du ArtSwarm: First Time
Wistaston Memorial Hall, Wistaston
15 February 2020

Detail from Cirque du ArtSwarm: First Time by Mark Sheeky Detail from Cirque du ArtSwarm: First Time by Mark Sheeky Detail from Cirque du ArtSwarm: First Time by Mark Sheeky Detail from Cirque du ArtSwarm: First Time by Mark Sheeky

About this event
One of a series of experimental art performance, music and poetry nights at Wistaston Memorial Hall, curated and organised by myself and Deborah Edgeley. The theme of the evening was Felines. I sang my Cat Phone Song to open the evening, an obvious choice! Carol Finch then read a few poems about family history and superstition. Martin Rivers played some electric guitar with a looper and effects to create a Tangerine Dream-like ambient soundscape.

John Shapter played some electronic music called Feline Groovy; flute, strings, with cat purr sounds that produced a hypnotic soundscape evocative of nature or something otherworldly. Claire Bassi read an extended poem about cats and the start of a sonic piece, Cat Art. Nicholas Ferenczy sang Ziggy Stardust due to its cat reference, read a poem, and performed an experimental song/poem with sound effects from acoustic guitar. Deborah Edgeley and I performed a short sketch by Deborah about two suburban cats, discussing life, humans, and the discomfort of sub-dermal microchips.

We Are Nomad were special guests after the break, and their songs were followed by three poems by John Lindley, including one premiere. I performed a song with electric guitar called Let's Dance Little Squirrel, the first time I had attempted a song with guitar. Moragh Carter then read a touching, 21 year life-story of her tortoise-shell cat. John Wilson ended the regular section with a slideshow of many different cat species with synchronised music.

Helen Kay then read two poems with still images; including one from her puppet alter-ego Nigella. The night ended with a quiz to choose the next theme, which became Religion, a fun a sing-along to the Top Cat theme. Overall this was one of the most eclectic and creative ArtSwarm events to date and was well attended despite the stormy weather.