Liberalism, Communism and Art
Off to APA to deliver a session for Mok on a course he is running called Liberalism, Communism and Art. A 50 minute lecture on my work in this field. Fascinating to look at my life and work in this context and to talk about my parents and their belief in social justice and culture. This was my starting point. I focussed on culture and politics - defining politics with a big P and a little p. One being the use of song as protest, of theatre to argue with governments - the other being about personal development and community change. I talk about WSI
and I sing songs of John Fox and Adrian Mitchell
Read 'Tell me Lies about Vietnam' and 'Beattie is 3', tell stories of the Raising of the Titanic (Welfare State International) and the 5 years Barrow residency, of personal songs about houses (Morecambe Streets) and my journey here to Hong Kong and China (The Long Walk). Finally I reflect on the Umbrella Revolution and the massive cultural outpouring that took place here one year ago and sing one of the songs from '24 Hours in a Revolution'.
There are 2 questions/statements from the students - the first is about how relevant this work could be here in Hong Kong where people are trapped in individualism - the student is so touched by what she has seen that she is crying as she talks about how she understand the love and belief that comes from our work. The other asks ‘how could one session change a life’ and I tell the story of the autistic boy who 4 years ago came to a single respite session and started drumming. This summer (because of his parental support) he came as a kit drummer on a summer school - a changed life.I have to repeat the lecture to another class at 12 so have arranged a meeting with Samuel Leung - the deputy director at APA and a brilliant educator and thinker who I met last year. He talks about the changes happening at the place and also the interesting issue of being both a conservatoire (focussed on the industry) and a university (developing learning). He is new to this job and I am sure the next few years will see some interesting developments here.
Bert Monterona (www.bertmonterona.com) is also talking to Mok’s students and so I listen to his talk. A true political artist who paints tapestries and murals both in the Philipines and also in Vancouver where he now lives. The work is brilliant. He has just completed a short project at CCCD and as we lunch together he talks about his winter ahead in the warmth of his home island. A contrast to the colder Vancouver winter.
www.clockenflap.com - This is another reason for being here. To one man band alongside New Order, The Libertines, Mr Scruff and The Skatalites. Not that any of them will see me! My afternoon is spent unpacking the drum case and making sure my kit all works. I first made the travelling one man band for an Australian gig in 2012 and now it is so useful.
Final session of the Ways into Workshops session is brilliant. I work the group really hard and we sing and make some really good music. I think the learning is significant for many of the 18 people in the room and we end up talking about their aspirations for the next 6 months. I am fairly sure there will be another visit in the middle of next year and they are very keen to meet and work with Ash - our ace beatboxer/rapper. let's see what we can do.
Late night supper connects me back with the brilliant Chuen as we share stories of football (he is a Barcelona fan), playback theatre and Hong Kong Tales.