November 12, 2016

8.00 am: Off to the School to complete the set up of my equipment and undertake a thorough sound check. I made notes as I proceeded, and throughout the day, on problems that occurred, limitations that presented themselves (with respect to both the equipment and myself), and their remedy. Longer cables are high on the list; it’s easy to underestimate the different geographical distances between equipment tables in a studio as compared those in the performance context. 9.00 am: Everything was operational and optimised. 9.20 am: Dafydd, my accomplice, arrived:

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The initial generation of sounds proceeded cautiously. In Dialogues 1 to 3, only I made sound. The collaborators drew. Two noisy ‘so and sos’ is an entirely different proposition. We had, without discussion, and purely by being attentive to one another, to come to an understanding of our respective roles. And these roles weren’t fixed; they evolved, along with the sound composition, throughout the day. We were neither performing nor practising. Rather, we were ‘painting’, in synchronisation, on the came canvas; negotiating possibilities; giving way to the other, when required; asserting ourselves individually, when necessary:

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Throughout the Open Day, Ambassadors brought into the room groups of puzzled visitors, who wondered why on earth sound was coming from an art school. ‘It’s complicated!’, I said. The squeaky drying rack was Dafydd’s and my object of study. It was a sonic enterprise, akin to drawing: a process of selective viewing/listening and rendering of only those aspect of the sound that pressed themselves upon our interests and imagination. Occasionally, we reached a point of equilibrium, when our contributions meshed and each person’s efforts was qualitative. At such points, recordings were made.

12.45 pm: I attended the funeral of Eifion Gwynne, at Capel y Morfa on the corner of Portland Street:

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Reports said that over 1,200 mourners were present. I can well believe it. There were two moments of particular poignancy for me. First, my encounter with his van (his war horse), now valeted and polished; it had been parked – proudly and defiantly – in the middle of the road. Secondly, the fulness of silence that presenced itself among the crowd – as though the whole town had quieted itself in that moment. It was broken only by the clip of a pigeon’s wings as it flew at speed, like a Spitfire, below roof level and down the length and centre of the Street.

2.15 pm: On my return, the morning’s endeavours were taken up again. One would need several consecutive days to properly make trial of this collaboration. We willingly subjected ourselves to interruptions. (This was principally why we were doing it, after all.) 4.00 pm: Game over! Dafydd and I packed up and evacuated the Project room:

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5.00 pm: I made my way down Plas Grug Avenue to the Aberystwyth Rugby Club, where a wake in honour of Eifion was being held. The main tent was crammed to the walls with warriors regaling their fallen hero. This was his greatest achievement: to be so loved for all the right reasons by his family and friends. Eifion’s two vans were arranged, heraldically, either side of the rugby posts:

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6.30 pm: An evening with my family.

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