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The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society

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Films // Coming up // Bill Drummond: Film + Lecture
28 April

Bill Drummond: Film + Lecture

Legendary Scottish artist and avant-garde musician presents the 2018 screening of his documentary on resetting the clock on music, native languages, and his conceptual (and very real) choir The17; "Imagine Waking Up Tomorrow And All Music Has Disappeared". Includes a post-film lecture, as well as a very unique invitation to a scenic walk with Bill! Tickets will sell quickly.

"On the 28th of April 2013, I stood on a manhole cover at the bottom of Mathew Street in Liverpool for seventeen hours. 

These seventeen hours stretched from seven o’clock in the morning until midnight.  

At midnight I turned 60 years old. 

For the previous ten years I had created a choir called The17, in one sense a conceptual choir and in another sense a very real choir. 

The17 performed around the globe. 

The17 was my attempt at renegotiating my relationship with music, from my understanding that the internet had made the medium of recorded music no longer interesting and seemingly reduced much music to a redundant 20th century form of music. 

I wanted to wipe my slate clean.

The17 began in 2003 and from its very inception I was giving myself ten years to achieve whatever could be achieved with it, I decided that the moment I turned 60 it would be over.

In those ten years it was important to me that The17 was never recorded, and furthermore The17 were not to perform for an audience that had not taken part as members of the choir.

Tens of thousands took part.

In 2010 I was approached by Stefan Schwietert; a Swiss film director who wanted to make a cinema-released documentary about The17. This seemed to go against what I felt The17 should be about but we discussed matters further.

We haggled over a deal: the haggling was not about money, but about what could be filmed and what could not be filmed.  

A deal was arrived at.

Over a three-month period between early February and midnight on the 28th of April 2013, the film was shot. 

The film was given the title Imagine Waking Up Tomorrow And All Music Has Disappeared.

In early 2015 the film was released in cinemas across the German speaking part of Europe and then began its journey around the film festivals of the world picking up several awards on the way but…

I had a major problem with the film.

What those problems were, I will not go into here, but the outcome of these problems were that I did not want to have the film commercially released or broadcast in the UK or Ireland. These are the two territories over which we remain in control of public exposure to the film.

These two territories I will refer to as the Atlantic Archipelago.

The film has been screened in the Atlantic Archipelago three times, but each time, I have been there and spoken afterwards about my issues with the film. 

I have now arrived at a point that I am happy for the film to be screened in the Atlantic Archipelago, once a year for the next nine years, on the 28th of April each year. 

If my health holds out and I don’t die in the meantime, I hope to give a performance lecture after each of these screenings. 

The content of this performance lecture will evolve over the nine years. 

The ninth screening of the film will be on the evening of the 28th of April 2026. At midnight I will then turn 73.

*   *   *   * 

200 years ago nine distinct languages were spoken within the population of the Atlantic Archipelago. 

Those languages are Norn, Gaelic, Scots, Manx, Irish, English, Romani, Welsh and Cornish. 

Each of these nine screenings will be in a cinema in an area of the Atlantic Archipelago where one of these nine distinct languages was (and still are) spoken. This year the screening will be taking place in Cornwall."

Each screening of the film will include: 

A support film local to Cornwall.

A walk the following day with any members of the screening audience who care to join me, questions can be asked and answered in the normal conversation by all who take part, including me. The walk may include some bird and butterfly spotting singular to the region. 

Check times : Book now


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