Here at Gadfly HQ (aka the loft upstairs) we love, love, love tube amps. Love the warm, rich, analog 1970s throbbing purr you can feel in your sternum, the screaming distortion you can feel in your kneecaps when the Hammond organ really starts wailing. Our neighbours may not share our love for the purr, but they’ve not said anything.
Martyn bought a Marshall amp from his favorite musical/electronics period (1972-3) recently — and got a really good deal. Why? Because it wasn’t perfect. It is scuffed, and has obviously travelled in a the back of dodgy vans. It was missing parts of two letters. We decided to ‘fix’ the letters so that their imperfection, the bits they had lost, would still be obvious. Martyn cut out some bits of card in the right shapes, wrapped them in red cord, and we glued them on. I held them in place as the glue hardened. It took 5 minutes. Talking about it took longer than doing it, longer than making something together. When I look at it now, I can’t really remember what it looked like before. It doesn’t look broken to me in any way, and it sounds *amazing*, and it contains its own history, its own story. I wouldn’t love it as much if it were new.
Writing The Last Pair of Ears and turning it into a published book was a similar, if longer-term, experience. I wrote imperfectly about imperfect people. People who were losing their stories. I kept the scraps of of stories, and let the people go. I didn’t have a choice: they were already dead, and lived on only in my head, or were dying. Martyn and the boys decided to publish the book as a whole, because they kept seeing it on a bookshelf. They didn’t like the way I was getting it published, a story here, a poem there, potentially out of a fear of it being seen in its imperfect wholeness. It was and always will be a first book. There’s love in it, loss in it, a letting go of my fear of imperfection in it, and the finished book is a blending of my imperfect artistic process and Martyn’s. We’ve sent it out into the world to find you.
Today’s theme is LOSS: Make something today without worrying about it being perfect. Let something imperfect carry your story out into the world.
The Rules (or rather, more guidelines). Within 24 hours, you need to:
1) Set yourselves a time limit of 15-20 minutes max.2) Find some people who are up for making something with you. Could be friends, family, work colleagues, clients, people you don’t know on the train.
3) Make something together, as a response to the theme. Have fun, making something that really matters to you. You could make a drawing, a photo, video, collage, painting, music, model, sculpture. Anything that you can share with us! Doesn’t really matter if it’s finished or not.
4) Post a photo / video / link on twitter to what you’ve made with the hashtag #makeamark, and copy to @gadflybuzz, just to be safe, or email it to us at email@example.com
5) Follow @gadflybuzz on twitter, so we can send you a link to download your free copy of The Last Pair of Ears once we’ve seen what you’ve made. Oh, and retweet, so others can play too.
6) Don’t forget that our favourite entry each day wins a Hardback book.