There have been lots of happy accidents around this project. A few days before the last performance I bumped into the brilliant dancer/double bassist David Leahy. We got talking about this project and he mentioned that Ross Bolleter had been making music with old pianos in Australia. This led me to discover the site for the World Association for Ruined Piano Studies:
And a week or so later I was talking to David’s partner, the dancer Tina Krasevec, and they both expressed an interest in coming to the woods and doing a music/dance performance with the piano. This is planned for Sunday 1st September.
Matthew Watkins, who was really the brainchild of this whole project, included a link to the recording of the first performance on his lovely blog:
In response he received an e-mail from James Bailey in Canada:
Amused by the last track. I don’t know if it has something to do with the surname, but I have had a piano in my back garden for the last two and a half years which is now in a state of considerable disrepair – though some of the keys still work and the sustain pedal gives a wonderful crashing sound. Here is a recent recording and picture though it’s rather minimal: https://soundcloud.com/missy-linnaeus/garden-view
Another surprise was an lovely ruined-piano anecdote from a singer-songwriter from Scotland called Tom Houston who somehow stumbled upon this site:
well just to add a couple of memories of my own to the project…..in november 1975 in a school in Glasgow a rather destructive ‘game’ got out of hand and a piano in the 6th year common room was destroyed…I then drove my father’s old Hillman Minx Estate to the school and we tied the bits too the car roof and drove it out to the countryside where with no real respect for the environment we dumped it…however we did have a sense of occasion and ceremony and played a concert on it (harplike) out in the frosty evening…lovely still evening it was too..so from the raw destructive ravages of teenage boyishness we moved to abstract innovative outdoor art…we also dumped some of the bits in raw hessian sacks, that just happened to have the school name on it…so although never ‘caught’ it did make the local papers of suburbia…sadly their are no pictures of videos, although I did two years later buy a Quartz 8mm camera (clockwork) which I stll have…how much is it to buy and process standard 8mm film these days?……oh I feel for that piano in the damp!
Lastly I have been asked if I might do a similar project elsewhere. I am not sure how I feel about this. Would another piano in the woods compromise the uniqueness of this particular instrument and these particular gatherings of people?