I have just returned from this years Big Green Gathering festival on an all time high as it was my first time as a performer and renewable energy provider. On the previous two occasions I was an arts co-ordinator and gallery steward. This year I managed to provide solar power to the Artwise gallery in the AMARE field (Alternative Media and Renewable Energy) and perform Tip of the Pops (a mobile disco) as DJ Dirty Ali.
On the drive back I’ve been listening to the recordings of Dirty Ali’s sets. There are four shows, three on Saturday night / Sunday morning and one on Monday morning. The recordings were made using audio cassette as all of Dirty Ali’s equipment and music comes from the rubbish dump. There is approximately 4 hours of recordings which will be edited and uploaded as pod casts in due course.
1st gig 2 am on Sunday morning at the Meeting Place and Fire
This show is hosted by Internet Archive here
Dirty Ali Disco – Meet Point
I started off setting up near the fire but away from most people at about 1.30 am. There is a curfew and all amplified music has to stop at 2 am but as this was a mobile disco (using a wheel barrow) I I knew I could probably avoid getting into trouble. Initially there was some interest and dancing as people were wandering around looking for entertainment. There was also a bit of Karaoke as I allowed other people to use the mic and join in with some tunes.
Then I got invited to set-up closer to the fire where there was about a dozen people listening. The first track Ghostbusters set the scene. As I was concentrating on the turntable, mic and selecting records it was very hard to judge the crowds reaction. To make matters worse I had my back to them but I was ready to counter any criticism by pointing out that all of my equipment and tunes came from the dump and were indeed complete rubbish. In fact, I think, by hyping up the fact that it was all rubbish just made it more entertaining and interesting for people.
In order to get my amplifier working (and increase the volume) I needed to replace a fuse so I announced on the mic that we needed one. Someone who told me that I was was ‘better than Lost Vagueness’ managed to find one and bring it back in about 20 minutes. ‘My break’ consisted of me replacing the fuse whilst playing cheesy instrumental music in an interval style. It was just after this that the first recording starts and I had already been going long enough to recruit a beat boxer (Casper) and was about to find my first MC (Emma).
Not long after getting amped-up security appeared for the 1st time. I had been asked earlier on in the night to be considerate of those sleeping nearby with children and thought that I had. I knew using the amplifier was a risk so without being asked I turned it off and covered it over with a blanket. To anyone just arriving it looked like I was playing tunes on an old ghetto blaster with built-in turntable and speakers with NO amp. The security never actually spoke to me but someone must’ve dealt with them as they left us alone not long after. By now the crowd was getting much larger and some of my friends had shown up and were laughing their heads off at me. There was standing room only at the meet point and those furthest away from the fire were forced to bop to my music to keep warm.
Also, in the recording, I managed to get a speech about waste and recycling out to as many people as possible. This was totally unrehearsed and from the heart. Security eventually returned whilst we were playing love songs (Hello by Lionel Richie) and they told us we had to stop as this was a condition of the festival’s license. Using the mic I asked them to let the track play out and that would be the end of the set no problem. However this was not good enough and one of the security guards leant over and calmly removed the stylus from the record to boos from the crowd. I’ve been told there was 30 – 40 people there at that time; if you were there or or at any of the sets please let me know what you thought of the experience and send photo’s, videos etc.
approx. 4 am outside Hunkydori cafe / bar
This show is hosted by Internet Archive here
Dirty Ali Disco – Sound Control
After the party at the meeting place I headed to the Hunkydory cafe as they were already playing music louder than me in the same field. I figured if they were louder than me then we would not be disturbing anyone unless they got shut down too. It turned out Hunkidory were good sports and loved what we were doing. It was just after this that the 2nd recording starts and things start to get a little chaotic. I was still inexperienced setting up the amp so we recorded a lot of feedback. However the Hunkidory crew and clientèle really got into the party and this was definitely the best set for MC’s. BIG shout out to MCs Ian, Sam and Houliuos!
I was running out of ideas as many of my popular tracks had already been played twice hence there are a few apologies and lame excuses by me on the mic. By this time Casper the beatboxer had also have enough and was watching, not taking part (big shout out to Casper). This gave a new set of MC’s like Ian, Houlious and Sam a chance which was great. The Hunkidory set ended after sunrise at about 6 am. Afterwards they wanted me to go and do two more festivals with them in August. Thank you Hunkidory, Love Dome, Bridget’s sister and all those that were there for this mentalist set.
approx. 9 am at the Artwise gallery
This was our crew area and many of the kids and other crew members who had missed my escapade wanted to hear it. I had not slept and was not feeling tired (due to adrenalin) – more blog soon x
DA dusted himself down, put on some glad rags for the BIG climate change event of the year at the new Wembley stadium. Londoners were as welcoming as ever and the new 70,000 seater stadium has not lost it’s atmosphere either.
Highlights of the event were Foo Fighters, Paolo Latini and Spinal Tap. The Chilli Peppers lack lustre performance had kept the crowd waiting and seemed disorganised. Beastie Boys although enthusiastic failed to deliver. There was plenty of booty for the dads in the form of pussy cat dolls, Chakira (in Hamburg) and Riana (Japan). Other surprise highlights were Black Eyed Peas. DA missed Metallica, Keane and Terra Naomi half way through the event when he went to get food from a disorganised food court.
So will Live Earth and ‘the pledge’ work? Well DA thought that the event was pitched perfectly even if there were a few patronising and misleading celebs who thought they were there to ‘save the world’ (Madonna). Al Gore’s pledge is a bit like boy scouts but if we are doing this for the kids =they might respond better than the adults at making necessary changes.
I answered the call with a SMS text message sent in the stadium and was sent line up info, hints and thanks from the organisers. Not at all commercial but very sincere.
I’m just listening to my climate change talk for the first time the day after I gave it at the fire festival in Bournemouth. About 25 people attended but only half stayed until the end. The talk was given in a solar powered art gallery at a free family one day event. It was advertised during the day on a blackboard outside the gallery and with a walk-about performance from 2 characters; myself ‘Dirty Ali’ and ‘Mammon’ the demon of greed.
The walk-about promotion was the idea of the IFSOM (Independent Free State of Mind) gallery co-ordinator and was totally impromptu. Dirty Ali would approach and tell people at the festival where and when the talk will be BUT Mammon would then say it’s all lies and climate change is not really happening. Mammon’s point of view was that people should consume more and ignore what greens are saying ‘every purchase a prayer to me’ whilst Ali would stress ‘Reduce, reuse and recycle’.
Giving the talk was made easier with the use of a template and some skills learnt at a workshop organised by COIN the Climate Outreach Information Network. I had adapted a lot of the material to suit my audience and style. The idea of giving the talk in character rather than myself was made easier as I work full-time at a recycling centre and already own the overalls and know some terminology. In fact Dirty Ali is a phrase meaning Alloy metals mixed in with other materials e.g an electric kettle is dirty alloy as it is both metal and plastic.
I used 16 postcards with bullet points as prompts to help me deliver the talk as this was the first time and I had only rehearsed once. I knew it would take about 10 minutes for me to speak followed by the discussion. Although the discussion seemed like it would tail-off rapidly we actually ended up having quite a lively debate for 15 minutes and connections were made between ourselves and the local Friends of the Earth group. Unfortunately the audio recording does not capture what the audience was saying but I have para-phrased the questions below and tried to repeat / summarise where possible what was said ‘off-mic’.
It turns out that artist Eric Impey (Mammon) also worked for the same company as me some years ago and knows the owner. Friends of the Earth are also looking for volunteers to go into schools and give talks / performances so this could be a joint project for us all. I really enjoyed giving the talk and making connections with new people. The event was also a trial run for the solar part of my renewable energy system CreativeDynamo. The system delivered about 40 watts of power from 8 pm to 3 am and consisted of lighting for the gallery and a public address system used for a poetry workshop, human beat-box and live music.
Did anyone see that channel 4 documentary the great climate change swindle?
Climate camp is an example of living and educating sustainably. You need to live it at www.climatecamp.org Climate camp did have an effect on the Dracs power station which subsequently reduced its output.
Artist Stephen Humphrey’s has used climate change predictions in his art see http://www.myspace.com/azinko41dog and Friends of the Earth distribute leaflets
How did my talk go? It would be better if we could hear you better.
What can you buy at the recycling centre?
Can the recycling centre provide a education centre too?
What happens to the waste that does not fit in your wheelie bin?
So what’s happening in schools then – maybe we could do a schools thing with Friends of the Earth and where you work?