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[)usk. on Saturday 37 August. heralds the beginning ol~ Beat the (‘ly'de. a free one-hour musical spectacular centring on a pontoon ol' drummers moored in the middle of the (‘lydc river. The event. produced by J .J. Waller. and directed by Luke (‘resswalL is designed as a dramatic finale to the past week of Streetbiz that has hit the streets and pubs ol central (ilasgow.
Way back in March Waller and (‘rcsswalL (known to many as a member of the music and comedy group l’ookiesnackcnbcrger and the manic drummer in the Heineken beer ad) advertised in the (ilasgow Evening Times to recruit local drummers interested in taking part in the one-oil extravaganza. 'l'hc reponse was somewhat to their surprise. extremely good. One local musician. Malcolm Blair. was so taken with the idea that he took train to London. and arranged with Brighton-based Waller to coordinate things in (ilasgow. None ol the drummers are being paid for their work. but they‘re undeterred. ‘It sounded.‘ says Blair. ‘such a genuinely different project. It's easily the most exciting musical project I‘ve seen in (ilasgovv l'or years.‘
With the exception of the Sheffield drummer who read about the event in the rock maga/ine Koran and came north to find his .‘vlecca in (ilasgow. all thirty odd men and two women members ol‘ the ensemble arc (ilaswegians. ‘lt means.‘ says (‘resswelL "l'hat the pride of (ilasgow drumming is at stake.‘
Strathclyde Student Union. where the group are rehearsing. reverberates throughout its eight ﬂoors with the noise of the combined drum power. l’asscrs-by in the street below glance tip. a mixture of bemusement and enjoyment writ
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Helen Davidson joins up with JJ Waller and Luke Cresswall in Glasgow and reports on a plan to Beat The Clyde and explains why this is one non Festival event everyone is going to hear about.
large on their faces. Far from creating a deafening cacophony ol sound the massed drummers.
amongst them the odd bongo-player.
produce music that‘s astonishingly rhythmic and compulsive. In the middle of them (’resswall swings round. droll in his pork-pie hat. sweeping the floor with his hands to indicate changes of rhythm.
('ressvv ell explains the technical reasoning behind a scheme ol' such apparent eccentricity.‘.-\ massed group ol' drums like this is very
visually dynamic. and you don‘t hav c any ol' the problems with tuning that you‘d get with other instruments. Another thing is that all drummers. whatever their level ol experience. tend to hav c a good sense ol rhythm. Without that the piece would be impossible to co-ordinate.‘ .l ..l. interrupts. ‘You’rc never going to get such a brilliant cllect w ith lorty harmonicas. now . are you." (‘resswall and I concede the point. Although \Vallcr has organised
l similar events beloie. scoring a
notable success with the outdoor gig he staged in a Brighton council estate. this project has caused a lot o headaches. l‘itit' a start. lie claims not be able to swim. .\1orc seriously. he‘s restricted in terms ol’ budget. When .lc‘;ttt-.\licltel .lart'e staged his concert in l.ondon’s dockland he had over a million pounds to play about with. Only the late arrival ol sponsorship l'rom l lcinckcn has brought the grand total tip to HUM). He‘s still managed to get together an impressive display ol lasers and lireworks lor Saturday ’s perlormancc. ()nc ol the advantages ol lasers. says the pragmatic \Vallcr. ‘is that even it it rains they still look great.‘
lhe l lcincken money has led to interesting developemcnts. Designer :\ndy l’arkin has been giv en six thousand empty cans ol the lager that‘s certainly" now going places other beers don't get to. and told to create otit ol them sculptures that can be hung around the pontoon. ‘l'ogethcrvvitli tvvo assistants he's spent most ol his vv aking hours lor the past lortnight labricating vast. triangular structures in a dockside vv arehousc.
You don’t have to pay any money to take your place by the Suspension Bridge on the ( 'ly dc \Valkvvay . but buckets vv ill be passed around lot' donations to the Yorkhill (‘hildren's 'l'rust (‘anccr Scanner .-\ppeal. l.argcly . perhaps. because ol' the charitable nature ol the work there’s an atmosphere ol solidarity about the group. ‘( 'omparcd.‘ say s (‘t'c‘ssvv;ill. ‘to doing a normal gig. j there's v ery little bitching going on. l It‘s a bit like being a kid again. and going to the lunl'air.’ lft'tl! l/It' ( i/\ (/t'. Heme/xvii. Ill/1U /.(l/) (ilu/i (l/I(/./../. ll'u/li'r. SUNNY/(“'27”)
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