The Festival

Festivals can be a useful way for ill practitioners to ‘collect’ rare cultural scenarios in one session. This idea may only be of interest to a slim portion of the CFS / ME community, but I think the principle is worth exploring.

One methodology for the exhausted artist is to place oneself at the centre of where the action is, and as a result not have to travel much to gather a wide cultural palette whether passively or actively. Obviously this comes with risks of noise, rest, and so on. Add to this that festivals bring the world to one stage, and I need not grieve that illness curtailed my Marco Polo potential.

Obviously this is not a ‘housebound’ strategy per se, but for Edinburgh based sufferers, with a little planning, you can travel the world from the city – or even collaborate with international artists, if they understand our predicaments.

In this long piece made on a holiday in France when I was a high functioning sufferer, a soundscape of buskers from all over Europe were performing fairly close to each other. My material was made as ethically as possible: buskers were paid, and appear like the pipers of side one – i.e. for a small fraction of time. It’s the mix I am more interested in. 

This section has a ‘promenade’ feel where the sounds overlap – and at one point there is material recorded in nearby Beaucaire where you can hear horns of boats blasting, as the populace celebrate the 100th birthday of an old barge, mixed together with the bustle of the buskers and sounds of the flea-market brocante.

One thing I can’t stress enough is that the experiences were warm, sunny and pleasant. And I partook in the recording of them. Because I recorded these takes, the warm and sunny memories are triggered back when I hear the recording in this cold and wet city (Edinburgh!) and as a result, my health goes up at least 1% on playback. And they were done by and large by sitting in one place.