Wednesday, 2 April 2014

“Be inspired, enriched and enchanted” it said on the RNCM 's ticket folder.
“Not sure about enchanted,” said Mike.
“Terrified, tortured and traumatised?”
“Might not be so great at the publicity meeting.”

Just back from Tim Hecker. All the above did apply.

With age, so they say, comes wisdom. We'd taken our earplugs. As we were shuffling out, Mike asked me if I'd put mine in. I hadn't. There didn't seem much point nearly. It was so big, so everywhere. Your ribs shook, you seat shook, plugging ears seemed like dusting lamp shades while the Titanic sank.

It was immense and immensely abstract. 
Rarely have I been to anything which so resolutely refused to paint pictures in my head.

The last thing I wrote about had sound masses nudging up against one another. But Hecker is nothing like that. He is all one monolithic sound mass that rises beneath the earth and swells and grinds with the slowness, with the implacability of continents.

At one point, it seemed we were journeying, all of us in that room, that we were moving as one, forwards if not towards. And all around to either side, above and below was terrible and yet we moved on. As if you knew there would be no arrival, no achievement, yet still we did move on. It seemed this was the human condition. Presented with neither nor censure judgement; as if Hecker had no interest in applauding man's bravery or condemning his pig-headedness. It was, as it were, pure description. This is how it is: it is pointless, it takes all our time all our effort and we go on, regardless of how hard it is.

Not a picture but a small story I suppose.

There were maybe four great movements in the hour-long piece. There was never silence but there were minutes when things fell away and only small scratching sounds remained. One of the sections was a little nearer the domestic scale - it reminded me of the Crake valley, hills, rather than mountains, dotted farm houses, field, and stock grazing, the odd beech sweeping low.

That was the only picture I saw.

And it was so small and fleeting as if: there is this, but we cannot stay, it is not yours for there are greater purposes to address.

It was unnerving; the final section bearing in with incredible sadness. 
A needing to hold small things safe.
You'd see people in the audience touching their faces, rubbing their noses or the back of their necks. Were we trying to reassure ourselves we were still real, still alive?

It was huge achievement but hard to comprehend. As all the best things are.