Love for Bedford

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with running workshops. On the one hand, they are a lot of work and require me to put in a lot of effort to engage people. On the other hand, the outcomes are often amongst the most pleasing I experience in my practice. Specifically, I like to think that after my workshops some of the attendees will be inspired to act differently or will continue making noisy things.

I recently visited Bedford College to deliver a Noise Box workshop to a group of about 12 students, over two days. In the run up to this I had my concerns. What if I couldn’t engage the “youth”? What if they didn’t like what we were up to and stormed out? What if they started fighting…with soldering irons!? I’m really not one for thinking the worst in such situations but I hadn’t delivered a Noise Box workshop to a group so young before and I guess having two parents who taught at college might have tainted my view slightly ;)

As it turns out this was the most rewarding workshop I have ever run!

Everyone turned up on day one and was really attentive, asking questions, getting on. They worked mainly in pairs and by the end of the day there were six finished noise boxes. I was shattered but Leah Kardos (the lecturer who got me down for this – and a damn fine musician too!) looked after me and by day two I was ready to make some more noise!

Day two was a really pleasant surprise. As day one had gone so well I wasn’t sure how much we might have to keep everyone occupied on day two but everyone was still full of enthusiasm and we added various things to do on an ad hoc basis, which worked really well. I knew it was going to be cool when a chap called Tom turned up with a part built step-sequencer that attaches to the extension on the synths they had made overnight, and another lad (Miles) turned up with an old radio, keen to build his synth into it. ACE!

Those who had worked in pairs on day one got on with making their synths, with the help of the person they’d helped make a synth the day before, whilst others stuck their synths through Logic to add effects etc. There were a couple of impromptu performances.

Additionally, people were asking about circuit-bending a lot after I introduced it at the start of the first day. One lad popped to his car to get a toy belonging to his daughter and two people chipped off to the charity shop at lunchtime. It was great, a real hive of activity.

I worked with various people through the day to make sure they got the most out of it. My only regret is that close to the end we broke one of the circuit bent toys – despite my best efforts to salvage it. I worked with Miles to make sure we used as many of the original radio controls for his synth and Tom finished his sequencer, which he put in a see-through envelope at the end of the day exclaiming that he had now made a Noise Box and a Noise Bag. HAAAAA!

A really rewarding workshop! I genuinely got the feeling that people were inspired to at least dabble some more. Miles seemed keen to try something more elaborate and we (MortonUnderwood) hope to commission Tom to complete his sequencer so we can see what the demand is like amongst owners of our synths. Hopefully something useful for his CV!

Lastly, I’d like to thank Leah for inviting me down (she’s a star!) and her colleague Richard for his help over the two days. It is always nice to have a helper that knows what they are doing. He makes cool stuff: / Facebook page. I hope to head back to Bedford College because that was very rewarding indeed!

Ideas for Breakfast

I am doing a talk/presentation on “Sonic Graffiti & Active Listening” on the 19th of August, at the rather swanky looking W Hotel in London. I’ll be discussing my Sonic Graffiti project and then spending some time getting people to focus on the sounds that they might normally ignore or filter out.

This is part of W London’s Ideas for Breakfast series, which is aimed at inspiring (and feeding) people. Here’s what Design Week had to say about it: Ideas for Breakfast


Hello Barrow!

I recently headed up to Barrow-in-Furness to deliver a Noise Box workshop and chat about possible future sonic happenings with the guys at Octopus Collective – the people behind the marvellous Full of Noises Festival.

Their enthusiasm and courtesy was evident from the start, which made me keen to go and visit. Then they mentioned the park! Octopus Collective is based in a house (formerly used by the park keeper I believe) in the middle of Barrow Park. The park has a lake, a bandstand, a memorial, a skate park, a little railway and all sorts of other stuff – and artists are invited to explore this space.

Octopus Collective HQ

On the Friday we talked about Barrow, surrounding industries and areas, previous happening and thoughts for the future. Something very good is going to come of this! On the Saturday we brought another ten Noise Boxes into the world – YES! Oh, and at some point I was hastily handed a phone to chat with a lady on Radio Cumbria – have a listen, John from Octopus Collective up first (sorry for the clicks and pops – seem to be on the BBC stream!).

Here are some pictures of the space available. I will be back to explore these further!







Inside Octopus Collective HQ


I was treated really well from the start. It seemed in their nature. This made me feel great, just like I did on my recent trip to Denmark. More of this please.

Oh, and many thanks to Nikki Pugh, who recommended me to Octopus Collective. You rock!