November 29th, 2010 | Published in Articles
Welcome to our website. We don’t like to assume foreknowledge, so this is why we’d like you to care about what we’re doing.
Bang the Bore started life as a quarterly series of concerts that featured primarily experimental and improvised music. The idea was to promote varieties of music that are rarely encountered outside of London to an audience that may never have experienced them before. It was also intended as a rallying point, an event that would be based in Southampton and feature local musicians at every concert.
Since we began in 2009 we’ve staged concerts featuring Ashtray Navigations, Team Brick, Spoils & Relics, Temperatures, Mark Durgan, Ryan Jordan, Bad Orb, Gokkun, The Rick Jensen Trio, Graan, Deepkiss720, Cementimental and Mindfuckingboy vs Kismet. We’ve also supported the work of local musicians such as Ignacio Agrimbau’s The Hola, Dogeeseseegod, Dead Wood, Quamvis Sum Parva, Ni Dieux Ni Maitre and Magnus Spectrum. Future events include planned performances from John Butcher, Mark Sanders, The A Band, Bolide and Annie Lewandowski’s Powerdove.
As our concerts became successful we realised that we wanted to do a lot more than just promote our own events. We wanted to promote other people’s activities and events, regardless of where they were. We wanted to promote the music we like, regardless of whether or not we had a hand in making it. We’d built up an archive of live recordings of previous Bang the Bore concerts, and we wanted to promote that frequently excellent body of work more that just offering a few download links. We wanted to promote ideas, post articles, and provide links to anything with which we felt an affinity. And we wanted to promote some sense of community to facilitate collaboration, share information and to make sure that our favourite musicians always have some kind of audience.
So consider this website an experiment. We’re trying out a lot of things simultaneously; a community forum with open membership, geared towards collaborative work and information sharing; an events calendar that will accept submissions from anyone, anywhere (as long as they fit the deliberately broad, vague remit of ‘experimental and/or improvised’); a webzine that we’ll endeavour to keep updated on at least a monthly basis (submissions encouraged as long as you don’t mind us holding you to a high standard); a blog for more regular and informal updates; a mailing list to keep you aware of news; a live archive for photos, videos and downloads of our previous events; and a releases page on which we’ll put out as many records as our wages and perfectionism allow.
We want all these seemingly disparate strands to feed into each other. A forum post might develop into an article or a submission for the concert calendar; a collaborative project might begin on the forum and eventually see release on the label; an article, blog post or label release will hopefully provoke discussion on the forum. Some of it will work, some of it might not, so we’ll change things around as we go. We’ve made sure that we can adapt to how people want to use this space.
Of course, our Southampton concerts will continue. We might even start to do them further afield. The three individuals who make up Bang the Bore live in Bristol, Leeds and Southampton. We cover a lot of distance. Bang the Bore will set up stall wherever there is interest and motivation from interesting and motivated people.
It should be obvious to everybody that the “swingeing” cuts now beginning to take hold will hit the arts and universities at least as badly as everywhere else. Institutional arts funding will be increasingly scarce, fewer events will be funded. Arts and Humanities degrees, particularly postgraduate degrees, may seem to be less of an option to most of us. Venues once happy to book unusual or risk-taking music are becoming increasingly reluctant, looking instead to what they consider more secure sources of income.
Bang the Bore has always taken a donations-only, DIY approach to promotion. Any successes we’ve enjoyed so far have been due to the goodwill and gratitude of our attendees and artists. We see ourselves as an emergent property of a much larger community. As such we start out with a little insulation from the cuts and some experience of putting together great events on a shoestring budget, as well as the manoeuvrability afforded by being a small collective with nothing much to lose. Nonetheless, recent events have prompted us to raise our game. As creative artists we need to look out for each other, now more than ever.
David Cameron’s ‘big society’ narrative is a branding exercise, an attempt to co-opt the nation’s ingenuity as his initiative while his barely elected government sets about abdicating its duty as the primary custodian of our culture and civilisation. The notion of ‘small government, big society’ is exactly the kind of false dichotomy you’d expect from politicians whose wealth has separated them from direct engagement with the communities on which they trample. A government that defines itself as separate to and apart from the society that it governs is a dangerous government, and a Prime Minister who brands himself as a facilitator of the ‘big society’ while engaging in the wholesale undermining of his nation’s infrastructure can only reasonably be described as adding insult to injury.
Our ingenuity is ours alone. It is – in part – a reaction against the current coalition government’s irresponsibility. It is an ingenuity that will be harder to maintain in the environment they have created, not easier. To quote the I Ching, the times that are coming will be harsh and mean. We cannot plug the gap that the ConDems are going to leave… but that won’t stop us from trying. Sometimes you’ve just got to quit whining and adapt.
So here’s some counter-branding. Who cares if it catches on?
Bang the Bore: promoting concerts since 2009, failing to plug the gaping void in the arts since 2010.
Clive, Dan and Seth