Thursday, 11 June 2009

the speech that never was...

Of all the Lowers and all the Uppers in all the world –
the Upnor that is uppermost in our hearts is
UpUpUppityUpnor. Up in Arms Upnor!
A Tale of Two Upnors that is one,
a tale of one Upnor that is two;
but only one Upnor,
not Upper.

A tale of four pubs in the morning
and a blood red sky,
no community centre, no shops,
no schools, a seagulls cry,
Wake up Wake up
it’s modern times.

A sand pit and a playground bare
Both empty now, no children there
Deserted beach where was once were ice cream shops
A bus so infrequent it hardly ever stops.

And The Lady in a Box who cannot see the sea,
so what does she see?

the killing ships that fill the Medway
stream from Upnor to Afghanistan it seems.

Fleet House empty,
thinking tidy,
get off my land,
fortress Upnor,
border Upnor.
Subject to closure at any time…

St George the patron saint of
Queen Elizabeth the great
and all her majesty,
the queen is here,
will tell you stories for the small price of a beer.

The Tudor Rosy,
Kings Arms cosy,
Pier and Ship relief,
where old friends meet and sing together,
Sunday roast goes on forever.
Where folk songs reverberate in the street,
near long-gone Post Offices where nobody can meet.

And artists come to weave a red thread
through the town,
A critic burns them down…

This is Upnor,
UpUpUppity Upnor,
Up in Arms Upnor,
the pride of Upnor is here.
For here in the smell of the rivers wake
we stand and watch the fretful dawn awake,
Wake up Wake up
A Call to Arms!

We don’t need no updating...

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The Burning of the Red Thread

This is what happened when some unknown and unseen vandals/art critics (?) decided to burn Eva's red thread wrapping of the viewing platform beside Upnor Castle. A curious act, not without its own barbed beauty, but odd nevertheless, given that a lot of the thread survived.

It's part of what has made this project so fascinating. The relatively low turnout for workshops despite numerous leaflet drops and notices to the community, although this has changed in the last week; the sometimes heated debates with members of the public on the streets; the apparent friendliness of the locals, whilst expressing a certain irritation at having to share their village with the tourists. The contradictions of Upnor, its two halves, both literally and metaphorically, have come to characterise the place for us, as artists.

And now we are in the final phase of the project, where we are creating the ceremonies and interventions that will happen on the streets on the 14th, it is time to reflect back on the last few months and try to encapsulate that experience in our performance.