Follow the Stone: Pre-amble

Follow the Stone: Pre-amble

Preamble[1]:before a walk begins.
A thought pathway in two parts: 2021 and 1961.

Part One 2021

Journey to Emmanuel

Now

Whenever I leave the house I am always going

‘Somewhere,

there’s a place for us’

It’s clear, simple and obvious.

 

How I go is the question.

Why I go is the other question.

 

I am “going to do a walk”.(just to walk).

I am “going for a run” (to work my cardio).

I am “going to the shop” (with a bag).

 

These days:

I am definitely not going to visit someone (virus).

 

I remember:

It’s about nothing.

It’s about now.

 

I am going through the front door.

Intention and direction:

(it doesn’t look as it should the formatting I mean – I planned it to look like a tree but wordpress totally foils me).

Turn left to the end of Carisbrooke.

Scots Pine of Carisbrooke

Close Up of Her

First conscious thought:

                                              What’s in a street name?

Me:

She’s a Scots Pine,

the tree at the end of Carisbrooke.

She’s huge and she’s beautiful.

Her form fills my vista.

You just cannot miss her.

 

She

gushes buckets full of cones

kicked by careless walkers

flattened by passing drivers

She

threads her pavement mats

mirrors her rooted canopy

threatening a rupture in the corner house.

 

She’s

beautiful.

 

Before long she will be lined up for execution

like

her

Scottish

sister,

Mary,

Queen of Pines.

 

 

Too much thinking.

Back to the road.

 

Second conscious thought:

Carisbrooke hails from the Island that is Wight

Also Forres of Macbeth fame.

 

Me:

You’re courting disaster!

We are offstage!

Shhhh!

First memory in conscious mind:

I have had

a lifelong journey with that Scottish play.

that wood that is Birnam full of Oak and Scots Pine.

It’s been

an unrequited love affair of some fifty years and counting.

 

Too much thinking.

Back to the road.

 

Intention and direction:

Turn left onto Kings Hey, second drive on our way to the first stopping station in my new piece ‘Follow the Stone’.

 

Second conscious thought:

No ducks.

It’s wintertime.

Their garden pond they’ve fled.

Cross o’er Montrose,

We’re in verse now,

Then there’s Beresford, a Scottish Lord.

 

A director lives on Beresford

I’ve discovered

With my snout.

Not the theatre type

but of council house and he’s local

Really helps.

 

Too much linking

 

It’s the cut through

Crossing Coudray

Past the Cherry tree,

An alleyway!

 

Then bound for Cambridge,

Shire of long lost Pa[2]

Worked in aerodromes,

East Angliahh.

 

Left on Cambridge to Emanuel

To the church now

God with us.

 

Let’s just stop here,

Just a while here.

It is time now,

Curtain up.

 

Part Two circa 1961 

Journey to Alderman’s

Outside 95

Me and Mandy in our orange sermons suits

 

 A child is singing:

“Tell me the stories of Jesus[3]

I long to hear

Things I would ask him to tell me

If He[4] were here

Scenes by the wayside

Tales of the sea

Stories of Jesus

Tell them to me.”

 

I am standing on the pew in chapel. I am wearing a blue sticky-outie dress. It’s my Sermon’s[5] dress. I hear the organ playing quietly so as not to drown my voice. The choir master Reg Carvel bends over his platform quietly poking his conductor’s baton about as if to support the quietness of the moment. I sing solo to a “full house”. I am three.

 

Left out of our house 95.

Straight up Almond Tree

Right at the old flats –

also Almond Tree

through the alley way

by the washing lines

down the bank

through the cut through

between the trees

near piano lessons

then it’s right

along Alderman’s,

past Steele’s sweet shop

past the old Co-op

and the postbox

V R

in the wall

Arrive

Ebenezer![6]

 

Children are singing: (as I remember it)

“Come let us sing of a wonderful love[7]

Tender and true

Tender and true

Out of the heart of the Father above

Streaming to me and to you.

Wonderful Love!

Wonderful Love!

Shown by a Father in heaven above.

 

Wonderful Love!

Wonderful Love!

Shown by a Father in heaven above.

 

Alts and Sops at the same time

Sops:

Come sing

Of a love

Of a wonderful love

 

Altos:

Come Sing of A Love

A wonderful love

Shown by a father in heaven above

Alts and Sops at the same time

Sops:

Shown

By a Father

In heaven above

 

Altos:

Come Sing of A Love

A wonderful love

Shown by a father in heaven above

Repeat as above

Altos and Sops:

Shown by a father in heaven above

 

This extract from a fuller version courtesy of Dave Lee – note the intricate weaving of the separate parts.

 

WONDERFUL LOVE

(Repeat last two lines of every verse)

Come let us sing of a wonderful love

Tender and true, tender and true

Out of the heart of the Father above

Streaming to me and to you

*Wonderful love, wonderful love,

Dwells in the heart of the Father above*

(Lads)    Come sing of a love a wonderful love

(Lads) Shown by Our Father in heaven above

(Lads)    Come sing of a love a wonderful love

(Girls)     S—I—N—G of a l—o—v-e

(Lads)    Shown by Our Father in heaven above

(Girls)Of a won————der—ful love

(Lads)    Come sing of a love a wonderful love

(Girls)     S–HO–WN by our Fa—-th

(Lads)    Shown by Our Father in heaven above

(Girls) er in hea——v———-en above

(Both)   Shown by Our Father in heaven above

 

(Lads)    Come sing of a love a wonderful love

(Lads) Shown by Our Father in heaven above

(Lads)    Come sing of a love a wonderful love

(Girls)     S—I—N—G of a l—o—v-e

(Lads)    Shown by Our Father in heaven above

(Girls)Of a won————der—ful love

(Lads)    Come sing of a love a wonderful love

(Girls)     S–HO–WN by our Fa—-th

(Lads)    Shown by Our Father in heaven above

(Girls) er in hea——v———-en above

(Both)   Shown by Our Father in heaven above

Password strata2020

 

Me and Mandy 1961

[1] Pre-amble is a phrase I coined working with Luke Crookes to describe the part of our workshop that preceded our actual work. It was still the work but it contained a lot of talking aloud our thoughts before we began. It is like the part of a performance before the performance begins, a kind of preset, or the experience of an audience pre-show, in the vestibule, or being front-of-house prior to entry into the auditorium. A lot can happen here. It’s a cusp, a threshold, a space that is betwixt and between. It is liminal. These boundaries have blurred over my lifetime. The inhabitance of performance anywhere, especially outdoors is totally blurred. “When does the ‘actual thing begin?” “When does it start?” I hear you say.

[2] I discovered my maternal grandfather was enlisted into the British Air Force in World War 2. His military information turned up in mum’s adoption papers, evidence of his maintenance payments, which had mounted up between 1934 and 1948.

[3] https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-tell-me-the-stories-of-jesus

[4] I was taught you always use a capital for God or anyone supposed to be God.

[5] The Sermons is a colloquialism for Sunday School Anniversary. The Sunday School Anniversary was a regular occurrence in the Wesleyan Reform Union’s calendar. Alderman’s Green Free Methodist belonged to the Wesleyan Reform Union of non-conformist churches. The celebrations took place in the afternoon followed by a tea in the Sunday School Hall and a repeat performance in the evening.

[6] Ebenezer is inscribed above the entrance to Alderman’s Green Free Methodist Church. It is Hebrew and means “stone of help.” A strange coincidence on this project called ‘Follow the Stone’

[7] ‘Wonderful Love’ is the anthem sung at Sunday School Anniversaries at Alderman’s Green Free Methodist Church Words Walmsley, Robert (1931-1905) when I was a child. My earliest recollection is aged 3 when I sang ‘Tell Me the Stories of Jesus’ solo and the service concluded with ‘Wonderful Love’ to a tune composed by F. Rollason, a local composer. This tune is unique to Alderman’s Green Sunday School. It is so well loved that my sister uses the title for her old school friends’ Whatsapp group.

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