The performance involved playing vinyl records, one for each year of my life, and offering a commentary that connected the music with the year. The records were not necessarily “good” records but rather memorable ones that were evocative of a time or specific memory. Many were indeed quite awful earworms, exotica from many countries, spoken word albums and so on. The commentary was situated between the personal and political, aiming to connect the individual’s life to the society, to see how we are shaped by politics and economics and, at the same time, how we navigate a path uniquely our own through our times. Spanning 1971-2011, it included the pre-Thatcherite era, childhood, multiple wars, puberty, exile, struggle and so on.
One of the desires here was to make sense of the way society has continually shifted further and further to the right and to lay claim to a time when it was not so. I wanted to do this through a very personal frame, combining vinyl records (a dated medium in itself) with personal experiences which, framed in this way, could be seen within a social context. The year-by-year structure created a radically flattened life narrative and, at the same time, a vehicle for some great anecdotes that are exploited to the full. Over two and a half hours in length and flirting with DJing, karaoke, rap and storytelling, it remains a interdisciplinary work that is both open and unfinished: a record for 2012 will now be incorporated into it and “Vinyl” will grow as I do.