Smudge. Solo bassoon & theatre

This work is part of a much longer journey. It’s highly likely if you watch this you may find my art and performance well below artistic, technical and aesthetic standards but it’s not about that, it’s about reconnecting, a journey to renew my connection and belief in my creativity and to find embodied performance.  I write this 3 years after this performance and I can honestly say the healing and creative growth it has caused is huge. I’ve come to a completely different perception and understanding of creativity, self and performance. The work continues to go on for me. It has all been about a search for deeper creative connection, expression and embodied practice, creativity and performance.

I continue to work with Carran waterfield. Carran waterfield is a theatre maker and runs courses in creativity. I fully recommend her courses if you want to dig into your own practice.

Before things get better we must dig deep and in many ways fall apart. To the outside world or profession this looks rubbish, embarrassing or substandard but it’s not. I encourage anyone to ignore all others if you wish to ask deep questions about your own practice. It’s a long journey, a life journey but it makes life really interesting.
Thank you for having a look.


“Developed over eighteen month’s on Carran Waterfield’s course, this piece started life inspired by a collection of my poems. Threading together themes from each poem I began to unravel and express my own story. The transformation that has followed has been deeply personal and professional. Through Carran’s work I’ve developed the alien formless life-form ‘Smudge’. Originally ‘Smudge’ was a scarecrow who felt empty. After trying out the scarecrow on an audience I changed him to an alien. I have found new creativity and a depth of expression that is impacting every aspect of my life. I’ve discovered the deep power creativity can have, when done without judgments or interference over long periods of time, in helping me to find a new inspiration for living life itself. Where did we come from? Where are we going? What happens to us as we grow up on earth? Is it possible to undo the things we have become when we weren’t looking? Come see a life form called Smudge as he lets everything go, to return to a place of happymess!”


As much as Smudge has been about creating a creative piece it’s also been about doing all these transformations as well.

Changing my:

  1. Practice. Adding in devising. Instead of working with other peoples art and in and through the elements and tools of music in a traditional way, causing disembodiment and disconnection. 
  2. Cognition. Working mentally in a different way  with the ideas and with the tools to work with the ideas. Changing the perception and concept of these things. 
  3. Perception and use of creativity. Shifting from a passive subjective doing ‘with’ and ‘to’ ideas, to an active, present, objective ‘being with’ ;oscillating between objectivity & subjectivity, working with the ideas in an organic, evolving, gardening,  noticing, discovery style way.
  4. Being state. Becoming present with a concept from the inside out. 
  5. Getting in my body. Using the imagination and changing the concept and use of it and doing opening body work to realise the concept of working not from form but with form and back to source into the felt body.


I tried my work with Karen Adhock’s work to see if it revealed anything new about my material. This is a very slow piece. It draws out the side of my work that explores beingness.


The composition, technical, artistic, aesthetic and performance quality of the work at this stage in the devising process is extremely low, but high quality skills in those areas is not needed at this stage, but not only is the quality of these things low because I’m at such an early stage in devising, i must partly confess it is also that my actual ability in these areas is low, inexperienced and unknown to me, because I’ve never worked out of this place. Devising is not common practice in classical music training, but it’s precisely by having a relationship with these skills here that I can grow them. I see it a bit like dry rot that must be worked with, instead of built upon and ignored. It’s not really that hard to do once you can allow yourself the space to do it and bear to be with yourself in this way.

Good skill and proper internal connection were missed out, covered up and sort of exasperated by my original training and human state, as I unconsciously tried to be creative through my conditioned lens and the use of music elements and using music tools as objects and with my mind, instead of being with myself, my body and imagination at this very early raw stage. Here I’m exploring and learning through my own practical research. My main goal is to work through things and be easy on myself at this very raw level. 

Over a long period of time I’m changing my belief, perception and processing to an internal and felt state but, as I’m finding out through my research, it’s a long, slow, mentally listening to self, tricky process, deeply connected to sensation and imagination, but very enjoyable in a strange way. To a lot of friends and colleagues I have seemed to have lost the plot or been revealed to be somebody who has no skills, this is in part true but also not, as in order to grow I am having to deconstruct and it’s this deconstruction that is perceived as low artistic quality because we live in a world where this sort of work is seen as low artistic quality. We don’t yet have the language or space in the music or creative music world to do this with groups of people or in music training.

I am sharing it on this public platform to create a witnessing of it, to cause more shifts the work. Here is a link to another version which was produced a year later . Many shifts had occurred in that time. There will be a public performance at Heron Corn Mill, Cumbria, in September 2018.