Tag Archives: John Doran

If Wet #22 – documentation

Our second If Wet of the season saw us hosting a special event in our home village hall. In fact, for various reasons, it is the only event we have planned to take place in our village hall this year.

Late last year, John Doran of The Quietus got in touch to ask about us hosting him for an event as part of his tour, to launch his new book Jolly Lad. We weren’t entirely sure how this fitted with a standard If Wet but we thought we’d go for it; in part to just keep bringing exciting stuff to Callow End.

As John intended to perform readings from his book, accompanied by music from Arabrot, we decided the emphasis would be more on performance than usual at an If Wet. We also decided to try and find a selection of artists for whom storytelling was central to their work. The wonderful Sarah Angliss immediately sprang to mind but we wanted to have two further artists to accompany John and Arabrot. David and I chatted and he reminded me of Josephine Dickinson, who we had met when running If Wet at Bardsea Malt Kiln last year. I got in touch with her, and her enthusiasm to be involved was palpable…so that was our line-up sorted!

Tickets sold well and we were delighted to have a great turnout on the day as well; The hall was as full as it has ever been for an If Wet. We started by setting the scene and briefly demonstrating the headset for our latest project Amplification, before handing over to Josephine for her delightful talk, which covered studying under the tutelage of Michael Finnissy and going mushroom picking with John Cage.


Setting up.


Sarah testing. Sam helping. David supervising.


Josephine prepares.


Sarah prepares.


John and Arabrot prepare.


Sam with Amplification headset.


Josephine speaks.


Josephine speaks.


Josephine speaks.


Josephine speaks, to a full house.


Josephine soaks up the generous applause.

Next up we had Sarah Angliss, who was a delight to behold, as ever.


Sarah and Hugo.


Sarah speaks.


Sarah speaks.


Sarah plays her recorder.

Lastly it was over to John Doran and Arabrot. John read from his book; Arabrot created ambient soundscapes in accompaniment. Wonderful stuff!


John reads.


Arabrot performs.


John and Arabrot.


Arabrot tweaks.


John and Arabrot.


John reads.


John takes questions.



Thank you to our artists and to all who attended for making this such a wonderful experience! Callow End Village Hall has never witnessed anything quite like that…

Many thanks to George Benson for the wonderful photographs!

If Wet #22 – Preview

If Wet #22 takes place on Sunday 10th May, 2-4pm in Callow End Village Hall!

We are delighted to be part of John Doran’s (The Quietus) tour, presenting his new book Jolly Lad; to an ambient musical accompaniment from Arabrot. We also have the wonderful Sarah Angliss paying us a visit again and we are thrilled to welcome the poet Josephine Dickinson to Callow End.

Due to heightened demand, and our limited village hall capacity, we are pre-selling tickets for this event. Here is the ticket booking page.

Our first If Wet this year in our home of Callow End Village Hall represents a bit of a departure from our usual events. Last year, John Doran of The Quietus got in touch to ask whether we would host an event as part of his tour to celebrate the launch of his book. We weren’t entirely sure how this fitted with If Wet but John and The Quietus have shown us a lot of support over the last couple of years, and we always relish an opportunity to play with the If Wet format; such as If Wet as radio show.

Jolly Lad - book cover

When we heard more about the tour and John’s book, it became clear what sort of artists we might invite to this event, to accompany the reading and performance John and Arabrot would deliver. We decided on a sonic storytelling thread, and Josephine Dickinson and Sarah Angliss seemed immediately appropriate.

As your hosts we will kick the event off, as usual. Then it will be over to Josephine to provide us with an insight into her work and background.

Josephine has something of a unique story. She has known normal hearing, sudden profound deafness, sudden total deafness, extreme aural hallucinations and, most recently, the experience of sound with a cochlear implant. A poet, composer and artist, she studied with Michael Finnissy and Richard Barrett in London, then moved to remote Cumbria, where she lives on a tiny hill farm. Josephine will share her story and explore its implications and possibilities for her practice. She will be open to the insights and ideas of the audience. “It is an ongoing and exciting journey that has only just begun.”

Josephine Dickinson

Photo: Alan O’Duffy

Next up, we have Sarah Angliss in our hall for the second time, to provide some of her captivating folk tales and music provided by her and her robotic friends.

Sarah is an award winning composer, roboticist and historian of sound whose music reflects her fascination with European folklore and long-forgotten machines. Sarah is known for her singularly embodied performance which mixes theremin, saw and ancient instruments with live electronics, with the ensemble of musical automata she’s designed and built to work with her on stage.

Her If Wet presentation will feature new songs from Ealing Feeder, her forthcoming solo album, inspired by London folklore.

Sarah Angliss

Lastly, we will have John Doran, performing a reading from his book Jolly Lad; accompanied by Arabrot.

Jolly Lad is a memoir about the recovery from alcoholism, habitual drug use and mental illness. It is also about the healing power of music, how memory defines us, the redemption offered by fatherhood and what it means to be working class.

John Doran


This will definitely be distinct from our usual If Wet events. There will be more emphasis on performances and less on discussion but we certainly hope to maintain the If Wet flavour in various ways. Firstly, either side of the performances we hope to encourage questions from our audience; the usual generous and open exchanges. Secondly, our village hall setting – coupled with village ale, home-made grub and cake – will provide the usual atmosphere.

As this is a one-off special event, we have decided to pre-sell tickets at the princely sum of £6 each. These may sell fast, who knows, but please consider buying your tickets now so you are not disappointed. Here is the tickets page. JOIN US.

Please note: this event may overrun if discussions take flight.

If Wet in 2015 – revised plans


We are firm in the belief that any decision we make regarding our projects is open to review at a later date, and when we came to assess our plans for our third season of monthly If Wet events in the village hall we decided we would put these on ice; and save our Kickstarter cherry for another day. There are various reasons for this decision but central to it is the fact that doing a regular event each month is really time-consuming and energy-sapping. If Wet was intended to drive our own making, for demonstration at the events, but the regular monthly events actually stifled our own building of stuff in 2014; so for now we have put them on hold.

This doesn’t mean an end to If Wet events in 2015. In fact, we have a few really exciting events lined up already and we are looking for more. Here are some dates for your diaries:

If Wet at Maker Faire
Saturday 25th – Sunday 26th April
A series of If Wet demonstrations and performances over the two days of the festival, taking place at the Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne.

If Wet hosts John Doran
Sunday 10th May
An all-day special event in our home venue of Callow End Village Hall. Including an If Wet salon, followed by an event featuring Arabrot performing an ambient set featuring John Doran reading from his new book Jolly Lad, due out early May on Strange Attractor Press. Yes, this is happening in Callow End!

If Wet at Three Choirs+
Thursday 30th July
A one-off If Wet event on the Theremin as part of the Three Choirs+ programme in Hereford. Further details soon.

If Wet at Worcester Music Festival
Sunday 20th September
Plans are afoot for If Wet to revisit Worcester Music Festival (and hopefully the glorious Quaker Friends Meeting House) for the second year running.

There are a couple more events in the offing and we welcome anyone getting in touch if you’d like to discuss us programming and hosting an If Wet as part of your event, wherever you are in the world!

We also started a regular monthly radio programme on Sound Art Radio in December 2014, which is broadcast on the last Sunday of the month from 2-4pm; each programme featuring a different musical instrument. More information on that here: radio.ifwet.org.uk

We welcome any suggestions for the radio show and we look forward to seeing you at an If Wet in 2015!


Sam and David.