Saturday, 10 October 2009

Open Top Sound, and cheerleaders

"Further" was on the front of the magic bus from the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test. And today we went on a bus that displayed "Listen".

Local artist Matt Cook's project "Open Top Sound" comprised of an open top bus ride round Colchester town centre. But the twist was that we were surrounded by speakers giving us ambient recordings made earlier in the town centre, mixed with edited irregular snippets of information from Blue badge guides. And on top of this were fresh ambient sounds from traffic, the buzz of Saturday commerce, and hecklers on the street responding to our crazy bus. Looking down on the common populace below, we were intrigued by their perplexed looks, as we broadcast back to them their own sounds of the town.

Bizarre. Which was also my feeling later in the day, when I attended the Freshers' Fair at the University of Essex. Thousands of people milling around in the autumn sunshine, being courted by about a hundred different political societies, pantomime horses, food outlets, sports clubs, philosophers, people in lion and parrot suits, fitness groups, history and art societies, theatre groups, religions and CHEERLEADERS?!?!

Were these women in tight bright short clothes, waving pom-poms, being ironic? Were they feminists exerting their rights to do whatever they wanted, were they anti-feminists happy to take on a decorative role for their (mainly male) audience, or were they post-feminists where the feminist battles have been won, so we don't need to concern ourselves about this stuff any more? Or maybe I should abandon my angst, and just enjoy the show.

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