Creative Encounters at Beaumont Court: Part Two

Written by musician Tim Cape on Creative Encounters at Beaumont Court

She looks over at me again with mischievous and eager eyes, mouthing something to me with great urgency. The rest of the room are otherwise occupied, dancing, music-ing, causing a general ruckus but D is looking straight at me. Now she gestures with a grin to her right, nodding excitedly. She’s going to do it, don’t tell anyone, she’s going to do it again, wait till you see, I’m going to have a go and you can’t stop me. A wrinkled but steady finger extends from the chair, whole body leaning outwards with clear purpose, eyes fixed on the target. Lucy, fully focused on playing her cello with grace and clear intention with others in the room, has noticed the incoming finger too late. Flowing melody gets interrupted with sudden rhythmic pizzicato. The determined finger has reached its target – just below the bridge of the cello, D’s fingers are excitedly rattling away at the strings. The interruption is short but strong, no sooner has it started that D is back on her chair looking at me with victory etched across her face. You see! Did you see that I did and I said I would and I did it! My smile is real but I’m not sure if I should encourage the scratching of expensive equipment. Short bursts interrupting longer flowing phrases, like the opening Bassoon solo in Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring or something from the depths of a Bartók quartet. Except here nothing is scored, nothing is planned, the subversion is real, and the shock and momentary uneasiness is real and not constructed drama. But there is no time to wonder about it just then, somebody else is up dancing and the rhythm has changed.

This is one of many moments in our sessions that we are riding the wave of uncertainty, right at the edge of risk, being half in control and half out of control, keeping an eye on peripheries while also trying to hold a centre. It’s a bit like driving a huge truck down a motorway in high winds with a load of large, delicate statues loaded in the back, keeping eyes 100% on the road but fully aware of the mirrors too. And the radio is up full blast and we are grinning, feeling a little wild despite (or because of) the gravity of the situation, and the radio is going in and out of signal. Static noise with shadows of melody in the background, sometimes coming to the fore.

As I write this it’s Thursday morning and later today we will have session five. Each session has really felt like it progressed from the last. I think everyone recognises what the sessions are about, even if they can’t quite remember names or faces, there is a sense of group growing. L for the first time last week sat for a long length of time and joined in with us, each other week she had left very early on saying that she was going to be picked up and taken to church. Likewise G, whose energy exploded into the room on the first days with wild eyes and protruding veins and passionate, urgent singing full of life and desire, has in the last few sessions found a depth to his expression, sometimes gentle, sometimes smoother, sometimes sitting calmly and witnessing others take their turn, urging them on. So there is a progression, a learning of some kind, a development. We are building a future and a present for those who mostly have a past, and that feels very, very worthwhile.

I’m trying to find a Yeats poem to read today and a lot of them seem to be about greying hair and getting old, harking back to days of youth when he climbed Ben Bulben with a rod and line. A poem about going fishing. That could lead us somewhere. It might just be the one.