Sunday 4 December 2011

Recipes for an unsilent night and a chatty day

Recipe for an Unsilent Night

  • 100 + strangers with ghetto blasters, i-pads, laptops, mobile phones, MP3 players and such like, each device loaded with one of four randomly assigned threads which bind together to form one unique piece of music
  • Assemble together on a specified night in a dark corner of Radcliffe Square and countdown to a synchronized press of the "Play" button
  • As the music develops, lead the group out of the darkness into the light and wind them through the heart of Oxford, under the Bridge of Sighs, between the high walls of Queens Lane, along the cobblestones of Merton Street and back to Radcliffe Square, stopping the traffic on the High to let them cross safely, the tunes weaving in and out of each other as people pass by or move around within the group
  • Contrast the quiet Brasenose Lane with the hustle and bustle of Cornmarket and Queen Streets, where people with no idea what's going on, watch and listen in amazement as the beautiful sounds pass by
  • Let everyone gather together for a brief moment in the subway so that the music echoes amplified, then lead them on out into Castle Street, past the Christmas market and into the Castle courtyard
  • Simmer gently for the last few minutes as the music reaches a crescendo with everyone gathered together around the Christmas tree, then 
  • Strain your ears to hear the last audible note as, one by one, the sounds die away to nothing and the night is silent once more
Cooking time and Temperature:
  • About 45 minutes, in the cold
  • enchanting, spell-binding, spine-chilling magic music (and a bit of exercise by night!)
  • Unsilent Night started about 20 years ago in New York
  • The first public performance of Unsilent Night II in the UK took place in Oxford on Friday 2 December and it will visit other UK venues over the next year or so
  • if you get the chance to take part DO IT!

Recipe for a chatty day

  • Four generations of one family
  • Christmas shoppers at Ikea
  • Place Steve and myself in a car and send us on our way to Bristol, chatting about what we hope to do during the day
  • After about an hour, add one son into the mix, start talking and stir gently while the rest of the ingredients are prepared
  • Fill one Ikea store with thousands of noisy Christmas shoppers
  • Add Steve and myself plus shopping list and heat for an hour or so until wilting gently, chatting all the time about whether this will fit in the workroom, whether to buy white or red candles, which of the seemingly endless queues to join when all the items on the shopping list are ticked off
  • Return to son to rest for a short while
  • When refreshed, set off for aging parent
  • Simmer gently for a few hours, occasionally turning up the volume when the hearing aid fails to do its job
  • Lubricate with cups of tea and add cake as necessary
  • After a few hours, bid fond farewell to aging parent and dip into the home of nephew, partner and toddler daughter
  • Sprinkle the lively conversation with delightful giggles until ready to spoon back into car and head back in the direction of Oxford, radio on to keep stimulated until thoroughly cooked
  • Remove carefully from car once back at home, unpack the shopping and collapse on the sofa with a bottle of wine until ready to consume evening meal

  • A very chatty day, with lots to discuss and ideas to follow up

Cooking time and temperature:
  • About nine hours over a slow heat, with occasional grilling
  • Not enough hours in the day to say/do everything
  • Pick up again in two weeks time when we all meet for the Wride family Christmas get-together

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