Sounds of Solidarity: Silent Smiles

Rosie with Clare, John, Pat, Peter (The Viral Zoom Band) / 01 Jun 2021

Part 5 of the ‘Sounds of Solidarity’ series, exploring and sharing learning from our remote songwriting experiments. For more information, read this introductory post by Alison Urie.

 

We had a lot of fun with our process. It may be a ‘humble brag’ but our group have a great sense of humour (if we don’t say so ourselves)! We agree that humour and fun are going to be essential going forward into leading other song writing group processes.

Most of our group met online via zoom, while one member of our group, John, was writing with us from inside prison. We used our time apart to write individually in response to themes that came out of our writing. We shared writing, songs, stories and we spoke a lot about solidarity. What does solidarity mean to us? What does it mean to write a song about solidarity when one member of our group is in prison?

For all of us that were able to meet over zoom, this process was something to look forward to during the dark nights of winter lockdown. It gave us something to work towards during the week, it was a bit of escapism and for some it offered the chance to step into the Unbound/Vox world for the first time.

The sessions got hard at times, especially when trying to get to the crux of it, feelings of tiredness and frustration were felt in our evening zoom sessions. The hardest bit for us was condensing it down. There was so much good content!

Everyone was contributing and responding, we could see the commitment was there from everyone. It didn’t feel rushed in the same way other sessions in the past, there was more time in between for things to percolate.

It’s important to say to future participants of Vox Liminis that you need to go into this with an open mind. You need to be understanding of other people and have lots of patience. Expectations need to be lowered so it’s not unrealistic. We are not going to write “The Song” – that perfect song that captures all you want to say at once. But we will write a great song which captures some of it.

We tried to structure our song into the form of a letter as that felt true to our process and we wanted it to reflect how it felt to be writing a song collectively with one of our group members inside. We have been able to share the finished song with John through a virtual visit. He reflected that it’s quite amazing what was achieved in such a short space of time and seeing how we put the words on a page into life.

(Hmm hmmm, uhhh uhhh aye)

 

How’s it going?

Nice to hear from you

Good to hear your sisters

Expecting

 

How you been Uncle John?

I hope your predicament

not as bad as was.

 

(Hmm hmmm, uhhh uhhh aye)

 

Must be difficult

People pulling your strings

Must be difficult

An elastic band tightening

 

Remember the bus shelter on a windy day.

We’ll huddle together, get out of the rain

Under your chin a buttercup glow

Burnt toast and coffee’ ll keep us out of the cold.

 

(Hmm hmmm, uhhh uhhh aye)

 

I feel as stable as

a rogue firework

Head down, keep busy, feel the chaos

lurking

 

Sustaining love, via text

Silent smiles, to agree what’s next.

 

(Hmm hmmm, uhhh uhhh aye)

Must be difficult

People pulling your strings

Must be difficult

An elastic band tightening

 

Remember the bus shelter on a windy day.

 

Under your chin will be a buttercup glow

Burnt toast and coffee keeping us out of the cold.

 

(Hmm hmmm, uhhh uhhh aye)

 

We’re out in all weather

We’ll never lose our colour

Reach out for that extra hand

 

Remember the bus shelter on a windy day.

We’ll huddle together, get out of the rain

Under your chin will be a buttercup glow

Burnt toast and coffee keeping us out of the cold.

 

(Hmm hmmm, uhhh uhhh aye)


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