thirteenfridays: Hen Galan, Radios, Opera & Bernard

Friday January 13 2017

The first Friday 13th of 2017 and we decided to combine three celebrations into one to celebrate in fine thirteenfridays style.

We started the evening by setting up a radio experiment to commemorate the first public radio broadcast made on January 13th 1910 and at the same time pay homage to Jacob’s Grandad Bernard Jones, born on January 13th 1914, an inventor and pythagorean, interested in using technology to communicate with the other side. Bernard was one of the inspirations for setting up the Absent but not Forgotten project back in 2010, so we wanted to send him birthday greetings across the great divide.
Bernard was interested in EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) so we set up a detuned radio to play white noise into a Latitude 150 walkie-talkie (446.00625-446.04375 MHz)) while a Sennheiser EW100 wireless microphone kit (830-866MHz) picked up the noise at the other end of the walkie-talkie and sent the noise to a reciever where an Ipad webcast live to youtube. Bernard would undoubtedly have enjoyed the new technologies we could bring to the experiment.
Using 2 radio frequency transmitters and receivers potentially increases the chances of paranormal communication…the experiment ran while we dined in the adjacent room, the result is below. The intermittant transmission is the result of the frighteningly poor upload speeds in rural west Wales rather than any spooky goings-on we fear!

During our thirteenfridays meal we listened to the opera Cavalleria Rusticana which is cited as the first public radio broadcast in 1910 and included this song by Enrico Caruso. Not natural consumers of opera we were feeling quite high brow,  but it must be said that not all our guests appreciated the cultural adjustment (you know who you are…).

Hen Galan is the Welsh New Year or the old new year as it was before the calendar change of 1752. Still observed in the Gwaun Valley not far away, our thirteenfridays menu took a Welsh turn in celebration.

Rarebit.jpg
Worrying Welsh Rarebit – 13 slices of local Bara Menyn 5 seed bread topped with classic Welsh rarebit made with Welsh cheddar and served with a foraged garnish of 13 pennywort leaves and 13 wild sorrel leaves.

fishpi
Pastai Bysgod Peryglus – Welsh fish pie made with 13 ingredients – Cod, Smoked Salmon, Mussels, Potatoes, Leeks, Fish Stock, Parsley, Bayleaf, Dill, Flour, Butter, Egg, Pepper.  Served with 13 New Potatoes, 13 Purple sprouting Broccoli and 13 Kalettes.

welsh-cakes
13 Twisted Welsh Cakes – 13 crushed cardamom pods and dried cranberries providing the twist on the classic.

Bernard’s birthday cake was a Lemon Drizzle with 13 drizzle holes and 13 candles. In memory of the stories by Liz Whittaker about a strange series of events on another of Bernard’s birthdays some years ago, we had a helium balloon and phone at the table throughout the meal…

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January 13th – Happy Birthday Bernard

Bernard

The Perceptor was invented by my Grandfather Bernard Jones.  My mother, Liz Whittaker, recollects –
“Bernard was an engineer, worked for Renold Chains as a Precision Chain Inspector until 1963 when he left to go into business opening the electrical shop VAX in Claremont Road. He had always invented things – horlicks mixer, hanging scales, designograph (the prototype idea that led to the spirograph), and once he had the shop he invented the Invertest, the electrical safety testing device that won him an award in the early 1970’s from the Inventor’s Society (Manchester ?) who had a regular stand annually at the Ideal Home exhibition where he showed his inventions every year.

Bernard Jones

His interest in arcane subjects grew in his later years. He’d always enjoyed number, maths problems stuff like that, and he noticed there were mathematical patterns in astrology, cartomancy and numerology (his own pet subject) that seemed to be consistent throughout and could be ‘pooled’ to give some kind of predictive possibility. The Perceptor was produced in small numbers and advertised in Exchange and Mart, that would probably have been around 1970/72 I imagine. There were a few newspaper articles about him back then and there was a particular journalist called Peter Everett who interviewed him more than once and was impressed by what he called ‘his giant brain’. That was around the time when Lily got into spiritualism and more or less persuaded him to go along with her. He was never really a spiritualist and if ever asked his religion he said he was a ‘Pythagorean’.”

Watch a documentary about ‘Bernard and the Phone.’ made for the first Absent but not Forgotten exhibition in 2010.

(from ABNF 2010)
Aspects of the exhibition are loosely based on some of my Grandfather’s research into EVP. As an electrical engineer and inventor he was convinced he could make a telephone that would communicate with ‘the other side’. Oddly enough, he, like me, had a barn full of semi-working and broken Hifi and TV – interesting that we both share a fascination with what might be found in the broken, silent or noisy portions of recorded media. Jacob Whittaker.

The interview was processed and edited to include the audio waveform and a sequence of images derived from frequency analyses of the silences within the audio.

“I remember as a kid, whenever we visited my grandparents, he (Bernard) would take great interest in whatever electronic game or gadget us kids were playing with that week… once taking apart a light up Yo-Yo, much to my annoyance, in order to see and explain how the motion was switching the light on…
…Im sure the technologies available now would have interested and excited his ‘Giant Brain’ “.

thirteenfridays – Lemuria special

The ancient Roman festival of Lemuria is thought to be a pre-christian antecedent of All Saints Day.  Taking place from May 11th to 13th, feasts and rituals took place  ‘…to exorcise the malevolent and fearful ghosts of the dead from their homes. The unwholesome spectres of the restless dead, the lemures or larvae were propitiated with offerings of beans.’ (read more)
MackerelOatcakes
13 Homemade Oatcakes with Manes Mackerel Pate, served with a 13 ingredient seasonal salad – Red cos, Green Batavia, Spinach, Rocket, Little Gem lettuce, Wild Sorrel, Pennywort, Jack in the Hedge, Wild Garlic & Violets dressed with Mustard, Honey, & Olive oil.

BeanPot
Bellona’s Bean Stew, a 13 ingredient stew with Black Turtle beans, Pinto Beans, Cannellini Beans, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Stock, Onion, Garlic, Worcestershire Sauce, Carrots, Celery, Chilli, Olive oil.

PearPudding
13 ingredient Plutonian Pear Pudding – Passum, Honey, Hazelnuts, Plain flour, Caster sugar, Butter, Baking powder, Bicarbonate of Soda, Eggs, Vanilla, Dark chocolate, Cream, Milk.

So having dined on oatmeal cakes (a nod to the Vestals’ ‘Mola salsa’,) Passum poached pear pudding (passum was a sweet raisin wine with honey), garnishes of wild violet flowers and more honey we continued the evening with a short and effective ritual –

Ovid notes that at this festival it was the custom to appease or expel the evil spirits by walking barefoot and throwing black beans over the shoulder at night. It was the head of the household who was responsible for getting up at midnight and walking around the house with bare feet throwing out black beans and repeating the incantation, “I send these; with these beans I redeem me and mine” (Haec ego mitto; his redimo meque meosque fabis.) nine times. The household would then clash bronze pots while repeating, “Ghosts of my fathers and ancestors, be gone!” nine times.’

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Tŷ Distaw (Silent House)

TD02During the two weeks between Halloween and Friday 13 November 2015, Absent but not Forgotten explored making new work; experimenting with various ideas, locations and techniques.

Tŷ Distaw: Bangor Teifi is the first in a planned new series of video works located in derelict buildings in west Wales which utilise projection and re-filmed footage which make reference to the aesthetics of early silent horror film.

We debuted the first cut at Gwrando’s Open Screen Night at Small World Theatre in Cardigan – an opportunity to see the piece projected on a large screen and gather some responses from the audience.

TD10

Fields

Screenshot 2015-11-29 12.58.51During the two weeks between Halloween and Friday 13 November 2015, Absent but not Forgotten explored making new work; experimenting with various ideas, current theories, locations and techniques.

We began a new series of video works, Fields; combining landscape images with digital ‘glitching’ techniques, on our English odyssey through the Oxfordshire countryside.

Thirteenfridays: The Last Gallery

tabledarkTo celebrate the end of our fifth birthday celebrations, Absent but not Forgotten revisited our Thirteenfridays project, initiated in 2013, in which we celebrated Friday 13th with thirteen themed meals.

Our very first exhibition was in The Last Gallery in Llangadog, Carmarthenshire in 2010 so we prevailed once again on Mick and Julie Ann at the the gallery to host a finale meal for our 2015 events.

We invited thirteen guests to join us on Friday 13 November to enjoy a feast of thirteen. November the 13th is also the saints day for Homobonus – patron saint of shoemakers amongst other things, which is particularly relevant to our location – an ex-cobblers shop.

We started the evening by welcoming our guests in from the cold with a Swedish glögg – warm spiced fruit juices, fruits and nuts and a tot of Absolut vodka: Red grape juice, apple juice, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, star anise, ginger root, almonds, raisins, prunes, orange quarters, sugar, vodka.

We also served a platter of 13 Anti-Christi appetisers: Black olives, green olives, sun dried tomatoes, roast peppers, bell peppers, cornichons, artichokes, baby beets, silverskin onions, pickled garlic, cherry tomato and cucumber.

antichristi1The table plan was determined by a lottery of numbered badges which corresponded to a numbered bottle of home-brewed country wine at each place. During the evening we swapped and tasted each to try and guess the flavours – one each of: Plum & Damson, Elderflower, White & Blackcurrant, Meadowsweet, Grape, Lemon, Elderberry, Lavender, Elderberry & Blackberry, Kiwi Fruit, Blackcurrant, Marigold, Blackberry.

2015-11-13 21.10.05The main course was a thirteen dish buffet of vegetarian and fish dishes:

main

13 ingredient tabouleh – Bulgar wheat, stock, olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, parsley, mint, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, salt, pepper

13 mini egg tortilla – Caramelised red onion and goats cheese and stilton, spinach and baby tomato

13 chilli lime prawn kebabs

13 hallumi & fig crostini – garnished with pomegranate and fresh coriander leaves

13 vegetable, sage and Parmesan pasties

13 ingredient winter slaw – carrots, fennel bulb, radishes, celeriac, white cabbage, red cabbage, red onion, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, dill , Greek yoghurt, mustard,         black pepper

13 ingredient superfood salad – sweet potatoes, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, quinoa, broccoli, walnuts, pomegranate, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mixed sprouts, fresh coriander, avocado

13 ingredient Mediterranean vegetable tart – olive oil, onion, garlic, aubergine, courgette, red pepper, goats cheese, Parmesan, tomatoes, capers, smoked paprika, flour, butter

13 ingredient lentil loaf – lentils, egg, olive oil, garlic, onion, vegetable stock, green pepper, carrot, celery, thyme, bay leaves, smoked paprika, cracked pepper

13 wild salmon fillets with tomato salsa

13 ingredient bean & brown rice salad – Short grain brown rice, black beans, red onion, garlic, red pepper, kidney beans, grated carrot, lettuce leaves, baby plum tomatoes, parsley,  cucumber, caraway seeds, sesame seeds

13 couscous stuffed peppers

13 pieces of rosemary focaccia

During the evening we projected a series of film clips onto the gallery wall which included dining scenes from 13 black and white horror films

inside

Our evening spectacular were the 13 desserts all made by ‘Queen of Cakes’ Kirsten Hinks – a truly amazing spread introduced by the ‘Omen’ soundtrack from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Roger (one of our guests) commented:

“I think I ate all thirteen cakes, cracking. What a delightful sugar high. The company was wonderful and the food. I ate a focaccia that was the very apogee of human baking. When art and stomachs mingle…”

dessertgroup

 

The tradition of thirteen to dinner carries with it a curse – the first to leave the table is the first to die. To mitigate this sting in the tail a 14th place must be laid for an unseen guest – our unseen guest dined in the window of The Last Gallery.

outside

Thank you to our lovely guests for their company, to Mick and Julie Ann Sheridan at The Last Gallery for hosting us and Kirsten Hinks for three straight days of cooking.

CCQ Magazine article

mantelpiece“…the paranormal can act as a test bed and a language of questioning and dissent…”

We are really pleased that CCQ Magazine have published an article about the Absent but not Forgotten project on their website. Written by Kirsten Hinks, who has seen the project develop from its first iteration at The Last Gallery in 2010, the article takes a really interesting view on the underlying themes of ABNF.