BILL Drummond had planned to spend the whole of this April in Liverpool. For an entire month, its people would be performers in The 17, the choir that has existed in his head for years.
Why April? Why here?
Drummond turns 60 next Monday (April 29) and so it is time this choirmaster silenced The 17. That had always been the plan.
For the last seven years, he has conducted The 17 and its thousands of participants, in cities and towns across the world. It is even performing today, in Cushendall, Northern Ireland, after a week that's taken in towns along a map line from Skegness to Inishmore in the Aran Islands (see pic below).
Bill Drummond steals a traffic cone and takes it to Inishmore. Picture: Tracey Moberly
Drummond first came here 40 years ago, to Liverpool Art College. It left an indelible mark. From the start, the students he hung out with were making their mark too: members of what was to become Liverpool's most influential band after the Beatles: Deaf School. (It's a special year for them too, and more excitements regarding the band coming up shortly on Liverpool Confidential.)
But back to the money-torching artist formerly known as King Boy D.
April in Liverpool didn't happen, it all got too late. Instead, what might have been a very long story has been condensed - into 60 hours of happening this weekend.
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First up: 100 of you are wanted to take part in the 17 SCORE SURROUND, this Saturday evening..
SURROUND is a sort of vocal relay. A circle is drawn on a map of a city and participants are placed on it and a lot of running and calling out takes place from one member to another until the circle is complete. It'll be better than described here, and has already taken place in London, Beijing and Port au Prince in Haiti.
Sunday sees 17 hours of The 17 performing another score, IMAGINE, on top of the manhole cover at the bottom of Mathew Street, hot convergence point for Drummond's interstellar leylines and Jung's Pool of Life.
The 17 is a choir without music. Their performance is recorded and played back to them just once. Then deleted forever.
Given the amount of deafening live music pouring out of every pub, club and bar on Mathew Street, from early Sunday morning on, it may add a whole new twist to the mission statement of The 17, which is to “imagine that all recorded music has disappeared”.
While others might be resigned to waiting for the bus pass in the post, Drummond intends to see his brithday in with some graffitti vandalism of the Runcorn Bridge and a midnight champagne party in Static for past, present and maybe any future members of The 17 (that's all you who took part).
What a way to end it all. Oh yeah, and it's all being turned into a feature film.
*The 17 perform SURROUND, Liverpool city centre, Saturday April 27, 6pm-8pm. Meeting at Static gallery, 23 Roscoe Lane at 6pm. Participants must register here.
*The 17 perform IMAGINE, Manhole cover, bottom of Mathew Street, Sunday April 28, 7am-midnight. Participants just turn up.