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Music Features and Interviews
Unsilent Night in Middlesbrough
By Natalie Boxall
If you saw a procession of people with boom boxes in town on Sunday 12th December, and wondered what it was about, find out here.
Natalie brandishes her boombox.
Meeting outside Doctor Brown's on a cold winters day is not the best offer I've had, but hot chocolate, donuts and drummers at Studio 64 made the wait better.
As we waited, the crowd outside grew as the meet up time got closer, with a diverse range of people clutching boom boxes waiting for the tapes to turn up.
New York composer, Phil Kline, turned up witha box of tapes, each with a seperate part of one song on them, and handed them out with an instruction to wait until he said go.
Just as my fingers began to turn blue, he shouted, 'go!' and the crowd of over 100 people set off down Corporation Road.
Unsilent Night has already been to New York,San Diego and Montreal and Middlesbrough seemed like an odd next step, but walking down to Linthrope Road, to the sound of music that was akin to Godspeed You Black Emporer was something quite different.
Phil Kline said, "Every year since 1992 I've presented Unsilent Night."
"It's like a Christmas carolling party except that we don't sing, but rather carry boom boxes, each playing a separate tape which is part of the piece. In effect, we become a city block long stereo system!"
This spectacle was greeted with looks of confusion from Christmas shoppers who stopped as the police made a path for us to walk through Middlesbrough's shopping centres and bus station before ending 40 minutes later at Spectra Text, where the ending was greeted with massive applause.
Middlesbrough is now being taken seriously as a place for art due to the promise of MIMA, and the feeling of something exciting happening was well worth a walk in the cold holding a heavy boom box.
It was an odd experience to have 40 parts of a song broken up and played seperately around you, but it was a very exciting and memorable one, and I hope that there are more unusual events happen in Middlesbrough with the opening of MIMA.
last updated: 27/06/07
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