Bill Drummond and The 17

Events, Gigs 2 May 13

Bill Drummond had an idea. Something to do after he was 60 but changed his mind to do it before he was 60. The 17. His 60th birthday was last Monday and as a lead up to it he did a number of events. One was the final performance of The 17 and the other was a performance of Score 1 in Mathew Street.

100 People were invited to Static Gallery in Liverpool. I went not knowing what would happen. I thought it was a choir in Static. It was, sort of. We were told that a ring would be created around Liverpool city centre. A 5km ring comprised of 100 people a set distance apart. At the start someone would shout “Way oh!” and pass it along to the next. They shout to the next and so-on. It loops around the city 5 times. You hear it coming. You pass it on and hear it go. Brilliant.

We walked through Bold St and I panicked. “Don’t let me be here shouting!” I ended up on Lydia Ann St. Other than the beautiful bells of the Anglican Cathedral ringing out it was very quiet. I was about 50 metres away from my fiancé who I would receive the “Way oh” from and 50 metres from the couple I had to pass it onto. About 1hr passed in which I saw fake legs hanging out a limo and people prepping for a night in town. I was nearly nibbled to death by a tiny dog too.

A film crew turned up to document the event. They asked me why I was here and I simply said “Why not?” They then asked me to close my eyes and sing the first song that came into my head. “Oh no. It’s Bad by Michael Jackson.” They asked me to sing it. “You know I’m bad. I’m bad. You know it. Shamon… Um… All I got.” My mind was blank due to the pressure of being filmed and asked to sing. I don’t sing. They moved on to the next couple and I waited. Then, in the distance, “Way oh!” Another “Way oh!” I saw Sam shout “Way oh!” and it was my go. “Way oh!” Away it goes. I did it! Amazing. Such a simple thing but it felt great. I was so excited for the next. A few minutes later and it comes back only this time with people walking past me. There’s a job to do so I do it. “Way oh!” and off it goes. Again, and again and again. I lost count in all the excitement and was waiting for another but our time was up.

It was a really exciting thing to be part of. Dead simple but I think the hour anticipation really built to it. When I heard it approach for the first time I was nervous as hell but after I loved it. So simple. So fun. I wonder what it was like in the middle of town. I wonder where the line ended up.

On Sunday he spent 17 hours on Mathew Street contemplating a world without music. A world in which you knew music was important but you couldn’t remember why. An interesting place to contemplate it for 17 hours. Afterwards, 17 bottles of champagne at Static. The couple in the final photo came all the way from New Jersey.

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