4th Apr 2012

sensoria festival

As I sat down to write this, the Sensoria programme landed on a desk in the office, only to disappear again, such is the excitement about the best music and film fest in Sheffield.


No, scratch that, it’s the best in the UK.  Now, having a programme to peruse is essential in my world.  It’s easy to get excited about the big events, and I’ve written a feature in the magazine but the pleasure’s in the detail if you ask me.  

If you can’t get a program, you should be able to download one here.

If you’re new to this event, on the same webpage as this year’s programme, there’s also an archive of what they’ve achieved since they started on the 12th April 2008.  So, as a companion to the piece in this month’s mag, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the some of their past achievements with all you bloggees (I’m submitting the word ‘bloggee’ for inclusion in the next OED, by the way).


Sensoria established an early relationship with In The Nursery; Sheffield’s masters of the live film soundtrack.  Picking the best of their shows isn’t easy, but after some reflection, I settled upon their performance alongside The Passion of Joan of Arc in Sheffield Cathedral.  Music, image and location all coming together perfectly.  The film alone is a moving and upsetting chronicle of her trial and execution, but with their music, and in the timeless location of our often overlooked cathedral, it remains my favourite performance out of the many I’ve seen them play. Here's a (really short) promo...




Here’s one that most people missed.  It’s always good to listen to some groovy sounds whlist having your haircut, so why not go to the extreme and put a live singer in the Wigs and Warpaint salon? That’s what they did last year when they staged the ‘Screen Sirens’ event.  Film clips of femmes fatales were screened, Sarah Jay Hawley serenaded the punters and I was offered a lovely cup of coffee (I think they thought I was there for a trim).  


Jonny Trunk appeared at the 2011 fest, DJing in Sheffield Central Library, and playing ..... Library music?!? I know most people were there to see Jerry Dammers, but for me the delight was to spend an hour in the company of Mr Trunk and his very individual choice of music.  His shtick is to collect and when possible re-issue the incidental music that’s been playing in the back of your mind since the days of Catweasle or when you used to watch the test card.  If you’re new to the delights of Jonny Trunk’s work, shame on you, but it’s not too late.  Get acquainted here.

As I’m compiling this, by the purest co-incidence (honestly), I’m listening to Jonny Trunk on the webcast of his OST radio show on Resonance FM.  It’s an experience I’m always keen to spread around my friends so here goes.  There’s a podcast available, but I prefer to try to make a date to listen live on Saturday afternoon, from 4:30 to 6:30 on their website and let me know what you think.



Let us briefly pause here to commemorate the one that got away. The best bit that I never actually managed to get to see would have to be the screening of the widely acclaimed but rarely shown drama/documentary Man of Aran, along with British Sea Power playing their own soundtrack. You can watch a clip of their performance below...




OK, I’ll accept that there were worse places than New York to be stranded in by that pesky ash-cloud, but it meant that I missed the entire Sensoria Festival in 2010.  In a bizarre piece of kismet, knowing I was missing the screening of Sufjan Stevens’ film The BQE, his tribute to a NY expressway, I took the picture below of the onramp to the road itself.  Scant relief.


It wasn’t much of a compensation actually being stood next to it when I had unclaimed Showroom tickets waiting for me back in Sheffield.   

OK, I’ll allow myself one more choice from the past, and it would have to be Mark Kermode introducing the reunion performance of The Comsat Angels on the closing Sunday of the 2009 event at the O2 Academy.  No need to say any more on that one, it speaks for itself.  It was the final event I covered for the Sandman magazine, and seemed a fitting way to end my association with that sadly missed magazine, with a performance from Sheffield’s seminal post-punk band.    



You got any thoughts on Sensorias passed?  Let me know.

OK, enough reminiscing, back to the now! I’ll be posting blog updates as we approach, and also throughout the festival.  Come up and say hi if you spot me!  I’ll be the one wearing a contented smile at the thought of how lucky we are to have Sensoria.

Mark Perkins


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