The Wirebender presents Wide Awake

The Wirebender joined Radio On a couple of years ago. In his first programs he showcased works from On U Sound sources, the label of Adrian Sherwood. After a short while he discovered the joys of radiomaking even more, up to a point that he’s almost a station of his own. Readings, sound exhibitions, activities within a community, reports and interviews are now part of The Wirebender offerings. Wide Awake is a great example of the variety he brings.

In Wide Awake you will hear

Rupert Smith reading from his novel Interlude
The Dragon cafe performance on sleep, produced by Martin Fredericks
An interview on bots and graphical scores with Emma Winston

Word to Simon:
Rupert Smith has written ten novels, including Man’s World (Arcadia 2010) which was shortlisted for the Green Carnation Prize in 2010. He has also written a series of best selling erotic novels under the pseudonym James Lear, published by Cleis Press. Rupert has written several TV tie-ins (including EastEnders, Strictly Come Dancing, Cold Feet and the British Museum) and is the co- author, author or editor of various biographies (Jayne County, John S Barrington and others).”

“Rupert also works as a journalist, and has contributed to the Guardian, the Independent, The Times, Time Out, Radio Times and Gay Times. He produces events celebrating and exploring lesbian and gay history at the Southbank Centre, London, and elsewhere.
Rupert was named joint Writer of the Year, together with Stella Duffy, at the Stonewall Awards 2010.”

“INTERLUDE is the story of a young woman, Helen, who decides to investigate the life and career of her famous grandfather Edward Barton, a successful post-war novelist who suddenly stopped writing in middle age. What were the secrets behind the fiction – and what are the implications for Helen and her family? The narrative switches between Helen’s life and Edward’s fiction and diaries, as long-buried lies come to the surface and long-held certainties start unravelling. A very nice review on We Love This Book says:
Interlude is a beautifully written page-turner. Witty, arch and acerbic by turns, it is a joy to read. The story of flawed but appealing characters choosing to ignore or confront family tragedy and the twists and turns as Helen explores her family’s past are both fascinating and appalling.
Ulli from Gay is the word leads the Qn A where Rupert reflects on the charachters in the book and on his own life, marriage and raising children.”

interlude rupert

“The Story of Mental Fight Club

Late on Christmas Day 2002, MFC Founder, Sarah Wheeler was rapidly released, one more time, from the six month grip of a psychotic depression. In order to calm and focus her mind she reached for a poetry book, which she read aloud repeatedly, pacing up and down in her small kitchen, until dawn broke. The poem was Ben Okri’s Mental Fight.

Mental Fight by Ben Okri

Ben Okri is Patron of Mental Fight Club. His epic poem, Mental Fight is an inspirational hymn to overcoming our mind’s capacity for destruction and to create new ways of thinking, feeling, perceiving and relating to one’s fellow human being. As such, it contains much with which people with experience of mental illness and recovery can particularly identify.

The poem pays homage to William Blake, the creator of the phrase ‘Mental Fight’ immortalised in the now famous hymn, Jerusalem (I shall not cease from Mental Fight, nor shall my sword sleep in my hand). Okri wrote Mental Fight to mark the new Millennium in the year 2000. He describes it as an ‘anti-spell’ for the 21st century and it is dedicated to ‘Humanity in the Aquarian Age’

Sarah Wheeler passed away earlier this year . Sarah was also described as the ‘founding genius’ of what has become the St George in Southwark Festival based at St George the Martyr Church in Borough High Street. But Sarah Wheeler was more widely known as the founder of Mental Fight Club, which uses art to explore mental health, inspired by the poetry of Ben Okri and William Blake. She was also the driving force behind The Dragon Cafe which meets in the crypt of St George the Martyr on Mondays and offers creative activities to help people find mental wellbeing.


“An inspiration to us all,” said the cafe in a statement.

“Throughout her illness she remained engaged in many activities and continued to speak up for those with lived experience of mental illness.”

In 2015 Sarah was awarded the Honorary Liberty of the Old Metropolitan Borough of Southwark at the Southwark Civic Awards in recognition of her contribution to local life.

But the Mental fight club and Dragon cafe continues to flourish.”

Emma Winston / Graphic Score Bot interview 

As part of The Art of Bots showcase, Emma Winston presented, Graphic Score Bot.

Project Intro:

Graphic Score Bot, originally a Twitter bot posting hourly images, and adapted for live use specifically for this event, generated graphic musical scores in the style of modernist composers Xenakis or Stockhausen, which were interpreted live by a human performer using a variety of noise-making instruments, devices, and props. During The Art of Bots, the performer was, at times, accompanied by a second layer of automation in the form of drones or beats provided by generative music software Noatikl. No two performances featuring the bot were ever entirely alike, and the style and sound of the live pieces was informed as much by the given performer’s taste, abilities, and available equipment as by the bot’s on-screen scores. The resultant musical works represented a true joint effort between human and machine.

Emma Winston is a PhD student, musician and artist based in London, UK. She makes synthpop (as Deerful), sound art, and Twitter bots (of which the best-known is The Tiny Gallery), and Graphic Score Bot is her attempt to create a synthesis between them. She is particularly interested in how automation and limitation can be used as inspirational tools, and in rediscovering playfulness in creativity. When not making things herself, she researches identity, community and creativity amongst ukulele groups at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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