Do It With Us Studios / by Lenni Sanders

Last Sunday we were kindly hosted by Atticus Books for two events in one day. Atticus Books in Lancaster is a wonderful not-for-profit bookshop supporting The Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre in Indonesia. I used to live in Lancaster before I moved to Manchester and I would recommend visiting this shop 100% - owned by Tom Flemons, it has an excellent, extensive selection of second hand books. Atticus also is a regular host to an imaginative programme of gigs and events that see more people than you think would possible squeezing in between the bookcases on chairs and cushions. Check them out here: http://www.atticusbooks.co.uk/about-atticus.html

On Sunday afternoon we made something called DIWU (Do It With US) Records – a series of drop in, loosely structured conversations with people about music. We invited people to answer several questions: what's your earliest memory of music? What's a song you really love (or hate)? If you could be in a band (assuming you're not already) what would you call it? It was a really interesting experience – people shared some great stories of life changing gigs, or how music connected them to people in their lives, and how a song can evoke a day or a year.

These conversations, after about 10 or 15 minutes, culminated in Harry and I offering our help to make a recording of a loved or hated song – by creating percussion, singing back up vocals, singing bass lines or whatever else would help. I think DIWU Records might have been half amateur music journalism and half participatory art, or maybe it was something else entirely, but I enjoyed it immensely and the people we spoke to seemed to enjoy it too. I am gutted that our recordings didn't work (new microphone playing up!) but if we did DIWU Records again, we absolutely would follow through on our offer to send recordings to everyone who takes part.

On Sunday evening we returned to Atticus Books to perform a poetry set and surrounded by the tall bookcases, with evening lamp post light creeping through the street facing shop window, we read some of our recent poems. A lovely day. 

Thanks Atticus Books for having us and thanks everyone who came to DIWU Records and to our poetry set! 

Next month we will take an adapted version of our interactive piece Mummy Auction TV to Liverpool World Museum! Last time it was performed it took place at an evening event in Manchester Museum – this time we have changed it to make it more suitable for a daytime family audience. We're looking forward to sharing the deeply true weird story of 19 tonnes of mummified cats getting auctioned off at the Liverpool docks in 1890 with a younger audience. 

Lenni