Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Our tribute to our friend Leon Moody (31.1.69 - 25.10.20)



We recently said goodbye to our good friend Leon Moody, a kind, gentle and remarkable man who inspired great affection in everyone he met who will be missed greatly by all of us at the Gate. Leon has been a key contributor in almost everything we've done in the past 15 years or so that he attended the Gate; he was a natural charismatic actor in our video drama sessions, a methodical, thoughtful visual artist and a key musician in all our musical projects providing the bass for most of our traditional band set-ups (including as part of the 2Decks band) and as a lynchpin of our experimental, improvising ensemble Jamaica!

Given his role as a key member of Jamaica! when we were recently asked to provide music for Cafe Oto's digital label Takuroku we decided to submit an old recording that heavily featured Leon and to let it serve as a dedication to him. This recording can be found here and can be heard in the snippet below.


So farewell Leon, thank you for all you did for us as a friend and as a collaborator, rest easy bud.

"I've knew Leon for a long time but in 2015 he joined my band as the Bass player. We played all over London together and also in Brighton. He was a really nice guy who never complained and was always smiling. I have lost a great musician and a good friend." 2Decks

"Leon was a really nice guy. I remember I went to see him when he was sick once and because we both smoke i would take him outside for a smoke together. I will miss him a lot, he was a good friend to everyone and a really nice guy to be around. I can't believe that he's gone." Mandy.

"Thanks for being a great band member, you were a highlight of the band for as long as I can remember and I thank you for creating some sweet memories." Josh.

"Thank you for being a great friend, we will all miss you. We will always remember you. Thank you for all the music, i feel like you are up in heaven playing your bass and smiling down on everyone." Labake.

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Gate Kicks 11.11.20 - Featuring the Mumby Wolves

Here's our latest episode of our radio show this time featuring The Mumbly Wolves, an inclusive band from Croydon which features friend of the Gate, and ambassador for learning disabled music and musicians, Alan Courtis - for more on Alan and the Mumbly Wolves project please see this article he wrote for The wire magazine.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Gate Kicks! new shows back on Resonance.

 Our Radio Show has been on hiatus whilst covid has been playing havoc with everything,  however, from this week forward we will be broadcasting new shows on our regular spot every Wednesday at 1.30PM -tune in on https://resonancefm.com/

In this latest show from yesterday Ritchie plays some his favourite tunes and Duane plays some of the tunes he has been creating to keep himself busy whilst locked down at home. Also featured are a couple of tunes by long time friends of the Gate The Carbonators, a band of musicians with and without learning disabilities from Croydon. 

Enjoy.

Friday, 9 October 2020

Black History Month: Our resident Hip-Hop artist 2Decks on some of the black artists who have inspired his own work.


My Name is Darren aka 2decks and I'm a rapper and producer with mild learning disabilities. I started rapping between the age of 13 and 14 and learning to make my own music when i was 18 at a project called Big Bang to the Music Scene which was a project set up in Hammersmith and Fulham for young people in the borough who were interested in making music. I started coming to the Gate in 2003 and have been making music there ever since. The fist album I released was breakdown in 2009 and in 2012 I released the Wacky Baccy EP. Over the years i've played the Southbank Centre, The Albany, Brighton Dome, the Sonic Protest Festival in Paris and many others and at a festival attached to the 2017 olympics which was something I always that I always wanted to do so I could represent the disabled community.

Mainly by music is Hip-Hop based but I've also set up a band with other musicians from the gate (Leon, Josh and Roberto) and that's a bit more of a rock/rap crossover.

I think black history month is important because I live in the UK where history is mainly stuff like the battle of Hastings and the victorian times but you never really hear much about black historical people. And one of the things I think black people have contributed to a lot is music and also politics like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King but i'd like to talk about mainly about some of the black musicians. I think music has been very important for black people because It's been a way that they can make an impact on the world and have our voices heard because it's how we express our culture and our way of life.

The first artist who inspired me was MC Hammer and Public Enemy and last and not least OutKast and british hip-hop artists from Back in the day like Overlord X , silver bullet and MC Duke and also other artists outside of hip-hop like james brown.

I'd like to talk about these and give a favourite track from each and why I like them.

MC Hammer was the first ever artist I heard and when I heard it for the first time i had never heard Hip-hop before and I really liked his baggy trousers and his music videos. The song I heard was turn this mutha out which was released in 1988. Compared to how rap sounds now it's still a old school classic. MC Hammer sounds a bit like a preacher when he raps and he does things from his own point of view and I think a lot of my rapping is quite similar to his.

Public Enemy are another inspiration to me and a great band because they're very powerful and political and they tell the truth about what happens to black people. They talked a lot about the oppression of black people and I definitely think they had a positive impact on raising awareness of black issues. My favourite song of theirs is Don't Believe the Hype. I think the main way they've inspired is the power they put into their music because they really let people know they're there and they're not going anywhere. I went to see Public Enemy in Camden and it was really cool because i met Chuck D outside of the venue and that was really cool.

Outkast i really like because I especially like their album Skantonia which mixes up singing and rap and I remember watching a video of theirs where they mixed up a choir and guitars and rap and this way they mixed up different styles of music was very influential to me and also how they present themselves in a larger than life way. My favourite song of theirs is BOB.

Of the British rappers Overlord X is my favourite and the reason why is one day I was going through my brothers records and I stumbled across a record called X versus the world with a sick cover with him holding a ghetto blaster and with loads of aliens and stuff in the background and I listened to it and it blew my mind and I thought is was really cool the choices they made to sample because they were slightly weird and not too obvious. Overlord X was the start of the whole Grime scene in the UK and it sounds different now but I definitely think he was a big influence. He was the first uk rapper i ever heard and this was important to me because it was cool hearing someone rapping with the same accent as me so that made me think that I could do hip hop too.

James Brown is one of those guys who is really funky and when I first heard his music from back in the day like soul power i just thought it was amazing because it really grabs your attention and it's really in your face. James Brown uses a style of music he called "rhythm of the one" which is the way the band all work together and do things in unity and synch up with each other really quickly. I really like how he interacts with his band and his audience and I really studied how he performs on stage and how he uses the stage and how he get the crowd going and have definitely worked some of that into my own performances.


Friday, 4 September 2020

Installation at Peak Gallery, Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre 24-28.8.20

 Please see below for animated gif documentation of our recent installation at The Peak Gallery in the iconic Elephant and Castle Shopping centre as part of their Distant Peak response to the Covid crisis. The installation was developed collaboratively during our Zoom art sessions and included video reflections to the lockdown and other pressing global issues from our artists presented on three screens viewable through gaps in the main window display. Many thanks to everyone at Peak for inviting us and to all who stopped to have a look.



Monday, 27 July 2020

Covid and lockdown had a big impact on the lives of the attendees of The Gate.

 Not only was their social life and support network disrupted, but they were also robbed of an ongoing opportunity to express themselves creatively through arts, music and literacy.

All sessions at The Gate came to a halt, leaving attendees isolated, bored and without a space where creative outlet was encouraged and supported. After a period of discussions amongst the arts facilitators and the Service Users of The Gate we all agreed that it was vital to restart the arts sessions, albeit in a different format.

 Since then we have started to meet up online every Wednesday for a couple of hours, mixing chatting with art making, hearing about everyone's ideas and about what they have been creating during lockdown, as well as discussing what they would like to make and where to take future projects.

 Using video call software to connect obviously has its drawbacks: Only one person can speak at a time and there is a visual- and audio delay. Also, some people have to share one device as a group, or the only device available is a phone, which compromises people’s experiences of the call and people may not be able to contribute in the way they would in a real-life setting at The Gate. Despite these hurdles and drawbacks it has been great to be in a “room” together to create art, have a chat and socialise..

 Our current art class group is Leon, Labake, Duane, Ritchie, Glenn, Jackie, Michael, Terry, Roy, Simon and Lena and myself. Seb, Jane, Giovanni and Adam drop in for visits.

 As people might know, Labake is an Avid Sims player and inspired the group to create a video game by and for The Gate. We started this pre lockdown, planning out characters and scenarios on paper, but also using the app https://www.piskelapp.com/ to create sprits that we would put in our video game.
As we are now forced to work exclusively online, we thought it would be a good opportunity to focus on this video game. As some of the devices used by our artists don't let them access these apps and the video call at the same time, we had to find creative ways to overcome these technical problems: 

Some attendees who can use these apps will draw from instructions whilst we screen share their actions in real time. Others will resort back to IRL drawings with pen on paper. We will then photograph their work remotely through the computer screen and collage them into the collaborative drawings.
We used the online collaborative drawing tool https://aggie.io/ to collage together our artists’ IRL pen-on-paper drawings and the digital drawings.


Before the Covid crisis we had an exhibition lined up at Peak Gallery in Elephant and Castle shopping centre in London http://peak-art.org/. This couldn't happen because of the virus, so we decided to create a socially distant exhibition instead. Visitors and passer-bys walking through the centre will be able to enjoy the exhibition by peaking through the windows of the gallery. Our plan is to print our collaborative drawings on a large format so they fill the entire window and door of the gallery.

There will be peepholes cut into the drawings which allow visitors to look into the gallery where we will have videos looping on monitors. Some of the videos we will be screening include: Quarantine radio hour video - weekly talk radio show made by members of The Gate.
  Glenn Miller's vlogs where they discuss coming out as trans, racial justice and what they eat in a day.

Richies Youtube where he vlogs about football, buffy and quarantine

 

 Duane aka Mr Amazing’s Tik Tok dance videos and new music from his soundcloud
 

A slideshow containing all the images from our instagram - https://www.instagram.com/54thegate/ Draft of our imagined window installation at Peak Gallery

Our proposal to Peak -

 We propose a poster/vinyl that covers the whole of the gallery window and glass on the door.

The poster would have holes at different heights, allowing people to look into the empty gallery space where we would position monitors showing slide shows of the work made by artists at The Gate.

 As we are in lockdown and no longer have access to The Gate , thus having to work remotely with our artists, we are using online video calls and collaborative drawing software to make art together. 

The picture attached is an example of one of our collaborative drawings using a mixture of collage works people have created, as well as the online digital drawing tools.

 We have been discussing what it means to be a disabled artist in this time and the relationship between the lack of funding to services and the impact of gentrification. We have also explored the disproportionate effects of these problems on black people and other ethnic minority groups in the UK. We have spoken specifically about the future demolishment of the E&C shopping centre and how it would displace poorer communities for the purposes of profiting the rich.

 Through these conversation we came up with some titles and slogans we would use in the poster:

 Is this the world we want to live in?

 What kind of world do we want to live in?

 What about us?

 Its 2020, not 1820

 Grow up

 The Exhibition will happen at the end of August 2020 and run for two days.