biographical formulation of identity

age = 52 years old. i have been playing improvised music since 1984 following a brief punkrock flirtation with composed music. i have dedicated my musical development to free improvisation free from written music [apart from some slight study of jazz standards and chord progressions and a slight flirtation with mbira music{which isnt written but precomposed nonetheless}]. for political and aesthetic reasons i am fairly uninterested in [probably completely opposed to] any music not improvised.

creativity is vital to me. it helped me recover from losing a mother at age 4/ being raised working class/ living on a soulless council estate and being uneducated & abused by the state education system. it helps me cope with isolation + insecurity and life within the evil system of reason/patriarchy/science/militarism/capitalism.

influences: a discomfort with + an inability to meet the demands of sick capitalist society. situationism/ surrealism/ creativity/ political resistance turned my life around as did jenny thomas. as did punk rock (the raincoats/ the slits/ pere ubu /the pop group/ the sex pistols, not necessarily in that order) / early art ensemble of chicago and free jazz recordings / walking into a gig by the bristol musicians collective. i came away from all of the above with a burgeoning belief in creativity as a discipline/process/political necessity rather than dependent upon some nebulous hegemonicaly owned/fuelled notion of talent.

currently: i make improvised music mostly every day and i make the bristol improvisors zariba happen ( i believe free improvisation can be a means to defy the hegemony that would sooner see us live as the undead/unalive. i work in homelessness where i challenge the prejudices and stigmatization of capitalisms disenfranchised people and do something towards redressing the privilege i find myself living within. i educate myself by reading as much as possible. i rail against the hegemony all the time till it wears me out. i continue to believe the notion of discrete items is a misguided one that perpetuates the madness. i believe in magic/no gods.

i believe we are led and ruled by wrong-thinking [at best] evil [at worst] people/systems [capitalism/science/reason/patriarchy]. improvisation opposes these things [or at least operates within opposing frameworks], even if in the main it does little or nothing to oppose patriarchy. but it needs to exist for this reason.

Mark Anthony Whiteford
Sunday 11th October 2009

Releases on Woe Betide Records
WB002: Zariba

Bristol Improvisors Zariba Site
2009 Solos Site


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