Project Adorno: Facilitating the flow of information, imagination and ideas through the fusion of pop, performance poetry and song
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The Early Years

  It started, ironically, with a poem called "Shallow Circles". The poem became a song which eventually became the title piece to an "album" (or at least a rag-bag collection of songs haphazardly recorded in the bedroom) and also spawned other artistic ventures, namely a series of paintings. Inevitably, there was a lot of teen angst coming through in the early work as we scribbled down bad but intimate poetry and strummed hopelessly on acoustic guitars, groping for impossible chord changes.  

Everyone's too busy, criticising everyone else, to notice themselves  
Falseness is a way of life round here, acceptance of face value facts  
Why can't people say what they mean, instead of spewing out endless streams....  
Living in a twilight zone, we roam, grazing with the herd in the field on the hill  
Moving around, we follow the crowd, forever in eternal shallow circles  


This was all a million light years away from what Project Adorno was to become. Nevertheless it was an essential part of the process. Back then we had a plethora of pseudonyms, the most memorable being "the Keynotes". Influences were variable, one day we wanted to be The The or Sonic Youth, another, the Beatles or Frankie Goes To Hollywood. But, ultimately it didn't really matter. What was important was the drive to create and get the "stuff" out! 
"Shallow circles" was the first coherent piece of work, the first thing that at least had an air of completeness to it. It included songs such as "All things must change" (still a favourite), and our anti-Gulf war songs imaginatively titled "No more war (parts 1 and 2)" - oh yes, we were political as well!  
The Shallow Circles Painting Series:
The paintings were more a tableaux - graphic representations of the songs and their subject matter. The one that started it off - the initial "shallow circles" painting (3rd from left above), was in fact painted on a concrete paving slab. 
The whole thing remains unreleased (as it should be), which of course seemed a travesty at the time. With the world largely ignoring our first "masterpiece" we continued undeterred. Back to the creative workshop, like Rhubarb knocking around in his shed, we finally emerged with "Society's World", another collection of songs, which were, if anything, more highly charged and politicised than the first. (Teen angst turning outwards, where the first had been inward). If this one wouldn't do it.... 
  Early cover art for "Society's World"
Of course, it didn't. At least not at the micro level. But looking at the larger picture, Project Adorno simply would not have happened without these haphazard, crude fumblings. Well, that's one justification anyway.  

There was still a long way to go of course. Christmas 93 and the "December Days" EP - fashioned under formidable time constraints and hand delivered to "the lucky ones" (various friends and acquaintances) at midnight, as Christmas eve turned to day. 

"Band" rehearsals (for non-existent gigs) began to take place in a nearby church hall - the natural reverb was amazing - something Phil Spector could only dream of. Here we contrived the "No need to worry" film and the aborted live album "Seeing red, feeling blue" (the "abortion" being integral to the recording - it wouldn't have happened otherwise). 

SM, drummer for the day. Note the "No more war" T shirt. 

Many of the songs from these early "albums" eventually turned up in a slightly less chaotic form  on the final "No need to worry" soundtrack. And yes, this film does exist in a slightly physical sense (we remain eternally grateful to camera man, Ed). Furthermore, we can be justly proud of it (though difficult to watch by those involved) and the songs too, remakes of "Shallow circles", "All things must change", "Coping", "Romantic sense of place" and "Society's world" - as well as newer ones written specifically for the film which showed a certain maturity: "Memories of now", "Day off", "Heat of the moment", "Waiting in vain". Good times...  

They're all out there now, living some sort of half life, waiting to be re-recorded at any rate.  

  Matt Johnson,
on the bridge to 
  nowhere and everywhere.....
So where did the inspiration come from and what exactly was our sound? Matt Johnson's "Burning blue soul" LP was one major well spring - or more accurately, the inner sleeve with its hand written lyrics. As for "Our sound", this is probably best summed up in the poem "The Other Ones" (1999) which reveals that we were in fact striving to be "the Morcambe and Wise of the pop world scene". 
  Note Oscar (pictured far left),   always the "third Keynote"
"The other ones" is in a sense a summation of this period (and later) written from afar. It brings us neatly back to where we started - from a poem to a poem with something "other" in-between.  
The memories remain sweet.
"Time it was, and what a time it was,  A time of innocence, a time of confidences  Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph,  Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you"  Paul Simon  
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