Another chapter will be written in the history books of using art as a means of protest when a world renowned musician makes his way to Ryedale next month.
Residents of Brawby and visitors from much further afield are expected to gather in their wellies on the morning of Tuesday, November 12, to listen to avant-garde trombonist Alan Tomlinson perform a sewer solo - an improvised “duet” with the Yorkshire Water sewer which has been the source of much anger within the village.
This sewer performance is the first shot across the bows from campaigners who are launching a new “art movement” to highlight and publicise the issues surrounding the village’s sewerage system which they say has led to repeated incidents of the village becoming flooded with contaminated water from the sewers over the past 20 years.
Aiming for the eyes and ears of Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency, North Yorkshire County Council and other agencies, campaigners hope to fire a sense of urgency into this unresolved and increasingly volatile situation.
The musician’s appearance is the brainchild of sewer campaigner Simon Thackray, who has close ties with the art world through his work with The Shed.
“Alan is an internationally renowned improvising trombonist and he jumped at the opportunity to perform the world’s first sewer solo,” said Simon. “Alan will perform “Up To The Hilt” on Tuesday November 12 at 9.35am, timed to coincide precisely with the speech being given by Richard Flint, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Water, at the Water 2013 conference at the Hilton Hotel in London.
“Representatives of The Sewer will share this good news with delegates attending the conference.”
He added: “The Sewer is also the launch pad for a new art movement - the Discharge Painters, where artists, including former MP Colin Challen and internationally renowned artist and sculptor Peter Coates, will make paintings using the Environment Agency consented discharge from Yorkshire Water sewer gutter in Brawby.
“The paintings will be exhibited at Rye Valley Works, Brawby, and then toured throughout Yorkshire - possibly timed to coincide with Le Grand Depart!”
The campaigners are taking this course of action, which is likely to prove highly embarrassing for the different agencies involved, after becoming fed up with a lack of action over the sewer problems that were first highlighted when residents were left stranded in their homes by contaminated floodwater caused by heavy rainfall and the sewer backing up. Since then, they have held numerous meetings with the Yorkshire Water and agency chiefs but are increasingly unhappy that no progress has been made.
Mr Thackray said: “It is my feeling that art traditionally is the most powerful tool for protest. “It reaches parts that other forms of dissent do not reach. We are in the uniquely fortunate position in Brawby to have the support of some of the most controversial and exciting avant-garde artists, musicians, poets and comedians working today. Let the fun begin.”
For more information visit The Sewer website: www.thesewer.co.uk