On 28 July 2014, the Dead Rat Orchestra embarked upon The Cut – their most ambitious tour to date. Setting off from the Battlebridge Basin in the shadow of the London Canal Museum, they travelled 273 miles by canal, in their trusty vessel, the Gemini II (imagine a half-submerged caravan from the 1970s), arriving in Bristol 19 days later. And yes, it would have been quicker to walk.
Most nights, they moored up and played within walking distance of the canal, in churches, under bridges, in boatmen’s pubs, from pontoon gardens, at the Arnolfini art gallery and even at the oldest music performance space in Europe, the Holywell Music Rooms.
Filmmaker Ian Nesbitt joined the Dead Rat boys to document their journey, as they set out to chart the inland waters, gathering an informal history of England’s once thriving industrial arteries, exploring social, historical and musical roots, and to share their findings through performances along the way.
Ian’s daily film entries have been compiled into a 48 minute documentary, which will be screened on 28 January at Regather, 57-59 Club Garden Road, Sheffield.
Dead Rat Orchestra will also be performing with Jim Ghedi at the event, providing an improvised score for another of Ian’s films – Sketches Of Brunei c.1978.
Update: The daily entries can be viewed on Vimeo.
Photo credit: popEstates Photography