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80s pop star lands tardis-like beach hut at Orford Ness in hope of capturing our seaside thoughts and memories

PUBLISHED: 16:03 09 July 2015 | UPDATED: 10:52 10 July 2015

Martyn Ware with the beach hut

Martyn Ware with the beach hut

Sarah Lucy brown

A quirky blue beach hut has "landed" almost Tardis-like on the vast, remote, shingle-covered expanse of Orford Ness.

The National Trust has transported a beach hut over the Orford Ness - it is fitted out as a sound studio where people will be recording their memories/views about the local sea and shoreThe National Trust has transported a beach hut over the Orford Ness - it is fitted out as a sound studio where people will be recording their memories/views about the local sea and shore

Its master is not a Time Lord but a creative, cutting-edge musician – although his Suffolk mission does involves a form of Dr Who-like time travel as he records and utilises people’s coastal memories and responses to the sea throughout their lives.

Steering the beach hut through an imaginative and innovative three-stop tour of the UK is Martyn Ware, a singing and keyboard-playing founder-member of 1980s “synth-pop” sensations The Human League and Heaven 17 who still performs with the latter but whose career has diversified radically. Among a plethora of roles in the world of sound, he has produced records for stars including Tina Turner, he is a Visiting Professor at Queen Mary College, University of London, and serves as a member of BAFTA.

He has “parked” his travelling beach hut on Orford Ness after being commissioned by site owner the National Trust to help it celebrate its Coast 2015 initiative – a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the trust’s continuing Operation Neptune campaign to acquire and care for coastal land in England and Wales.

Mr Ware’s beach hut is a studio in which visitors are invited to record their coastal memories, links and responses in sound and in graffiti messages. Last week, more than 250 recordings were made at the trust’s Black Beaches site at Seaham, Co Durham, and after its week-long stay in Suffolk the beach hut moves to the trust’s site at Porthgain, Pembrokeshire.

The hut is part of a national maritime festivalThe hut is part of a national maritime festival

The soundtrack Mr Ware creates with the recordings – to be known as What Does the Sea Say? – will form part of the trust’s One and All project involving its contemporary arts programme Trust New Art and the sounduk community of artists.

In addition to Mr Ware’s work, Welsh novelist, poet and playwright Owen Sheers and Devon-based artist Tania Kovats will provide the poetry and art elements of One and All, which on completion will combine in digital online form and in an exhibition later in the year in London’s Somerset House.

Mr Ware said he had chosen the three sites for his recordings because of their distinctive “post-industrial” characteristics.

“Orford Ness is a perfect site for this as I love the coast, I love industrial architecture and I love the science fiction feel of the place,” he said.

Former pop star Martyn Ware (Heaven 17 and The Human League) has masterminded the sound project for the NTFormer pop star Martyn Ware (Heaven 17 and The Human League) has masterminded the sound project for the NT

“It is perhaps more post-Cold War than post-industrial but it is completely unique – I don’t think there is anywhere else like it 
and I have travelled the world.”

He said he was aiming to create a “meditative, immersive soundscape” about place and memory.

One and All, supported by National Lottery funding through Arts Council England and by the PRS for Music Foundation, will be available online from November at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/oneandall

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