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Elliot and I gave the whole shop a coat of white paint. The space is transformed. It looks much warmer and more like somewhere you would like to spend some time. I am knackered now though.

I went to St Johns Church 9am to borrow 20 stacking chairs from the vicar. He helped me carry them the 2 minute walk to the shop, which gave me the opportunity to find out what he thought of my Listen idea.

He said that an ‘oasis of calm’ would be a good thing to have there. He said that the church offers people the opportunity for calm and reflection, but organised religion has a stigma attached which stops people form accessing that opportunity. However, he warned that the space needed a focus, that its hard to do it on your own without something to hold your attention, such as a painting or a candle.

His words were playing over in my mind as I walked back to the shop when it occurred to me that the underground should be the focus. This quickly into the idea of making a shrine to the underground, which I thought about that idea for a couple of hours until realising that I didn’t really want to go there. This left me bereft again and desperate for a plan.

chairs in concentric circles

I phoned sound artist/composer Sonia in Canada on skype. We talked for 2 hours about ideas for the project.

Then I went back to the shop and met a friend from a recent drawing and meditation retreat. It occurred to me that listening is a way of connecting to other people, or to yourself, a way to be more present. We talked about the word present for a while and I decided to change the name of the project to that. It seemed like the most relevant word because it can work for music, but also visual art, and dance, and other areas of life. The shop also used to be a balloon and gift shop which is an interesting play on words for people who know the area.