We Can Time Travel -Bristol Old Vic

Saturday 18th May, 2019

Not really a gig. Not entirely a play. Theatre, yes. A performance, absolutely. In fact I’m not really sure what I would call Dom Coyote’s creation. A polemic, call to action story about loss, memory, disconnection, environmentalism, time travel and fantasy. Perhaps.

I feel disoriented and confused. I feel lost and bereft and slightly staggered. Thoughts are racing in all sorts of directions. Like a computer with too many inputs, my mind may meltdown with overload or have a Eureka! moment, possibly simultaneously.

I saw Dom playing guitar with Paraorchestra last week (he was amazing) and so when they retweeted the link to Dom’s show I thought it might be worth checking out. The last of the three night run was tonight and as it happened I was free and tickets were still available so I thought why not and headed to the Old Vic.

The Old Vic is not a place I’ve been a lot, nor somewhere I feel entirely comfortable. The new bar/restaurant has awful acoustics for someone with sensitive ears like mine and the whole place gives off a vibe that feels excluding. White, monied people come here. Ones who know the works of Chekov and Ibsen. Not people like me.

I timed my arrival so I wasn’t hanging around too long and with the excellent new signage (well done on that) it was easy to find the Weston Studio and my seat. For once I regretted the choice of front row, the chairs were very low and I struggled to get in and then out of my seat. It felt very intimate and therefore intimidating.

Hot Chip’s Over and Over was playing – a clue of what was to come? Perhaps. Dom came out and with storytelling, singing, tape loops and electronica told his tale of time travel. Of a personal and societal grief. Of isolation and despair. Of all sorts of things and themes. In the space of just over an hour. How did you manage to cram in so much to such a short time, Dom? We went on a time travelling journey with you, to the end of the Earth and back. So many things were said and yet left unsaid. Hints and threads left unpulled. Circles and echos drifting back. It was all very cleverly done and I want to see it again to help some of it make sense! Or meet you to have a very long chat.

When it was over I felt as if I needed to stay still and run away at the same time. I felt disoriented and confused. As if I really had traveled back and forth in time. The noise of the pubs on King Street roared through my ears as I walked away, placing me very firmly back in the present moment.

I am not sure where I went between 8 and 9pm this evening. I know a performer called Dom Coyote took me and dozens of others somewhere and that I am now safely back home again.

Music is very often a time capsule, locking into our subconsciousness, burying itself in places so deep it surprises us when we remember lyrics heard decades ago. Music and memory, they run deeply together.

I started writing about music as a way to help me process and understand my emotions. As a way of documenting and keeping them safe from the filtering of memory. Of preserving the way I felt in a moment in time. To paint a picture in words. I think, I think, that is part of what Dom was edging us towards. The creativity of a mind that can bring a show such as We Can Time Travel to life fascinates me. So many elements! The sound/lighting/looping/electronics/vocals/effects. The ideas. Too many. Questions and thoughts. I’m going to park them in a quiet cul-de-sac for the night.


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