[2016.06.18] Tom Hollingworth, for NARC Magazine.
Studying a display in the main hallway of The Mining Institute of late-19th Century photography, depicting curious social scenes, further resonated how in tune this venue was for Darren Hayman to present his most recent project, a set of songs inspired by Thankful Villages; places where every soldier returned home safely from WW1.
Nev Clay’s winding wit was the perfect thread to pull our imagination into action at the head of this evening of story, from meandering thoughts on gravitational waves and missteps in Metal bands, through to feather-light performances of songs with intimate observations. Including a cover Women Of The World by Ivor Cutler, with its bold sentiment, sat seamlessly alongside his original work, united in a brave spirit - a faultless hallmark of Clay’s performances.
To present this new collection, Hayman’s trio assumed the position of the pit orchestra, whilst above them, opposite the audience seating, diary footage of his visits through each of the villages was projected onto the wall. The set amalgamated unique sounds from the trip; including the metronome of Aisholt’s church clock, and recordings of poetry read by residents. The riddling songs were bracketed with Hayman’s humorous expositions of the journeys travelled to find them.