Whatever Gets You Through The Night was a sprawling, collaborative project that produced an award-winning theatre show, a 16-track album, a 32-page book and a film, made by Daniel Warren. The film is now available to watch online. So, here’s some background…
Whatever Gets You Through The Night began as a series of conversations between Cora Bissett, David Greig and Swimmer One. The plan was to create an ambitious live show, half gig, half theatre, inspired by the hours between midnight and 4am and featuring some of our favourite Scottish writers and musicians.
The first result of those early conversations was a wishlist of writers and musicians to approach about contributing work. As the scale of this (then nameless) project became clear and more and more of our ‘dream team’ enthusiastically came on board without any need to use any of the ‘subs bench’, we soon realised we needed to take things in several different directions at once to best serve the contributed work.
We had already planned for there to be an album collecting the music, but soon realised that the written pieces and song lyrics contributed wouldn’t be done justice in a CD booklet – not a format we fancied much anyway. Far better to collect them into book form, presented alongside the photography documenting the theatre and recording sessions.
It was also becoming clear that the growing scale and ambition of the live show would make it impossible to tour using the resources available. A film seemed like the obvious solution, and it soon became integral to the project. There was a strong filmic element already thanks to Kim Beveridge‘s visuals for the show, and we approached long-term collaborator Daniel Warren about making an accompanying feature-length work. In line with his previous films Mercury for Scottish Ballet, and National Galleries of Scotland commission The Nation Live, this was never meant to be a ‘making of’ documentary but a standalone piece in its own right – and one that could tour.
The film features key Whatever Gets You Through The Night show contributors Withered Hand, Wounded Knee, Bigg Taj and Emma Pollock in a variety of locations, but also provides a showcase for contributors who didn’t perform at the original theatre run at The Arches, Glasgow in July 2012, such as Rachel Sermanni, Eugene Kelly, Errors and Talkingmakesnosense.
Produced in association with The Arches, the film premiered at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe at Summerhall, followed by live performances from Rachel Sermanni, Seafieldroad and Bigg Taj – a format repeated at the 2013 Glasgow Film Festival, and the nationwide tour taking in screenings in Dundee, Banchory, Ullapool and Mull (featuring performances from Wounded Knee, Emma Pollock, Withered Hand and more).
Tour screenings finished a while back, and it’s great to be able to share this more widely. Dan made a beautiful film, and it was great to be part of making it (I recorded location sound and mixed the film audio.) Like the best hard work, it was also a lot of fun: Loch Lomond shore with Wounded Knee on what felt like the first day of spring; the Bongo Club the following night with Bigg Taj; an odyssey to Orkney and an exploration of its many intriguing structures with Withered Hand (and De Selby); studio visits to see Rachel Sermanni at the rural Watercolour and Eugene Kelly at Glasgow’s Green Door, and a session in our own Swimmer One rehearsal space (now defunct).
You can watch the film using the Distrify player above. You can either stream or download the film for £2.50. It’s DRM-free, meaning it’s yours forever and will work on any device. Proceeds are distributed between contributors. There are also packages to buy combinations of the film, music and book.