Monday, 20 December 2010

Statement from CALM, one our partner charities this Christmas

"CATM has been a brilliant Xmas present for CALM.  We are a tiny, under resourced charity tackling the biggest killer of men aged under 35 in the UK.  We don’t get any government or statuary funding and rely upon the public to keep our helpline going.  This has been a fantastic way for people to find out about CALM and show their support.    The campaign has helped raise our profile, bring in new volunteers – and we’ve seen hits to our website rocket. The army of people who’ve pushed this so hard over the last few weeks has been truly phenomenal,  a huge heartfelt thank you to you all."

-Jane, Director, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)

Learn more at-

Saturday, 11 December 2010


Statement for the performers of 4’33’’, 6/12/10.
By Dave Hilliard, creator of Cage Against The Machine,
The online campaign to get 4’33’’ to Christmas number 1 2010.

This statement was read to the performers at Dean Street Studio by Julie Hilliard (aka Mrs Cageboss) directly before the performance of 4'33", which will be released on Monday 12th December 2010.

"Hello everybody and thanks for coming today. We really appreciate you taking time out of your schedules to be here, perform the work of John Cage, and raise money for some deserving causes.

Unfortunately I could not be here today as I am studying for a Masters in Art Therapy, and my studies must take priority right now.

Our campaign started as something of a joke, and that’s how a lot of people see 4’33’’, but the truth is that John Cage thought very long and hard before composing it, and had some genuine ideas behind the piece. Anybody who tells you that it’s “the emperor’s new clothes” doesn’t know what they are talking about.

Your experience today is about being in the here and now, and as musicians and creative people you will all understand that music is made up of more than just formal notes and arrangements. Here today, we are doing something special, we are stopping and appreciating the space between things, the unintentional sounds that make up our world.

I now invite you to honour John Cages legacy for our culture, bring your individual meanings to 4’33’’, and enjoy the next 4 minutes and 33 seconds together."

Saturday, 16 October 2010

In the eye of the silent storm

Welcome to the blog about the campaign for John Cages 4'33'' to be Christmas number 1 2010, known as "CAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE" on our Facebook group.
The first thing you will notice, is that I'm not typing in caps lock. Caps lock has it's uses, but in-depth reflections on a media storm is not one of them.

The group started as something to amuse myself. I've got a bit of a history of creating ridiculous social networking things, and Facebook is a great platform for this sort of thing. Most of the groups I've set up, like the one that advocated turning all of the worlds rain forests into pizza delivery menus, die on their arses. But, for whatever reason, people responded to the idea of a "silent song" in the top spot at Christmas, and the thing has grown and grown, to it's current level of over 30000 members.

The reason I decided to start this blog is because the media attention to this thing is starting to become a bit of a run away train, and I need some kind of space to lay my actual thoughts down about it rather than the slightly unbalanced CAPS LOCK STATUS UPDATES.

The trigger to get something closer to the truth out there, was waking up this morning to find Liam Maguire representing the Royal British Legion on the BBC, talking about "his idea" to produce a 2 minute silent track featuring celebrities, including, amongst others, prime minister David Cameron.

This development actually puts me in a slightly awkward position. My belief is that because of the Facebook group that I set up, the idea of a silent track around Christmas time has been circulating in media and PR circles for a while now, and I know this because I have been contacted by some of them who were interested in working with me to develop the idea in a way that would raise money for charities. I can't really go into this in too much detail here, since these plans are still developing and should hopefully become clearer soon.

OK, so what exactly is my problem with The Royal British Legion and their 2 minute silence record? Well, nothing. I think the British Legion do a lot of very valuable work, and I wholeheartedly encourage people to donate money to them. And surely, for one thing, 4'33'', isn't even my idea, is it? John Cage composed it, and had a lot of very interesting ideas related to it. And lastly, it's a 2 minute silence, not 4'33'' seconds of it, so these are different ideas, aren't they?

My issue is with the way it's portrayed. If you watch the report, which you can do here, you will notice a high proportion of its running time is taken up with Liam talking about how the idea to produce a silent track is his, about how he came up with it "like all of his best ideas" in the pub. At one point the interviewer even says "Oh, it was your idea" to emphasise Liam's ownership of the concept. And near the end it is further stated as totally unique.
You might wonder, why exactly Liam feels the need to spend so much time talking about how original his idea is. If it's a good idea, it should stand on it's own merits, right? The fact is, he is obviously pretty media savvy, and there is absolutely no way he is not aware of the John Cage campaign. As I said above, there are ripples about this idea in the media world, and this is actually where I believe the idea has filtered through from. Of course, the ideas are slightly different, not least in the running time. But anyone who believes that things are as simple or as honest, even in connection with charity, as they are portrayed in the media is very naive indeed.

So this idea of a "silent track" is out there. It's building momentum and it's only going to get more intense as we approach Christmas. I think whatever I do now, some people are going to decide they don't like me or the John Cage campaign, there will probably be insults and accusations I can't answer, already people make judgements on me and my motivations based on minimal information. Maybe others will get some pleasure out of this whole thing. I hope so.

Here are a few final points.

1) I set up the Cage Against the Machine Facebook group as a way to amuse myself. I didn't expect it to become what it is. The momentum is based on a popular response. The people made it what it is.

2) I'm not looking to turn a profit or become famous.

3) The charity aspect is currently being looked into and should hopefully be announced soon. I think it's a great idea, since rather than effectively paying for "nothing", you will be giving money to deserving causes, which is pretty Christmassy, I think.

4) What you get out of Cage against the machine is up to you. If it's just a joke that makes you laugh, and that's enough for you, OK. If it gets to Christmas number 1, great. If you want it to compete against the X Factor, OK. If you are genuinely interested in Cage and his music and are excited by it gaining a higher profile, that's OK too.

5) John Cage takes ultimate credit for 4'33'', not me.

6) We are NOT in competition or in any way against the Royal British Legion 2 minute silence idea. By all means donate money to them.