Photo of
November 1, 2012
One Pig being performed

The 5pm blog may not be the most appropriate place for this one but, if you are really interested in the relationship between the meat on our plates and the animals that produce it, then you might want to catch a performance of Matthew Herbert’s One Pig.

Herbert is a musician and composer who works principally turning everyday sounds into music. For his album One Pig, he has collected sounds made during the life, death and consumption of a pig bred for meat on an English farm.

Pet Sounds

The album is made entirely out of sounds from the pig and its surroundings, from the first squeals, the sound of it being alone for the first time, to the dripping of its blood after being butchered. The Beach Boys gave us Pet Sounds. Herbert has given us a rather different kettle of fish.

Live show

The live show is a performance of the album with a five piece band, using keyboards, samplers, drum machines, and a brand new custom instrument – the “Sty Harp”, built and performed by Edinburgh-based artist Yann Seznec.

It might sound very odd and it is but Herbert is not some nutter who has booked into performance spaces to indulge himself. He has a long pedigree of working with well known artists from Bjork and Antony Hegarty to the London Sinfonietta.

On stage cooking

The lads from the much vaunted Gardener’s Cottage restaurant are contributing to the gigs by cooking pork on stage.

Is it art? Is it pretentious? Or is it one man’s honest look at the food we eat?

You will have to make up your own mind but one thing is certain: you are unlikely to look at pork in quite the same way again.

You can find all the performance dates here but, for Central Belt people, these are probably the key dates:

3 November: Glasgow (Tramway)

4 November: Dundee (Dundee Rep)

8 November: Edinburgh (Queen’s Hall)

9 November: Dunfermline (Carnegie Theatre)

The video below shows Herbert talking about the show and how it came about. Possibly best avoided if you are squeamish.