Sillitoe Trail EXCLUSIVE preview of Mobile App

“For it was Saturday night, the best and bingiest glad-time of the week, one of the fifty-two holidays in the slow-turning Big Wheel of the year, a violent preamble to a prostrate Sabbath. Piled-up passions were exploded on Saturday night, and the effect of a week’s monotonous graft in the factory was swilled out of your system in a burst of goodwill.”

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958)

The Alan Sillitoe Committee was one of fifty three organisations selected to produce content for The Space, an experimental multimedia platform funded by Arts Council England in collaboration with the BBC. We are the only literature organisation outside of London and stand proudly next to the London Review of Books and Faber and Faber.

For our commission we have presented a virtual tour on The Space of Sillitoe’s seminal novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958) which follows the adventures of Arthur Seaton, a hard-grafting Raleigh factory worker out for a good time in 1950s Nottingham.

The Space was developed to see how cultural content could be distributed by Web, Mobile, Tablets and Connected TV. Now we are releasing the Sillitoe Trail in three forms: A limited edition book which will be available at Sillitoe Day on 27th October, a downloadable eBook, and as a Mobile Phone App. All three forms enable readers to follow a literary trail through Sillitoe’s Nottingham and have been assembled over a six month period, using content generated via social websites and written by our commissioned writers.

The Mobile Phone App

The Sillitoe Trail App is a literary trail for iPhone, designed for use on-location and exploring five key themes and spaces from the novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. A version is also being released to cater for non-Apple smartphone devices such as Google Android, Blackberry and Microsoft. However, it is the Apple iOS iPhone version which boasts the most advanced features.

The Themes

Each location on the Sillitoe Trail explores a distinct theme which asks how modern-day issues would be dealt with by Sillitoe’s chief protagonist Arthur Seaton, should such a thing be possible.

1: Old Market Square

Our first location is Old Market Square where Derrick Buttress, a contemporary of Sillitoe, examines the decades leading up to 1958.

2: The White Horse

Al Needham takes over and imagines where Arthur Seaton would be drinking in 2012 now that the White Horse pub has been turned into a curry house.

3: Raleigh

Pete Davis records the testimonies of former Raleigh workers to see how accurate Sillitoe’s portrayal of factory life is and we wonder whether Arthur would now find himself at a digital lathe?

4: Trent

James Walker goes fishing near the “turgid Trent” and wonders whether Arthur 2012 would be able to find solitude in the digital age.

5: Goose Fair

Our final stop is the Goose Fair where historian Ann Featherstone takes us back to the Victorian period to show it’s always been home to elaborate hoaxers, fighters and scoundrels.

Features

At each location are photographs, facts, audio, videos and text, offering users many ways through which to interpret Sillitoe’s novel. Arthur Seaton also interjects along the way in a slot entitled ‘Seaton Rifles’ although his adversaries are never far behind.

By using a variety of different media, it is hoped that Alan Sillitoe’s writing can reach new audiences and rekindle interest in those already familiar with his work. In the few months of The Space we have seen an explosion of local talent submitting images, stories, poetry and music ranging from Jazz to Beatbox.

The Sillitoe Trail iPhone App brings to life many previously unseen photographs from picture and film libraries such as the BFI, British Council and Nottingham County Archives. The built-in picture gallery looks great on the iPhone 4’s high-resolution ‘Retina’ screen and has been especially designed to take full advantage of the very latest iPhone 5 with it’s 16:9 widescreen display.

Portrait orientation provides access to a rich selection of pictures, text and audio, whilst landscape orientation reveals a full-width gallery with detailed zooming of HD images that can be viewed in each location to compare historic with present day imagery.

The Sillitoe Trail iPhone App also has a built-in QR-code reader which triggers playback of audio directly from the Sillitoe Trail Handbook and other signage along the trail. Because media is pre-loaded, the App provides smooth playback even in areas where there is no mobile signal available.

Sillitoe’s Legacy

Features that do require WiFi or 3G connection relate to external websites, additional maps, trails, images and social media feeds; all designed to extend the experience with fresh content and submissions from the general public.

Social feeds in particular are hoped to stimulate further debate on the themes of the trail and the App will encourage the creation of smaller walks or cycle routes through the city that could be used by local storytellers, individuals and organisations involved in cultural and destination tourism.

We hope that the Sillitoe Trail project will continue to present be a lasting legacy and stimulate interest in the Alan Sillitoe Memorial Committee’s objective to establish a permanent recognition of his work.

Alan Sillitoe loved maps and loved Nottingham too, so this location-based App seems a most fitting way to pay tribute to a career that put the city and it’s people on the literary landscape.

How to get the Pre-Release App

A Pre-release Beta of the Sillitoe Trail for iPhone App is being made available to a limited number of partners, journalists and reviewers. Please contact the digital developers thinkamigo to obtain the necessary provisioning certificate and a copy of the software. Installation is via your iTunes Account. We will require some details from your iTunes Account in order to process your request. For more info email Paul Fillingham paul (AT) thinkamigo.com

You can also Pre-register for the App at www.sillitoetrail.com/register and we will notify you when the Sillitoe Trail App becomes available for free download in the App Store.

Contact Information:

For Press Enquires, suggestions, comments or questions about the Sillitoe Trail, please contact James Walker by email: james (AT) jameskwalker.co.uk

For technical support and any digital production queries, please contact Paul Fillingham by email: paul (AT) thinkamigo.com

Visit the website: www.sillitoetrail.com

Visit The Space: www.thespace.org

Follow Arthur Seaton on Twitter @thespacelathe

Follow the Twitter hash-tag: #sillitoetrail

Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/sillitoetrail

View the public gallery: www.flickr.com/groups/sillitoetrail

Donate to the memorial fund: www.sillitoetrail.com/donate

Screenshots and logos will be available shortly in the Sillitoe Trail Press Centre: www.sillitoetrail.com/press-centre

Tickets are available for Sillitoe Day (27.10.12) via the Nottingham Contemporary website: http://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/event/sillitoe-day

MotaMouf

MotaMoufEvent 4 the ‘turgid Trent’ is now live on The Space and features four essays by myself and two spoken word videos from Andrew ‘MulletProofPoet’ Graves and Alex ‘MotaMouf’ Young. I want to dedicate this blog to MotaMouf.

I first saw beatboxer MotaMouf performing at the Riverside Festival with Maniere des Bohemiens, a gypsy swing-jazz band from Nottingham. Then a few months later with Nina Smith on the LeftLion stage at Spendour. I was blown away by this teenager with the elastic mouth who was able to adapt his style to any kind of rhythm. I asked him if he would be interested in performing on stage with me at a spoken word event called Gunpowder, Treason and Pot. The conceit was simple: I’d ask him a question and he would make all of these weird noises. Then when I gave up trying to communicate with him and motioned to walk off stage he would burst out with an amazing poem about Rosa Parks (which is published in Issue 49 of LeftLion, out today.) It worked brilliantly and was the latest example of his incredibly versatile talent.

MotaMouf’s inclusion on The Space was not planned and was completely inspired by Kate Tempest’s outstanding performance video for Tongue Fu. I realised we had to diversify our text heavy content and that it would also be great to see him given a voice on such a prestigious stage. As always he was excited and prepared to try anything. A fitting lesson to other performers out there…

The theme for Event Four is ‘Solitude: Is it possible in a digital age?’ I met up with MotaMouf a few times at Broadway and we worked on various ideas. I asked him to think about the electronic noise of modern life such as vehicles telling you that they’re reversing, elevator musIz, Tesco self-service tills, and city buses asking you to join their Facebook group every five minutes. He then went away and worked on a narrative.

During these meetings MotaMouf confessed that he felt kind of typecast as a beatboxer and was currently the front man of a new band called Just James. He was also more in to rap and grime music now. I told him to combine all of these things and to go with what felt right as I had every confidence he’d produce something fantastic.  At the time I was writing accompanying essays about how Alan Sillitoe hated being labelled as a ‘working class writer’ and an ‘angry young man’ and so it seemed a bit hypocritical to limit MotaMouf in a similar manner. The whole purpose of the Sillitoe Trail is to broaden the reach of literature and make Sillitoe’s novel accessible to audiences who may otherwise never have encountered it. Rap and grime are such audiences.  Tick.

The video was shot by NG64bars and is absolutely beautiful. My only instruction was that it had to be near a canal to link to the essays. A really important element of The Space is building up partnerships with other organisations and trying to support and promote each other. Robert Freeman Cooper has done a brilliant job and I’m delighted to be able to bring his organisation in as a partner and promote yet another great organisation in Nottingham as well as an incredibly talented beatboxer. I mean rapper. I mean poet. You know what I mean.

Please note: MotaMouf used to be spelled MotorMouf. He has very recently changed the spelling of this as it is not quite as unique a name as you might imagine.