Red Hand Soup

The Model has commissioned You’re Only Massive to create an audiodetour which launches next week. As we get ready to launch it we dug out an old blog they wrote for us in March as they were starting the project.

An audiodetour is a piece of site responsive live and audio art for two people. It is an mp3 audio walk which takes you on a separate but synchronised journey from Grattan Street to the Model, freshly painted. This piece layers choreography, soundscapes, songs and stories on top of the real Sligo and asks you to use everyday spaces with a playful sense of experimentation, exploration and adventure and to keep an ear out for the hidden histories of caregivers and bankers. Here’s a little about the project from Maebh Cheasty and David Murphy who have been visiting Sligo since the start of the year to research and plan the project.

Red Hand Soup
Let’s start walking. One leg upright like a pillar, the other leg like a pendulum swinging back and forth. And heel touching down. One step and then another. If you have a pair of legs it’s the most obvious thing in the world. You may know your way around here. You may know paths, shortcuts, maps, stories, meanders and commutes. Nonetheless keep your wits about you and always trust your own judgement.”

With these words we will begin walking the audiodetour, leading from O’ Connell Street in Sligo to The Model, newly painted. Along the way you will hear caregivers and National Treasures. You will also pass the Ulster Bank on Stephen Street, with its carvings of the Red Hand of Ulster in the keystones over the windows.

The legend of the red hand states that, during their first attacks on Ireland in the 8th century, the Vikings arrived from the harsh winters of Norway ready to “go berserk”. They leapt straight from the longboat filled with the excitement and anticipation of a thousand Christmas Eves. That said, they gave little respect to the Christian way of life, as monasteries were often the first places to be ransacked and plundered for gold and slaves.

This excitement lead to the premature beserking of one such Viking, Sigmund Vikernes. During an early raid, maddened by the eagerness to be the first ashore and commence slaughter, he chopped his own left hand off and flung it from the boat on to the beach. This commitment combined with madness didn’t go unremarked in Ireland, and today is commemorated on flags and buildings alike.

Pop beserker Bill Drummond was so impressed with this act of insane self-harm that, in 1992, just at the point when his group, the KLF’s raids on the top 10 had made them the most successful band of the era, he plotted to emulate it. The KLF were all set to headline the Brit awards, which was to be their coronation as the kings of pop. Drummond’s fraying mind had other ideas. He had planned to sanctify his groups domination of the pop world by chopping his left hand off and flinging it down on the red carpet. His sacrifice was only prevented when his wife confiscated his cleaver from him.

In 2003 Bill Drummond began making soup for people along a line he drew across a map of the British Isles. “You can lose yourself in making soup,” Drummond wrote in his book “45”. “The imagination can start to spiral into uncharted regions; reality can become bearable, even enjoyable. You can find yourself as well.”

Perhaps our Viking could have benefited from sitting down to a nice pot of warming, nourishing soup, which is why we would like to dedicate this recipe to him, as his severed hand plays an important part in our upcoming audiodetour. It is also dedicated to Bill Drummond for discovering for himself the hidden magic of what is basically a bucket of smashed up vegetables mixed with salty water. And we will dedicate it to you, because we hope that you will take our audiodetour and discover the pleasure of losing and enjoying yourself in spaces that are private and public, everyday and ordinary, mythical and imaginary.

You’re Only Massive’s Red Hand Soup:

One can of tomatoes,
One tube of tomato pureé
2-3 red peppers
1 pumpkin
1kg of carrots
1 onion (red)
1/4 bottle wine (red)
2 litres of stock

Peel the carrots, peel and deseed the pumpkin and boil them together in a pot.
Chop the onion and fry it in a pan with some butter until they turn deep red.
Chop up and deseed the peppers and add them to the onions, but only for a minute, if at all.
We like our soup smooth so we cheat by putting everything together with the tinned tomatoes in a blender after they are boiled, but mashing them together in a big pot is also good.
Next add the wine, stock and pureé to the pot and give it a good stir.
Let it simmer, never boil, for 15 minutes, then serve.
The first few bowls will be quite thick, but after that you can add more stock or wine to thin it out.
You should have enough soup to feed a whole band of marauders.