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The magic of meeting up: Falmouth Hub meets in-person

We live in a time of death, and a time of life. A time of endings and a time of beginnings. Of discontinued normals and a carving out of new paths. 

It feels like a lifetime ago, but Sputnik used to host termly Hub meet-ups (when we could). Meet-ups where you got to see people’s legs as well as their shoulders! In person, in the flesh — 3D.

We’re not interested in winding back the clock, but we’ve always believed in the importance of embodied reality and so, at the first opportunity, we wanted to facilitate live meet-ups again. The plan was to gather — and that alone would have been enough — but I also wanted to understand the precise lay of the land for us, at this strange juncture in history. Perhaps some roads have ended; perhaps new opportunities will present themselves.

What better way to do that than to gather a group of artists in a room, share work, eat brownies and reflect on our practice? So, having thoroughly enjoyed the Faith & Arts day in Brum — and with the Edinburgh event a week away — that’s exactly what we did in Falmouth on 7th November.

The heart of any Sputnik meet-up is always when artists share their work, and this was no exception. In our circle, we heard from a painter who was fascinated by a particular field, but didn’t know why — and so would return, day after day, to draw, paint and photograph the space, in search of the source of its allure. Another artist talked through how he explored his own mental health difficulties through his wonderful creation, Nanook the bi-polar bear. However, my favourite moment was the discovery that the same illustrator blended his own tea while listening to a certain seminal hiphop group. The blend was called Electric Relaxation. If you know, you know.

The featured artists for the event were the Moses Brothers, Davidson and Richard, who are perhaps the most amiable, gentle and pleasant human beings I’ve ever met. They also seem to occupy that rare space where words like ‘genius’ or ‘prodigy’ get tossed about.

For example, Davidson spoke of the time when he first started learning the guitar and how Richard, who is a few years younger, asked their mum if he could follow suit. Their mum decided that Richard was too young, so Davidson took it on himself to teach his younger brother everything he learnt in the lessons. All pretty standard, until they revealed a key detail: Richard was three years old at the time! Now, at 17, he seems to play anything that he can get his hands on. And, without blinking, he can tell you the pitch of a passing bus.

One of Davidson’s biggest regrets in his life so far, he told us, was laughing at Richard’s first songwriting effort. This led to his brother screwing up the song and throwing it in the bin, lost forever. Ever since, he has tried to put that right by encouraging his younger sibling and, as we listened, we were aware that he was going further still. He was encouraging and inspiring us all with the generous, open hearted freedom of his approach to music-making.

And we got a glimpse of the fruits of his redemptive journey. The brothers performed two songs, their 2020 single Living Water and a South African folk song. The performance was largely unamplified which, while it lost a degree of definition for that reason, drew us all in by forcing us to truly listen. I don’t think Davidson or Richardson really noticed though, as they were clearly lost in what they were doing. It was a joy to hear them envelop themselves in their own creative skills and perhaps even more so, to witness the synchronicity that they achieve in their music. 

After the performance, Davidson quoted Psalm 100:4: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise” but pointed out that we need to be careful in defining God’s courts too restrictively. Yes, we were gathered in a church hall for the afternoon, but God’s courts extend much, much further. Davidson and Richard have the desire and the talent to bring their thanks and praise of their creator into the nooks and crannies of the divine court rooms that many of us have forgotten are His at all.

And so, with all of this done, and with a bellyful of the most extensive selection of homemade cakes I can remember, I hopped back in my car to bomb it up the M5. I won’t lie, it’s an absolute mission to get from Brum to Falmouth. A five-hour mission each way, to be precise. However, it was worth every minute.

The future will not be the same as the past for any of us, I would imagine, and that is certainly true of Sputnik. By God’s grace, I can write that with a sense of optimism and excitement, and I know that, whatever that future does hold, it will include more meetings like this. There really is nothing like getting a group of Christian artistic practitioners in a room and letting the sparks fly.