Tam Dean Burn: Walking in Circles

One of the highlights of <strong>Instal</strong>, <strong>Tam Dean Burn</strong> steps out on an audio journey around Glasgow's Southside

Feature by Gareth K Vile | 02 Nov 2010
  • Tam Dean Burn

Overheard teams Tam Dean Burn with his old allies at Resonance FM. Describing it as “bookending the festival, coming out from there, coming back to there like the Prodigal Son, hopefully still in one piece,” Burn is enthusiastic about this forty-eight hour stroll around the city, but not without trepidation.

A variation on the “psycho-geographical” wander, Overhead has Burn walking the Southside, recording as he goes, before returning to a Tramway base camp for a grand finale. In the improvisatory spirit of Instal, he is “playing it by ear,” although he does wonder where he end up. “I definitely think it is going to be – hopefully not too psycho!” he laughs. “I am spiralling around Tramway, so I could get into psycho territory.”

Overhead combines Burn’s interest in radio work – “I love the open ended nature of it: because it is radio you can do things much more freely” – and durational performances –“ I’ve done them for the National Review of Live Art and at Tramway” – as well as his love of music.

“It’s been of enormous importance to me,” he explains. “When I left drama college in 1980, my first piece was a two-hander, but we got my mates, The Fire Engines, to play some of their songs, some songs that were written for the show, and we called it an oratorio. It was combining theatre with contemporary music.”

Burn admits that he is always “looking for the opportunity to break boundaries”: this walk gives him the chance to do this both literally as he moves through the city and artistically, as part of a festival that resists easy definition. At the same time, it connects to Burn’s own history as a performer, always seeking new forms and collaborations, politically engaged and returning to the importance of music.


12-14 Nov, Tramway