Arts project to create ‘human jukebox’ to explore reason behind our favourite songs

Mr Drayton's Human Jukebox
Mr Drayton's Human Jukebox
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Wearside music lovers are being invited to the first live event of an arts project capturing people’s most memorable songs.

Mr Drayton’s Human Jukebox has asked people, including members of Sunderland band The Futureheads, to tell the story behind their favourite tune.

Mr Drayton's Human Jukebox

Mr Drayton's Human Jukebox

The project is part of the Cultural Spring, an Arts Council-funded initiative raising engagement and participation in the arts in 10 Sunderland and South Tyneside wards.

Mr Drayton’s Human Jukebox is the brainchild of freelance director for the BBC, Helen Spencer, and her partner BBC Producer Steve Drayton.

Helen said: “We’ve paid several visits to each of the 10 Cultural Spring wards, talking to people about their most memorable single or song, and why it is significant.

“The music is a trigger for a conversation about the memory behind it – which might be happy or sad.

Ten brave contributors will be sharing their most memorable song and each will share their story of why the track means so much to them.

Helen Spencer

“It’s these stories that we’re after. We’ve captured well over 100 so far.”

Some of the songs will feature at the first of the social evenings on Wednesday at The Smugglers in Roker, from 7.30pm.

Helen added: “Ten brave contributors will be sharing their most memorable song and each will share their story of why the track means so much to them. Some will be talking, others performing and we will get a chance to enjoy some choice pop videos.

“As for Mr Drayton, you might not yet have seen his vinyl collection, or his Spice Girls crisp packets, Steps Spaghetti Hoops or other magical, musical memorabilia, but our live events are a chance to share his passion.

“We’re throwing in a music quiz too, so there’s a chance to show off – or not. 

“Come and socialise with others and if you fancy taking part online or in person, you can speak to the team.”

Steve said: “Our first social evening will include stories from author Sheila Quigley and Jaff from The Futureheads.

“It will also feature an amazingly courageous young lady from South Shields, who’ll tell her moving story and describe why she’s chosen a song from The Script.”

Further events will be held at The Smugglers, Roker, from 7.30pm on October 21, Whitburn and Marsden Social Club, from 7.30pm on November 18, and there again from 7.30pm on December 16.

Entry is free for each event.

The Cultural Spring is in Castletown, Red House, Southwick, Fulwell and Roker/St Peter’s wards in Sunderland, and Biddick Hall and All Saints, Boldon, Cleadon, Whitburn/Marsden and Whiteleas in South Tyneside.