The Rime, R&D Phase 1 - Project Digital Scrapbook

Supported with public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

After being awarded a project grant from Arts Council England, Matthew Tuckey and a small creative team are developing a new sound installation - The Rime - in response to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. As part of this, a Digital Scrapbook of community contributions and early artistic ideas is being created, to give an insight into the development process.

Looking for inspiration for your own contribution? You can find recordings and sounds if you just keep scrolling!

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A Team Sound Walk - Amble

Meeting for the first time as a Creative Team! Rue Collinge (dramaturg/poet), Katie Doherty (composer), Corrie Livesey (assistant sound designer) and Matthew Tuckey shared a Sound Walk around the south pier and harbour in Amble. The weather (just about!) held out.

Sound Walking is a fundamental activity in Matthew's practice, and sharing this with the wider creative team was invaluable in establishing a shared language and common reference point in the project.


Drawing the invitation....

Rue and Matthew begin by reading the text that has inspired the project and drawing on Matthew's sailing memorabilia. 

From here, invitations and questions can be put to the community participants...


Have a listen...

Here are some extracts from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, recorded by Rue Collinge and Matthew Tuckey, and original field recordings to whet your appetite... We hope they help to inspire you!

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - Extract 1Rue Collinge
00:00 / 00:54

Extract 1

'The ship was cheer'd, the harbour clear'd,
Merrily did we drop

Below the kirk, below the hill,

Below the lighthouse top.


The Sun came up upon the left,

Out of the sea came he!

And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.


'And now the Storm-blast came,
and he was tyrannous and strong:

He struck with his o'ertaking wings,
And chased us south along.


And now there came both mist and snow, 

And it grew wondrous cold:

And ice, mast-high, came floating by,

As green as emerald.


The ice was here, the ice was there,

The ice was all around:

It crack'd and growl'd, and roar'd and howl'd, 

Like noises in a swound!

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - Extract 2Rue Collinge
00:00 / 00:56

Extract 2

All in a hot and copper sky,

The bloody Sun, at noon,

Right up above the mast did stand,

No bigger than the Moon.


Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, nor breath nor motion;

As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean.


Water, water, everywhere,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, everywhere,

Nor any drop to drink.


And every tongue, through utter drought,

Was wither'd at the root;

We could not speak, no more than if

We had been choked with soot.


Alone, alone, all, all alone,

Alone on a wide, wide sea!

And never a saint took pity on

My soul in agony.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - Extract 3Rue Collinge
00:00 / 00:46

Extract 3

The moving Moon went up the sky,

And nowhere did abide;

Softly she was going up,

And a star or two beside—


Her beams bemock'd the sultry main,

Like April hoar-frost spread;

But where the ship's huge shadow lay,

The charméd water burnt alway

A still and awful red.


Beyond the shadow of the ship,

I watch'd the water-snakes:

They moved in tracks of shining white,

And when they rear'd, the elfish light

Fell off in hoary flakes.


Within the shadow of the ship

I watch'd their rich attire:

Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,

They coil'd and swam; and every track

Was a flash of golden fire.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - Extract 4Rue Collinge
00:00 / 00:33

Extract 4

Till noon we quietly sail'd on,

Yet never a breeze did breathe:

Slowly and smoothly went the ship,

Moved onward from beneath.


The Sun, right up above the mast,

Had fix'd her to the ocean:

But in a minute she 'gan stir,

With a short uneasy motion—

Backwards and forwards half her length

With a short uneasy motion.


Then like a pawing horse let go,

She made a sudden bound:

It flung the blood into my head,

And I fell down in a swound.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - Extract 5Rue Collinge
00:00 / 00:39

Extract 5

Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,

Yet she sail'd softly too:

Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze—

On me alone it blew.


O dream of joy! is this indeed

The lighthouse top I see?

Is this the hill? is this the kirk?

Is this mine own countree?


The rock shone bright, the kirk no less

That stands above the rock:

The moonlight steep'd in silentness

The steady weathercock.


The harbour-bay was clear as glass,

So smoothly it was strewn!

And on the bay the moonlight lay,

And the shadow of the Moon.

Amble at Dawn by Matthew Tuckey

Composed from a long format recording made on Amble's South Pier looking north over the water.

Seabirds fly past and dive for fish. Fishing boats leave the harbour and head out to sea.

A spring tide steadily going out provides a constantly progressing bed of sound.

released May 29, 2021
Field recording, composition, and mastering by Matthew Tuckey.

all rights reserved

Streaming is limited to three plays per person. The track is available to purchase from Bandcamp by clicking on the track name.

Ritual and nostalgia....

Why The Rime of the Ancient Mariner? As a teenager, Matthew spent many summers aboard the sail-training brig TS Royalist, as well as a brief spell as a volunteer watch leader with the Tall Ships Youth Trust's sail training Challenger Yachts. The poem calls up those memories, and resonates with a relentless draw towards the sea and adventure.

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On leaving school and deciding what to do next, I very nearly pursued a career in the Super Yacht Industry. But when it came down to an instinctive choice between attending an interview for a three year cadetship and going to London for a weekend of theatre shows with friends, I chose the less financially lucrative option!

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It's a lottery with the weather at sea, particularly in sail training. 

The views, whether near or far from shore, are always dramatic - even when afflicted by a lack of wind or abundance of rain!