I don’t really know how I’ve got out of the habit of updating, it’s not as though I don’t want to or cool things haven’t happened in fact the following have:
Me and Teej had a meeting with 20 year hurricane about doing a live album at the Chameleon:
- We had contracts with $50 trillion buy on fees
- Gareth snorted kettle chips through his note
- We larked HARD
- We did a load of planning
- We found out what we wanted to do recording, art, show wise or at least were on our way
- It’s going to RULE
Me and Teej played at Spanky Van Dykes with four or five Magicians and Ace Bushey Striptease (band names but in an alternative dimension….) which ruled. The High Society guys Stephen and Sai are super nice, elvis questions went well, we sold even more albums, I liked Ace bushey Striptease who did a bit of an X Ray Spex cover, I thought the guitarist from four or five magicians had some great sounds and got sonic youth sounds out of a Blues Junior. The sound guy struggled with the set up and no lighting and Spankys seems an odd set up.
Hello Gore II was the Greatest, marred only by my not eating before hand and not wanting to go to Tescos as Frankenstein. Me and Teej broke the seal with the Buffy Theme which was the MOST fun to rehearse and play and made us realise that if you were in a band that had a one 44 second song, it would be the funnest thing to rehearse in the world. Me and Alyssa did Science Fiction Double Feature, which whe sacked ‘Country Death Song’ for. I had to do REAL SINGING and rein everything in, Alyssa can do REAL SINGING standing on hr head. It sounded excellent in rehearsal and we did well on the night despite prioritising our costumes over a soundcheck. Hello Gore was the even of the year so far, everyone looked incredible, the bands rulled the earth, Hot Horizons dedicated Skull by The Misfits to me and Black Powder played They live by Night. The Hang out was top notch although I have noticed that there is a strange upset in people engaging with you when you have a mask on. It ended at three am in the Turf Tavern with Matt and Kate where we pondered the value of the Gibson Les Paul Junior (again!)
Hockley Hustle was also very cool. I’d had a six am-er with James the night before which, while being the best way to temporally move Sunday morning to Saturday night meant that I had only enough energy to camp in the Jam Café and watch the Hello Thor show, some sonic Youth covers from Fresh Eyes for the Dead Guy in the social.
Mayhem was also cool. Alien Vs ninjas was trashy fun with a super hottie, Frenzy, which I have but have never watched (from where I bought two Hitchcock box sets) is AMAZING. Clunkily written like a 120 minute episode of The Sweeny (complete with wincingly our of date political incorrectness like ‘I hear he rapes them first’, ‘Yes every cloud has a silver lining’ but with Hitchcock magic in spades, close to the knuckle violence, clever but not ‘clever’ camera work and I fancied billie Whitelaw while still being a tiny bit terrified of her. Amer, was a really long Italian advert for a nut-job (what’s the market for them?) with rich cinematography, three lines of dialogue and every story-smashing piece of disrupted cinema language subversion that was so extreme that I found it kind of compelling but don’t want to see another film in that genre. Altitude was a great example of where ideas meets megashark-low low budget and apart from over reaching themselves a couple of times with effects (we can do this with the computer so we should do it) a force of creativity in it’s way and ‘we are what we are’ was very ‘worthy’ as an indie Mexican zombie film but didn’t quite have enough meat for me on 5 hours sleep and being 5th film of the day. Once again I salute Mayhem!
Me and Scot have been going to what we call Lecture Club, where artists from the British Art Show exhibition give lectures to Trent art students as part of their curriculum and members of the public are invited . There have been three so far. Last week was Matthew Darbyshire who collects contemporary objects, who I expected to be a chancer but who had sunk a lot of thought (some a little academic) into his work so that it was interesting on balance despite his speaking so quietly it was a struggle. Olivia Pinder’s was kind of interesting, she spoke very very eloquently but I had faint concerns about the amount of substance especially as she had gone away for six weeks with actors and non actors and ‘wasn’t sure’ what they were going to do with the footage and she showed footage of actors improvisation exercises, which looked wacky and out-there but having slapped around in a dance studio in my bare feet for a term myself, I recognised as improvisation exercises with a point that looked funny from the outside.
The red mist came down two weeks ago, though, when we went to see Edgar Shmitz tell us that he was the LAZIEST CHANCER ON EARTH. I have to paraphrase here because this community can spin such a line of bullshit and make so much out of so much nothing that it makes me want to take them by the heels and tip them upside down until the public funding falls out of their pockets and Shmitz was the most anger-inducing example I’ve seen since the Otolith Group who I ranted about after the Star City Symposium, who have almost sent me on a killing spree by being nominated for the Turner prize but still being so HEROICALLY LAZY that their website is still ‘under construction’. Edgar Smitz had brought along a clip of a Japanese man tap dancing ineptly to an orchestra on Japanese telly, that he had found on youtube and gave us the insight that the dancer was a comedian/director really hence the clunkiness and that this was ‘interesting’. Lets break this down:
-The orchestra was made up of professional musicians who had given YEARS of effort and study to their skills as musicians
-The guy dancing was something other than a dancer and KNEW THIS but realised that his performance would be INTERESTING and had spent hours and hours tap dancing to the best of his ability.
-The director of the piece KNEW that this was interesting and cut the film to accentuate this in the course of his professional work.
-The Studio bought/scheduled the piece because THEY saw all of these interesting characteristics when they commissioned and paid for it
- The guy who found the film and uploaded it to Youtube also saw all of these ‘interesting’ characteristics, which is WHY he uploaded it.
Then our hero comes in and presents the efforts of all of these people, stating what they have ALL already implied as some kind of artistic statement and is being bankrolled for a year’s work with the British Art Show.Somewhere in Japan an 'artist' is bein paid for showing art students youtube footage of Wild thing by Oliver Reed
He also told us about a show he was flying to where he planned to watch 7 hours of Korean films but ended up just watching the trailers ‘The trailer is interesting because it shows the best bits of a film in a highly intense wa….WE KNOW!’. When he got to where he was going his ‘anti preparation’ [not doing any work – honestly, he REALLY used that phrase] had left him ‘wrong footed’ [fucked] so he had to REALLY watch the films. His ‘Practice’ (Jesus Christ –that elevates larking around to the status of the work of a DOCTOR) is often to split a film’s soundtrack and visual components and put them in different places in a gallery and he has noticed that often, people will completely miss them and he is INTERESTED IN THEIR INDIFERENCE! Who else would try to squeeze some kind of merit and credit from the painfully obvious reality that no one cares about what you are doing? I can’t imagine that M Knight is ‘interested’ in people not-showing up to his films in droves, he’s probably thinking about what he could DO BETTER.
By the time I left, I was thankful for not being able to stay for the Q&A because I would have made a dick of myself by asking about all of this nonsense in front of the fine artists of the future and a guy from the New Art Exchange who sat NODDING at this rubbish throughout like it wasn’t a man saying ‘I do hardly any work and no one looks at my stuff’. I was SO ANGRY, mainly because this sheer amount of inactivity is funded publically. King John is looting every aspect of public expenditure and this is happening with the nodding of approval from the infrastructure that is supposed to police it, surely it’s time to CLEAN HOUSE before Torygeddon does it.
There’s also a disproportionate amount of art in the show that is ABOUT how art is displayed. Edgar Shmitz himself talked about having place a film of soldiers ransacking bookshelves because that’s not what you are supposed to do in a gallery space (how THIN is that? Not a piece where HE threw a load of books across a gallery but a bit of a film where soldiers did that and it’s meant o be jarring because you don’t do that in a gallery (of the infinite things you don’t do in a gallery – the film would be equally valid in the at concept if it had been James bond shooting a room up or Ben Dover…) . How can so much art be about how art is displayed? We live in incredibly interesting times and those artists can't LEAVE THE GALLERY for subjects for their work. Incredible!
So picture the scene, I’m walking out seething and head shaking (‘but but isn’t your violent disapproval ‘interesting’, NO IT’S LITERAL!) and heading for ART TALK number 2 feeling like the Grand Wizard of the Daily Express Readers club.
So I get to the Broadway where Anders has tipped me off that a digital artist called Raphael Rozendaal was giving a talk. I’d checked out his pieces on line (he describes them as websites but they are somewhere between games and animation) and they had all been interesting, very vectory graphics that behave very playfully and organically with you so that you can spend a lot of time with something very simple and it not lose it’s charm. I vented on Anders and Ali about my experience at Trent but calmed down and settled in to the talk.
There were only about 10 people in the small room in the Broadway and Raphael talked us through his websites while demonstrating how they worked. He calls them websites because essentially he uploads the digital pieces to a domain and then sells the domain with a contract that the content must stay there and continue to be available to the public. Boom! It’s 2010, debate rages internationally about how 1s and 0s have made all kinds of media virally stealable and how and if this needs to be curbed and how people who produce content can be paid for what they do. Here is someone who has created an infinitely copyable piece that doesn’t need to be copied because it’s available all the time but he’s managed to anchor the uniqueness that makes it one of a kind in the web domain that can’t be duplicated. The buyer has a sense of ownership that someone who lends a piece to a gallery or museum but who owns it legally and there are facets of old fashioned art patronage in the idea. In one aspect of his business practice, there is more to think about and talk about than in the hour of waffle I’d escaped from and that wasn’t even about his work.
What was refreshing was the lack of front in the discussion. If he was asked about his fears for digital art he answered that his pieces are mouse-driven and the mouse is dying and would not be self deprecating about, say the thought process but would be realistic and not take credit for something he didn’t think was something he strove to do in contrast to a guy who wants a clap for no one caring about his work. It was like talking to a film-maker or someone who is truly accountable to himself and the world outside to a lesser extent to be able to continue to work. I asked him about gallery plaques that say what the piece should say and he was transparent, he said he displays at galleries and sometimes they want that plaque, sometimes they don’t and it’s a thing you do as part of being exhibited in that space.
At one point he was being a little disparaging about big-room art when one of the audience members jumped on this as though he was disparaging all artists and there was a weirdness in the air for such a small group, but he was cool and tried to smooth it over while not really backtracking.
It was the perfect antidote and restored a kind of balance in the visual art world for me (I had thought he had been there as part of Game City but it was a one off).
He was very generous with his time and stayed over the time and then as he was leaving he said ‘we’re going next door to have some Indian food, would you like to join us….I’m not paying!’ and we went for a curry with him at Kayal and shot the shit about a variety of things all night. It was a really cool encounter with someone making interesting work.
Anyway his stuff is here and you could easily kill an hour or so playing with the websites.
I’m sure I’ve missed loads of other cool things that have happened. Me and Theresa are preparing for a Burly Nagasaki show where it all began at Jumpers for Goalposts in a couple of weeks and I’m looking foreword to seeing Troll 2 at the screen room, that Rich is putting on on Sunday, having seen the documentary about it ‘Best Worst Movie’ last night. Troll 2 is a low-budget movie, originally called Goblins (it has no trolls in it) that has nothing to do with Troll 1 other than the name, that died in the 80s when it was made but has recently had a cult revival, partly because it looks pretty ropey but I suspect because it was made as though they were making a great movie and good people are suckers for that energy. The Documentary is great, you see this cast of characters overjoyed at the attention and then almost feeling that they deserved it all along as the phenomenon builds momentum.
Finally, I saw a documentary last week at Sarah’s about William Castle, the guy who I’d always heard of as the guy who had electrified cinema seats as a gimmick. The documentary was amazing, what a guy! And his daughter painted him as someone everyone loved, who was a nice guy with cool-crazy ideas. The REAL story of the seats (which coincidentally I also heard about this week listening to John Waters’ commentary to Polyester) is that in THE TINGLER the story goes that when you get frightened an creature growns on your spine that you kill off by screaming (I think). Some of these are extracted (by VINCENT PRICE) and, of course runamok.
Now, the cool bit is that there is a cinema scene that they run to to try to catch it (incidentally watching The Tolable David, a silent film I went to see with Alyssa a couple of years ago) and then Vincent Price announces that the Tingler is loose in THIS THEATRE! There is fake film-breaking and a silhouette of the creature at which point buzzers in the chairs go off and the audience, who have been pre-warned in an intro are told that to combat this, they should SCREAM for their lives.
Castle set all of this up complete with Nurses in the foyer and I am SO EXCITED about it that I want to see if I can make it a reality in Nottingham by finding out how to make a cheap buzzer for the seats and then seeing where it could be played next Halloween. The screen room is the obvious choice – maybe two shows a night for a three day run 150 people in all – but I’m getting my thinking cap on to see if it would be doable.