New Website...

It has been down for a while and there are still a few things still to be added, but for now....

Revival of the Mixtape/Playlist #1

21st november

Yesterday I was spooned by a complete stranger, once she was through, I spooned her back. I didn't look at her face. I didn't want to. She lay behind a white net curtain on a mattress dressed with white bedding. Nothing lush. A quilt a couple of pillows. A girl with brown bobbed hair, a big red jumper and blue jeans. I didn't see her face. I didn't need to. She could have been anyone. I could see the bodies piled up behind the curtain. As a spectator I felt no courage. Looking through the netting at a threesome of legs, arms, a jigsaw of human bodies. Does that make it sound sexual? I take off my boots and wait for my turn.

I chose to be spooned. The one adored, the one craved. But this was anonymous. The girl no more saw my face than I saw hers. If I was the one being adored, the one being craved, then that was a projection I placed onto myself. I lay with my eyes closed thinking nothing but 'this could be anyone'. So what do I do? Do I project a person unto her? Is this Andrew? Is this a lover? Is this a friend? Is this a stranger? It really didn't matter who this was.

There were two hands on me. A third person involved, but there was a barrier between me and the third. Except for the extra hand placed upon my waist, I felt the presence of only one other. It could have been anyone. It could have been no one. But it was someone. 'It' was someone because 'it' was breathing. 'It's' breathing was not relaxed. This person was inviting strangers to spoon with 'it', and I don't think 'it' was comfortable. The breathing was too harsh and as soon as I noticed this I did all I could to calm 'it'.

I spooned back. I placed my head into the back of the red jumper and my hand upon the small waist and steadied my own breathing. I wanted the body to mimic mine, to become synchronized. To become, through spooning, one single organism.

There was no connectivity. There was no one true organism created through touch. The mind became as redundant as the identity within the red jumper. I left not feeling comforted by a new relation to a strange fellow being, but comforted for having calmed the breathing of this organism who was damned to spend the rest of the night holding onto strangers. And I have absolutely no idea why she would want to do this to herself.

This playlist will not help us to connect. It holds moments which I can only share with myself. But if I give it to you, if you listen to it properly, maybe you will be able to feel me place my head onto your shoulder and my arm around your waist.

Misogynous/feminist political banner...

I went to the student protest in London today. This was a banner that was given to us for the march. We adapted it then sort of realised it's anti-feminist implications. We probably should have put a comma after the word no. Or a couple of other things could be happening. As well as protesting against the cuts in the arts (and humanities, and social sciences of course) we could be hi-jacking the march for an ulterior feminist motive (as in no cunts yes women). Or we could simply be reclaiming the word so that cunt has positive connotations - however this detracts from the actual purpose of the banner, our original (what we thought was sort of witty) intention of insulting parliament. Will upload more images from the protest once I have gotten my film developed. However, I ran out of film by the time I got to the Tory HQ so no images of the said 'riots' or 'violence'. More on that later when I've had time for my thoughts to gather.

The need to Write.

The need to write is linked to the approach toward this point at which nothing can be done with words. Hence the illusion that if one maintained contact with this point even as one came back from it to the world of possibility, "everything" could be done, "everything" could be said. This need must be suppressed and contained. If not, it becomes so vast that there is no more room or space for its realization. One only begins to write when, momentarily, through a ruse, through a propitious burst of energy, or through life's distractions, one has succeeded in evading this impulse which remote control of the work must constantly awaken and subdue, protect and avert, master and experience in its unmasterable force. This operation is so difficult and dangerous that every writer and every artist is surprised each time he achieves it without disaster. And no one who has looked the risk in the face can doubt that many perished silently. It is not that creative resources are lacking -- although they are in any event insufficient -- but rather that the force of the writing impulse makes the world disappear. Then time loses its power of decision; nothing can really begin.

Extract from The Space of Literature by Maurice Blanchot, pg.52
(University of Nebraska Press, 1989)

My oh My...

I think River Deep Mountain High may be one of the greatest pop songs recorded.
A credit to Phil Spector's legacy, although many believe that this is the song that set him on his decent into self destruction. He thought that the song was his greatest achievement, and had high hopes for it. The song topped billboard charts at #88 (European #3). Ike (who had been paid off so he would have no say in the original production of the song) later re-produced it so that it would work better for the duo.
This is a bit of a wobbly live version, but the vocals are spot on.

The Chisenhale Disaster....

Art Writers take over The Chisenhale gallery in a disastrous residency.
We hope.
Our residency is based upon the theme of disaster, and although we are not too sure how this will manifest itself just yet, we are all excited by the disaster we may or may not be heading for.
There are three workshops over the next few months which should climax with a public event on the 16th June. Everything is still up in the air, but the first workshop takes place on Monday (unfortunately it is not open to the public). I just wanted to take this opportunity to direct you all to the Disaster blog which is where we are gathering a lot of our resource material. There is a lot of fascinating stuff being posted.

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti @ The Garage

I'm disappointed in you Ariel... (but not really you...)

I don't normally feel compelled to write about gigs. I attend a fair amount, and afterward, often fantasise about the type of things I'm going to write in a review of the event. However, quite often I get home, I'm worn out from pogo-ing, I'm dehydrated, the adrenaline vanishes. Then before I know it, a week has passed and the whole thing is completely irrelevant. Reviews are often too late anyway, and this is no different.

Tonight was Ariel Pinks final show in the European leg of their tour. Final show usually equals great performances and therefore high expectations from the crowd. And the performance was pretty much spot on. There were a few bum notes here and there but I for one feel privileged witnessing such moments. That in a small way this performance has been unique. And quite often bum notes, or a lack of tightness, occur in moments of release. What I mean by that is the band get into it and forget themselves momentarily, snapping back when they realise that there has been a mistake. But you would not attend an Ariel Pink and his Haunted Graffiti set with out expecting hitches. After listening to a few D.I.Y and studio albums you understand the beauty of Ariel Pink quite often comes from it's occasional incomprehensibility and general messyness. Perhaps the latest recording 'Before Today' stands as an exception to that, although the mood changes within often alters the feel of the album quite drastically and very daringly. All in all Before Today is perhaps Ariel Pink's masterpiece. Ariel Pink is the king of lo-fi, and his fans are fully aware if this, therefore NO-ONE would be attending this gig expecting to hear polished re-enactments of past albums. No-one. This shouldn't lower expectations for performance though. And I don't suppose it did. Nor did the band disappoint. Having said that something went wrong somewhere, but where?

It was the crowd. Something has to be utterly wrong if, at the front of the crowd, slightly to the left, Lucy Vann and myself are the only ones dancing. To be fair, to our left, in the epicenter, there were a few moving bodies, but not enough to constitute the usual sort of sweaty mess you would come to expect from such gigs. Alright so maybe Ariel Pink is a little pretty niche, but him and his troupe are the sort to attract (one would have thought) the type of geeky cult "I know all the words" crowd that at least bob their heads in a frantic sort of "AGH I'm at an Ariel Pink gig" way (i.e. Myself and Lucy).

Things were looking up at the beginning. They bashed out their version of The Rockin' Ramrods "Bright Lit Blue Skies", a sure crowd pleaser. Looking around for that usual participation, the thing that unites all music lovers, that turns fans into tribes, that immediately, from the first line of that first song, unites the crowd, makes us all one being, a current, a flow, singing along. To my dismay, not many were. The lighting was excellent. "Bright lit, Blue skies" The stage was a wash with a blue blue so dazzling the band became invisible, "You're full of liiieeees" the strobe lights flickering rapidly, usually igniting a sense of euphoria and unity in the crowd, causing arms to rise freely, and cares to just slide right off your shoulders. On the whole, arms remained firmly pointing downwards. So maybe people do not love bright lit blue skies as much as I. Perhaps people prefer the Rockin' Ramrods version, which is fair enough. Next Ariel dished out some snogs with the ladies on the front row. Naturally Lucy and I pushed forwards to see if we couldn't get a snog ourselves (...rock star kisses don't count...) We were too late, he was already back on stage. That was cool though, we were pretty sure he'd hand out a few more later. A couple of my friends saw him in Paris a few nights before, apparently he had been more than generous then. He didn't. And I don't blame him. This crowd did not deserve rock star kisses. He knew this. This crowd was far too uptight. I was unfamiliar with this terrain. In Manchester I had been amongst a few uptight crowds at The Deaf Institute, but even that 'too cool for music' crowd let go when fellow lo-fi-ers The Black Lips came to town. As I recall there was even a scuffle between crowd and bouncer as he repeatedly threw people off the stage. He got his comeuppance. Here at The Garage in London, there was perhaps only one guy truly free from himself, and the bouncer told him to calm down. What is going on? Ariel questioned us, "What are you all? Nazis?" Then told us to be happy. He shouldn't have had to do that. Dispute our anger, Lucy and I just about managed to curb our urge to 'fuck shit up' and just let go. We attempted to start some kind of current through the crowd but the electricity just wasn't there. We continued. Headbanging our way through the encore of "Butt House Blondies" and raising our arms during the more airy moments of "Little Wig". All in all we were more than a little bemused. This would have been one of the greatest gigs I'd ever attended if the crowd had been a little more loose. What was wrong? Did the snogging of numerous girls up front make people uptight? Surely not in this age, amongst this crowd of (ahem) 'hip' kids. Did people not know the music well enough, were they there simply to look cool? Well maybe but even so, the music is catchy enough to dance to, and Ariel was lively enough to feed off. Were people too concerned with how they look/are going to look once they have a sweat on? Most likely. Or is this just what I should expect from all future gigs in London town? I sincerely hope not.

Ariel Pink, you were awesome tonight. London, you were the biggest disappointment imaginable, I had no idea the audience as a whole could kill so many good vibes - nice one. Future advise to Ariel Pink, next time you come to England, play the north. They'll treat you good there. London, come on, let go. Tomorrow I will attend the more intimate Ariel Pink show - I expect better things from the crowd, and some rock star kisses. (P.S tweets popping up saying he killedit tonight, true, but crowd, you really quite literally did kill it...)

Why Parlour Press? Why Art Writing?

We all still have the naivety to say that money, that a steady job, that a stable home, that procreation, that ownership of land, that bricks and mortar, that wealth, are not (yet) important, are not the meaning of life, are not our destiny, will not define our purpose.

We still have the naivety to say that literature, that beautiful places, that observation, that human frailty, that excessive collections, that new experience, that shared experience, that self expression, that fragile talent, that subversive pages, that sharing, that showing, that embracing everyone and everything will somehow make the world a better place to live in. That love and experience needs to be shared, can be spread over everybody like soft butter.

Because we are young enough to dream, because we are old enough to know that time will not wait, we believe that this moment is all we have - we are going to make the most of it.

We wish to share our thoughts, our views, our obsessions, our eccentricities, our expression, our experience, our aches, our pains, our ecstasy, our minds, our craft, our talent, our skills, our passions with you. We hope that you oblige.

We will not sell out, we are not old enough to sell out. We will encourage beauty and story telling and share our art until it is absolutely necessary, absolutely essential to get a proper job!
I wrote this a little over a year ago when Libby, Lucy, Caitlin, Sophie and I set up book collective, The Parlour Press. It was written as part of the Parlour Press Manifesto. Currently, exhibitions/fairs are currently few and far between (Parlour Press Ladies will be in attendance at MMU this Saturday as part of the Fifth Manchester Artist Book Fair). Re-reading this serves as a reminder not only to invest more time into the press, but also defines my pursuit of Art Writing as a practice as oppose to getting a proper job. It's pretty relevant. It just gave me a little inspirational kick in the shin. Good Work!