Milk challenges and fruit throwing

October 5, 2011

The penultimate post on this blog was a hastily written snippet about all the things I’ve been doing recently. I only really get round to doing things when I’ve got hundreds of deadlines looming on me, and I get a bit wild-eyed and sleep-and-food-deprived and twitchy, like I’ve jabbed myself in the leg with one of those Brazil nut pens. It’s probably not the most efficient way to work, but it suits me quite well. However, I’ve also realised that being really busy can also make you really boring. My friend Seamus is a massive workaholic and we’ve embargoed conversations about how busy we are, because they just descend into “Yeah, I’ve been really busy lately too. Yeah, loads of stuff.”. So, dear reader, I am going to stop moaning about having too much to do and instead tell you about some of it.

I had three gigs in five days, albeit all very different ones. First was Horseplay, hosted and arranged by Jeni Buckley. An ever chaotic mish-mash of music, poetry and stories, with extra screaming pigs. Plus loads of crazy experimental voice poetry. James was all freaking out because he hadn’t slept for 36 hours, but possibly sleep deprivation gave his story, Richey Manic vs Godzilla, that extra unsettling edge. Alice Sharp, a bright young thing on the poetry scene presented a variety of filth and whimsy, and Verity did an incredible cover version of some intense bespectacled university professor reciting a great explosion of words. It’s hard to really describe. I had a go at writing some of this experimental voice poetry (please correct me if I’ve got the genre wrong) – I’m not sure if I really understand it, but it seemed to go down well with those who are into that sort of thing…

click click
beetle carapace
stale fuzz (containing bulb)
the doctor’s got the remote control again
vivid dreams concerning
certain individuals
with over 10,000 edits
on Wikipedia
unfurled coathanger
in each socket of the screen
shirt encases bulge
the missing eye was actually a hard boiled egg
the count of Monte Fisto
horrific documentaries
white shirts dappled in blood
radio alarm
they aren’t marketing this stuff right
What are you frightened of?
B-sides and rarities
a laundrette encounter
you have a lot to answer for
literary Marxist
and your parade of hoffman’s doubles
combed with home counties
royal icing voice

It doesn’t really have a title yet.

On Friday, it was Trailer Trash: David Lynch. This is Rosy’s event that I mentioned earlier. I’d never been to one of their nights before, so I had no idea what to expect – and hoping very much that they could do justice to the great man himself. They did so, and incredibly well – it was a gloriously unsettling evening – Anna got grabbed onto the stage and ironed by a terrifying rabbit, Kitty was chased up a rope by a gas-mask wielding Frank Booth, and it culminated in an incredible group montage filled with saxophones, exploding babies and dead eyes. And poor Laura Palmer, left alone on the stage and wrapped in plastic.  I also got to see Kate’s band, Gin Panic, for the first time, who make incredible fuzzed out uneasy grunge sounds. And I’ve never seen anyone play a guitar with a saw before, either.

At about eleven o clock, I got to premiere my video / story feature, Trapped in an endless cycle of milk consumption. It’s been an exciting but difficult couple of weeks trying to film and write this – it’s not really like anything I’ve done before – a live story in three voices in front of a video of, well, copious milk consumption, and I spent most of Friday finishing off the video and then desperately trying to work out how the hell to get the thing on a DVD. I only had the video finished by 2pm on Friday, so didn’t have a huge amount of time to run through everything with the video, words and audio in one place. I tried it and it was far too short, so I thought – what would David Lynch do? And the answer – slow everything down.

I wasn’t really basing it on any bit of Lynch especially, but trying to create the right atmosphere. I think it worked fairly well, although I’m not sure it’s any more coherent than Inland Empire.

Somebody filmed the whole thing, so (possibly against my better judgement), here’s the video:

On Monday, it was Artists, Models, Ink, which was astounding once again. It’s quite hard to describe exactly what the night is, but essentially it’s a life drawing night arranged by a team of life models, and is in the beautiful surroundings of the Marlborough Theatre – with added sake, performances, music and blood.This time it was themed around the four seasons.

All of the pieces were incredible, but the two which really stuck in my head were Summer, which was a delightfully absurd scene of Georgian decadence, complete with giant wigs, stripey socks, waving legs, and fruit everywhere. It was quite hard to actually draw anything because I was laughing too much. Winter was much darker, and Anna and Johanna peformed a disturbing scene involving blood and antlers and giant metal wings, accompanied by haunting sounds on the cello and saw. It was unique and distressing and utterly brilliant.

I’d been struggling to write something for weeks, and was stuck in a morass, the weight of the dead poets on my back. I was sandwiched between Il miglior fabbro, T. S. Eliot himself, and Edna St. Vincent Millay’s bitterly cynical poem, Spring. In the end, I don’t think I did the subject a fraction of the justice that the Artists, Models, Ink team did, who once again created a night that was something very special, even in the overcrowded bubble of art that is Brighton and Hove.

The poem, Cuckoo, needs a lot of work, but there were a few bits I liked. This is one of them:

Fallen leaves
Like clichés on the breeze
And the first new buds
Submerged golf tees
Nose to the light

Anyway, it’s been a long few weeks – and now the next big project I’ve got coming up is White Night. This is a 13 hour festivalwhite night in Brighton on Saturday 29th October, the day the clocks go back, and it’s always incredible. In the past I’ve stood on a box in a pub whilst being verbally abused by drunken football fans (worst gig ever), set up a self-enclosed stage in the Phoenix Art Gallery for a series of puppet shows, drama, breakcore and mayhem (great gig), and had the evening off last year to wander the town in ill-fitting shoes.

This year I’m going to be doing two gigs – I’m hosting some kind of twisted quiz show in the Dome with the kids from Shambush (who are super-awesome) – that’s from 10pm – 2am (old time). Then it’s off to the Buddhist Centre for James’s Clown Stories at 3am (old time). I’m going to be doing something there, but I’m not allowed to tell you what it is. The other thing I’m definately looking forwards to is the Beatabet Metahub.  As far as I can make out, this is a giant pulsating video-octopus in the middle of Jubilee Square that feeds off video energy from every other White Night event. It might work differently from that. I can’t be sure.

No doubt I’ll have more to write about this in the future, but I’m flagging slightly after such a long blog post. As such, I think it probably ought to finish right about now.

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One Response to “Milk challenges and fruit throwing”

  1. Shambush! said

    Hurray!

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