update jan 26 20009

bits coming out the top of my head. stop. 12.47am on the morning of Monday 26 January 2009. what’s happening? stop. what’s going on? can’t figure it out? write it down.

what have you been finig. what have you been. Since jan 4 I have been living in Manning Clark House in Forrest with Jack Lloyd Muttley Shaw and Mick Bailey. full-time creative residency in the former home of Australian historian Manning Clark, funded by the Australia Council’s Inter-arts office, to create Boho‘s new interactive installation performance which will take place in the house itself. The play is entitled Food for the Great Hungers and it is an interactive performance based on Complex Systems science in which the audience creates an alternative history of Australia since federation. the performance takes place in and around the house itself – the kitchen, the bathroom, the basement and so on. in each interactive scene, the audience makes choices which determine Australia’s history post-federation. does Australia go to World War 1 or not? does Australia drop the White Australia policy in 1925, or keep it until 1985?

australia in delicious lebanese bread form

very well, so creating this show entails living in close quarters with Jackal, Mick and Muttley for four weeks. and it’s been going really, really well. they have been going to the gym every morning like a trio of mental patients on a health-kick, and then we have been hammering our heads against the work ceaselessly. all of us pulling our weight, all of us focused and coming up with ideas, compromising, generating content and assembling tech. of course, also fucking exhausting. it seems being creative on demand for 9-10 hours a day wrecks your ability to carry on a normal life.

fire in the pouring fucking rain. yes.

So that hasn’t happened. Lina is in Canada, which means my head is between 10 and 100% in the Canadian Rockies at any given moment. Gillian and I have been hacking at Crack Theatre Festival business every spare hour we get – for those who don’t know, Gillian and I are co-directing a new theatre festival in Newcastle in October this year, as part of This Is Not Art. it is entitled the Crack Theatre Festival, and for more info ask me or Gills.

well done, Woolworths’ Back To School display.

in the domino

Monsieur Paul Heslin wrote to me from Wales today with a 60-second track he has created using some vocals I supplied him a short while ago. The words are from my poem In the Domino, written when I was 16 upon first encountering The Wasteland. The only difference between my material and T.S. Eliot’s is that rather than the great literary works of the last 1,000 years, my literary diet consisted largely of pulp fantasy, Gomez lyrics and high school French textbooks. As always, Heslin treats his source material with more respect and sensitivity than it probably deserves; but that’s what he gets for being a master craftsman.

Download Paul Heslin and blind – In the Domino. It’s an mp3 of 60 seconds duration weighing 1.4mb. The lyrics are as follows:

Scores came to the witching trials
Where many respected folk were to be tested.
We arrived at the cemetary at dusk.
The doctor stood on a gravestone
And when his hands touched Parson Bow,
They burned like the sun.

He shall be imprisoned in the under circles
He shall walk through time
He shall walk on roads of sacred lavender
And marble squares of unsurpassed beauty
Said the oracles of the unforgiven.

Meanwhile at the chateau
Monsieur writes poems about guns
Madame hides behind railings and bars
“Chantelle rencontre Philippe à la barre.
Quand Chantelle rencontre-t-il Philippe?
David, maintiennent vos écouteurs hauts
Et vos yeux au mur.”

day one of boho’s manning clark house residency

Monday 5 January 20009 was the first day of Bohemian’s Manning Clark House residency. Over the next four weeks Jackal, Mick, Muttley and myself will be living and working full-time in the former residence of historian Manning Clark, stapling together the component pieces of our new interactive performance Food for the Great Hungers, examining Australia’s history through the framework of Complex Systems science.

Muttley in Manning Clark House – literally afraid of nothing.

Hungers is an installation performance combining narrative theatre, live trombone / electronica and lo- and hi-fi interactive media to create a simulated re-imagining of Australian history from 1901 to the present. Using an array of purpose-built control devices, the audience will direct the performance and decide the course of 20th century Australian history.

The first public season of Hungers will take place in Manning Clark House itself, from Wed 4 – Sat 7 February. This will be a free work-in-progress showing, following which we will be developing and revising the work before (hopefully) taking it out on the road later this year. Revisions aside, the Manning Clark House shows are extremely exciting for us, for a couple of reasons:

Manning Clark House is a national heritage building in the guts of Canberra (Forrest), maintained as it was when Clark worked there writing his six-volume History of Australia in the 1960s and 70s. It’s an extraordinary building, significant Australian cultural landmark, and Boho is one of the first arts collectives (possibly the first performance groups) to be invited to undertake a residency. Apart from live music in the garden, MCH has never been used as a performance space – we are extraordinarily lucky to have access to this resource.

designed by Robin Boyd in 1952 – image from manningclark.org.au

And yet, as well as being a scholarly and cultural centre, it’s a house. It’s a domestic residence with a kitchen, a living room and three bedrooms. We’re doing a cross-artform theatre performance – in a house. We can serve tea and scones during the performance. And that’s awesome.

diplodocus – first handshake in space

there is an ensemble of creatives of which I am a part, comprising the guitar and bass of Chris Finnigan and Bradley Barkley, the percussion and theremin of Lucy Leaf, words written and spoken by my self, and the beats / production mastery of Paul Heslin; that ensemble works under the collective name Diplodocus. It is true that we share our name with one of the worst and most boring dinosaurs, but they are all dead and we are rolling along in good health (as of dec 2008), so I think it’s clear who takes precedence.

In November 2008, Paul Heslin relocated to London from the Australian Cancers and somehow, in between starving in train tunnels and being strangled by Jack the Ripper, mixed the recordings of our July-October sessions into a 5-track EP entitled first handshake in space.


first handshake in space is available for free download (20.6mb). Cover art by Bethany Heslin, track listing as follows:

1. singing love songs
2. windows open
3. very sick indeed
4. the bandaged king
5. threads from the sun