So this week was the final show of Belconnen Theatre‘s 2007 WET Season of theatre, for which I am co-ordinator/administrator. There have been some variously awesome shows produced by the eight or so companies who have contributed to the season, but the finale managed to touch my heart by doing its best to tear the guts out of the theatre-space and leave us no venue for next year.
The Landlords, by Jordan Prosser and Sam Burns-Warr, featuring same. Some years after the apocalypse, the two last surviving humans on the earth are squatting in a hotel lobby, riling each other up in a range of creative ways, and preparing to commit suicide via toaster in bath. It was, fair to say, goddamn brilliant, and has me totally hyped and excited for future work from them (assuming they made it through their final performance without pulling the theatre in on top of them).
Meanwhile my self has added some new content to this website, to try and transform it into something useful for me to visit, if no-one else. New stuff includes two mappalujos, short stories written collaboratively with Nickamc and Alethiometer in 2003. The mappa procedure was invented by Jeff Noon and Steve Beard, and their original creation is up online at mappalujo.com.
Scripts-wise, I have pasted up Chosei: Eternal Life, a one-act written and produced in 2002 with the frozen shape collective (Nickamc and Muttley) following the trials and tribulations of the sperm from two of Adolf Hitler’s ejaculations in the year 1953. Also Jellyfish Play, a short piece written during my 2006 residency with Tanghalang Pilipino in the Philippines, and reviews and images from Bohemian‘s 2002 production of The Woman in Black.
Lastly, my online retelling of Vampire Play nears its conclusion, as the Vampire Gang retreat from Dickson Station and come face to face with nemesis The Finn. Oh, and I’ve chucked up a performance page to list upcoming gigs and productions, although I may take it down if it looks embarrassingly quiet.
Just been rereading Jeff Noon’s 2001 manifesto ‘How to make a modern novel’. This essay and Noon’s work in general, has been a massive influence on me since my brother Tom first loaned me a copy of Vurt in 1997.
Sometimes I even forget how much my work has been shaped by his. Looking over the Manifesto again, I’m struck by how many of Noon’s precepts have been incorporated into my work. Discussing a record by Richie Hawtin:‘The CD consists of 38 pieces of music, played on a number of turntables, with two or three records being played simultaneously. Hawtin includes a diagram on the CD’s sleeve, which depicts where each record begins and ends. With this in mind, we could use Richie Hawtin’s CD as the template for a novel. We need to create 38 stories, which then blend into each other using the CD’s diagram as a guide. As one story comes to an end, another story, or two other stories, are mixed into it. These new stories are then carried on, until further stories are added to the mix.
Hawtin will return to the same record twice, or to a different remix of the record; we can use this technique to allow our various stories to reappear at different places in the narrative. There are no rules, only opportunities. Above all, imagine the pleasure gained from following the various stories through the mix.’
This is the exact route through which a lot of my work has come about. Read more:
late-at-night, Mon 1st October – Bootleg Sessions, Phoenix pub fight fire with knives will be bringing our sprawling sound / lights / props / cooking / theatre performance into a tiny pub packed full of dripping wet burning hot gravel-gritty music-lovers.
As always, give me a yell with any thoughts, ideas, contributions or suggestions. And if anyone knows of a way to make my penis longer and to give me more stamina so that I can have greater confidence with the ladies, I’d appreciate it if you could send me a link to your product’s home-page. Thanks, intertrons!
Turbo poetry slam last night. Front Cafe and Gallery packed full of human beings, most of them poets or spouting some form of lyrical spoken word. Jules Fleetwood and associate Slam Spiders ran the evening with an iron poetry claw. Ali McGregor performed her gorgeous Don’t Panic piece (which I missed and am stroppy about because it’s one of my favourites of hers) and Cathy Petocz won with a short but packed piece called The people you meet, Cathy. I honestly don’t remember much of the night, because for the first half I was stumbling around trying to prepare for the collective performance, and for the second half I was stumbling around trying to recover from the collective performance. Somewhere in the middle the collective performed, which seemed to go down pretty well, and most of all was fun.
Turns out I enjoy performing, though I forget that de temps en temps. Most of all, I enjoy performing ridiculous spoken word, chopped up vocal fragments and food colouring / detergent / animation on an overhead projector (and I’m not opposed to battering a metal bowl with a pair of chopsticks in an attempt at percussion) to add texture to the gorgeous music that Chris (guitar) Nickamc (bass) and Reuben (laptops) have created.
Standing in for Chef Ely we had Muttley aka FUNKY SQUAD preparing crepe suzette and flirting with all the older womens, and Reuben finally came up with a name for the squadron of evil we have assembled: fight fire with knives (in honour of the valiant but doomed struggle of certain governments to battle the destructive element of fire using traditional hand-to-hand weapons). To celebrate our first gig that’s worthy of the name, I’ve temporarily uploaded the entire set list to the collective page on this site. If nothing else, you want to hear the audience’s sympathetic reaction to the news of Dan McJimsey’s death at the beginning of cut up into pieces.
In particular, the collective page has new music uploaded from our recent performance at the State of Belonging event at the Street Theatre on Saturday 25th August. We scattered ourselves across the theatre foyer – Nickamc up against the studio doors, Reuben and Chris on the stairs to the main theatre entrance, Max running crazy errands to and from the supermarket throughout the whole gig, and Ely and myself in the cafe respectively cooking delicious crepes and projecting (mostly invisible) images. There was a six month old girl in the crowd who understood what we were on about – and one six month old per gig is just about enough.
Our next performance is tomorrow night at the Front Cafe / Gallery, as part of the first ever TURBO Poetry Slam. Chef Ely cannot be there, unfortunately, so we’ve brought in Stalin-esque replacement-chef Funky Squad. Visit the Front Cafe in Lyneham this Friday 31st (7:30pm, Lyneham Shops, Canberra in the Australie) and you will witness this performance unfold like a colossal and unbelievably intricate origami structure.
The full program for this year’s five-festival multiplex This Is Not Art (Sep 27 – Oct 1) has just been released, and I am inside it. I will be performing an FM radio / spoken word / vocal mash-up set (with lo-fi overhead projector visuals courtesy of Alethiometer) as part of an experimental poetry performance event entitled The New New 2.
What’s really psyching me up is that I am sharing a bill with Pimmon, one of my favourite abstract electronica artists since I was first switched on to Tigerbeat6 and all the madness therein. This is a sign of favour equivalent to having your mother dip you in the Styx, so I’m feeling fairly stoked.
In all fairness, though, I’m not really sharing a bill with him, since he’s performing at the official TINA gig on Saturday night, and I’m performing Saturday afternoon around 4pm. He’s sharing a bill with Leafcutter John, Tim Hecker and Robin Fox. I’m sharing a bill with Simon Cox and the DKDC Collective. But I’m performing at the same festival as Pimmon, and that’s still pretty exciting.
That said, because This Is Not Art is a conglomeration of five different festivals, I can’t really truthfully say I’m performing at the same festival as Pimmon. I’m performing as part of the National Young Writers’ Festival, and he’s performing as a part of the (slightly more prestigious) electronic arts festival Electrofringe. But I can definitely say I’m going to be in the same city as Pimmon. And that’s something that only the population of all of the cities that Pimmon has ever been in can claim.
The aim is not to be remembered after you’re dead. The aim is to not be remembered after your death.
At the point of your death, there should be no person and no thing that will miss you. Your job is to be forgotten by every living thing at the very moment you die.
If you’ve lived any sort of interesting or engaged life, it’s a lot harder to be completely forgotten than it is to be remembered even a little, but it’s completely necessary. No-one reading this will be remembered 50 years after they’re dead. No-one. If you are remembered, it will be in such a trivial, dismissable way that you should be embarrassed. It is far harder, and far more valuable, to have conducted your life in such a way that no trace of you remains in the world’s memory by the moment of your final exhalation.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been working with an unnamed collective of musicians, performers, visual artists and chefs on a new performance which incorporates music, theatre, lo-fi animation and cooking. This collective doesn’ hab a name, but it’s housed online on Nickamc’s static.sound.silence MySpace page. You need to go there and listen to one lonesome hiccup, because it’s making me totally happy.
alethiometer (chris finnigan) – guitars, echoes and catharsis
Our first performance is this Saturday (25th Aug) at the Street Theatre as part of State of Belonging, a ‘real-time Iron Chef-esque art making competition’. There’s a crazy sculpture contest between two teams of artists on Childers Street, the ANU Art School’s having an open day, and in the Street Theatre foyer we’ll be playing/performing/serving from midday until 1pm.
HOWEVER the gig I’m excited about is next Friday evening (31st Aug) at the Front Cafe/Gallery in Lyneham – we’re performing as part of the first TURBO Poetry Slam which is being put together by an association of word-psychopaths and poet-devils. That will be wicked.
Q. Dear Dolly, I am a fifteen year old. I have lots of guy friends but I have never had a boyfriend or been kissed. Do the pubes ever stop growing?
A. Dear Fifteen, no the pubes never stop growing. When the incorruptible body of St Augustine was found, more than a thousand years after his death, his pubic hairs had grown through the lid of his coffin, up through the earth and out into the sunshine. Peter of Brussels, in his 1605 Treatise, describes the discovery:
“The villagers of Antwerp were sore distressed by a gruesome Thicket, which some such had naught but tangled black vines and a grim prospect. Most perplexing was the ravishing of some young Maidens,, who had stumbled into the tangled vines and been put to a regrettable Disadvantage, also to their Fathers and Brothers who bemoaned their loss of Purity. When the villagers took unto the woods with an Axe, they were shocked to hear a Moaning, as if of a living beast. Upon the advice of that most wise Priest, [Peter’s mentor Cuthbert of Toulouse] the villagers uprooted the vines and located the source of the Thicket, which to their amazement took root in the Genitalia of a corpse. That Incomparable Father of Knowledge [Cuthbert again] swift identified him as Saint Augustine, whom we thought rather to have been dwelling in the City of God these last thirteen centuries.”