Last week I rode the country backwards, all the way from Leeds to Bristol, to give a little talk to some undergrads at my alma mater, the Department of Drama: Theatre Film and Television at the University of Bristol. Despite the whopping £195 train fare, when one of my all-time favourite academics, Dr Angela Piccini, asked me at the last minute if I could come and tell some anxious final year students about the woes and wonders of doing/being a postgraduate and freelance artist, I swooned. There were some outstanding Bristol graduates on the discussion panel, including Jeremy Routledge from Calling the Shots, and producers from Battersea Arts Centre and Punchdrunk. And then there was I, with my pointy eyes and expandable words and generous gestures. They said internships and career and opportunity. I said loyalty and commitment and stamina. Hopefully some of the new faces now know that there are plenty of different ways to cut some furrows into your brow.
But for now, let’s make like the cast of Facehunters and set our sights on love, loss and the beauty of youth. This new ‘musical for the Vice generation’ from the brazen Leeds’ troupe, Hungry Bitches, sparked with orgiastic music, spandex pinging choreography and incendiary direction. Based very loosely on the principles behind Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, the Hungry Bitches wove a hipster saga from the ashes of a smouldering Dalston and our tragic fascination with eternal youth. Two words popped into my mind over and over again whilst I watched the opening night performance at Stage@Leeds: Commercial Potential. Yo, West End, you have been buzzed.
And all of that came after a mad hour at the third instalment of the Henry Moore Institute’s performance art series, This is Performance Art. Entitled ‘The Conceptual Burlesque of Nice Style: the World’s First Pose Band’, the artist Mel Brimfield delivered a performance lecture via her long-time collaborator, the fake art critic, Sir Frances Spalding. So many layers of crisp unreality obscured my already battered sense of reason that I thought I’d gone to heaven or gone bat-shit crazy. I don’t want to give too much away, expect to say that the whole event was a bit like going up into your granddad’s attic to find a small and useful artefact of your recent past and instead coming down the ladder with an armful of stolen trinkets and questionable literatures. GO SEE ANYTHING BY MEL BRIMFIELD. But especially this.
Thanks to the generosity of Slung Low, I then spent a full weekend at the Holbeck Underground Ballroom with my band, and am currently getting my gear together to take One Day : Day One to Stockholm for the Supermarket 2012 and also perform the next edition of my Tuull series, called God Gave Rock and Roll…, at Indivisible’s 24-hour event, (in)xclusion, at Patrick Studios on 25-26th February.
Phew. January, you did for me what I’ll do for the rest of the year: kept it busy, kept it bright, kept it bringing it.