29 November 2009

I’d like to ask first of all please let it not be that Utopia with doves and waterfalls and soft white clothes and doors that open as soon as they are approached

and please let it not be that utopia with all in harmony and accord

and please not that utopia of agrarian fantasy, with all of us in touch with or at peace with the land, working the land together or weaving together in some endlessly temperate and agreeable climate, caught in simple pleasures, eating simple wholesome food

and please – just as strongly, please – not that techno utopia where no one works at all since the machines – ever more clever, resourceful and skilled – are doing everything, hidden in basements, miniaturized or concealed behind the walls

and please not that morbid utopia that so many churches speak of or hope for or promise, but only come the day, meaning after death

and not that utopia of absolute freedom or that of total equality

or that of the flattening of creeds, races, genders and all that into one single humanity or brotherhood

and not that utopia of original ignorance, Adam and Eve, the nakedness that is not nakedness no thank you

and not that utopia of free love 

or boundless and open desire

or that hallucinatory psychedelic utopia of the human dissolved into the universe

and not that utopia of the virtual, with its useless pretended transcendence of flesh and biology

and again please, not that utopia of endless oneness and endless accord

not likely peace, or everlasting peace

not likely peace at all

and not the satisfaction of all desires 

and not the exhaustion of all need

and please not an end to difference

no to the utopia determined by sense

no to the utopia determined by utility

no to the utopias of knowledge, understanding, and progress

please not the uniformity of consent

or that of placidity

no to the erasure of anger

please not the utopic reduction of human space to that of a prison in which all needs have been anticipated, prescribed, provided for

please not the reduction of everything to the realm of the solvable

please not some temperate climate of banality cotton-woolled and perpetuated ad nausem

not late-capitalist laissez-faire bliss

not communistic brotherhood

not either theocratic order

or rationalist decency

not some medicalised or genetically modified utopia in which all personalities and physicalities have been balanced, remixed and extended forever in a calculation of chemicals and genes

please not the utopia of the old and wise

and please not that utopia of the young and the carefree


not men and women in accord with each other in all the possible combinations,

or mankind so called at accord once again with ‘the animals’ so called

no, not equality 

nor comfort

nor acceptance

not even tolerance

we'll have none of it

a utopia of dispute might be better

a utopia of permanent contestation

anger and the unruly.

But not even those will satisfy

let’s have instead the utopia which resists all names,

refuses all belonging

refuses all place, definition or affiliation

i.e. not for us that which can be dreamed or imagined, described or spoken of

and not for us anything that can be caught in the noose of 26 letters (called an alphabet) and hanged

not for us what is offered

not for us what is given

not for us what is promised

not for us what is even possible

not that

not anything of it

but everything, everything which is other than that.


Friends, acquaintances, enemies i look forward to our eventual meeting,

and to your full acceptance of these my most reasonable demands.


Tim Etchells, on the train from Paris to London, the 25 October 2009.

[Written for the recent latenight program event on Utopia/Dystopia at Frascati Internationaal in Amsterdam. Also read in Munich at The Woodstock of Political Thinking two weekends ago].


Ice: Work in Progress

25 November 2009

Ice Work in Progress 5

[Hugo sent thru these shots from the fourth attempt at a new ice-letters piece we’ve been working on. Looking good.]

Dancing Museum #2

22 November 2009

A while back, in preparation for the week long workshop/think tank project called Expo Zero, convened by choreographer Boris Charmatz at Musee de la Danse in Rennes I asked a few good friends and colleagues to send me memories of dance or dances, movement or movements – fragments from life or from dance, or from dance in life, which I hoped would feed into my work at the Expo. I already posted a few of the fragments, and with thanks again for what my friends chose to share, here’s a second instalment.

It’s the look .
Fixed , blank and it means it.
A look on a face of symmetrical beauty.
Dirty beauty.

And underneath.
The legs pushing forward and the back leaning back.
Leaning way way back.
The arms pinioned in a careless hang but the face is somewhere else .
On another job.

Below its all insistence and burn but above its all stillness and stare and the low , loud sound is reverberating  through the move at triple time .
Passing through the body and out.
Sound as surface to walk on.

Inside the body is whirring, it’s whirring  fast .
Outside it’s going slow.
And its having trouble moving  through the air, making the air cling to it-
Making me cling to it.

Not that it needs me.
The move is not in need.
Its the move as god.
Regal delinquency in action.

It burns itself past the retina straight into the gut and resurfaces at odd moments of desire.

Wendy Houstoun
(“a michael clark piece but i don’t know its name.”)


Strangely (well, maybe strange for this context but not for me) very few of my memories of movement are from the formal world of dance. Moments from Pina Bausch, La Ribot, Jerome Bel, Michael Clark and other icons are there alright and will be there forever, but the first memories that hit me when I got your email were movement memories from popular culture. David Beckham’s famous free kick against Greece in a world cup qualifier still makes me well up, and is impossible to forget since it was immortalized by Lone Twin in Walk With Me in one of my favourite performance movement moments.

Seeing Morrissey for the first time dancing with bunches of gladioli stuffed in his jean’s pockets in the video for This Charming Man is another movement moment that will never be forgotten, but there’s a limit to how many times I can mention This Charming Man in response to your requests.

So its gonna have to be the memory that I’ve been revisiting recently, along with millions of other people, of seeing Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough video back in the day. For me this was one of the last moments of the ‘good’ Michael Jackson –of the talented, spontaneous, beautiful, black Michael Jackson, before he became the white, schmaltzy, freaky, global superstar. But I – we – didn’t know that at the time. At the time this was simply one of the most exhilarating things I had ever seen – the most perfect combination of music and dance – the pleasure of watching someone ‘lost in music’, performing with every cell in their body.  Look at it – even his arms are dancing to the tune in the most exquisite piece of unchoreographed choreography ever. I can watch this moment over and over and over again and never tire of it.

Lois Keidan


He arrived late, preferring to hit the ground running. It’s an improvised piece full of live decisions. He has been naked. He has been left alone with his eyes shut. But the moment to remember is after the piece has ended, officially. The audience is starting to leave and he’s calling them back….there’s one more dance he says…a famous dance….danced by a famous woman….a grieving woman…a woman grieving for her two dead children. And as he talks he starts to dance. He is big, broad, strong.  His body moves as he imagines or remembers the woman moving, the woman grieving, his empty arms extended as though hers holding. His voice is calm and low, his own. The audience is half standing, as he describes the story of this dance, they’re on their way out, not sure what they’re staying for. He sways, kneels and lays the empty burden from his arms onto the stage. The piece is over.

Terry O Connor


Here’s my most enduring memory of a dance movement – it’s the movement that crystalised a sense that dance can express better in words some feelings, that a gesture of the body can communicate a complexity of emotion.

It’s from a piece by Roxane Huilmand that I saw at the ICA in the 80s. I don’t remember the name of the piece. I don’t remember the music, it may have been Bartok, it may have been Walter Hus.

The gesture is a simple one and I think it was like this:

with head down, moving from back stage left diagonally towards the middle of the stage, very low lighting, the solo dancer (Roxane I think), brings both arms  together in a curve from just behind her body to just in front, the hands don’t meet – they rest at waist height about 10 cm apart. The gesture seems half embrace, half a collecting and containing movement signifying emotion internalised, feeling collected, gathered and controlled, and isolation. It was brief, powerful and very poignant for me, for the friend I was with, it was boring.

Deborah Chadbourn


memory of a dance unravelled

I have never seen the show. Again. I have never seen that show again: not live, video, CD Rom or whatever, since that night I first saw it, the only time I saw it, and that woman got up from the audience and danced on stage. It was weird. I remember it vividly and yet I remember almost nothing else. It made me shake. It made my hands sweat. It made me want to leave. It made me feel I had vertigo and might only be able to crawl out of the theatre on my hands and knees. I was reduced to that childhood fear I had when my mother took me to the pantomime and they picked children to go up on stage. Nightmare. And then it ended. The music stopped. She went back to her seat. The show went on the the end. No one did anything.

Who was she ? Nothing happened but it might have. Might she not have done anything – pulled out a gun, or kissed Christine or pulled her down to the ground and punched her or tore her clothes off. Anything. And if she had what would they have done ? Because what they did – that night when I saw the show – what they did was nothing, nothing more, nothing less, than what they did every night – I guess – they just stood there, shifting, jigging even, to the music in that moon-faced, half-arsed sort of a way that defined the way they performed in that show, and that made her feel it was OK, and maybe some kind of a dance that she could join in, and then, when the music ended she sat down.

Was she a plant or what ? I never asked. Or why not, why not get up and join in a show called Stalking Realness that seems to be pretending to be an event, but not theatre, or maybe it is or maybe it isn’t. Or maybe she was a friend. I never found out.

What’s funny is how it doesn’t happen more often in theatre. Joining in. What’s surprising is how unbreakable – how  unbearable – that boundary is. The more it is tested – with performers coming out of the audience for instance, or going into it, or whatever – the stronger it gets, in general.

That’s what makes theatre theatre. Whatever else it is not, it is a collective dream space. Its success is in creating an ‘as if’ world, in which performers become explorers, and which changes the co-ordinates of time and space. And when something, someone, else drops in, it is literally matter out of place, an irritant, a violation of  symbolic world. It makes me physically sick.

Claire MacDonald

Collector of Fragments

19 November 2009
Bitter History

An image from Vlatka (on a wall down the street) and a text (re boredom) from my brother.


Had a few of those jobs, not the kind when you can voluntarily say yay give it a go for a full 32 mins. Couple come to mind, one poss the worst on a stone crusher. Stood on this fuckin huge 40 tonne machine on a footplate while a 16 tonner swung shit and concrete in front of my face, no cage, and dumped its old oily load of bust up town of brown field site into the rollin vibrating killer jaws of satan hiself, yeah, my job mind, was to grab steel and shite from the jaws of said beelzebub, and any other foreign matter too. foreign matter. crushed old stuff for foundations of new stuff. old steel fucked the machine tho, that was the job. 10 hour shift in fear of your fucking life every time you grabbed a 9 foot piece of reo and the fucker bit it already, yeah, snag you, pulled in, lost a coat once. was wearing it, but it was me or him. hope it went  in the foundation to build somewhere nice.Used to pick Brody up 6am in the van. Smell of victory v’s gave it up then, yeah brode was a great plant man, fix ought, but fuck , whisky before the work. Not a tot neither. hafe bottle. Early doors hometime he was a two handed pint man for the first half gallon. steady as a rock then, nay tremours. purple drain from his face to red and then start talkin and laughin with us all. I’d be away then. Id reckon he’d swamp another gallon and then back to the favourite homeside. a drop for the mornin and a victory v.

Site and Boring

17 November 2009

Another Guardian blog by yours truly, this one about site visits.


John Cage said, “If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.” He’s right: there’s a certain kind of unboring boredom that’s fascinating, engrossing, transcendent, and downright sexy. And then there’s the other kind of boring: let’s call it boring boring. Boring boring is a client meeting; boring boring is having to endure someone’s self-indulgent poetry reading; boring boring is watching a toddler for an afternoon; boring boring is the seder at Aunt Fanny’s. Boring boring is being somewhere we don’t want to be; boring boring is doing something we don’t want to do. Unboring boring is a voluntary state; boring boring is a forced one.

Unboring boring is the sort of boredom that we surrender ourselves to when, say, we go to see a piece of minimalist music. I recall once having seen a restaging of an early Robert Wilson piece from the 1970s. It took four hours for two people to cross the stage; when they met in the middle, one of them raised their arm and stabbed the other. The actual stabbing itself took a good hour to complete. Because I volunteered to be bored, it was the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen.

Came across the above in an interesting (not boring) 2004 text by the conceptual writer and artist Kenneth Goldsmith – I also learned in the last couple of days that he’s the founder of the amazing UbuWeb, which somehow I didn’t know.

Unwritten Malady

15 November 2009

I have a new video/text work titled Unwritten in the show The Malady of Writing (a project on text and speculative imagination), curated by Chus Martinez, at MACBA Study Centre, at Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona – the show runs from 20 November until March 7th 2010. Unwritten follows a little from the work I’ve done with Starfucker and 100 People, as well as the live-writing experiment of the Long Relay project I organised with Adrian Heathfield a couple of years back.

Inspired by two texts in the MACBA collection – Guy de Cointet’s Tell Me and The Fox, a publication initiated by the New York branch of Art and Language and described as “a quite particular collection of texts in different book forms written by artists” The Malady of Writing comprises 160 plus titles from more than 50 authors, including my own book The Broken World and the new work mentioned above.

Meanwhile a selection from the Empty Stages photographs series I’ve been working on in collaboration with Hugo Glendinning is currently part of Looking Aside at the Peter Scott Gallery in Lancaster. The show runs until 11 December and features work connected to performance and documentation with work by Manuel Vason (The Spill Tarot) and Lucy Cash/Goat Island (video installation) amongst others.


Nice review of the Durham Lumiere show (see immediately below), though I find it weird (or rude) when people neglect to mention artists’ names.

Durham Neons

13 November 2009

Wait Here - Durham

Please Come Back - Durham

Pictures of my work from the opening night of Lumiere in Durham, which runs up to and including this Sunday night 15th November.

Nigerian Movie

11 November 2009

My friend Matt passed me this spam, or a version of it, which led me into some googling to find this slightly longer version. It's a very beautiful phishing email. I really hope the movie gets made. 

Dear Sir, 
I have a full length tragedy movie script title: RANKLE Jones The Golfer. It is a new idea, full of suspense and thrill. I need a production company and financial investment into this movie production as it will make a block buster. 
Jones enjoys golf playing, hoping to be a professional golfer like Tiger Woods. Professional golfers play in golf field, ours play at home. No fucking son of a bitch will accept correction. The pride of what is yet to be is a destroyer. Jones: Everyone in life have a dream and aspiration to fulfill, so I am too. My life, my all will go to a sport I love and cherish most. Golf is my dream game, a sport I love. Let’s go golfing. 
Rudolf drug life flashes of wealth caught Jones napping as he was convinced to take part in one of the most bloody drug cartel deal. 
Shelly is a desire of every men but her stinking lifestyle of prostitution can’t let her settle for a man. 
Jones fought Elvis in the night club all because of a fames sex machine Shelly with Rudolf, Alex and others watch with no one allow to separate until someone quit for the other. 
There are a lot of happenings at the night club. 
Gangsters and Police combat force. 
Why is Jeff called the master by Rudolf, Elvis, Jimmy and others? 
It is traumatic to live with nutty breed of human, all in the name of family-hood. Traumatic experiences of Ray of hatred, alienation by all his family members, his emotional disgust and good moral negligence on the part of his parent on the family. 
His erratic brother Jones gave him a blood bath, living his life-less body after which he was in oblivious state. Ray is cast away and also an object of mimic. 
Hilda gave Ray a taste of love life which has been missing for years. I love you mum because you hate me. Cassandra my sister is no different from my mum Vera. Ray’s love life with Hilda left nothing to be admiring as it is an ocean of perfect love for both of them. 
Jones finally golfed out daddy’s ''Kenny'' breath, as he was left to his pool of blood. Jones life turns sour of no savvy as he committed suicide. Those that bury mines indiscriminately will one day fall victim to mine explosion. 
There are golf scenes, fist fighting, snake scenes, club scenes, sex scenes, drug scenes, Police shoot out, gangster, hovercraft, Apache helicopters and Belgian attack dogs. 
The script is over 120 pages. 
This production has good advert spaces that will be integrated into the movie without it interfering, as the production is purely commercial. This is a viable promotional vehicle to boost your products and services across the globe considering the much success this movie will achieve.
Thanks for finding time to read through. Only get back to me if you are ready for us to proceed with this viable movie production. 

Best Regards.  XXXX, PRODUCER.

Dancing Museum #1

9 November 2009

A while back I took part in a kind of workshop/think tank project called Expo Zero, convened by choreographer Boris Charmatz at his Musee de la Danse in Rennes.  I wrote a bit about my participation in the Guardian – the Expo was a kind of open ended and experimental look at dance, esp the idea of dance in relation to archive and history, as well as a public wondering-out-loud about the idea of a Dancing Museum. Anyhow. In preparation for the week long encounter in Rennes I asked a few good friends and colleagues to send me memories of dance or dances, movement or movements – fragments from life or from dance, or from dance in life, which I hoped would feed into my work at the Expo. I’m going to post just a few of the fragments here and there in the next week or so, since they stand alone very well, and because (as often) I was so lucky with what my friends chose to share. Get the feeling I might continue to collect these.

In around 1974 aged about 8, I spent several school lunchtimes one summer hidden in a small group behind the temporary classrooms that had been put up on the playing field. Stuart D. had begun bringing in his battery powered red and white plastic record player. These were secret meetings. It was our secret. We sat round in a small circle about six or seven boys listening to Stuart‘s Mum‘s Elvis singles, mostly Jailhouse Rock because it was the wildest but also my favourite Mess Of Blues.

I had never heard music like this before or certainly not consciously. My sister liked Slade and Marc Bolan but I don‘t think she actually owned any of their records and I certainly don‘t remember a previous occasion of just focusing on music. Maybe it was the secrecy of our meetings or just the intensity of the situation, but this was a dark, powerful and really somehow quite sexy experience for all of us. We would then take it in turns to dance watching each other. We were trying to move to the music in a way we felt was most appropriate or how we imagined older, cooler, tougher, or sexier people might move to it.

This was my first active experience of listening to music in this way and my first memory of actively wanting to move to a piece of music without being told to do so. The movements we made involved skipping from leg to leg, flicking forward our over-extended feet, so that the feet were stretched down to the front, legs bent. Our arms swung rhythmically,our bodies twisting from left to right with our knees making somehow alternating circular motions. It seemed to be most satisfying when you made each twist and swing harder and deeper. The head was kept looking downward.  Jason S. once caught us trying to dance and said “Oh your trying to do the Bop!” I think were quite proud that someone as cool as Jason saw something good in what we were trying to do.We had never heard of “The Bop”.

This, later led to a strange pre-teen fascination with Elvis, Buddy Holly and in particular Jerry Lee Lewis. Once, having confessed to my parents about “doing the Bop” I was twice talked into demonstrating these movements for other family members. Once for my aunt at Christmas and then another time at my grandparents which I remember as deeply depressing and somehow it didn‘t work so well on carpet. 

(Phil Hayes)

When I was 18 years old  and  wanted to be a writer I  some how ended up training  instead with the most famous postmodern dancers of their generation on the theatre course at Dartington College of Arts. This was a huge suprise to me because most  bookish  students I knew  went off to University to read English Literature and write essays on the novels of Jane Austen. Before Dartington,  I  spent a year working as an usherette at The Gate Cinema. I tore tickets and dished out scoops of ice cream and wondered what to do with my life.The films they were showing at the time were all Derek Jarman’s early films…Jubillee, The Last of England….and so I got to meet Derek  who came to the cinema often, and it was he who told me about Dartington and encouraged me to apply.

Dance was called Movement on the time table  and we had to do it every morning from 9am to 11am . In the first year we had to walk around the dance studio a lot and then break in to a run. Every time I felt bored I  reckoned Derek was with me and that it must  all mean something. The revelation I had in the hands of my brilliant  tutors  Mary Fulkerson and Steve Paxton was not particularly  a dance revelation, but a perceptual revelation- by which I mean I began to see things that were once  invisible to me

What I began to see was how the human body is aligned. This sounds like a small thing but you just don’t get it from pictures of skeletons…..I began to notice  how people  lived in their  bodies – not just  dancers  but everyone  else: my mother,  my boyfriend, shop assistants, cops,  bus drivers. It gave me a vocabulary that up to then I didn’t even know I wanted or needed.

There was an exercise we had to do in class where one part of the body leads the dance, the little finger of the right hand for example.  I began to see this was true of  every day life as well.  Some people lead with their chins   or breasts  or  balance on the heels of their feet so they sway backwards.

I began to understand  something about  how the body works with or against gravity which I just hadn’t seen before – it was  not visible to me because I wasn’t looking for it, but now I was, and from this  I began to put together some thoughts  which were communicated to me through the body rather than through ideology: thoughts about who feels entitled in the world-who takes up the most space or dominates a room and how their bodies achieve this.We always had to do “movement” barefoot and  the aim was to “find a neutral body”. I understood this but I also knew in life there is no such thing as a neutral body..nor is it desirable out of a dance context. It’s a bit like pretending we have neutral emotions.  Dance has taught me more about writing than anything else – in particular how a performer can create a black hole on stage and be something I never want to look at – even though the lights are blaring above them, and how another performer can lurk in the shadows and he or she is the only place my eyes want to be.

(Deborah Levy)

It’s a slate move, but it’s on a sea-cliff in the sun. It’s Indian Summer, maybe in Pembrokeshire, maybe down in the toe of Cornwall–the real Cornwall. Strong sun on your naked upper back. The rock has its own smell, sharp & somehow neutral, but that comes to you from underneath the smell of the sea. It comes to you from underneath the sound of the big waves at the bottom of the cliff. You did the first fifty feet without thinking about them, in a series of small elated jumps & springs, showing off to yourself, celebrating your own ability to direct energy. In those fifty feet you could stop, hang off a big hold, lean slightly to one side and do the pose “Looking at a Seagull or a Boat” or “Being Really Quite Completely in Command of This Stuff.” That condition ended–that narcissistic-kinaesthetic fuel ran out–about two minutes ago. Now it’s this: you have to go up to your full reach, at the absolute extension of every muscle & joint from right toes to left fingertips, and get the ends of the first two fingers curled over a one-eighth-inch ledge. It’s maybe three inches long, and it’s slanting downwards to the left. Once you’ve done that, you will have been thrown so completely out of static balance that you will have to move immediately or you will slip off the foothold and fall into the sea. The move is this: you are going to bend your arm quickly at the elbow, from completely extended to the point where you can actually engage the upper arm muscles, and pull hard. Pull very hard and quick on the one-eighth-inch ledge with the two fingertips you have on there, and at the same time start running your feet up the rock, until you can get the fingertips of the other hand on the one-eighth-inch ledge, which by then will feel as big as a football field you hope, and lock both elbows solid so you can push your right foot hard against the rock somewhere up near your diaphragm without levering yourself off. By this time your arse will be out over the drop. You will be out of breath but you will not notice that. You will not be noticing that or anything else much. Now shift your left hand to the right a centimetre, and put your left foot next to it on the one-eighth-inch football field. Line them up: left toe, left hand, right hand. An inch each. As soon as your foot touches, you will have to begin pushing down hard with both hands, through your fingertips and rigid-bent-claw-fingers and utterly abused finger joints, because the next thing you are going to do is stand up. There’s nothing to hold on the wall above. Your leg is bent in half  and you can’t get it moving. Push down harder. Try and throw more of your weight over the ledge, which has gone back to being one-eighth-inch wide by three inches long. Push, push. Push. Your bones and tendons judder and stutter from locked to fluid, bent to straight. You do not want to know what is happening in your knee joint. Stand up very slowly and carefully. So ok either you are standing up there now or you are rolling back down towards the sea with you arms swinging out and your head banging on things. Either you are shaking so much you are going to fall off the ledge anyway, or you are shaking just enough to know you are alive. The sweat is fucking unbelievable. The chemicals are sluicing through you and though they’re good laughing chemicals they are making you shake even more. Someone is shouting up at you from near the sea, or maybe that’s a gull. You have no clue what you’ll do next; or care. The sunshine has come back and you can feel it on your forearms. This put you back in your body.

(Mike Harrison)

Have been curious to see that writing about actual dance movement is not extra easy (for me). Something about how dance movement is often (and definitely in this case) not something that you stumble into or through or find yourself in the middle of – it’s painstakingly picked apart and taught and commented on and rehearsed – an etching-in process. And then it’s channelled through when called for. Whereas physical experiences that strike me are the ones that are happening without preparation, surprises unthinking. Some of the ones I came up with were actually a bit traumatic or hyper-intense (eg. when 6 I had a serious concussion from falling down a wall – I have a super precise memory of the movement of plants (that were growing out of the wall) brushing past my arm as I fell). But it’s not dance. Or maybe a dance training wired me to read a lot of situations according to, literally, how I’m moving through them… I usually remember that better than words spoken for example. In memory a whole situation is recorded as how-my-body-moved-through-it.

Also on movement passed between bodies – – a funny byproduct of not seeing my family very often is forgetting what they’re like, and I always find it very weird how we share a lot of movement habits unconsciously (gestures, stances, expressions). It’s sort of nice, sometimes disturbing and anyhow makes me feel I own my body a little less. Also not dance 🙂

I also thought about how in the house in New Zealand I know the movement of the sun through it very well – how it moves over interior walls and into particular corners, in the length of the day – and sort of moves moods and colours and shadows with it. Sounds a bit abstract, but it’s quite a visceral memory of the space in motion.

(Kate McIntosh)

Jazz Band

4 November 2009

Following my Guardian online piece the other day (see just below for the link) I had a nice mail from Nicholas Eliott who is the company manager for Richard Maxwell – I mention his performance, reading stage directions during a work-in-progress, in the Guardian piece. What follows is from our exchange:


I enjoyed [the blog piece] not only for the personal glory, but because it was such a fine expression of ideas we share. Just Saturday I winessed the shambolic set-up of a nine-piece jazz band and told my friend I needed no theater better than nine musicians trying to figure out how to make seven music stand work.


The jazz band set-up sounds cool. I was on a visit to some theatre spaces in Vienna recently, looking at possible venues for something, and they showed me the main stage of the opera house. about 70 technicians (Im not joking) were busy on the stage with one thing and another – like looking into an ant colony. the guy shoing me around must've thought i was an idiot, I was so delighted by what i saw… would've hired them all immediately and called it a show…


The "drama" of the jazz show was that it was Halloween so the pianist was caught in traffic. They did a couple numbers without her, then after a little bit of commotion in the back, she quietly crossed the stage. The bandleader called over to her, "Are you really double-parked?"
"Yeah, Chris is going to watch it for me."