Email to Phil – From a Week Ago, Maybe More

13 March 2010

Hi Phil

6.44 here. awake before the alarm.

Just to say that things are rolling along quite well. I think this run we did the day b4 you left was useful in that it enabled us to think better about the bigger shape of the piece and what it needs.
We worked on a few sections and some new material got made, as well as existing (or previously abandoned) material coming info focus (or out of the cupboard) in new ways.

– a reprise of Tom's depression, with Tom stood amongst trees at the front, with advice from Claire seated on the sofa at the back – telling him to make it more moving/cloying/personal.
– this flowing into a section with the women on the sofa at the front, the guys arranged around them and not causing too much trouble – physically a kind of absurd Carpenters cover-photo/sickly Manson family Shang-ri-la intimacy…  and in the text the women talking about how to make the world a better place.. (wouldn't it be nice if each morning when you left the house a rainbow was waiting at your door etc)
– some bodgy dances with palm trees – re-running Fire! FIre! with conga-line chase.

– a very nice version of Jerry/Tom 'do something funny' which extends the text part in the beginning to become a whole routine trying to get him to say names of 'funny fruit' – Jerry bullying quite like some kind of Sergeant Major of Comedy.

– reprise small things from Terry (good tone, but maybe not correct to return to this content) leading to strange story from Amit concerning various corrective surgeries she claims to have had (legs straightening, toes grafted for fingers). This feels pretty good actually, and leads to something like the old 'don't touch me' routine from Amit, Jerry and Tom.

– something like a version of the old pushing and shoving line with Terry and then Amit talking about big questions of the world, finally stopped/ interrupted by Cathy.
-probably some other stuff too. it;s a bit of a blur.

yesterday we ran:

cathy continues
tom depressed

Terry 'questions' with pushing line
Amit joins in text
Cathy comes in across – "I hope that…" (very stroppy version about her dad etc)

Richard – H. Attack
Let's Kiss

Small Things with group 'backing' (Jerry doing you. John interrupts. Claire interrupts. Tom interrupts)
FIRE FIRE (conga line, trees come out in the back end of it)
Sukiyaki – more trees and dancing
ends with Tom at front in trees.

Tom depressed reprise
advice from Claire
Girls on Sofa – "wouldn't it be nice"
interruption from John ("Naieve")

Amit rolls on alone with "wouldn't it be nice"
other people clear away slowly

Noble Watts

Richard H. Attack x 2 – other guys imitate

Whistling Song

Terry Small things reprise

Amit – surgeries etc

Tom & Jerry try to take her away

Tom & Jerry – do something funny – funny fruit & dance

Jerry says Thanks and goodnight.Rich (doing you) "end/lights out/kill it"


That was one hour 35.We had small audience – Vlatka, Wendy and Sarah. Good responses, useful comments.And it was quite OK… but really very many things blurred, not in right place, just not good etc. But a step on from last week for sure. So today pushy postmortem. We try to reorder, reorganise and run again at  1.45
look fwd to you being back in the fray next week

hope things are well



Oven Gloves / Narrative

6 March 2010

Then I lost touch with them because I had to go back to the army and I deserted again and I got caught stealing a truck load of metal and I got sent to borstal and from borstal I went back to the army and then I was arrested for stealing a car. I was on a licence from borstal and after I done my prison sentence they revoked my licence from borstal and I done a further eleven months.

From an interview with the Kray’s driver Billy Frost, at the site Spitalfields Life.

This, from the same site, is an interview with Lenny Hamilton, who for reasons that might be evident is rather less-well disposed towards the Krays.

Two geezers grabbed hold of me and then I saw it. I thought they were pokers but there were steels that are used to sharpen knives, Ronnie had them on the gas and they were white-hot. They had wooden handles and the first one Ronnie picked up he dropped because it was so hot, so he went and got an oven glove. Then he picked one up and came over to me, to frighten me, I imagined. He singed my black curly hair. I pissed myself. I was terrified. Next he started setting fire to my suit that I only had made two weeks before.

Vlatka Gigs

5 March 2010

Vlatka has more than a few shows at the moment. Details below.

Metamorphoses: Error. Ofri Cnaani, Tamar Helpern, Vlatka Horvat
Braverman Gallery. Tel Aviv, Israel.
18 February – 1 April, 2010.

Take Space For Example: Vlatka Horvat, Sebastian Stumpf, Steve van den Bosch
Annex14 Gallery. Bern, Switzerland.
26 February – 27 March, 2010.

T-HT@MSU Award exhibition
Museum of Contemporary Art. Zagreb, Croatia.
26 February – March 28, 2010.

Golden Parachutes. Berlin, Germany. Organized by David Horvitz.
4 March – 9 May, 2010.

The latter has a downloadable ‘reader’ including an essay by someone called Tim Etchells.

More Assortment

25 February 2010

One of the people I was talking to at The Story recommended a site called Roy Orbison in Cling Film. Don’t worry. It’s just a collection of stories like this one, tho apparently there’s a novel out there somewhere which I’m going to track down. (OK, I did, it’s easy – at Amazon, here). The author (a quite possibly fictitious Ulrich Haarburste) puts it well I think – “Not to speak boastfully but this is perhaps the only book you will ever need to own on the subject of wrapping Roy Orbison in clingfilm.” I’m going to get a few copies since I know it will go down well at Christmas.

London Assortment

24 February 2010

I’m doing a talk with Ant Hampton at Gasworks next week alongside my solo show which is running there. The talk event is Wednesday 3rd March 2010. 7-8.30pm. Brochure says:

Artist and writer Tim Etchells and performer and writer Ant Hampton discuss delegation and collaboration across different fields of practice. The two practitioners will reflect on how the act of relinquishing control over the final outcome is embedded in their work and on their relationship to improvisation and incompleteness.

Ant and I organised the virtual programme of live-art for the ICA, True Riches last year after director Ekow Eshun announced the closure of the Live Art department there. If things continue to head downhill at ICA as rapidly as they seem to be doing, we may yet have to organise a virtual program for the entire building.

Currently Ant and I are collaborating on a small project which takes off from Ant’s ‘autoteatro’ production Etiquette. The new work – for two audience members/performers – is specifically designed to be presented in libraries and we had a very rapid-fire, playful and largely whispered meeting and try-out of some ideas in London last week at the British Library.

Meanwhile another of Ants ‘autoteatro’ projects GuruGuru – his collaboration with Joji Koyama and Sam Britton (aka Isambard Khroustaliov) – plays London from March 4 – 28 in an unusual space below Camden People’s Theatre, just north of Tottenham Court Road (other side of Euston Rd).


Also next week in London is one night of Kate McIntosh‘s All Natural. Her first project (there are three more so far already), All Natural starts with “a showgirl who seems to have emerged from a month lost in the forest – muddy, messy, and more animal than human”. It’s a fascinating piece and I’m sad that I can’t be there to see it again. Regular readers here will have come across Kate in fragments and quotes here and there in the notebook over the last couple of years. I contributed text to a later project of Kate’s (called Loose Promise) and since then was involved in her most recent performance Dark Matter, advising/mentoring (not sure about that word!), throwing in some text and asking useful (and useless) questions here and there. In some kind of complicated about-face Kate is now advising me.. helping us to shape the movement material in Forced Entertainment’s new work The Thrill of it All. All Natural is at 7:45pm, Thursday 4 March at the Purcell Room / Southbank Centre, London. Booking info here. Try to catch it if you can.

True Hollywood

22 February 2010

A US professor [Sidney Perkowitz, a member of the Science and Entertainment Exchange]… has won backing from a number of his peers after creating a set of guidelines for Hollywood. The proposals are intended to curb the film industry’s worst abuses of science by confining scriptwriters to plotlines that embrace the suspension of disbelief but stop short of demanding it in every scene. Guidelines themselves don’t seem to be online anywhere. Meanwhile the Science & Entertainment Exchange website, describes it as a program of the National Academy of Sciences, “providing entertainment industry professionals with access to top scientists and engineers to help bring the reality of cutting-edge science to creative and engaging storylines”.

Amusing to think that what’s wrong with Hollywood movies is the science – and the idea that fixing the science would somehow make the movies better is completely hilarious. What I’m left wondering about now is how other interest groups and areas of intellectual speciality could offer their services to film writers and producers in order to secure more accurate representation. We can imagine a lobby group of office workers or the homeless for example, or perhaps human beings in general could get together as a lobbying group to provide information about the reality of human existence in service of more creative and engaging storylines.

Haunted too by the idea that only when Holywood is 100% accurate on all topics will we be able to sleep comfortably in our beds (or cinema seats).


Nice presentation from Sydney Padua at The Story conference last week about her great Lovelace and Babbage webcomic, which included diagrams like the one half way down this page.

Broken World

17 February 2010

Cover for the German edition of The Broken World above. It’s out in May. Interesting translation questions filtering through from my friend Astrid who is working on it, following her translation for the lovely German edition of Endland. Detail below.

BW German Cover Details


15 February 2010

You know you are in Tokyo when the dawn brings with it an electronic chorus of speaking voices from screens and speakers, the sound addressing the gray light in the more or less empty streets and crossings – a song awaiting its intended ears. The city speaking to itself about pedestrians who are only just starting to emerge. Babbling and enjoining them to cross or to stay still, to buy goods or services, to buy themselves a better life. From where you lie – in a bed in room on the 12th floor of a hotel linked directly to Shibuya – this sound comes to you blown on the wind, in erratic wisps and gusts, with the slowly emerging traffic sounds and the wind itself, the light slipping in gently from round the edges of the plasticised curtains.


Coming home. Taxi conveys a cargo of passengers from London to Sheffield, adults and kids all sleeping all the way. A strange cargo these slumberers, all limb curled and eyes closed, in another timezone than the driver, daylight immune, dreaming, sleepfidgeting.