Monday, August 18, 2008

Publish and be Damned

I had a very enjoyable time at Publish and be Damned the other weekend. I couldn't go last year and I was amazed at how much it had grown in two years. It had spilled out into the couryard of Rochelle School, onto the lawn and up the stairs no less. And at 2.00pm on a Sunday afternoon in Shoreditch It was also rammed. So rammed the small far room was bottle-necked.

In case you don't know P&bD is the annual self-publishing fair and comprised some 80 participants for 2008 with output ranging from simple black and white fanzines to full-blown glossy colour mags with all manner of badges, scrapbooks, stickers and posters inbetween. Some of it funny, some serious, but all of it hardwon out of personal passion.

We saw some favourites like Transition's Arty and Garageland, Rachel Cattle, Sartorial's The Rebel, Laura Oldfield-Ford's Savage Messiah and Steven Willat's beautifully designed Control. Timothy Winchester was there with People Like Us, which was a nice suprise. He gave us free zines and stickers and Tomato Selleck badges. Tomato Selleck is a tomato with a Magnum PI moustache who has his own Facebook page and travels the world (one is encouraged to take photos of Tomato in foreign locales and post them). I also enjoyed Alex Zamora's Fever zine which I had not come across before. Sadly no Sarah Doyle this year (but I wore one of her badges to the fair) or Tangent, which is taking a rest while Tangent Projects gets up and running.

For the first time P&bD have published a guide to the participants. It sits on my coffee table and I'm picking it up from time to time. It looks like something challenging one might have bought from Compendium Books on Camden High St at the end of the 80's, or David Robilliard's 'Inevitable', self-published by Gilbert & George. I'm a sucker for black and white things in A5, with artful photos, perhaps a dash of red typeface and lots of Times New Roman.

Needless to say I left the fair with a tonnage of zines. I spent £25 and as most things are £2 or £3 my arms were flapping with papers in the rainstorm we got caught in afterwards. I think people are hungry for hand-made material. Perhaps it's a natural reaction to an overbearance of the internet.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

David Hoyle in Oz

As a discerning London culture-vulture you will have noticed The Wizard of Oz, the musical, is showing at the Festival Hall; it's had some decidely lukewarm reviews, despite housing the delectable Adam Cooper who I once met backstage at the Piccadilly Theatre wearing only his underpants (God, that Swan Lake was brilliant: I saw it six times, including it's opening in LA).

There is however an alternative Oz on Friday nights; a cabaret treat for the grown-ups after the main event. Last week's turn was a collaboration between David Hoyle and Nathan Evans: 'We're Not in Kansas Anymore'. It was a new production created specially and Dickie Beau was superb as a slightly sinister Dorothy complete with stuffed Toto. It also starred Fred Bear from Bearlesque, Thom Shaw and Fancy Chance. David was the Wizard, at first looming large and green as a projection on a makeshift screen before taking to the stage in full top-hat and satin tails in a blast of bombast and confrontation.

It was a riotous show, and not for the kids. Needless to say the Wizard of Oz story got lost but there were a good many of those nihilistic diatribes we all love, and much throwing of shapes, nudity and artful posturing. Much use of the word 'Cunt' too, generally by David hectoring audience members who dared to talk during his act. In such moments he's utterly poisonous but completely hilarious. The costumes were great: my favourite was the psychedelic body-suit David wore with a green face and hands and his hair full of what looked like dead-birds. He looked like an insane 1970's housewife on drugs who had been dragged through a hedge. The evening climaxed with body painting session with the cast orgiastically rolling around on a massive canvas before the power was cut and David lead a mass exodus with a loudhailer (cast AND audience), outside to the South Bank where the performance petered out in the South Bank fountains. It was as strange as it sounds. A bit like being off your face at a love-in hosted by the Brixton Fairies and mugged at the same time.

The show was even more brilliant for being in the polite confines of the Festival Hall ballroom. There must have been people who had popped along for a free truncated Wizard of Oz only to find themselves in the midst of some very queer proceedings. We had a few walk-outs near us... Horrah! Needless to say David lives to challenge middling world-views and long may he procrastinate.

Foto nicked from Joe Pop's facebook.
Also see David Hoyle chronicler A.M. Hanson's blog

Friday, August 01, 2008

Musique en Plein Air

There's been very little to report from the bohemian underground recently but I have been very social, mainly at outdoor music things like o2 wireless, (g)Lovebox and Ben and Jerry's, so the last few weekends have been a sort of musical summery blur with lashings of pear cider and extreme hay fever.

My favourite gig-thing so far, apart from Siouxsie at o2, has been Sebastian Tellier at Glovebox... He's all Parisian posturing, Prog Rock indulgences and analogue synths in overdrive. Right up my alley, frankly. I loved his keyboard player too, in his full leather with oversized-Raybans and a fag on, twiddling his Moog in a very cool, very keyboard-player-ish sort of way. Like a French Nick Rhodes. And it's not over yet with Field Day next week and then 'V'. I still can't get my head round shorts and sandals though, so if you see someone tottering around V dressed all in black with a tootal scarf and utterly inappropriate cuban heels that'll be me!

The pic is Sebastian Tellier reclining on his piano, courtesy of Crazy G.