Sunday, 10 August 2008

The Shuffle/Utter! Dalston

We have some upcoming shows. On 30th August, I'll be performing at The Shuffle. All the information you need is in the picture below. I'll be performing poems from a particular narrative sequence that follows the adventures of Caligula after he evades assassination by means of involuntary, spontaneous time travel.

One day later, 31st August, Kirsty will be reading at Utter! Dalston. All the information you need is here. If you can't be bothered to click that link, it's a 5pm start, costs £5 and takes place at the Arcola theatre, 27 Arcola Street, London, E8 2DJ. Interesting fact: The photo they've used in the poster was taken by my sister, under instructions from me. For some reason, at the time I thought it would suit Kirsty to have roses in her face and a shed in the background. Poor K.

Publish and be Damned *2*

Further to our previous post on the Publish and be Damned event, here are some photos of us and the Arts Pneumonia stall. In the red wig is Kirsty, in the branded t-shirt is me, manning the stall is Arts Pneumonia editor Jet Payne, and browsing the publications is Jody Porter, editor of Zafusy and curator of 14 Hour.

All photos courtesy of Jet, since we forgot our cameras.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Wall-E: a prose poetry review

For the past two weeks, I've been afraid a robot would break my heart. Ever since the trailers and the hopeful, inquisitive offering of a name. The correct spelling to recreate this, we have concluded, is “WaaaAAllee”.

Sure enough, despite fierce parries against tears at the absolutely lonely little roller's fate, I sat beeling like a stabbed water main by the end, grateful for the long credits and dim lights.

The things you can do with inferred eyes, bleeps and the clasping and unclasping of metal fingers.

Wall-E is already making number one in top movie robot lists. He is slapstick goof, tenacious underdog and affectionate, upbeat hero in one, and though his situation is almost painful in its desolation, Pixar never let Wall-E feel sorry for himself. No turn to the audience, no sad eyes and upturned palms, imploring them to join him in an “awwww” chorus. He just gets on with it, and once he finds his “Eeeevvaaa”, Wall-E risks everything without even running it past his processors first.

Many Short Circuit fans have complained that Wall-E is a straight skim of Johnny 5, compacted into loveable stumpiness, much as the bot himself crushes Himalayas of trash, before arranging them into towers as high as a doomed game of Tetris. While there is a likeness, this seems an odd critique. But then, most robots believe Ed Norton is a rip-off of the design mould used for Brad Pitt.

The humans, the humans. Odious and occasionally likeable. Some problems with the biology, and yes, better before we met them. Nice in-jokes and references to sci-fi leviathans like '2001: a Space Odyssey' – a nod to adults that it's OK to like this.

Disney does not do apocalypse. Disney had not done apocalypse till Wall-E. Being Disney, they had to sugar the pill with optimism, but honestly, I think I needed that, so as not to melt like Dorothy's witch, or fold to the floor in a ball. 'Wall-E' got me like 'Flowers For Algernon' got me, and yanked out a surprising scarf-string of emotions for such a short film. And while I respect cockroaches, I've never felt tender towards one before.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Published and be Damned and The Arts Pneumonia

Yesterday Kirsty and I went along to Publish and be Damned, an annual fair for independent arts publications held at the Rochelle School in Shoreditch. It was packed with Xeroxed or home-printed 'zines, bumper glossies, broadsheets and books, plus branded bags, badges, t-shirts and other tantalising extras. Generally geared more towards the alt, avant-garde and visual arts side of things (which can, admittedly, become a little exhausting) there was nevertheless much to keep the two of us hooked and we came home with a good haul of treasures. We caught up with Impulsive Random Platform, each issue of which is produced with a different twist. The latest comes with a free DVD (and the option to attend a free screening), while number 7 is a fold-out screenprint poster edition. We also bought a copy of Emitron, 'an occasional micropaper', and Donkeyhead, a smartly produced comic by Daniel Baker.

Fuselit didn't have a stall of its own, but Jet Payne of The Arts Pneumonia kindly offered us a space on her stall, and we sold a few more copies of Fox. It's only fair (no pun intended), therefore, that we feature The Arts Pneumonia on Cut Out & Keep.

Inspired by Dada publications and produced in sumptuous A4 size, The Arts Pneumonia shares its origins with Fuselit, beginning life on the campus of the University of East Anglia and then moving to London. Jet and Jessica Warde were the founders, and the journal is now edited by a team of five with a large array of contributors. The content is altogether eclectic, centering around visual art and the accompanying articles, reviews and interviews but also incorporating poetry and creative prose. Other elements are too distinct to sum up; the latest issue, for instance, has a feature on 'soullessness' made up of reader's emails and contributions.

The Arts Pneumonia also maintains strong links with other journals and for Publish and be Damned, they produced five special edition issues curated by the likes of Jody Porter at Zafusy, featuring a wide variety of content. It's worth keeping a close eye on them, if for no other reason than you might miss out on limited extras like these and because their range of ambition speaks volumes.