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arts+culture creative thought and new ideas [no2]


lost issue

The theory is simple: run your own arts business.

I recently received a letter congratulating me on becoming Company Director of Butterside Down Ltd. This was a bit of a shock as somewhere in the insane workload of the last month I’d actually forgotten that I owned a company at all. I can’t for the life of me remember what possessed me to start one, apart from the fact that self-made business is a bit of a family trait. You’d think that having watched my step-father bent, sweating and increasingly mad, over a desk for the last ten years making his a success might have put me off. The satisfaction of being your own boss? Flexible hours? All these myths and more, it’s a total lie. Running your own company, especially in these times of economic trouble, is like taking a dip in shark-infested caustic soda. Still, for some improbable reason, the idea was like a fat worm dangling in front of a small fish, and speaking of small fish, ever seen how big the pond is? Every Tom, Dick, Harry and Butterside Down wants to run their own business in the Arts. It’s ‘fun’, it’s ‘different’, it’s feast-or-famine and that dramatic mentality suits a surprising number of otherwise sensible people who even know about things like pensions and regular meals. If only I could figure out what the hell I’m supposed to be doing with it. ‘All-rounder’ is, I believe, the polite term for chronic indecisiveness. Visual art? Fabulous, let’s throw in some theatre too, maybe a bit of musical composition and some photography… filming? Ok, we’ll give that a shot… sorry, how many of you are there? Ah well, there’s the managing director, which is me, and then there’s the company secretary, which is also me, and then you have your basic grunt workers who all bear a striking and completely coincidental likeness to myself. I receive letters reminding me to update my office address details online and I stare blankly at the wall and wonder how to describe my bedroom; I gravitate to attics like a kind of goblin so perhaps I could describe it as an attic conversion? Loft space? Studio? Anyway, once the dizzying rush of having your company name on paper passes (and it does, really fast) you are confronted with the sheer enormity of red tape and slog required to make it work. All of a sudden you find you’re liable for things like ‘annual returns’ and ‘outgoings’ and other sinister syllables, spidering illegibly across some official-looking documents.


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cover image: Falling Figure by Clare Flint. see pages 16-17 for more

There are people to meet, opportunities to take, decisions to be made, important contact information to be mislaid. Even if, by some miracle, you do manage to get anything done, you then have to rely on other people to take it to the next stage of development, which means persuading someone that whatever it is you’re doing is worth more than you not doing it. The theory is simple: start company, generate work, produce to high standard, become modestly successful in your chosen field. The reality is checking your email every 15 minutes for late submissions, rejection letters; polite yet frosty brush-offs crowding your inbox like a gaggle of grumpy grannies, changing dates, cancellations, invites that you can’t make and hysterical spam endorsing a Swedish penile enhancer. Is it still worth it? Oh yes, because occasionally in the minefield of artistry you receive the letter/email/phonecall that makes the whole damn thing worthwhile. It says ‘Yes’ or ‘I love it!’ or ‘Can you make coffee on Tuesday and we’ll talk more’ and a lithe, green stem of hope unfurls in your chest like a sprouting fern, tickling your lungs and titillating your throat until it builds into a shriek that reverberates around the house as you leap from room to room hugging anyone who happens to be around, even if they’re delivering a parcel for someone who doesn’t live there anymore. It’s stressful and unrewarding and competitive and ego-destroying and I love it fiercely. It’s probably deeply uncool of me to say that. Surely us arty types are supposed to lounge around in our loft spaces (ha!), binge-drinking and talking nonchalantly about the stigma of poverty. How strange, I was under the impression that the vast majority of us work extremely hard to be rejected at almost every turn, scraping by on faint praise, ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ publicity, and ‘keep your eyes wide open and you still won’t see any’ funding. Sometimes I wake up and stare at the ceiling, my limbs leaden and sluggish, and wonder what the hell I think I’m doing; I used to work in Marketing and Health and Safety web development, what happened? I’ll tell you what happened, I spent four days locked in my bedroom with some LED lighting and a 3.2 megapixel camera-phone and my life has never been the same since. Natasha Kuler-von-der-Luhe. FEB 2009

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a n c i e n t m y s t i c a l culture Annalisa Cantoni is a 24-year-old writer and digital artist living in Devon, her work explores the ancient mystical culture of shamanism and its dialogue with our 21st century, contemporary lives. She has recently returned from exploring the dreamtime in the heart of Mexico. For more information on her magical adventures visit www.annatheother.blogspot.com


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(in order of appearance)

The Theory is Simple

page 2

Ancient mystical culture

page 4

In Glad Compagnie

page 6

Ideas factory

page 8

Natasha Kuler-von-der-Luhe on setting up and running your own arts business Annalisa Cantoni’s photos explore shama nism

Julia Thomas talks to Natasha Kuler-von-der-Luhe about reviving our ancient musical heritage

Apparently, performers, poets, musicians, artists, filmmakers and really well-dressed people gather at the Umbrella Factory, a monthly arts meeting in Exeter

The Tabernacle Arts Café

page 10

Growing our future

page 12

Sam Morris interview

page 14

Clare Flint

page 16

Tales from the Cryptic

page 18


page 20

Paragon Gallery

page 23

Poetry Field of dreams

page 24 page 26


page 28


page 30

Tabernacle, strange to gabble: Babble, boggle, botch and bungle! Ffion Farnell reports on a group of artists working with the community for change under the name Growing Our Future

Natasha Kuler-von-der-Luhe speaks to the man behind the Theatre Alchemists

There’s something classical about the painter’s images of a descent into hell “This interview sets out to uncover the ideas, the projects and the future but not the secretive and elusive artists.”

by Tom Stephens. Chapter one of a novel in progress… Emma Bishop has openned a new contemporary gallery on Exeter’s Gandy Street

What is Antony Gormley 40,000 clay figures of the Field all about?

Ali Jones talks to Natasha Kuler-von-der-Luhe about South Westerly folk foursome Spin-2 Make sure you always get a copy of arts+culture and contribute to the arts scene

images, from the top: Clare Flint, p26; Theatre Alechemists, p14, Tabernacle Arts, p10; Compagnie Giulia, p6; Umbrella Factory, p8

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In Glad Compagnie Julia Thomas, voice of medieval and traditional band Compagnie Giulia, talks to Natasha Kuler-von-der-Luhe about mixing multi-cultural melodies and reviving our ancient musical heritage What is Compagnie Giulia? Well, it’s a group of people who’ve come together to play music that they really enjoy, a lot of medieval tunes and music from, well, the Near-East I suppose you’d call it; Greece, Armenia, Turkey etc, with a nice Arabic influence too. There’s myself, I play a motley collection of instruments; the Leicestershire small pipes, the concertina, and I also sing, Simon Cassell, a brilliant percussionist and singer who brings a lot of the Eastern music to us, he hardly ever sings in English, actually. Howard Frey, Mike Edwards, and Nick Millington, an expert in Greek music who plays the bouzouki. Howard and I had been playing Tudor and medieval music for many years. We tended to get bookings at banquets, weddings and National Trust events. Then, in 2005, we were invited to play at a big medieval wedding in Tintagel, and it seemed a good chance to get a couple of people we wanted to play with on board. That’s when Nick and Simon joined us. We’d also been playing for a while with Mike Edwards, who plays the bass viol, so we got a bit of a set together and went from there really. Meg Compton sang with us up until last Christmas, but sadly she’s a bit tied up to sing with us regularly now. Meg and I sung together for many years, at least 10 years I’d say, and we enjoy harmonising together, but it’s hard for her to keep making the rehearsal trips from Exeter with her full-time job. We did manage to get together at Christmas though, and played a couple of evenings of traditional festive music. It’s a lovely rag-tag collective of musical styles. Howard plays the mandolin and


percussion, having learned a lot from Simon, who also keeps us all in time. He’s been very helpful in teaching us to cope with unusual rhythms. Mike brings his classical background as well as his experience with the ELO. He’s been a great teacher for us as well, especially the string players. He’s helped us refine our sound a lot. Nick brings his Greek repertoire, he’s also a good folk player by ear, and he picks things up quickly. We all bring our individual talents together and see what we can create out of them, it’s true team work. We played our debut concert in April 2006 at St Johns Church in Bridgetown, and the following year we played quite a few concerts in South Devon. Last year we went as far as North Devon. So we’re trying to spread ourselves a bit further from our base. This year we are playing a concert in Bath. We seem to have gathered a bit of a following; we do have a mailing list, and are often asked when we’re next playing locally. I became interested in medieval music as I was playing a bit of folk and began to get interested in Tudor music. I’ve always been interested in Olde and Middle English words and lyrics, and I try and set them to music if they appeal to me. Even now I’m still looking further back into medieval music and song for buried treasure. I started composing seriously about 1998. It’s rewarding work because it feels as though you’re helping to keep these beautiful words alive in today’s world. Obviously, I try and give the music a traditional feel but also hope that it appeals to a wider audience.

It’s funny, you wouldn’t think there were many medieval bands about, but when you’re in that business you know quite a few of them, but I suppose it is niche music really. We released the album in 2007. We get banquets and those kinds of events quite regularly, surprisingly there are quite a few of them about. We don’t play the exact medieval instruments, but we try and make the music sound as authentic as possible, without rarifying the sound. I think that with such an unusual musical style it’s important to make it as accessible as we can. This is our time of year when we research new melodies and practice, practice, practice. We also keep an eye out for local events and possible venues. Last year we played at Tiverton Festival and will be again in May. Last year we played a Sunday afternoon in Kingsbridge in the bandstand, we were lucky enough to get one of the few fine days of the year. Are there plans for a future album? Well, somebody has offered to record us, but I can’t promise anything. It would be lovely to do something new, perhaps a Christmas album of traditional festive tunes too as we keep getting asked. I’m working on a project at the moment to bring out a book of my own ‘medieval’ tunes, so it would be nice to record them and make a cd that could go with the book. We’re hoping to spruce up our website soon with some new recordings as well. We’re on MySpace, but our own website is still being built really, you know how these things get put on the backburner. But we’re going strong, and looking forward to more opportunities to bring this ancient music out of hiding and give it a new voice.

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Ideas factory Simply put, the Umbrella Factory is a monthly arts event at the Hub, Mary Arches Street, Exeter. Packed full of performers, poets, musicians, artists, filmmakers and really well-dressed people, the Factory is a relaxed platform for new ideas to take shape, for first-time performers and seasoned acts to iron out their creases in a friendly space full of like-minded individuals. During the short time I’ve been turning up at the event I’ve seen a host of new artwork on the walls, reels of fresh poetry being recited, an opera singer with a smoking lung and a zombie singing downbeat summer classics. Originally, says Matt Ashford, (one half of the dynamic duo responsible for all this creative chaos) it was held in the City Gate Cellar bar, but despite the great atmosphere, it proved unsuitable for an arty crowd who have to save up to buy bread, let alone a vodka, in one of the city’s swankier bars, so it relocated to the punk-ish depths of the Hub (formerly Three Fat Fish).

“We wanted to create a springboard for new work, anything really – poetry, visual art, short films, cabaret, live music – we wanted to attract quite a diverse range of people,” says Matt. “Myself and Phil Wyatt devised the factory about a-year-and-a-half ago now, and it’s been slowly expanding ever since. “Recently we’ve been in touch with a few new filmmakers around Devon and Cornwall, and I think it’s pretty exciting to be promoting that with the Umbrella Factory. Really, it’s an opportunity for artists who are continuously creating and want to test the waters and try out new ideas in a low-key environment. “We have a few regulars, but a constant stream of new acts and ideas too. It’s a huge amount of hard work to bring it all together, but we still see a longterm future in it. “Our plan this year is to actually take it on tour, perhaps for three months on a planned route around the UK, and a few of our regular performers are involved in the Exmouth Festival in May. “We don’t make much out of it right now, it’s all done out of our own pockets and we can’t afford to give our artists anything more than petrol money, although we are reapplying for funding again this year, the Arts Council gave us £150 when we started out.” Performers who just keep coming back for more include the DJ set Birds, Orphans and Fools, artist Benoit Bennet, veteran of performance poetry Steve Smith and shape-shifting character Helena Troy (real name Helen Herman, 29), who I first clapped eyes on as she gently persuaded passers-by to try out ‘Tie Massage’, a relaxing shoulder rub whist wearing a selection of Tie Rack’s finest, at the September 2008 event. Helen, how did you get involved in this all-you-cancreate finger-buffet? “I first saw Matt performing poetry at The Picturehouse as part of promotion for an arts evening. It seemed such a great opportunity to get involved in creating performance pieces, something I’d been particularly interested in since moving to Exeter. “So I went along to the first one after Matt gave me a slot, and I’ve been there ever since. It was a lovely mix of different people sharing their work and a great creative audience. I was eager to get more work done and try out some new stuff, making good use of the space. I didn’t even have to be on stage, I could take what I was doing around the venue and get to know everyone. It’s fantastic for first-timers and new work because it’s so non-judgemental.” Matt nods distractedly as he deftly rolls a cigarette. “Yeah, it’s pretty laid back, without being a shambles, and as word gets around it’s getting bigger. I know that community is a bit of a buzzword at the moment, but we think it does foster a sense of artistic community in Exeter, we wanted to open it up a bit more to include artists from outside Devon too. We’re looking around for a new venue now as well.” Oh? “Yes, we have been offered a Chinese Takeaway.” Really, for the Umbrella Factory? “That’s right, Blue Dragon? No, hang on, Bamboo Gardens… Blue Dragon’s a soy sauce.” by Natasha Kuler-von-der-Luhe


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Flyers and photos from and inspired by the Umbrella Factory

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The Tabernacle Arts Café Tabernacle, strange to gabble: Babble, boggle, botch and bungle! What does it mean, this sonancy, This rhythmic, metric harmony That’s formed of beating tab-er-nak-uhl With gums for drums and tongue for knuckle? A place of blessed benediction, Of exaltation and appreciation Of that which we worship and revere: Art and passion; friends and beer. A meeting house of minds that aspire To lift our heads and hearts up higher! A tabernacle’s a place for what you hold sacred. For us, that’s the arts and a damn fine beverage. So we’ve created a concept – let’s make it clear: A building, some people, their dreams and ideas, Be they plays or performance, a cappella or craft, Whether weighty and crucial or light-hearted and daft. It’s also a café; we’ll get some great cakes, Sit ‘round chalkboard tables and scribble our names. We’ll gather and group, share stories and smiles And see art in action every once in a while. Please come in and join us, at least check it out. We’re sure once you’ve been here you’ll be quite devout! It opens in April, the month before May, The perfect time for a spring tidal new way Of making mates, mochas, music and merriment, Of contributing creatively to the communal sacrament. You don’t need to be arty or owt else for that matter, Just pop into 8 Coombe Street for some food and a natter. We welcome all comers, all creeds and all kinds. The point is we’re building the ties that bind A community together and we trust you will see


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You will be entertained by the art that’s on offer And delighted by our coffee’s delicious fresh flavour, We’ll even host classes and workshops if you’re keen To develop your skills in ways previously unseen. Upstairs we’ve got spaces for making and learning Everything from knitting to singing and twirling. The thing is a tabernacle’s a shrine for the soul, A place for all of the things that you extol, It’s somewhere to meet a community of minds But tabernacle has one final meaning to find: It’s the box in a boat that holds the heel of a mast, A solid foundation that supports and holds fast. You see, the café hopes to hold you at its centre, To hold you aloft and to be your erector. You are the mast and the sails and the spars. The rigging, the booms and the signals – they’re not ours. But combined there is nothing that we can’t create Wonderful things will happen when we collaborate! Let’s embark on this maiden voyage as it’s about time That Devon’s rich treasures we started to mine Like partisan pirates with bounty given not taken At the Tabernacle Arts Café our city will awaken So roll up and hole up in our homely trinity Of inspiration, creativity and opportunity. By Bonnie Molins For more on the Tabernacle Arts Café, visit www.tabernaclecafe.co.uk

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That we’re friendly, neighbourly and nice as can be. We may make a home for artists and artisans But we embrace the full spectrum of Exeter’s clans.

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Growing our future Since March 2008 a group of artists have come together as catalysts of change, to work with the local community, the secondary school, primary schools, local universities and local professionals under the name Growing Our Future. Ffion Farnell reports Growing Our Future is a Community Garden project located at Okehampton College, Devon, but is stretching its roots out into local community sites also, bringing people together with a common goal Growing Our Future demonstrates the sharing of values, skills and perhaps most importantly, time, crossing generation, class, culture and gender. The heart of the project is focused on developing healthy and sustainable communities that will exist long into the future. By actively being part of the project, students and community members will gain first-hand experience of working with the land, working with their community, understanding the climate, rearing animals and growing food. The garden acts as a positive and empowering place to facilitate communal discussion, forward thinking and positive action in relation to the current environmental, social and economic situations that we are faced with. These experiences aim to motivate and engage people in a process of self-development and an awareness of what is possible, highlighting the solutions we hold in the palm of our hands, in the mud we tread on. And replace the doom and gloom apocalyptic visions the media often portray with joyous celebrations of the passing of seasons, of friendships made, remedies formulated, and a re-connection to the rhythms of life, and the awe inspiring patterns of nature. By utilizing the diverse language of growing food within a creative context those involved with the project will expand their understanding of the processes related to food and energy, while inviting positive solutions to such topics as peak oil, climate change, food security, economic instability and social health. The garden also actively contributes to a bio-diverse environment, creating habitats and resources for life. Sustainable techniques are being used in the garden, including Permaculture, Agro Forestry, Community Supported Agriculture and Organic Gardening, and it will host native organic edible plants and fruit trees. There will also be a selection of plants with medicinal properties, natural fertilizers and edible wild species.


These processes will promote ideas of living directly from the land – from spade to fork. At present those involved with Growing Our Future are working towards garden/ curriculum integration, with the creation of a research booklet that is being put into practice from the summer term. The garden is linked with 11 local primary schools, as well as local businesses and trades people. We have regular celebratory community events as well as diverse workshops and talks. It is hoped that by the end of the first year on site, growing our future will have provided a concise blue print of how to successfully integrate theses concepts and solutions into our

communities, a blueprint that can be utilized by groups all over the UK and further a field in an attempt to co-operatively resolve some of the problems our society is facing. The second year of the project will see an eco build happening on the site, where community workshops and rainy-day lessons can be held. There have already been numerous workshops held for both school pupils and the local community since September when the growing our future team moved onto site. For more information contact Ffion Farnell and Beth Hamer at growingourfuture@gmail.com

pictures by Hayley Walsh

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Art and Ecology: Social participatory practice and environmental alchemy.

What does this have to do with the art world, surely a garden has more relevance in Gardeners’ World. The answer lies within the guise of ‘socially engaged arts practice’, creative participatory projects bringing opportunities of collective materialization of ideas and the belief that by utilizing the tools of the artist, we can work within any medium to bring theory into practice, concept into reality. When discussing the ‘tools of the artist’ we are, perhaps, referring mainly to that of the ‘creative process’, taking these experiences out of the studio and into the hands of the community. By experimenting with and experiencing various forms of creative materialisation the artists has learned a powerful method and by facilitating collective grass-root opportunities to bring these qualities into the public realm, the artist can offer an incredibly beneficial perceptual and experiential tool for society as a whole. Society has de-saturated our means of creativity, basic creation processes our ancestors would have experienced have been replaced with consumption. Clothes, food and other goods that we once would have made ourselves are now industrially produced. It could be said that art has been taken out of our communities and placed in the toolbox of the capitalist money lord. To delve further we see these creative processes offering us many psychological and societal gifts: the chance to work with and through a material (making good judgements about qualitative relationships) to find various solutions, perspectives and experiences. It offers us an engagement and understanding of the energy needed to produce items, it offers us an outlet for expression, often allowing us to say what cannot be said through the limits of language, and put very simply shows us how to make something out of nothing, an over-all experience which is believed to be soothing and empowering to the human psyche, creation of course being linked to the fundamental aspects of what it is to be human. Perhaps one of the main objectives of the socially-engaged artist is to do just this, to re-integrate these processes into our societies, and utilise these consequential experiences for enhancing social skills and relationships; believing a culture thrives when it has means to expression. To fully investigate these ideas Growing our future has an artist residency scheme, inviting professional artists who are exploring some of the most innovative responses to climate change and the way we use our finite resources, to work in, around and with the people of Okehampton. Artists are being asked to respond to Okehampton as site involving the growing/distribution/preparation or eating of food within their residency. Each residency has a different focus but common to all must be the inclusion of a focus on creative community-based solutions to climate change. Artists must include an element of socially engaged participatory practice in their proposal that allows local people to work with them The aim of this part of the project is to inspire local people with ideas that they can use in their own lives and within the garden. Artists and practitioners will bring new and traditional skills, ideas and passion to Okehampton. As well as creating accessible ways in to these ideas for people from all walks of life. Other more practical workshops will explore setting up useable systems that can be continued by the community into the future, for example building a wind turbine from scrap, building cob ovens, making raised beds or community composting etc. We are keen to hear off anyone who has an interest in these ideas, from any discipline. I hope that this article has offered an insight into our hopes for positive social change and our reasons for believing that by working together we can make for a brighter tomorrow for ourselves, and for our loved ones not yet born. In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, we will understand only what we are taught. (Baba Dioum, Senegalese Conservationist) Ffion Farnell, Arts participation worker and Growing our future project manager

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Sam Morris of the Theatre Alchemists talks to Natasha Kuler-von-der-Luhe How did the Theatre alchemists happen? Well, I’d been wanting to put together a show in the third year of university, but the student theatre company wasn’t really the right environment because they seemed to be producing very ‘safe’ theatre. There wasn’t any emphasis on new writing and no one seemed willing to take any real risks. So, I thought, the hell with it, I’ll do it myself. I put together a production team, and adapted it with my then-girlfriend, we put together a cast of 14 for the show, which is pretty big for a first-time production, but thankfully the uni setting made that possible. Money was tight and we were working with hardly any set or props, it was a really tiny budget and we mostly relied on the kindness of passing strangers, but most people were very willing to get involved and give up their time for it. We spent about five months overall organising it. As we wrote it and worked more closely with the cast, this asthetic emerged that was based around storytelling and the idea that adults need to remember how to appreciate stories that aren’t ‘packaged’ as a specific genre or a TV soap. You don’t really get simple, engaging stories for adults anymore,


and I think that a lot of the magic of storytelling has disappeared. We emphasised the fantasy element with colourful, larger-than-life characters, we also had three live musicians, and I like to use live music wherever possible. We try, with the set, props and costumes etc, to create a kind of ‘hyper-reality’, it is fantasy after all, so there’s no reason to present it as naturalistic. The idea is really to ask people to engage with their imaginations like children when they’re being told a story. We enjoyed modest success and decided to take it on tour that summer, performing 12 dates aound the South West, sometimes on beaches and other unusual, spontaneous spaces. Having formed the asthetic form, the storytelling basis, we took it and ran really. The next show was Icarus and Daedalus in March 2008, which I really enjoyed as it worked off a mythic structure and there was so much potential to get people involved in a really ancient bit of story-telling. In keeping with performing in new spaces, this was shown in Sidwell Street Methodist Church, which is a fantastic, fun building to work in. Places like that take people outside their own expectations of theatre – it seems

more of an adventure somehow, and I think that feeling encourages people to be a lot more open to new theatrical experience. Our third show was the Just-So stories, performed in the ruins by the Exe bridges. It felt great to be playing in an outdoor space because it makes it more accessible to the general public. People can bring picnics and be in a relaxed setting, while all this crazy story-telling is happening around them. Again, I think it takes the edge off this idea of ‘normal’ theatre, (ie sitting in an auditorium), and really lets people play around in their imaginations, it’s a lot less rigid. Do you have any ideas for future projects? Maybe a new one in March, which at the moment is looking like possibly being a oneperson show. I’m torn between two productions, which are both examples of new writing as we explore creating a script, and not just working with adaptations. One is with a large cast which would be great because I really enjoy working like that. The whole show is told through soundscape as the audience is placed inside the head of a blind person, so not only have you got the outside sounds, but also the chaotic inner monologue,

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What are your main obstacles to creating community theatre? The main problem is finding the space to do it. A new announcement that the Arts Council will expect another huge funding cut in 2010 means it’s not a great time for smallscale theatre, because who, in reality, has got enough time and expertise to get the forms and funding together?

Big production values are out of the question at the moment, and that’s where social arts project CreateSpace somes in as it would give people like me a place to work, and devise new community theatre, giving new writing a chance, and having the opportunity to work at a professional level without the associated cost. Because without something as essential as good rehearsal space, it’s hard to see how it’s going to survive. I don’t like the fact theatre relies so much on subsidy, so few companies make money off their own back and that means that good, accessible performances are often sporadic and disjointed. I think that community theatre really can work to near-professional standard as long as you have the two most valuable things: time and space. We’ve always enjoyed good audience turnout and really good reception, even to the point of apparently giving people a renewed interest in theatre. But in order to build up a recurring audience and keep that feeling alive we have to do more. The nature of threatre requires that people give it their all to make it great, it won’t survive for long with half measures.

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the complex mental levels that make really a person. I love this idea as it would draw people in to an intricate story, but with no discernable stage or actors. Another idea being worked on currently is about a man who goes out wandering and finds reciepts that people have dropped and makes meals out of the food items on the reciepts. As he does he imagines the people who would eat those things. This would involve the use of a working oven on stage, as he is actually making the meal as part of the performance. It’s a way of trying to really immerse the audience through the sensory perception of smell, which is apparently our most primal and complex sense in the way it intimately interacts with other brain functions, especially memory.


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Clare Flint Clare Flint’s first big show had her characters revolving around Dante’s Inferno, suffering in the seven rings of hell. Her latest work is a stage removed, now the poor souls are hurtling towards limbo. Clare says there’s a Renaissance influence in her work, and the colours, the luminous quality of the paint and the poses would certainly attest to that, and they would work well as stained glass – but not for any of your happy clappy churches. These images belong somewhere less assured – they aren’t cherubs floating in the air, these are people falling from grace, and the Italian school would not have allowed their subjects such a hopeless unhappy ever after. There’s a contemporary tone to the paintings, who can’t identify with these poor souls, and at the same time feel a little smug – that’s not us falling, after all. But you get the impression that we’re just waiting for the fall, if we haven’t started that descent already. Of her earlier, Dante-driven, work she said: “People see different things in my paintings and relate to the characters in dissimilar ways. Some viewers are returning to view the paintings to unravel them further. “Several people have told me the work really gets them thinking and is a challenge.” The fuller figures of her latest work, which had the working title Suspension, and was shown with Simon Ruscoe’s sculptures in a show called Call of the Lost, are heavy weights held up by air. Both Clare and Simon were looking to leave the South West – Clare having toiled in a tiny studio for seven or eight years, before the co-operativeesque Exeter Artspace project allowed them the workshop space and creative breadth they were after. Clare said: “Exeter Artspace has been brilliant. It’s brought Exeter alive for us. It was just what we needed. We were thinking about having to move to London, because there was nothing like that here, but now we can stay and give it a go.” But what of those characers, always falling – will they ever reach the first ring of hell... or is that the point. arts+culture live tweeted from Clare Flint’s Call of the Lost. Check out website for more shenanigansº


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Tales from the Cryptic Birds, Orphans and Fools / Etcetera / Hidden Cinema / Hector and Claude; an anonymous artistic protagonist known only as D.C.B has for several years been working under these headings and pseudonyms in and around Exeter with his girlfriend and various other key individuals. This interview sets out to uncover the ideas, the projects and the future but not the secretive and elusive artists. To help understand a little more about these projects, Manchester lad D.C.B. and his girlfriend R.H., take each other to task over their creative brainchildren. R: How long is dinner going to be?, I’m f*****g starving. D: Not long, but we need to finish this interview before we eat. R: Well, if you can find me a little paintbrush then we can carry on. D: Ok ready? Shall we begin? I’m out of wine! R: Looks like I won’t be drinking all that brandy then! So why are you appearing in this magazine? D: Well, the sub-editor came to a Hidden Cinema screening in the basement of the Hourglass and was interested in hearing about what we do. R: Right then, you can start by talking about the Hidden Cinema project and the Hourglass events, then go from there. D: The Hidden Cinema was initially conceived by myself and Neil Snowden who used to run the DVD rental shop Brazil on


Fore Street, which sadly closed after a year of being open. We both share a love of lesser-spotted cinema, of which Neil has an extensive collection, so we set out to screen films that couldn’t be seen anywhere else (except maybe London). The Hourglass is my favourite place in Exeter so when I learned that they have a projector and screen in the basement (which is an amazing space) it was just perfect. So it began in the autumn of 2008. Every fortnight on a Sunday from 3pm we screen two films back to back, two films that in some way have a link. We compile extensive programmes which allow us to analyze the films, films we feel have often never received the attention they deserve. People always come, sometimes six, sometimes 20, but always really interesting people. R: Hasn’t this now progressed from just films to live music? How did that come about? D: Just opened a bottle of Cava so I’ll continue…

Well, with Birds, Orphans and Fools (which I guess we’ll cover in a minute) it’s all about lesser-spotted (or lesser-heard) music, just like the films. The Hourglass basement is such a great venue it seemed like a natural progression. The film screenings work so well there I thought it would be the perfect atmosphere for intimate acoustic sets. So yeah, the first music event took place in February 2009. We had SamAndThePlants from Lancashire come and play plus support from Exeter’s Buddy Valentine. We also screened films and DJ’ed. It was hugely successful, with both live acts giving a fantastic performance (complete with vocals from the resident cat!). Everyone who came received a free cd compiled by Birds, Orphans and Fools. The music events are going to taking place every two months. R: So you’d better explain Birds, Orphans and Fools now! D: Birds, Orphans and Fools is a collective of DJs, musicians and general lovers of music. There are five of us in total.

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We are very keen on collaboration and using power in numbers to get work not only seen but noticed further afield. D: This has been best explored with the magazine/publication called The Cabinet Paper which started three years ago. The magazine features work from artists all as separate pieces housed in a box. It is sold in various places across the country. The Cabinet Paper has so far been very successful, however, we now feel ready to take it further and really push it as an idea and professional product. Because of this we are making a fresh start, still using the concept of a magazine/periodical publication that is compiled of separate pieces of work, we are re-naming it ‘Miscellany’. It will stand as a vehicle for getting not only our own but other up-and-coming artists work out there to be seen by a greater audience. R: As well as it being a more polished product, it will now be made in greater numbers, sold in more places and be made quarterly. D: We are also looking to explore the world of publishing further with not only Miscellany but by publishing artists work in completely separate editions. R: The main incentive is to get work seen by as many people as possible. We try and incorporate our designs into posters, fliers, book covers and record sleeves to make it exist in the real world and not just in our minds.

It grew out of the love of obscure, forgotten music from the 70s, from all over the world. We deal almost exclusively with vinyl, partly because the music we love has rarely been released on any other format.. It is hard to sum it up but I think of it as being mostly foreign folk, avant-garde and psychedelic music, that is both very forward thinking and accessible. Birds Orphans and Fools have DJ’ed and put on bands at various venues including the Phoenix and the Angel, and we currently have a residency at the Amber Rooms. Future plans are to release records of current and past lesser-known music, as well as continuing to spread our unique brand of off the radar obscurities around the country. R: So what’s the general appeal of the 1970s? D: Well, the sheer amount of visual art and music produced then is still completely overwhelming. All artistic mediums were pushed and explored so far during that time that the results were vast and wonderful, the feeling

and aesthetic was just right. It’s a constant source of inspiration for me. R: Okay then, shall we talk about our artistic endeavours over the past few years, namely Etcetera and relating projects? D: Etcetera formed four-ish years ago while we were doing our Fine Art degree. It began with ourselves and P.W. and has seen us collaborate with various people over the years. R: The group was formed out of a shared passion for creating more accessible art, art that exists outside the main gallery space.

D: I think we should wrap things up, so we should end this interview with Hector and Claude and their Esoteric Miscellany. R: Good idea. Hector and Claude operate a vending machine situated in the Phoenix Arts Centre, selling miniature artworks for 20p each. D: The point is that you don’t know what you’ll get, you can’t choose and it’s an interesting idea to have a uniformed (and very small!) price for every piece. Several people contribute to the vending machine and more should be installed eventually around the country. R: So we plan to be in Exeter for some time, right?

D: Yeah, that led us to building a travelling art gallery/library during our degree. The thinking behind it was that our work would be more accessible and therefore be seen by more people if we made it mobile and inhabited everyday spaces with it.

D: I think we feel as though there’s a lot that can be done here, so yeah, we’ll be here for a while.

R: All the projects we have done have been about people interacting with the work in some form.

• To find out about the Hidden Cinema and Birds, Orphans and Fools go to www.birdsorphansandfools.com

• If you’re interested in contributing to Miscellany email etceterapresents@ yahoo.co.uk

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Paranoia by Tom Stephens Chapter one of a novel in progress… Tiberius woke up, in a manner of speaking. He believed he had woken up but he wasn’t quite sure. How does one know one has woken up if one has never done it before? It is fair to make an educated guess based on similar experiences, (like assuming you don’t like crabmeat because you don’t like fish), and Tiberius had certainly woken up before but previously he had always needed to go to sleep first. Tiberius assumed he had woken up: Something was different, something was seriously wrong. Had he forgotten to do something? How does one normally wake up? He wondered. First, regain consciousness. Check. Second, open your eyes. Tiberius opened his eyes but nothing happened. His eyes were open and he could see nothing. This wasn’t blackness or whiteness. He didn’t seem blind but his eyes were making no conscious effort to pass any information to his brain about either an image or lack thereof. It was as though he had no eyes but that he had no pain or feeling to suggest otherwise. Tiberius again tried to approach this logically. First step, regain consciousness. Check. Second, skip until further notice. Third, move (or stretch and yawn as was usually the case but this was no usual case). He attempted to move his arm and was relieved to know that his arm had moved. But where to? He hadn’t felt anything so his arm hadn’t touched anything. Very quickly and in a somewhat panicky, almost seizure-like fashion he moved every limb in his body backwards and forwards for a few seconds. Not one of his nerves felt the slightest sensation although he was convinced he had been moving. He was prepared to make two assumptions at this point: He was conscious and he was in his body. Despite this he had no sensory awareness from at least two of his senses. The only sensible thing he could do was to try the others. He couldn’t taste that sticky dog breath he was usually used to in the mornings. He was a heavy smoker and coffee drinker so normally accustomed to prying his jaws apart after waking but as he couldn’t touch his face he had only to assume that he had no sense of taste either. He had a feeling that he could smell himself but he could smell no other smells to compare to, nothing distin-


guishing to make any positive proof that he had a sense of smell. Tiberius began to listen. This was a bizarre concept to him as he had never had to make a conscious effort to do so before. One can close ones eyes or hold ones breath but the ears are always listening. There were sounds out there somewhere or maybe they were internal sounds. The origin of them became quickly irrelevant as he realised that he wasn’t actually hearing them, only recognising them. The only way to explain it is that his brain was processing sounds but that these were not messages sent by his ears. Now he was beginning to wonder if his body really was there. Once more he flipped out and tried to move every muscle in his body at the same time. Again his hands and feet and knees touched nothing but this time Tiberius noticed something else. He had touched nothing! He hadn’t even felt himself; his feet hitting his legs, his arms hitting his torso. Was he paralysed? Was everything outside of his brain numb? What if he was dead? He had often wondered what would happen when he died, maybe this was it. He pondered. It is quite a horrible thought to be conscious of ones own lack of being. Then he thought for a moment about the tortured soul that is paralysed yet conscious and whether or not that might explain all of his Aunt Janie’s ghost sightings but also remembering that his Aunt Janie took a whole fruit salad of prescribed medication he thought he had better rule out all other possibilities first. Besides it was still highly likely that he was about to wake up and realise he was having one of those dreams where you wake up inside the dream. He went through his logical steps again. Regain consciousness, check. Open eyes, skip until further notice. Move, well he thought he had. Next he would normally brush his teeth. He knew he wouldn’t be able to do that without seeing or feeling his way to the bathroom. This threw his thoughts back to his attempts to move and he now questioned whether or not he had moved spatially. Just because he had told his body to move, and he had no way to prove whether or not it had listened, there was also no way for him to prove what he was

in. For example: If in bed, as he had only to assume he was, his movement would have been cumbersome, hindered by the blankets whereas underwater movement would be slow and methodical or in outer space one would float gracefully. So if he hard moved spatially, how far had he moved and where was he now? This was all becoming a rather worrying set of unanswered questions and he found himself becoming quite tired and weary. It sounded a plausible, if not comforting, solution to go back to sleep and then maybe when he woke up the second time he would do it correctly. He was on the verge of doing so when it clicked. The reason he was so tired was because he hadn’t gone to sleep in the first place. So how could he have woken up? He consoled himself. At least he had a time reference now. He would always get tired after eight o’clock and usually go to bed at around ten o’clock so give or take an hour it was somewhere around nine-ish. Tiberius started to list exactly what he knew in order to discover more. He knew who he was. At no point had he felt like anyone else. He knew approximately what time it was. He knew that he was conscious. He knew that he had woken up, though he didn’t know if he was awake or for that matter if he had been asleep. He was about to remember that his partner Aurelia would be missing him, before he remembered that he might still be lying in bed next to her. Recognising that he had no memory of going to sleep, he decided it would be worth figuring out exactly what he did remember. He felt as though there were a gap of several hours where he had no correlative memory. The last time he had woken up was this morning. He had turned and kissed Aurelia and then snoozed for another twenty minutes. He didn’t go to work because it was Sunday. After snoozing he had got out of bed and pottered around the house for a while. He went to the shops, bought a few groceries and then came back from the shops to find Aurelia Aurelia had cooked him lunch. They made love in the shower that afternoon. He remembered that. Tiberius smiled to himself. (At least he thought he was smiling.) After that they lay on the living room floor and read the Sunday papers together. Early that evening

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Aurelia did some ironing whilst Tiberius cooked them both a light dinner. They ate together with a bottle of red wine and then Aurelia went out with her girlfriends leaving Tiberius on his own. At that exact moment a flash flood of memories surged into his brain with such a ferocity that he felt weak and overcome. His heart sank as he suddenly remembered everything. Two years of experimenting, always the same stupid idea and everyone said he was crazy. Now for quite different reasons he believed them. It was because of the scorn from his friends and from Aurelia that he only did it when she had gone out. Tiberius had a pet obsession with the sixth sense, with telepathy and telekinesis. For two years he had been trying to move objects without touching them as well as other forms of mind control, memory tricks and meditation. In the face of jibes from his friends he kept trying to open his mind a little further. He had always assumed that it would be a slow progression but now he knew that the human mind just flips somehow. He hadn’t even done anything different. Once or twice a week when his girlfriend was out, he would stand against the wall that separated their lounge and bedroom with his head pressed against the wall. He would close his eyes and imagine himself passing through. He would visualise his molecules separating and bouncing through the spaces between the molecules of the wall. His last memory before waking up was a vivid and distinct belief that he was going to succeed, that he could walk through a wall. He never thought to consider believing that he would come out of the other side. What now? Was he stuck? Terrifying thoughts crossed his mind. What if Aurelia finds out? She’ll be so angry! Slowly he relaxed a little and came to realise that he may have just made the most important socio-scientific discovery of mankind’s entire history. All he had to do was work out how he was going to get free and then how to do it again. What a day he was having. He really had no idea how to feel at this moment. Surges and waves passed through him. Happiness. Pride. Fear. Sadness. Excitement. Loneliness.

He had touched nothing! He hadn’t even felt himself; his feet hitting his legs, his arms hitting his torso. Was he paralysed? Was everything outside of his brain numb? What if he was dead? Confusion controlled all of these emotions as an overriding feeling. He felt almost everything and that was just while applying his feelings to himself. He was terribly worried for Aurelia, knowing that she would be home soon and find him stuck in a wall. Then a new fear came over him. What if mum found out? She always looked so scornfully on my hobbies. He considered what she might say, “I told you. I warned you. All you had to do was listen to me. Go to work, do your washing, love your girlfriend but you had to disgrace us both trying top be some comic book hero.” His mum was always irrational yet a follower of convention as well which led her to digress into frequent high pitched and emotionally charged rants. What about work? He wondered how he would get to work tomorrow. It must have been close to ten o’clock by now and he would normally be going to bed with Aurelia soon. How would she feel if he couldn’t pay the rent when he missed work. What if he was stuck in the wall for months? Or life? Tiberius had been working with his company for seven years and never missed a day until earlier this year when his boss very kindly gave him one week compassionate leave to help organise and attend his grandmother’s funeral. He had spent the last twelve months angling for a promotion and he was sure that the week off had already counted against him. You see, Martin Philips held a similar position in another department and he had never had a day off in eight years and four months and Tiberius was almost certain that Martin Philips had never been stuck in a wall. Tiberius was becoming tired and morose. He’d have had a little secret cry to himself if he only knew where his tear ducts were and if he thought it would help. Instead he resorted to meditating for a while. He had become emotional and

stopped thinking logically. He was stuck in a wall. He didn’t really know how he had got in and therefore he didn’t really know how he was going to get out. His senses were displaying no attempts to receive or relay information and though he was aware of his consciousness he had no awareness of his body: where it was and what state it was in. What could he do? He decided he should attempt to communicate, to shout for help, if you will. He relaxed, prepared himself and after believing he was taking deep breaths, he started to shout. He told his mouth, where ever it was to open and gave all the normal instruction to his lungs to push air through his tightening voice box, while his lips may or may not have made the shape of the word ’HELP’. He heard no reply, nor for that matter the sound of his own voice but that didn’t necessarily mean that no sound had been made nor did it mean that he had not been heard. He resolved himself to keep trying and to try with different words in case one was easier to communicate than another. Then he realised that Aurelia would be home soon so he tried to communicate words which would make him instantly recognisable, so he began to quote his own poetry in what he believed to be his best distressed voice He continued to do this for what seamed like half an hour, occasionally dropping in lines from Hamlet just to amuse himself and keep his spirits up. Through every pixel of my world, You communicate to me, To be or not to be, I recite cautiously and though I may be lost, I’ve fallen overwhelmingly in love with you. Some time went by and Aurelia had not answered him. By now he realised that he could not make any communications, for the same reason, whatever that was, as to why he could not receive any communication. Again he was feeling lonely and broken but he quickly pulled himself together. If he was ever going

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to see Aurelia again he was going to have to be strong and work alone to free himself. Ounce more he relaxed himself and thought back to how he had got himself into this predicament. After two years of trying, why had he only now succeeded? Why had he stopped half way? He couldn’t think of anything that was different. He wasn’t hot or cold. He hadn’t eaten anything obscure. He wasn’t on mind altering drugs. After checking every possible variable he concluded that he should just try again. He composed himself, closed what he believed to be his eyes and pushed on through to the other side e of the wall. Gradually, with no sudden movements, he lifted his eyelids. Nothing. No vision, no sound, no body, no movement just the same trapped detached feeling. By now it was no longer desire. If he could have found his eyes he would have been crying. His optimism slumped and he felt sure his muddled wall-body had too. He cried for help over and over. He shouted and moved and wrestled with the wall and his body, though he knew the outcome. Why did he ever find his way into this situation? Everyone had been right to mock me. He fell into a deep depression beginning to believe that he might never be free, that his situation was hopeless. He was so down hearted that he didn’t immediately recognise a new feeling that he was experiencing. He hadn’t noticed but something had changed. Depression had taken a strong hold over him. How will I ever survive? It would surely only be a few days without food and water before he was a permanent part of the wall. He was tired and hungry and craving a cigarette. How can I crave nicotine when I am a consciousness detached from my body? All he wanted to do though, really, was to see Aurelia and to hold her and hold her until he could hold her no longer. It was as that thought passed through his head that he noticed the change that he had momentarily overlooked. He had heard something, or felt something or something inside of him had moved. He wasn’t quite sure what it was, only that something was different. He tested all of his nerves, his senses, his functions but there were no new results yet he was sure that something was different. It was


He’d miss Aurelia. He’d miss love. He wanted to cry and he knew that he’d miss the feeling of rejuvenation from crying. almost like television static when you think you glimpse a picture but you can’t quite tell if it was your imagination or not. Slowly his picture came into focus. He was experiencing a new emotion. Something that he hadn’t felt since much earlier that day. The new feeling could only be described as hearing a sound were it not for the fact that Tiberius had no reference to his body, but in some moments he knew exactly what it was: Love. He felt an emotional change that he only ever felt when he was in her company or when he was on her mind. He knew it, and through all this time, all his life relying on his five senses, a lack of them gave him certainty with the sixth. Exhilaration and comfort rushed into his ghost veins. He could feel love and potentially he could communicate it. He tried to believe he was holding her, in her arms, kissing her. He imagined the warmth of her body, the brush of her hairy arms against his. He felt the glow of her eyes and the damp stickiness of her lips. Was she in the house? Surely she should have been home by now. He knew she could feel him too. Was she in the room? Could she see him, or part of him? Did she understand where he was? Maybe she was trying to save him? Then he felt a lack of closeness and he realised she wasn’t in the house. Inside of this sudden resurgence of love was still a longing. He concluded that she wasn’t home but that she was thinking of him and she had felt him thinking of her. He felt a new found contentment. At least as content as you can be when your molecules have bonded with that of a wall and all you have is your consciousness and a belief in love to keep you company. This new found hope at least gave him new reason to escape his situation, but how? There had to be something that was different. There had to be a reason why he had succeeded today beyond his other four hundred attempts. Not only that it had to be something that he could

change whilst still in his cage. He could rule out drugs, diet, chemicals and most sensory input. If it was a temperature thing he would have to keep trying until the correct conditions coincided with his attempts. This worried him, what if it was related to planetary cycle? He might have to wait another year before he could get out. What if he had been thinking differently? He had been sure that he wasn’t but now he had to doubt that. It wasn’t a question of belief because there was no way now for him to disbelieve the possibility. What if it was to do with his breathing? How could he regulate his breathing if he had no connection to his lungs? Tiberius was no scientist but he knew that his body needs to breathe and pass oxygen from his lungs to all of the corners of his self. How could he put his body back together if it was suffocating? If it was dying? I must be dying. What about my life? It is so unfinished. He reminded himself painfully of all the things he was going to miss; Chocolate, ice cream, beer, sci-fi novels, watching TV in his boxer shorts on a Sunday afternoon, making love to Aurelia. He’d miss Aurelia. He’d miss love. He wanted to cry and he knew that he’d miss the feeling of rejuvenation from crying. Tiberius began to accept the possibility that he was dead. He had tried everything and nothing had worked. He had to accept that he would never be again. Death is a strange thing to accept in life but in death it becomes quickly irrelevant. Almost instantly he found composure in his soul. Everything he thought he knew was now no longer meaningful. He had only two emotions. Peace and Love. Love for the life he had made. Love for Aurelia. He felt relaxed. He felt truthful. He felt knowing. He felt love and in that instant he felt harmonious. Tiberius opened his eyes and stepped into the room.

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Paragon Gallery

Emma Bishop had spent 12 months running Pier Head Gallery in Exmouth before she decided to take over a site (formerly Willy’s) on Exeter’s Gandy Street and transform it into the Paragon Gallery, but that’s small beer to the 26 year old who has already worked with Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Charles Saachii ‘Is it daunting to be thinking about opening a new shop when the economic climate is so unstable? Absolutely. But as I keep discovering, it really is a buyer’s market at the moment and there are some great deals to be done. And I think what we have noticed with the Exmouth Gallery is that people are still wanting to invest in something concrete. Original art is still a sound investment and people can see where their money is and enjoy owning something unique and beautiful at the same time. We had planned on expanding the business for some time, and had been on the lookout for new premises for a few months. I saw that

Willy’s had come onto the market and so I just went along to have a look. I phoned the agent outside the shop and practically made the deal on the spot. Obviously, there has been a lot to work through – and the shop is going through its own transformation as well. We are conscious that Willy’s have been operating there for a such long time and we want to respect that history in our new design but also give it our own take. It’s such a beautiful building, and people feel very strongly about it so hopefully they will like what we have in store. We have some fantastic new artists that we’ll be showcasing, as well as some more familiar

names. We’re very excited about the work that will be on show. What we want to provide is a new, accessible platform for all the incredible work that is being produced in Devon, and further afield, and create a gallery that is exciting and inspiring. We feel very strongly that art should be available for everyone and we want to create an environment that is welcoming and friendly; a gallery that people really enjoy visiting. Find out more about The Paragon Gallery at: www.theparagongallery.com

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poetry Long play baby


Contemplative, complicated, consequated Long play baby, Illiterately brilliant, she’s never always sometimes maybe

The Courtney family and their friends,

Gone for good, back next week, She stood herself up with a 24 bug An array of strangeties and novelties And a deadly dangerous undying love She’s just too perfect for me And that’s a major no-no Because I know no reason why She had to lay her head so low Met her in my simple sights She taught me how to be much more Like her and me and her and she Relegates our rivalry until it’s less than poor

Served in splendour in seventy-six Atop the hill in the belvedere, Knew banquets, feasts and making-merry, Politic and family power as servants trudged Up the rutted path with roast swans, And wine, and water. We walked yesterday By the side of Kenton’s brook, Babbling concrete-channelled To the open marsh Bullrushed and slowly seeping, With sodden squelch We rambled,

She’s intelligent, I’m flatulent She’s get up and make me go I’m fed up of games and fetching the ball And it’s time to try and say no

Past the sawmill to the left

Because I fell for her, I tell to her Her face knocked me off of my stool But she’s lost in the world, a typical girl ‘cause she can’t catch a catch for a fool.

Despite the illusion of binoculars.

by Tom Stephens

And looked for deer, In vain, to the right Those ancient oaks, Scarred and twisted, Trunks distorted swollen Cancred, seem About to die; They saw the folly burn in thirty-nine, No water nor wine To dowse the plume of fire That wrecked the panelling, The vaulted roof, The finery of glass Stained and leaded, Sparked by whoThe Polish soldier Keeping warm Or the village kids Just playing? by Steve Smith


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Editor for arts+culture Lost issue Natasha Kuler-von-der-Luhe arts+culture publisher Lee Morgan

Turning, From my window, The crows sweep ragged, coal-black, above the untouched, flawless hills. Riding bitter breeze, pinwheeling wild , Against the clouds, opaque, a hundred spectral strokes of winter grey. The churchyard is under snow, an extra blanket for those rows of silent dreamers, Sunk into their chilly beds, inviolable, eyeless sleep. Above this, the crows know A roaring rush of ice, The world pauses, inhales. Sucks in life, holds its breath. Turns blue, before the exhalation of Spring. From here, I will see the first tentative fingers of green, Grasp the skin of the Earth, and pull. by Eden Dart

Thoughts Before Sleep. Little wishling, Growing huge in the night, Brightening with the stars, I draw you, frame upon animated frame. As the day breaks, You shrink to confusion and half-memories Becoming small And colourless. by Eden Dart

arts+culture is produced by News and Media Republic Ltd a media social enterprise contact 01626 202 202 GOALS for News and Media Republic Ltd • for those affected by media to have some control over it • allow people to have a real input in the news within a supportive framework • research and utilise a variety of media to engage as broad a spectrum of the community as possible, particularly young people, old people, those who are socially excluded and those in rural isolation • provide publicity to new and emerging artists • develop awareness of the skills needed in a media-rich world and offer training and advice • create opportunities for professionals in the media • big up local ethical companies and concerns and raise awareness of local issues • provide cumulative information for a clear picture of issues, development and progress • be transparent and honest with advertisers and about content • champion the creative industries and to initiate projects and programmes • engage, inform, entertain If you’re an artist, a cultural commentator, or you just have an interesting penneth-worth to spare, get in touch: arts@newsandmediarepublic.org or call 07886526874 Great care is taken to ensure that the information contained in this publication is accurate, but the publisher cannot be held responsibility for any error, mis-statement or alteration that may occur. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher or editor.

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Field of dreams

Antony Gormley is something of an icon. And his Field exhibition – when 40,000 clay figures will cast their gazes across Torre Abbey – is made up entirely of icons, made by people themselves. “Take a hand-size ball of clay, form it between the hands, into a body surrogate as quickly as possible. Place it at arm’s length in front of you and give it eyes.” These are the instructions for making a figure for Field. Field is a bold statement about humanity, image and possibly even exclusion, but bold statements abound from Gormley, not least his idea that public art is a bit, er, rubbish at the moment - an insight he shared with the Independent back in March. “So much of the art of the 20th century has ended up being corralled into museums. I would love to see more significant work in public spaces that is not institutionalised – work that is truly everyone’s. “There are works that really challenge you that maybe you don’t understand at first but you keep going back to see them because they niggle.


“But art placed in public spaces that does not challenge does a disservice,” he told them. Most famed, probably, for his Angel of the North (presiding over the A1 with impunity) or Iron:Man in Birmingham city centre (a pod-like creation that has dropped to earth), it was Field for which he picked up the Turner prize back in 1994. And it’s Field which will be arriving in the Bay this summer for an exhibition at Torre Abbey. According to the Tate Liverpool Gormley: “Uses the human form to explore man’s existence in and relation to the world.” From his own web site, Gormley says of Field: “From the beginning I was trying to make something as direct as possible with clay: the earth. “I wanted to work with people and to make a work about our collective future and our responsibility for it. I wanted the art to look back at us, its makers (and later viewers), as if we were responsible - responsible for the world that it (the work Field) and we were in. I have made it with help five times in different parts of the world.”

At different times Field can look like an angry Lilliputian mob ready to rush you, or a streaming mass of sorrowful emigrées shuffling together. Either way there’s a certain Jiminy Cricket about them, like a silent collective conscience. There is a proviso that wherever it’s shown Field should be free, and maybe it’s because the work does niggle (it accuses, condemns and eventually consoles) that it needs that free access. But then shouldn’t all art take us on that journey, and shouldn’t that challenge be a civic duty? From his own website, this is what Gormley has observed about the makers of the clay figures of the Field. He says: “It was important that it was through the repeated action of touching, forming, placing apart from the body and making conscious, that each person found their own form. The extraordinary thing was the distinctiveness of the forms that were found.”

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arts+culture In issue three of at creative arts and cultural magazines

in conservatio n with


Chat Noir

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Fiddler -onthe-Street Ali Jones talks to Natasha Kuler-von-der-Luhe about South Westerly folk foursome Spin-2 I started playing music with Chris Rudd, about 13 years ago, and, as these things happen, we ended up together pretty quickly. He had a band at the time called the Lost T-shirts of Atlantis. It was great fun, a real home-made-instruments type of band and a brilliant laugh, but it was slowly coming to an end, and we thought that we’d start afresh. We’d both played a lot in bands so we had a lot of experience, and now we could use it on a ‘blank slate’, so to speak. So it was Chris and me, and a friend of ours, Joanny, who played the mermaid bass – and we just had a good laugh, because we were really a busking band at the time and it’s brilliant fun. I love busking, it feels so lifelike and real, you know you’re genuinely taking music to people who might not otherwise see it. Chris had a lot of experience as well as he had already busked his way around the world. We had a little camper-van, so off we went, playing round France and Italy, and then the van broke down on the shores of Lake Garda, which was amazing! We had to wait in the van for 10 days for a starter motor to be sent out, and we played music constantly and went swimming in the lake during the day. Every so often Chris would go to the little post office to say ‘Has the package arrived from England?’ and they looked at him really blankly. We met a group of


English holiday-makers and they clarified that he was asking ‘Have my sins arrived in the post yet?’ which explains why we didn’t get the starter motor for ages. So, we took off and had adventures for a few years, and then settled in Clapham in London for a time, and that was when the band really built up. Chris’s cousin Sam joined us on the drums, and then we got this fab percussion player Chris Tero. At one point we went right up to a sixpiece busking band, and we used to pick up a lot of gigs for parties and pubs, even weddings. Then I got pregnant, which was fantastic, and carried on with the band through those months. But eventually I reached to point where I just wanted to have the baby and settle down comfortably with being a mother. I know it might have been possible to strap it my back as I played, but really I just wanted to chill ou,t so I took a break from the band. When you start up a project, as a couple especially, and then you take a chunk of that couple away, you lose part of the cohesion, the built intimacy of playing together, so it sort of fizzed out a bit musically. Then I had another baby so it became apparent that my break would be longer than I first thought. We finally moved to Exeter in 2002. Spin-2 had been a big thing for us in London, and suddenly we’d moved to

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city where we strangers, with two very young children. We didn’t have anybody to play with so we downsized, playing as a two-piece as a while, but as we were playing pub gigs we thought we needed a bit more oomph to it, so Chris made slightly cheesy backing tracks of our music that we played along to. But nothing beats the energy and fun of playing with real people so we put out an advert and Mick Voo, our current bass, came along. He’s a really positive force for the band; he recommended Iggy Klescht, and suddenly we were rocking again. We ended up in the Exeter Autumn Festival as quite a well-known local band. You build up a certain profile if you play often enough in the locality. We played a wonderful gig in the Phoenix for the benefit of Magic Carpet, a great organisation that makes the Arts accessible for disadvantaged groups – mental health, learning difficulties etc – taking it to people who wouldn’t see it ordinarily. Now we’re quite happy, we play regular gigs and have some local festivals booked for 2009. I think that performing music has been seen as more traditionally maleorientated, especially if you’re playing pubs and the streets, but bands are better with a good mix of masculine and feminine.

I played in an a band called The Barely Works with two other women, as part of the front-line, desicionmaking part of the band, and it was great. I’m still in that position now, in the first band I’ve been in where I’m the only woman. I had a wonderful pregnancy playing in the band though, we were going out busking, and I remember thinking that this was the life, dancing and playing the fiddle with my huge bump, feeling that it was the best way to be pregnant. But I was very happy to have my break and my baby too. I think that really the music industry is more ageist then anything else, but as a woman it’s especially hard to carry on in the business as you get older. Of course, it really does depend on the genre too, folk music has some wonderful female role-models in it, but it’s still the case that men seem to reach their ‘sell-by’ date later; and the number of older male musicians who are still playing and described as ‘distinguished’ definitely outnumber women. Really, I think it’s just like everything else in life, and that it’s best to have a good balance, it doesn’t matter if you’re the only woman in the band, as long as it’s a good band and the people in it are sound. Music is the only thing a musician should be judged by, and they just get better with age.

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South Westerly folk foursome Spin-2 in action

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Profile for Lee Morgan

arts+culture issue 2, 09  

arts and culture from throughout the south west

arts+culture issue 2, 09  

arts and culture from throughout the south west