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UK £6.50 Europe €14 US $25 ISSN 1755-5868

IssUe 3 TiME

Literature Fashion Art Photography Music Poetry

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Contents Photography 012

Villa by Jenny&Lee

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From the Personal History Museum by Samira Schulz

Fashion 022

Vintages Ago

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Park Story by Davin Blair


Poetry Features

086 The Piece by Robert Hampson

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088 Our Man in Paris by Robert Hampson

Joe Gilmore A life behind the bars

089 Alphabet Poems by Frances Presley

Art 038

Julie Masterson Drawing and borders in space

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Into the forest: the photography of Crystel Lebas

Music 057

Ciam

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Thomas Truax

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City of Tiny Lights, The Strangeness of Antwerp by Michael Curran

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PortmanteauxP Translation # 2 & Translation # 4 by Stephen Willey

094 Two texts from Warrant Error by Robert Sheppard 095

Sonnet by Geraldine Monk

Literature 064 Ni-Ni adolescence: Finding Boyishness with Bernard Faucon & Roland Barthes by Carol Mavor 076

An Allegorical Nonsense for Three Players by Phil Sawdon

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Cake Before Country by Niven Govinden

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When Memory becomes visible by Dr Pierre Auboiron


Contributors this Issue Photography Daniel Horseman Jenny Lee Mitsuaki Murata Martina Olsson Literature Dr Pierre Auboiron Niven Govinden Carol Mavor Phil Sawdon Poetry Michael Curran Robert Hampson Geraldine Monk Frances Presley Robert Sheppard Stephen Willey Fashion Sofia Holmgren / Mikas Ilda @ Elite Lindha Jacobsson Sagum Johan Miderberg Rie Kondo Ken Nakano Alice Shepperd @ Premier Jenny Tallberg Karin Westerlund / Mikas. Rieko Yamamoto Front Cover is ‘Study for a Uniform’ by Julie Masterson Back Cover is by Naho Kubota For contributors’ contact details please contact the Editor in Chief. We welcome unsolicited material from our readers. If you would like to make a contribution to future issues then please email the editorial team at the addresses above. Stimulus Respond is published six times a year by Buster Dog. All material is copyright (c) 2008 the respective contributors, aside from ‘in-house’ material which remains the property of Buster Dog. All rights reserved. No reproduction without prior consent. The views expressed in the magazine are those of the contributors and are not neccessarily shared by the magazine. The magazine accepts no liability for loss or damage of manuscripts, artwork, photographic prints and transparencies.


ISSUE 3 TiME

Unit 3, 508a Kingsland Road, London E8 4AE Tel 020 7249 0236

Editor in Chief Jack Boulton jack@stimulusrespond.com Editor - Literature Tara Blake Wilson tara@stimulusrespond.com Editor - Poetry Jinny Colby jinny@stimulusrespond.com Editor - Art Ellen Sampson ellen@stimulusrespond.com Editor - Music Harriet Fuest harriet@stimulusrespond.com Editor - Photography Theresa Mikuria theresa@stimulusrespond.com Editorial Assistant Olivia Taussig Olivia@stimulusrespond.com Art Direction Jack Boulton Samira Schultz samiraschultz.com Design Dimitris Mylonas dmilonas@gmail.com Illustrations Valero Doval valerodoval.com Advertising Account Executive Jesus Jimenez jesus@stimulusrespond.com International Spain Barbara Mayer barbara@stimulusrespond.com France Alice Pfeiffer alice@stimulusrespond.com


Villa

by Jenny&Lee 012 stimulus, respond, time


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brown head scarf / stylist’s own feather / annie’s square stone chain / rokit

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vintages ago she sang and performed at Bobino her lips were bold wine red, very irrational but still whispering into your soul with complete, unabashed honesty it’s intoxicating

photo credit: photographer / mitsuaki murata fashion editor / rie kondo hair stylist / rieko yamamoto makeup / ken nakano model / alice shepperd @ premier model management stimulusrespond.com

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lace hat / annie’s gloves / annie’s ring / annie’s 030 stimulus, respond, time

Beyond Retro: 110-112 Cheshire St, London E2 6EJ / 0207 613 3636 Rokit: 107 Brick Lane, London E1 6SE / 0207 247 3777 ANNIE’S: 12 Camden Passage, London N1 8ED / 0207 359 0796


From the Personal History Museum Photography: Samira Schulz with thanks to all participants

Courtesy of LH: “My mum gave me this dolls’ head when she was clearing out her old house in the country to move in with her new boyfriend. It used to be attached to a body, which went missing through the years. I found it a bit scary as a kid but now I like it for it’s sentimental value. It reminds me of my early childhood. stimulusrespond.com

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Joe Gilmore a life behind the bars As I enter the dark hotel bar, Joe Gilmore is already sitting West End, until a customer – the manager of Claridge’sinside. A true gentleman, he has arrived before me, and noticed the boy’s hard work and advised to him to seek a greets me warmly as I introduce myself. job at The Savoy: due to the war, there was a scarcity of Dressed in an immaculate white blazer, he sits straight in staff as a lot of boys had been sent to the army. the immense couch; in a calm, soft-spoken manner, with a This is what led him to a 36 year-long career: Joe, aged tinge of Irish in his voice, he chats with ease. 18, with basic bartending skills under his belt, confidently As he raises a glass of white wine to his lips, he explains walked into the Savoy one day, and simply asked for work. to me that he allows himself one drink a day -but has He was immediately taken in as a trainee barman at the stopped smoking three years ago ‘I started when I was 12 American Bar. you know!’ he says with a smirk -as I quickly count on my Joe’s face brightens as he mentions the hotel’s name. fingers- I congratulate him for To this day, The Savoy is one of giving up a 71 year old habit. the most illustrious hotels in the The following hour or so is world. It opened in 1899, and spent listening to Joe’s wondrous its first manager was César Ritz tales of liquor, of war, of peace, –who then went on to found the and of cocktails. Ritz Hotel in Paris. From Claude Joe worked at the Savoy Monet to Bob Dylan, The Savoy from 1940 to 1976 as the head has never failed to attract la crème bartender, and met, served, and de la crème of customers. invented cocktails for a multitude In 1940, the year Joe was of legendary celebrities. employed, The Savoy remained, From Sinatra to De Gaulle, despite the political climate, as Joe’s magical concoctions prestigious and desirable as in its delighted the most demanding first days. It acted as a retreat to customers, and marked historical major political figures of the time, events. Today, a man of many a home to actors and singers. talents and plentiful stories is the Joe immediately felt at home, ambassador for the distinctively adapted with ease and learned smooth Smirnoff Black vodka, quickly. With a dash of nostalgia a liquid perfect for the shorter in his voice, he remembers making cocktail (indeed, alcohol can take his first cocktail. His first customer, you a long way). a man (who turned out to be Joe was born in Belfast. A politician Kenneth Davies) ordered Photograph by Daniel Horseman brother of 9, he left home by a dry martini, which Joe had never himself at 16 and fearlessly made before- but Davies guided moved to London. There, he only had one friend, whom him the whole way through it: ‘My customers taught me he shared a room with in Covent Garden. The teenager everything!’ Gilmore laughs. That same day, this martini started to work in a paper factory, earning a menial salary. was followed by an Orange Blossom for Amy Johnson: He decided to seek another job when his roommate, the legendary ‘pioneer air woman’ came into the Savoy who worked in a restaurant, narrated his meals to him to enjoy a cocktail before the solo flight from England to every night. ‘I was hungry you know’, he laughs gently. Australia that made her famous. He went on to work in a French brasserie in London’s ‘She didn’t come into the bar though’, Gilmore 036 stimulus, respond, time


explains ‘women weren’t allowed in at the time’: indeed, the American Bar, like a lot of bars, and most pubs of the time, were men-only. When women came to the Savoy, they sat outside the bar and drinks were brought out to them. Joe sometimes served in the Savoy’s sumptuous ballroom, which hosted historical balls, such as the one following the crowning of Elizabeth II. The ballroom witnessed Prince Charles first dance-steps, a frolicking Marilyn Monroe, and many others. It is whilst serving at a ball thrown on Bastille Day that Gilmore met Charles de Gaulle. Joe was nineteen, and invented a cocktail called ‘Lorraine’, in honour of the French president. De Gaulle immediately befriended the boy- Joe recalls that the two chatted about star signs ‘I’m an Aries and so was Charles’ grandmother!’ Gilmore exclaims; the president had told to him that he always got on well with Aries. That night, other than Lorraine cocktails, plenty of champagne was drunk. ‘Not just any champagne’ Joe specifies, no, only the best –the only one, he adds, that Princess Grace accepted to drink: Krug 1928, which cost the meek sum of £10 000 a bottle. This was not the only time Gilmore invented a cocktail to mark a special event. His creations were regular and much celebrated: today, they have been published for customers to recreate in ‘The Savoy Cocktail Book’. One of Joe’s most famous one is ‘moonwalk’, a champagne-based cocktail invented for the astronauts after their arrival back from the moon. Joe sent the cocktail, along with twelve champagne flutes to the Houston Space Centre. Armstrong personally sent a note to Gilmore thanking him: Joe’s concoction was the first drink they had had since their return onto Earth. By 1955, Gilmore was named head barman. He trained and managed a team of bartenders, and remained very hard-working; he remembers being often offered drinks by customers, but never drank during work- he wanted to set a good example. Joe mentions with a bright smile his friend Rudolf Slavek, head bartender of the George V in Paris, who sent customers over to him. Gilmore’s reputation had outgrown him, international clients and avid cocktail drinkers came to him from different countries. Customers were always friendly: over the years, he developed strong bonds with many of them, who he was to travel with round the world years later. In many cases, he was the only bartender some clients would trust with their drinks. Frank Sinatra was a regular, known to always come into the American to sip a martini before a show. He was only ever served by Joe, ‘he’d walk in and say ‘Set ‘em up Joe!’ Gilmore explains. No more explanation was required. Sinatra mostly drank martinis, but occasionally ordered it with Smirnoff vodka, once the alcohol became popular in the 50s. Joe then complemented the drink with a zest of lemon- but watch out! ‘never put the fruit inside the drink’ he indicates ‘only squeeze a drop of oil from the peel’- just how Frank liked it.

On other occasions, Sinatra sat at the piano and played a few tunes to relax. Legend has it that the song ‘Set ‘em up Joe’ was written in Gilmore’s honour. Recently, the cocktail genius and alcohol expert was chosen to represent Smirnoff Black. Joe talks about Smirnoff vodka with a certain fondness, like remembering an old friend. As he explains, alcohol usage varied through time, due to political climate, production, drinking habits etc. The war was marked by a scarcity of gin. Vodka was unavailable until after the 50s: the Smirnoff family moved from Moscow, Russia to America and started producing it locally rather than importing it. It quickly became very popular, both on its own and used in a variety of cocktails: as he explains, every alcohol must be handled differently: while gin can only be stirred for it can otherwise ‘bruise’, vodka can be shaken with no fear, allowing a greater flexibility of cocktails. The arrival of Smirnoff Black in bars led Joe to create many more drinks: Ingmar Bergman only ordered vodka-fizz (vodka, soda, fresh lemon juice ‘always use fresh juices!’ he insists). Today, he advises us to use ‘only use the finest ingredients’ and gives us the recipe for his Balalaika cocktail, a vodka-based cocktail which was extremely popular after the war, as an homage to Smirnoff Black’s Russian origins. The distinctive smoothness of the vodka complements the acidity of the lemon juice, and adds a kick to it: to be tried (and tried again) at home:

Today, this father of three and grandfather of 4 is still happily married, and has been for the past 65 years. Does he miss his days at the Savoy? Not really, he says, he stills goes back to visit regularly. Customers have kept in touch with him, and Joe was taken round the world- from GStaad to Houston (‘I made it to America in the end!’), the elegant man seems content. ‘A good life’ he smiles, as he finishes his last drop of wine. stimulusrespond.com

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Julie Masterton, ‘Study for a Uniform’, 2008

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Julie Masterton DRAWINGS AND BORDERS IN SPACE

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Into the forest:

the photography of Chrystel Lebas

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Chrystel Lebas, 'Blue Hour', Untitled n°3, 2005

“Yes, to me the forest is tied to the unconscious but it is also redolent of fairytales, Hansel and Gretel, little red ridding hood.” Chrystel Lebas’s photographs take one deep into metaphorical and material forests. The viewer, confronted by her huge panoramic images is suddenly alone, lost in the woods. Viewing her photos there is a certain stillness, a pause to contemplate one’s surroundings and an apprehension at what is to come. As ones eyes adjust to the dark, one notices tiny details; things one wouldn’t normally see. The photographs force you to look more closely. When asked why the forest has such significance for her, Chrystel describes a forest near her childhood home in the south of France and an occasion not long after moving there, when she and her sisters became (albeit briefly) lost in the woods. She talks of the sudden change from a safe

playful place to a dark menacing one as darkness set in. The notion that in the passage of time, a day, a space, can transform from safe to wild and back again. Lebas talks of a forest she photographed in Japan where people commit suicide by intentionally becoming lost in the woods, loosing themselves quite literally. The process of walking deeper and deeper in, not knowing what you will find or if you can find your way out. The forest encapsulates a plethora of ideas about wilderness and an unknown that is just beyond our grasp. Shifting to a discussion of internal wildernesses we begin to talk about dreams. Lebas has taken two series of photographs of the sleeping and of sleep. Initially, being figurative, these seem at odds with the panoramic landscapes for which she is more widely known. In the series “Sleep” a number a friends were invited to her flat to eat a small

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Park Story Davin Blair

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jeans by castro men, sweat shirt by american apparel

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Photography by Theresa Mikuria and Daniel Horseman

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Thomas Truax

The One Man Band This year, Thomas Truax has featured in Adam Clitheroe’s new documentary “One Man in the Band”, has been nominated for “Best live act of the year” by “Is This Music” magazine and “The Indy Music Awards 2008” and is currently touring for the foreseeable future. Thomas is technically a one man band, though his creation of clockwork and mechanical instruments mean that his audiences receive his act as a full live band. His lovingly created band members draw a “Steampunk” vibe to his show, as they trigger imagery of science fictional, fantastical technological inventions, while Thomas’s vocals bring to mind the poetry of Leonard Cohen and the humour of David Byrne. I met up with him in West London to find out what he’s been up to.

Because what you do is so unique to you it’s hard to describe your style of music, but on looking at your Myspace I saw bold text next to your photograph saying “Steampunk!?!? Is Steampunk a genre that you adhere to, or is it a genre that you discovered yourself in? Actually you’ll notice a couple of question marks by that, it came from a web bulletin board that a friend of mine, Meredith Yayanos my old theramin player, drew my attention to. She sent me an email saying “you’re steampunk!” I actually hadn’t ever heard of Steampunk, I guess I hadn’t had my finger on the pulse. They were having an online argument “what is steampunk and who defines it” and apparently someone had written “the perfect steampunk act is Thomas Truax” and I thought, “what is that? But then, when I looked into it I liked the aesthetic of it, but really I run from labels. I think there are things that I’m doing, like the Hornicator looks like it could be a steampunk “thing”, but I don’t think you could pigeonhole me as a Steampunk act. I think people are struggling to define themselves by what’s out there and I’ve always tried to fight against that, (putting yourself into some category that’s already been defined), because when you do that the limitations of that genre or whatever it might be, start to make you think within those limits. If you start thinking you’re a “Steampunk” act then you start making yourself that. I would rather think outside the box so to speak. Have you always made your own band members? The act that I do now follows on from a history of playing live in more stereotypical bands, although I did tinker with stuff while I was growing up. I actually gave the umbilical cord a go when I came out of the womb which was extreme to pluck, had a nice twing to it. There were things I made as a child though. I saw a solo synthesiser performer at church

once. He was playing one of those fancy Eno-esque synths with banks of plugs and knobs and things. I went home really inspired. I had to build one. I thought it was really exiting. So I took an old radio player/ record player hybrid thing and I remember sticking some ‘bits’ into the turntable that would bump off the needle as it went round. It really had nothing akin to a synthesiser at all except that is was making some sounds and radio static clicks, so there were things like that. What was the 1st band member that you created and performed on stage with? The first instrument would have been the “Cadillac Beatspinner”, which is the predecessor to ‘Sister Spinster’ who is my drummer now. It was basically a wheel that spun around making rhythms with a motor on it. Rather than keeping working on that one I made sister spinster because I had some overseas shows and I couldn’t possibly have taken the “Cadillac” on a plane. Sister Spinster had basic improvements on the “Cadillac” and she quickly took over, just like a real drummer that had gotten in to the band. To the laymen it appears that it moves on a clockwork system of wheels and cogs, can you explain how your current drummer works? Well yeah, its made up of small spoked wheels that have extendable mallets that hit various drums and things with a motor that spins, for different songs the different mallets are placed to make different rhythms, I have to physically move them in and out between songs to make the different rhythms. There’s a speed control on the motor too. It also has various toy drums and noise bits that move in and out of the paths of the various mallets. Some people would say it’s like a robot drummer but I would say it’s more like a mechanical sound sculpture.

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CIAM have taken their name from the architectural movement “CIAM” that was present in Europe 1928 to 1959. This congress dissolved the lines between the art of architecture and the socio-economic factors of the time, believing that social factors should also impact on their art. Like this original movement, this band don’t see boundaries in art and blur the lines between music, maths, art, film, science, design, creationism, Darwinism. Basically, if it feels good to what they are doing, they’ll include whatever medium of creation that they see fit. As a result of this ethos CIAM have collaborated with various artists with gigs in galleries, short films and most resonantly with a remix of their new single “Here I am” by LA’s DJ Rap. This year they have busily been climbing the Israeli chart with collaborative tours imminent. I met up with Jeff Shapiro (one of the band’s UK residents) to find out more about this musical movement. CIAM is the acronym for the Congres Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne. I understand that the driving theory behind this congress was that architecture could no longer survive as an insular art separate from governments and politics. Economic or social factors would have to impact and direct the course that architecture would take. How does this theory influence the music you are making? My life is filled with many things. Architecture, design, art and music, they’re each important parts of my life. In recent years other band members and myself have been very involved in forms of art other than music such as design and filmmaking. When it came to starting the band we wanted to choose a name that was appropriate to whom we are as people. The Congres Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (the original CIAM) was a meeting point for us. The original CIAM was a response to social and political environments, and they changed architecture as a response to that. In a way they took architecture from the dark ages into current socioeconomic and political thinking. That applies to us in the sense that we are uncompromising or nonconforming. We are not trying to be avante garde or on the edge, we are simply making the music and the art that we love. At the same time we try to respond to how people are currently living and socialising, For

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Bernard Faucon, ‘Diabolo menthe’, 1980, fig. 1

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Carol Mavor engages intimately with the photography of Bernard Faucon and writings of Roland Barthes, weaving together diverse artistic, cultural and literary threads to create an image-rich tapestry of boyhood

‘Ni-ni adolescence: Finding boyishness with Bernard Faucon and Roland Barthes by Carol Mavor

Starting with Lewis Carroll’s Alice, because I almost always do. In ‘Wool and Water’, Chapter V of Through the Looking Glass, Alice meets a sheep who knits and discovers knitting needles that turn into oars. Neither-nor needle-oars. “Can you row?” the Sheep asked, handing her a pair of knitting- needles as she spoke. “Yes, a little -- but not on land -- and not with needles – ” Alice was beginning to say, when suddenly the needles turned into oars in her hands, and she found they were in a little boat, gliding along between banks: so there was nothing for it but to do her best. ‘Ni-ni adolescence’ knits together Roland Barthes (1915-1980) and the photographer Bernard Faucon (b.1950), the latter famous for gathering manikin-boys, dressing them with care, then staging their birthdays, snowball fights, first communions, picnics and more, often with a dash of boyish pyromania, at times coupling the unreal boys with real boys (fig. 1 Diabolo menthe, 1980). It is a little like Pinocchio in plastic. Both Barthes and Faucon have sartorial egos of woolly ephebophilia (ephebe=early manhood + philia=love, hence love for the adolescent). What follows is one ill-fitting, awkward suit, made with neither-nor knitting needles for these two ancient adolescents; these two aged boys, these little men, these manikins. The word ‘manikin’ is from the Dutch mannekijn, meaning little man. stimulusrespond.com

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With theatrical tickery and metaphorical madness, Phil Sawdon draws a curious sketch of time

An Allegorical Nonsense for Three Players BY Phil Sawdon for Monsieur Âne Affection and Admiration

The Players René Hector, a well dressed hand-puppet, tick tock, (there is no mantelpiece), tick tock, he is in time … Madame Pipe, a mouse, several years younger, she’s got time… Monsieur Lièvre, a monkey, sur la branche, draws time … The player’s directions are in italic and are referenced in the reader’s imagination (Sawdon ∞, Albee 1966). The Scene A white surface with a tree, a table and a box There is the sound of a clock ticking The year might be 1744

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René Hector: [pouring sand and ink into a glass]: That might be the one that’s inscribed hickory barrage erased on the warm memory timing the middle of the filmic lice inappropriate ping pong the final tick tack for a dead toasted window in their toupee on the right pink so plonk tinkle click rat a tat toe tomorrow blim blam flom trip pens scratch distance in dickory pencil and paper … is that you (?) Madame Pipe [a little apologetic, confused as to where she is]: Yes it is and there was a little drawing next to it, followed To be read aloud: On the white surface René Hector sits in a box with by an exclamation mark. The back … was covered in stuff … stuff like: picked up the pen sustained unbroken his head in the box. Madame Pipe stands upright on the table and in the space as iii before iv stream me … strew a point Monsieur Lièvre is sur la branche, looking at his wrist. There is a there’s no point streaming dock thud fiction thud thinking metaphor close by. alliteration to draw sunup chic long before crawling into all those things … do you (?) Madame Pipe: [thumbing an exhibition catalogue, quite innocent, almost childlike.]: Do you tell the time? Monsieur Lièvre: [from outside the box, not explaining, and to none of them, really]: No and a bitter yellow slopping dim René Hector: [after a small silence]: Oui, sometimes … now shadow sits miming the keys are bored taken marrow and again …what is outside? blank paper mark thought in process of a two months off little heart heat drawing pitted patter and all aboard dirty Madame Pipe: [wistful, some loss]: … well … from time bored dirty reflection digging dig deep to layer theories art to time … time is outside … and now and then there is response for push 4/4 rhythm off the teeny tiny ink scrawl a little drawing [pointing] … next to it … followed by an in the weight of head and tails a waiting head pick up at exclamation mark. the mall before six … can we (?) René Hector: [a little patronising and a tiny condescending laugh]: Madame Pipe [knowing nodding of the head]: Hmm … Can you draw it? absolutely … and there are times when this mouse is automatic … … Madame Pipe: [confused]: … draw what? [Mutters] … humhyphenhum … Monsieur Lièvre: [Maybe slightly on the defensive, but even more … vague]: René Hector: [tight smile]: A little drawing … followed by The importance of automatic drawing cannot be an exclamation mark. overstressed; automatic drawing releases images in the psyche to the hand, it then enables the hand to free oneself Madame Pipe: [cheerful laugh]: Non, don’t be silly. I’m a from the dependence on those images … do it do it right mouse. spilling sketching towards seabird having flood beck and back spill adds ink to René Hector: [gently, as if to a child]: Did you find it? process and plate precess and plate dirty bored dirty reflection erased retrieval fragment on paper whether six Madame Pipe: [in a fog]: What? When? or eight pitted ran one for another in mark on mark seesaw tempting as though it might be up … is it (?) René Hector: [firm]: The little drawing … followed by an exclamation mark … René Hector: [he judges the situation for a moment]: Probably. A clock strikes … [Pause] How does narrative work in my time? Does a clock Madame Pipe: [dropping sugar in a cup]: I found it, as you depend on representation, or are there ‘abstract narratives’ put it, when I was looking at another drawing … brush, pen and ink, coloured pencil brushed with water on paper, outside the face? The little drawing … did it have any magic numbers … a 4 or maybe a 6? probably by René Hector, I’d guess at it being titled Just a Few Words, 1744. Act One

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Monsieur Lièvre: [on his feet, moving]: dumb lime simple line forensic shape and scrutiny in the case and card for recent witness in the act response for push push the mark as record data entry note on paper plips register synchronicity … why (?) The numbers 4 and 6 appear within the drawing as if from nowhere … René Hector: [Goes over to him, strokes his temple]: If Bernice were here then would the 4 be an allusion to the fourpart Jungian life cycle? Does it universalise the apparent intimacy of the drawing, clarifying its symbols and centrifugal movement, while increasing its allegorical complexity? I’m also struck by the notion that the 6 might refer to the fusion of male and female … a narrative scene of private fantasies … rag essay rub rub rub and about time it mirrored the skin dirty bored dirty reflection erased blank paper again to repeat replies and pen scratch the streaming point there’s no point thud fiction thud thinking out faff little drawing of a heart it spots the rough … have you (?) Madame Pipe: [as if the opposite answer was expected from her]: I have and what if we are in a delicate space, inside and outside, impotent time and tide, between a song lyric, certainly not track one, and a nursery rhyme …? Monsieur Lièvre: [looking around a space]: … pigeon tourist has a smart car spider fright graph softly marks the card in pen and ink speaking of practice and theory in the space is infinite and perpetual doubt and tick tack pink clack bang carlping paragraph on paragraph after rhythm verse to chorus click on the point there’s no point streaming thud fiction thud thinking boys don’t cry over spilt ink … shall I (?) René Hector: [embarrassed]: Is there any more too it? Madame Pipe: [unconcerned]: I’ll tell you later Act Two Five-thirty the next morning: same set. Madame Pipe (the mouse), is alone and awake. She is under the table, wearing pyjamas and slippers. René Hector enters from nowhere and proceeds to push the box uphill whilst earlier Monsieur Lièvre ran up and down the tree in a state of agitation. The box always falls back before René Hector can reach the top. For a moment we are in Tartarus. Now we are not. Monsieur Lièvre: [looking at his hands] … coarse can sprung pool is quiet consolation aggravated dirty blank paper has no marks of recent ink at centre erased again and again in theory as opposed to practice pearls wing dong oh me oh my ear wigging waggles sugar on the other side of this wall … can you draw it (?)

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Madame Pipe: [confused]: … draw what? … [Mutters] … humhyphenhum … René Hector: [tight smile]: A little drawing … followed by an exclamation mark. Madame Pipe: [cheerful laugh]: Non, don’t be silly. I’m a mouse. Monsieur Lièvre: [hardly able to speak from the laughter] … one in form and content adjusted and exposed curtains the nib in such a wag as to point there’s no point stay with line and lime tools flight frames fancy fuck fuckity fuck one after another at volume doing beauty pitted and patterned composition typical of its night style draws on in autumn long crawling into allthesethings … does it figure out (?) Madame Pipe: [a silence on the space, soft tears, stirring coffee, but conversational]: Yes it does … cold call no thanks tin tim scratch upon my back design technique lie with marks in gesture it’s a gesture so there the imarge large thud fiction thud big crocodile caught between the ink and the paper warm sunshine stream me silly talk dirty bored dirty reflection erased retrieval fragment on paper … so (?) I’ll tell you later. Act Three Later that night on the same set, after dinner, they start out tentatively, seeing that all the others are merely staring at them René Hector begins to speak … A clock strikes once René Hector: [icy]: Hickory dickory dock the mouse ran up the clock Madame Pipe: [small smile]: The clock struck one Monsieur Lièvre: [relief peeking through the surprise]: The mouse ran down All: [precise and pointed]: Hickory dickory dock Madame Pipe: [thumbing an exhibition catalogue, quite innocent, almost childlike.]: Do you … her voice is drowned out by the sound off pens on paper Curtain:15:15 Albee, Edward. A Delicate Balance. Penguin Books, 1969.


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In this touching tale of a People’s Revolutionary’s private moments in his mother’s kitchen, Niven Govinden gives a compelling account of human fallibility and the importance of timing in public life.

Cake Before Country by Niven Govinden They said he was the People’s Revolutionary, but all he wanted was to sit in his mother’s kitchen and eat cake. He wasn’t a politician, just a man who spoke some well-timed words on an empty stomach. He never expected to be standing in an election because of it. The cake was moist and thick. His mother had packed it with fruit, and even after a week it refused to crumble. She cut it in thick slices, as she would bread, offering him the first of these before the kettle was filled and put on the stove. He’d have another slice, and possibly a third, once the tea was ready. The cake was much needed. His childhood home was solace. The Army has assigned a guard to look after him on his unscheduled excursion from the polling station; a young Private who had been instructed to wait on the front porch, and whom his mother would have been happy to entertain. Now in her sixties she remained infuriatingly blind to the difference between who were friends and who were help. Reminders were needed. Her son often appeared at her door unannounced, looking for the kind of pampering he didn’t receive at home. If that was one way to score points against her career-minded daughter-in-law, she was happy to oblige, but today, the need for ministrations were real. He was in worse shape than normal. Alarmed at how the strain of election day so deeply lined his face, she tried to make a joke, offering him Tamke as an alternative to the fruit cake. Remembering how he’d taken things so seriously as a child she returned to her earlier role of rousing him out of it, the clown mother, not predicting that he would bite her head off the moment the pudding was mentioned. “I’ve eaten enough of that shit for one day.” “I’m only teasing.” “Let the guard have it.” But ever careful, he instructed her to leave a mangled portion and a spoon by his side, lest the soldier needed to enter the house for any reason. He was riding on a Tamke ticket; his rising popularity during the campaign had been engineered because of it. He’d eaten it twice a day for the last four months. At every village rally and factory visit, a bowl of locally-made Tamke was ever present. As were the cameras. The kitchen had changed only fractionally since his 080 stimulus, respond, time


childhood, his mother refusing offers to update furniture or fittings. She cooked in the same house she’d arrived in as a wife forty years earlier. She saw little reason to change things. “When will you know?” she asked him. “In the early hours.” “You can watch it here if you like. Invite Ginny.” “We’ll be at the Sheraton. The party’s throwing a reception.” “I can cook a chicken.” “It’s all arranged. It would cause an upset to change things now.” She has no idea of how he needed things to look. That after four long months of traditional, it was time to show the world how he was modern. More than modern, a moderniser. Tamke plated-up in the Sheraton’s china, and served to all. A final photo opportunity waiting to happen. One more mouthful and he would be home. The gimmick was that he was fed the Tamke by whomever offered it. Well before the election date was declared, when he was just a hopeful with enough money to mount a decent-sized campaign, all sense and all fear, he visited the local school, where one of the children had shyly offered him a bowl, cajoled by the headmaster. He hated dairy. Any pudding made with milk or cream, just the thought of it made him retch. Ordinarily he would have tossed-up a diverting remark about the execrable classroom art and moved on, but all eyes were on him and the child and he knew there was no way out. It was in that moment that he realised how politics was as much about impeccable manners as anything else. He made a good humoured face and attempted to take the spoon from her, but the brat held fast, insisting on feeding him herself, like he was her doll or daddy. The crowd assembled in the schoolroom Ahed in varying scales of sentimentality. He wanted to murder the lot of them. He clung on to the taste of the plastic spoon, using every ounce of self-control he had to ignore the presence of the tepid, spiced custard as it slid towards the back of his throat. Only the sensation of the cool, white plastic on his tongue prevented him from throwing up all over her. He also remembered to smile. The photo that appeared in the paper the next day marked his ascendancy.

Tamke would be the saviour of the economy. Within days the sales of condensed milk rocketed as the Island’s middle classes revisited a long-neglected taste of themselves. They needed him to lift the Island out of its rut; the recriminations of doing the sambo dance for the benefit of the Western world could come later. A month into the campaign, once the global news stations started reporting on the revival, export orders for their condensed milk speciality received an uplift across the Americas, and to their amazement, China. He could never have predicted that the Chinese curiosity for a condensed milk pudding would bring his country back to life from the near-death status of being an aidnation, and there was some pride in his contribution, but economics weren’t everything. He longed for inactive moments such as these, when he could push the campaign to one side, and simply concentrate on filling his stomach. He was unable to distinguish whether it was a bullish display of national character or an innate selfishness. All he knew was the pleasure in his belly was not to be underestimated. Empires could be built on their stomachs, even in thick vegetative backwaters such as these. He was a believer, envisioning a fully functioning democracy funded through milk pudding. There had been more eccentric precedents. Yes, the people had come to him rather than the other way around; he had to be begged to stand, but as the campaign gained groundswell, he pushed himself to the forefront of the movement, surprised by his own passion. He stopped kidding himself that it didn’t matter; that it was an experiment, a test-run he could drop out of anytime. Any remembrance of that state repelled him. He was ashamed of his backroom timidity and laziness, stung by those early months when he hadn’t taken it seriously. Flash-blinded, unaware. Singing for his supper, literally. The dinner they cooked up after those public meetings was half the reason he spoke at those places. There was a knock on the door that he recognised as the Private’s. “They’ve called, Sir. You’re expected within the hour.” “Thank you. I’ll be out in ten minutes.” The soldier stood expectantly as he waited to be dismissed, but no such order was forthcoming; the sloth from the cake proving to be too much for the Presidential candidate to handle. A gluten-induced sleepiness that comes for eating half a cake and two cups of warm, milky tea in a short space of time. If the table wasn’t covered, with crockery, and newspapers,

....it didn’t matter; that it was an experiment....

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and a tray of germinating seeds that had been presented for a son’s inspection, he would have slumped forward and slept it off. Why did no one take siestas anymore, he wondered? Because of people like him, pushing the country on to maximise, to compete. He sighed dreamily at the irony. In New York they called it a Power Nap. The most powerful country in the world, with their distaste at the ethnic way, still had space for power naps and forty winks to work-off the effects of an overindulgent lunch. So, mindful of this, the teaming table, and his mother’s tongue, he managed to stay upright. A glazed expression, the only communique that now passed between politician and military. This lasted seconds, but was enough to unsettle the Private. He took it all in: the mess of empty plates, and the plump, passive figure sat before him, struggling to pull himself together. It would become a moment he would ponder over for years afterwards. How could we have put ourselves in the hands of a man who fell to pieces after eating a fruit cake in his mother’s kitchen? It would explain so much and so little about the country’s fortunes over the next ten years. A question he had no answer for. His mother took this to be the moment to feed her son the Tamke. She had never been the most perceptive of women - with her husband’s handsome royalties from his academic books published abroad she had no need of such concentrated skills - but even she noticed the discord in those few blank seconds and the need to fill them with something. “Here, son.” The spoonful she dropped into his mouth was both a display of a mother’s stubbornness and a play for the attention of the young Private. Her son usually had a couple of countryside pigs assigned to him, conducive to her hospitality but thick as shit. This boy was different. He was still young and idealistic, but there was a strength that his discomfort couldn’t completely hide. When he got a grip on himself he’d be one of those young men who could achieve anything, far removed from her own son and the way he had to be goaded into every opportunity, even now. The unpleasantness of it woke him from his daydream. “Dismissed,” he managed to stutter through the thick, milky mass that lodged inside his left cheek, giving a self-depreciating laugh that put both his mother and the Private at ease. Manners, always manners. The young man gave his sharp salute, everything about his movements were as defined and angular, and made

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to leave, knocking himself for things he’d obviously been imagining. He chastised himself for his lack of faith in their almostleader; the man whose victory would ensure jobs for him, his brothers and sisters, and hopefully, their children. A future that would halve the diaspora, and give some weight to their devalued currency. A society where the military he despised (even more so now that he had experience of its inner workings) would be reduced to decoration. To be close to such benevolence and selfless ambition, to know such a man warmed his chest, and left him glowing with pride. This was a story he could tell his children about. How he had shared a joke, and seen the honest, unpretentious domesticity of a man ready to take on the world on their behalf. If only he’d been looking straight ahead at the door. But he wanted to prolong the experience, like a small child unwilling for a treat to end, needing to tip his head back to take in one final glimpse, to cement the image in his mind. Inspired and honest.. He saw enough. The honourable candidate spitting the Tamke back into the bowl in one large globule. His mother wiping his mouth. A shared look of distaste on both their faces. The disparity in timescale as they realised that they were still being watched. The speed at which the candidate adjusted himself, creased his lips into a cold, tight smile, and attempted his excuse. His mother, struggling to match his ease of expression, pushing her facial muscles from down to up with pronounced effort, as if she was being wound up from behind; perhaps for the first time fearing the overwhelming weight of the uniform. But he was quicker than the lot of them, military training finally proving beneficial. His eyes gave away nothing. “Ten minutes, Sir,” he said. “Ten minutes.” And then, as an afterthought. “If there’s any Tamke left Honorable Mother, I’ll take some on the porch.”


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Alphabet Poems Frances Presley

e

endless earth rising to an early worm ridge way to a vanishing point on screen an erring escape to the hare path enlarged on reel to black and white endless een wave length of land between our homes on the empty road between two enclosures unwavering our heads not turning as we walked backwards endless fields rubbed ears slight shock of electric fence erected against the soil drift until bridged by snow waves embedding our backs below the ewe clouds and blue

c corn or finding spaces to insert a body a core as if in sand cupped corn crushed sinking body singing cornflower at the end of summer corn o tone cactus corner a lexis can spike can needle the finger that would touch that would explore a corner cupboard capacity to close to exclude she keeps a collection that says look out

g

john barleycorn is dead they came and cut him down but a bloodless combine has left three days stubble and the capacity to cut you are too cutting and break the code green girl grrr een a given ground prepared greens ward green word green corn of monopalette landscape my mono chrome photo of you in a greengage tree the village divided green dividing trunk road greave for the greve fought for the shot copse do not dye green haired girl of lank peroxide locks gone bleached jacket green wellies green eye shadow I like my photo of you Greer your mother singing the reeve his green green grass mono culture corn grown singing common girls

Frances Presley’s recent books of poetry are Paravane: new and selected poems, 1996-2003 (Salt, 2004) a response to 9/11/2001, and to the IRA bombsites in London; and Myne: new and selected poems and prose, 1976-2006, (Shearsman Books, 2006). 088 stimulus, respond, time


Sonnet

Geraldine Monk

Ghost of her ghosts Never left her waking Days lengthened till the last sky Lit her goodbye breeze. Lemurs on her Back booed who goes where to Follow. Ringed tails wrapped her Final neck scarf-warm and ever So pretty. It was a beautiful death. Unclenched chiffon. Lily pond. Pity She mumbled as her eyes opened Wide with stiff awake the next day. Load of now began beginning. Again. The garden had many failures. Growing endearment takes its toll.

‘Sonnet’ is to be published by Salt Publishing in a forthcoming volume Ghosts and Other Sonnets. Previous collections include Escafield Hangings (West House Books, 2005). The Salt Companion to Geraldine Monk, ed Scott Thurston was published by Salt Publishing, 2007)

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Stimulus Respond - Time Preview  

Preview for the forthcoming issue of Stimulus Respond, themed Time.

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