June begins with sinister paisley

It has been a busy week and I am exhausted, my head is thudding and the ibuprofen isn’t working yet. Thought I’d write this to keep my mind off it and before I start on the codeine.

The Library went well on Tuesday. The Library is currently my small front room and every full moon I hold an event there. This full moon it was Kathryn Davis giving a talk on quantum physics. It was fascinating, I still don’t have a clue about it apart from some things really remind me of The Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy, like the improbability drive. I was a young child when the Hitchhikers guide began, my dad was a big fan of Douglas Adams and we were brought up with the guide as a kind of religion, along with Star Trek. In fact, for a long time now life has generally worked out for the best if I just regard it all as The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

The epilepsy has been bad this week. Not surprising as it always gets more whenever I’m busy and I also have decided to take myself off the lyrica because it was doing my eyesight in. So it’s just good old Tegretol at the moment and my new faith in breathing exercises, which reminds me I missed yoga this week. Anyway I’ve been getting a seizure almost every time I wake up, which is really weird. I’m in a bad enough mood already when I wake up and having a turn pretty much ruins the entire morning. This week they have involved sharply coloured and intensely patterned spirals and twists enveloping me, they were like those famous silk patterns with tear-drop motif – paisley I think – but very conscious, exceeding powerful, and somehow gut twisting.

My dreams have also been disturbing this week. I keep getting this dream where I’m being chased by this sinister man/force. He is like a cross between William Blake, Beethoven in that famous portrait when he is older and very stern, and the twin peaks hero turned evil in the more recent twin peaks. He chases me though corridors and woods and tunnels. I wonder if it is anything to do with the installation of a ruined office I’ve been doing in Hammersmith this week. Will write more about that in a later blog, because the whole exhibition is huge and very worth while seeing but my head is just not together enough to explain such things as location write now.

On a more easy note I got some wonderful gifts for the Library this week, a box of postcards of botanical prints, a beautiful Aspen leaf necklace, a huge heavy book on Occult Philosophy that is big enough to stun an ox (Laurie Anderson quote, couldn’t resist), a catalogue of the Natural History and Science Emporium from New York, and a lovely card catalog box so I can order my books properly.

I have also sold almost all my Biro Beasts. Just one of the original 10 left, and I’ve started drawing more as they are good to draw and seem to get some of the mess in my head out.

The Black Hole on my Bedroom Shelves

Well it’s a bank holiday Monday, I was going to get lots done today but seeing as it’s 11 and I’m still in bed that probably isn’t going to happen. Alarm went off at 9, I woke up, cat sat on my face, I made a cup of tea, went to drink the tea in bed and had an epileptic turn. Saw the universe in the hole in my banking file, which then melted and everything melted into it. Took a while to figure out which universe I’m supposed to be in after that. Once it was over I went back to sleep where a very old man sat next to me in a hospital toilet cubicle and told me he had polio. His friend said he was only joking.

Had a good gig in South London on Saturday, a lovely friendly crowd who were well practiced in shouting “hurrah!” with the required hand signal. Sold some Biro Beast drawings and a couple of Rude Mechanicals Glass Eye albums as well. Glass Eye was the bands first album years ago, it sold out but folks have been asking for copies recently so we had another 100 made. On Saturday someone said we sound like Nick Cave and John Lee Hooker, I think that’s good, anyway it’s all gone a lot darker and swampy than it was and I like that, it suits the universe melting into a black hole in my bedroom files.

Last night I went to see Infernal Contraption play at the 100 club on Oxford street. They were very good with lots of odd noises and well thought out songs with interesting subjects. I also got in for free as Jowe put me on the guest list and then I had a drink brought for me so this felt good given my terrible financial situation currently. I managed to go out for the night in Oxford street for the £3 bus fair there and back. I also drew the a possible perfect child whilst waiting for the bus. Could be a development on the old logo?

32583A3A-FAC3-43E0-BDFD-8B1DF5507283 I’ve taken the teeth from a crocodiles smile I’ve stolen the brains of a rich man I’ve torn the tongue from the snide st witch I’ve threaded my needle and now I must stitch[/caption]

19. Red Wine and Revolution part 1 – Elsie’s thoughts

Carnival masks
Masks

Elsie stared intensely at the reflections in her wine glass, every now and then she swayed it gently from side to side and watched the ripples of wine roll. The sofa was large and comfortable and this evening she had time to think. Then again thinking was really what she was trying to avoid. Recently she’d found she preferred being overwhelmed, swallowed almost, by the small things, like the redness of her wine, or the reflections in the glass, or the old well worn rip in the fabric of the sofa.

She still missed Abel but her real concern was currently Douglas. He had gone from depression to jovial optimism. At first this had pleased her, but now it seemed to evolve round “jokes” about the extinction of large quantities of the human race.

“The human race is too large” he said with a grin, “the planet can’t sustain this level of consumption, something must be done.”

She couldn’t argue with his logic, but the solution…

It wasn’t genocide exactly, in that it wasn’t based on any ethnic group particularly, it was simply based on the idea that those with money and education should survive, along with a small number of obedient serves to oversea machinery (most labour could be done by computers after all), whilst those without would be killed – humanly of course. He said this grining the whole time, a joke “ha ha”, and Elsie would laugh along too. Still, something told her he might be serious.

Douglas seemed to separate people into three different groups, there were those like him – intelligent, rich, educated –  the true survivors and evolutionary successors. Ones like Elsie – educated, intelligent and useful – deserved to stay alive, and the rest – the poor, the disabled, the stupid, the uncultured, the uneducated –  should be wiped out. The global market had been separating the world into the rich and the poor for some time now, this was simply the ultimate and most sensible solution.

Elsie shuddered at the thought. She returned to the beautiful reds in her wine, the long narrow stem of her wine glass, the smell of candle wax and the kitchen downstairs. She’d arrived early and  was waiting for her friends, Louise and Jackie, to turn up. Jackie was a retired academic now artist who had turned seventy and found her career suddenly blosom.

Louise was a single forty year old artist/twilighter*, glamorous in an arty second hand way. She survived by squatting and begging and blagging. She was particularly good at blagging, it was through her that Elsie was now sitting as her guest in this private members club. Louise had somehow convinced the clubs board that she was a renowned artist from New Zealand who was part of a show coming up at the Tate and who would pay her club membership as soon a her agent sorted out this irritating bank confusion that had occurred.

She was actually completely unknown, had been banned from the Tate for striping off and covering herself in cellotape (she called this protest art) and came from Hackney.

*For a description of a twilighter go here

Next – 20. Red Wine and Revolution 2: The Luxury of Atheism

18. The Mutation

17. Elsie’s Pragmatism

15. Douglas, the charmer.

Man looking out over a theatre audienceThe term Twilighter started being used in the early 2000’s by the arts council of England to distinguish between respectable people and the type of person who was not worth counting as potential audience. They were poor, single, disabled, in temporary accommodation, in unstable employment if any. Elsie’s boss Douglas was one of the art consultants that first came up with the term Twilighter. “There’s something of the darkness about them” he said.

Douglas was a very determined man, there was something of the missionary in his righteous zeal, not religious, no, unless you called the religion Douglas.

He wasn’t a horrible man, on the contrary, he was one of the most pleasant people Elsie had met in the art world. Intelligent, witty, passionately engaged in his profession. In his fifties now, director of a large arts company, millioniaire arts dealer,  father of five children by three women, regular judge at big arts prizes, one of those men who, despite the bad teeth, balding head and long grey ponytail, could still manage to flatter a woman with his attention. A well respected and charming man, yes, charming. He was also a sociopath with a grand plan.

14. Betwixt and Between

13. The Alter

12. Malformed and Obscene

11. Her Pet Project

11. Her Pet Project

Girl drawing a parrot Elsie was a good girl. Always had been. From a middle income family who wanted the very best for their little girl. She was an only child. At 12 Elsie was remarkably good at art and harboured an ambition to go to art school. Her parents informed her otherwise. There was no point in them paying for her to do an art degree, what good would it do her? Certainly wouldn’t get her a job. So she went into arts admin, and worked hard. She became PA to a notable art director. He grew dependent on her so she got a decent salary. She was very good,  but she was very bored. That’s when Abel came along. An arty type, he played in a rock band, full of dreams and ego. They met at a gig in Dalston and the very sight of this guitar-abusing beast on stage made her heart turn somersaults.

“Looks like a tramp!” her mother said.

Elsie knew he was trouble, a self-obsessed nobody who cared for nothing other than his guitars and effects peddles, but she also thought she could change him.

Previous:

10. Water

9. So where were we…

8. Drunken Delirium

7. Hallucinari

6. Dread

5. Slapdash

4. Eyes in the Machines

3. Underlondon

2. Abel

1. What YOU Need!

6. Dread

An artist's impression of Dread.Dread sat in the corner picking his nose. He was naked. A large man, his skin took on the colour of the shadows in which he sat, altering shades of grey throughout the day, a green tint, a blue tint, a touch of magenta. It could be best described as having that quality you get if you’ve been using watercolour paints but never bother changing the water. You dip the brush in, take it out and splodge it onto the thick pimply surface of the watercolour paper, the result you get is like Dread’s skin.

Abel had been seeing him in the corners for sometime now, particularly at work. At first he’d been afraid, a strange naked man appeared to be following him. No one else seemed to notice though.  He didn’t dare ask people outright,  he knew his colleagues thought him odd already.

He panicked, was this proof of his insanity? Then he came to the conclusion that even if he was mad, he couldn’t afford treatment so probably best  just to keep on as normal and ignore Dread, everything would probably be alright.

Once he tried to talk to him, but Dread is a silent creature, the only noise he makes is a munching sound when he eats from his hands. Abel was not sure what he was eating, it appeared to be light.

Attempts at communication were given up. Gradually though, through some kind of thought osmosis, Abel knew that it was Dread, but dread of what exactly he didn’t know. He briefly mentioned it to Elsie once, but the look of terror in her eyes made him shut up. Still it left what felt like a large hole in his gut, and a churning feeling that made him manic when in public. It didn’t help that his diet now mainly consisted on Spletzer-Martins and alcohol.

After six months of Dread hanging around, Abel was getting used to him. At work in the early hours of the morning Dread was somehow a more comfortable companion than those all seeing, all knowing eyes in the machines.

Next – 7. Hallucinari

Previous –

5. Slapdash

4. Eyes in the Machines

3. Underlondon

2. Abel

1. What YOU Need!

Notes on the Grand Plan: The Further Adventures of The Spletzer-Martin No 5.

Warning – If you have never read The Time Machine by H.G. Wells this blog may well spoil it for you. Not completely ruin it, just tell you a little bit too much.

So this grand plan of mine, solo album/sci-fi novel/musical/radio show/religion,  is called The Further Adventures of The Spletzer Martin No.5.

I cannot just work with the Rude Mechanicals on it as it would just turn into the Rude Mechanicals. Besides Cos and Guy are sly cold blooded men, especially that Cos. He’d have slit my throat from behind by now if only he could find another blonde wigged front person like me. All smiles on the surface, he’d never show a sign. The two of them would be on the radio interview and Guy wouldn’t say a word and Cos would be saying how they miss me and how they are waiting for me to come back, whilst I’d be bleeding to death in some gutter, gnawed by flea-ridden dogs he’d been breeding and raising for years specially for the job. And Guy woudn’t rescue me.

So this project is going to take a long time.

I’ve been round recording noises, water, tunnels etc. It involved a vile poo-bathing incident with Monty which I won’t go into now, but I did get some good sounds. Now what?

Well I’ve got the story started. Its about a man called Abel, set in London during a recession, in the future, but not that far in the future. There is a mad woman in it who accidentally starts a new religion.

In The Time Machine  the human race has evolved into two species: the leisured classes have become the ineffectual Eloi who live on the surface, and the downtrodden working classes have become the brutish light-fearing Morlocks who live underground.

At the same time as I was reading The Time Machine I read an article in The National Geographic about how there is a community of people in Las Vegas who live in the tunnels under the city, coming up at night to feed off the leftovers of the above-landers. The start of the split between the Eloi and Morlock? Hmmm…

So this is the basic premise of my story, but its set in London. London has many tunnels and hidden rivers.

Carnival will be very important in the piece. Some experts think the term Carnival comes from carne vale a Latin expression meaning “Farewell to Meat”. Traditionally it was a festival before Lent when rich foods such as meat had to be consumed. A meat eating festival.

And Rough Music, plenty of that sort of stuff: Noisy, masked processions held outside the home of the supposed wrongdoer, involving the cacophonous rattling of bonesand cleavers, the ringing of bells, hooting, blowing bull’s horns, the banging of frying pans, saucepans, kettles, or other kitchen or barn implements with the intention of creating long-lasting embarrassment to the alleged perpetrator. (Wikipedia).

I think I will have to have a recording session where the musicians wear masks and hit bones and frying pans.  No I’m not joking.

Musicians, now there’s a tricky question. I have to use them, can’t not. I’m interested in the group, improvisation, collective action and rhythm. Slime Mold cells in sync! ( the majority of people who visit my blog seem to be looking for Slime Molds. They are great). But musicians do insist on doing music. And a lot of musicians see improvisation to be merely about individual grandeur rather than working together.

“Well”, you might think to yourself, ” Miss Roberts is very into individual granduer”, and you’d be right. That could be why The Spletzer Martin No.5 project might have to kill her off.

I went to exchange chilli peppers for cups of tea yesterday with Django Bates, and we got talking, or rather I harassed him with questions, about vocal improvising. He told me to listen to Phil Minton and played me some great stuff by Salsid Endersen ( I have probably spelt that wrong). The first one he played was just vocal noises she made in the more avantgarde album, appealing but noone would ever listen to an album of me doing that. No one would listen to more than 30 seconds. The second album was more like poetry, I may have to ask to borrow it. I like Phil Minton’s Feral Choir, will have to pinch that idea for the masked musicians.

I don’t know why I’m even interested in this vocal improvisation stuff really, but it seems I am, and Phil Minton can now be held responsible for some of the noises I am likely to make in this album/sci-fi novel/musical/film/radio show/religion/artwork. Which, although having considerble resemblance to music, will be everything but.

So first recording session end of January. Any questions?

Update – This has now been put off till May when I will be celebrating still being alive.