5. Slapdash

Old woman, theatre performer.
Harmonica player outside Baron's Court Station

There’s a woman standing outside Baron’s Court tube station playing, or rather attempting to play, a harmonica. I’ve seen her here before, she hangs out at Baron’s Court Housing project where they do free meals. She wears a wig and theatrical makeup. I thought at first she was a transvestite, like my neighbour Steve who goes to the Coop in stilettos and a mini skirt, but apparently not.

My other slightly more sober neighbour tells me she is an old theatre performer, been out of work for years though, a drinker with mental health issues. “A right care in the community that one” say’s my neighbour “a real special“.

The story goes that she was having medical treatment for a congenital brain disease during the privatisation of the NHS. She could’t afford to continue the treatment with the specialist hospital so ended up going through the Charity Care system. The hack-up job the church hospital did was well meaning but naive and slapdash, her memory was blown to pieces.

This is all just rumours you understand, but she is quite mad!

Still, she stands there at Barons Court station feather bower and all, screaching out lunacy and blowing down that poor old harmonica. The Station manager occasionally moves her along but she’s back the next day. On Sundays she is particularly enthusiastic, her words seem to take on a hell fearing vigor as she denounes the Sunday shopping  public.

Next – 6. Dread

Previous –

1. What YOU need!

2. Abel

3. Underlondon

4. Eyes in the Machines

“Where your eyes don’t go a part of you is hovering”

Watercolour sketch by Jo Fisher Roberts
Where is my mind?

I know you mock me and my slime molds, my quest for some kind of unplanned synchronisation, but there is two of me in this head, and the silent one seems to be seeking other silent ones. Don’t you find theres two of you in that head of yours?

One going rabbity rabbity rabbity, and another silent one that’s controlling you from behind the scenes?

In these words is the rabbitty rabbity one of me, but I know the other is there, slowly guiding what I do with its own secret agenda. Don’t take anything i say very seriously because the other part of me has other thoughts.

Its that part of the brain that deals with this syncing business, it wants it, desires it, gets me to come up with vaguely rational arguments for why I should devote large amounts of time in the pursuit of this ill defined activity.

I think maybe the other part of you is similar, but perhaps you have more say than I do. You are an individual and assert your individuality, so you don’t allow the other you to get in the way?

But sometimes, just sometimes, don’t you get the urge to shut up in your head and find out what the other you gets up to?

It’s dangerous though, where will it lead you?

I know I can’t shut up for long, even in the most religious of auras theres a little voice going “come on Roberts, pull yourself together girl, you’ve still got to take the dog for a walk and hang out the laundry”.

It’s there though, the other me, always there. Watching, waiting, but for what I don’t know.

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. 

Hideous grunting and blowing tonight and tomorrow.

Miss Roberts singing on the radioMyself and two Rude Mechanicals on CRMK 89.8 fm radio today, thanks to The Garden of Earthly Delights. Anyone who heard it , what did you make of my soft sexy radio voice?

Tomorrow I’m doing my solo act at Sexton Ming’s 50th birthday in Stoke, London. If you don’t know who Sexton Ming is you should. Type him in to google NOW!

Here is the sound of me upsetting my neighhbours earlier today http://soundcloud.com/missroberts/rebel-tongue, it will be like this tomorrow only I’ll be very drunk and stomping around a lot in big boots.

Oh and wearing slap of course. I was feeling lazy today what with it being radio and all. No dirty bra straps showing tomorrow!

Brain Porn – Notes to self & questions

Alien - image 1
Gor – look at the size of that!

Showing you these images feels a bit like showing you pictures of me naked. They are of the Alien in my brain from different angles. Every few years, usually after a bit of wobbly health, I reconsider whether or not to have it operated on.

It is the size of a human fist. The veins attached to it are feeder veins, they keep the thing alive. To have it removed each one of these feeder veins must be glued up from the inside, one at a time. Between each procedure there would need to be about a 6 month recovery period. There are a lot of veins to be glued so the procedure would take a considerable number of years. Once the veins are glued and the Alien is nolonger being fed it would be zapped with lasers in radio therapy. Success is a 50/50 chance.

Angiogram image
Get a load of that!

So what does it do? Sits there mainly, grumbling. It feeds on the blood making the rest of my brain a little anemic. It’s damaged part of the temporal lobe giving me frequent epilepsy (which is unlikely to be cleared up by the operations as the brain damage is already done). Sometimes it leaks a bit of blood which is bloody painful (excuse the pun). But the question is more what it might do. It might, as it did 10 years ago, decide to pop, explode, literally burst a blood vessel. This could cause a stroke, disability or death. Or I could be fine.

So what would you do? Leave it, live with the risk? Or spend the next god knows how many years going under treatment for it?This is more of a note to myself than anything else, so I’ve made things clear in my own mind. This time round I hopefully won’t have to go abusing other peoples heads to find the answer. And maybe this time I can avoid some of the guilt because no I didn’t ask for it, I don’t want it. Maybe I wouldn’t be performing Miss Roberts on stage if it wasn’t for the Alien but then would I need to be performing? Jo + Alien = Miss Roberts?

AVM in Temporal Lobe - angiogram image 3
What a whopper!

Perhaps I could have a normal life and be happy? But a decade of being ill on a fifty fifty chance of a normal life is quite a bet. I’m not unhappy now.

What would you do?!!

And no it isn’t the result of watching too much porn.

Yours

Jo & the Alien xx