Tippex + Health Insurance = Bad Taste.

Zine Comp

This just ain't relevant. The only zines worth reading aren't available in Magma, and do not employ such inherently contrived sloppy cut'n'paste methods.

For good old-fashioned, well-printed, informative (and lovingly subjective) ones go to the 56a Infoshop in Elephant and Castle. The other week I picked up a very pretty May 1978 booklet, detailing several accounts of women in prison. With a beautiful B+W Saul Bass-esque design of obscured vaseline-lensed ladies on the back.

This place is tiny, friendly, and has a good food store at the front, with a library of a great wealth of books, fem lit, situationist theory and multiple European periodicals sitting along side an old favourite, Dennis Cooper (!) There's a mapping festival coming up at the Infoshop aswell, with "hand drawn maps, charts of chaos, utopian visions, radical history walks and talks, and collective map-making". Despite the dreaded More-word, mapping is a good hobby, and the South London-spanning Sunday walks look lovely.

Another recent source of great and varied zines and comics, was the First Annual London Zine Symposium which even had a mix tape box (this excited me). Every room at the Gower Street social centre (that this place exists in the centre of University-land, is impressive in itself) was crammed full of tables lined with hand-made treasures. Admittedly the content of such publicatons isn't always great and there's a bias in the self-righteously-dryly-detailed anarcho direction. But the productivity, immersion and general amicability of the creators, makes up for the chaff. One such gem was called "Housemate Required" and has Sara Heitlinger mapping the 17 homes she visited across London, in the period of a month. Fascinating and quite daunting, it's so thoroughly documented and has colour photos accompanying each TV-centric house (she hates TVs. Quite rightly. Losing friends to Big Brother = not good.)

On the comics note - read the newest Jeffrey Brown offering, "Miniature Sulk" today. As much as I love "Be a Man" and "Bighead", this one doesn't capture his self-deprecating humour via crappily sketched strips any where near as well. It just seems like a quickly strung-together collection of scraps with no theme or context. Which would be fine if it were bound a la "Feeble Attempts". But a full-colour glossy Top Shelf production, it warrants not.

Here is some great Brown:

Mr Brown

He shares a page with the marvellously grim Paul Hornshemeier, who made one of the best comics I read last year, "Return of The Elephant." He draws well:

Mr Brown


Secret Cinema in Elephant and Castle..

Mark Webber, who organises Lux Film showings (secret cinema) and curates the experimental film weekend at the LFF, is bringing 2 film programmes to the beloved concrete land mass which I call home-from-home. For £3. This is a great thing.

2 / 6 / 5

"Expect to be subjected to the sounds of
Alvin Lucier, William Burroughs, John Cage, Gertrud Stein, concrete poets,
dial-a-poets, Futurists, Dada's, mothers and children, the obscurely wilful
and the wilfully obscure."

Marcel Duchamp, France 1925, b/w, silent, 7 minutes

John Smith, UK 1975, colour, sound, 7 minutes

Martha Haslanger, 1974, colour, sound, 13 minutes

Liz Rhodes, UK. 1982, colour, sound, 35 minutes

Joyce Weiland, Canada, 1968, colour,
sound, 16 minutes

Michael Snow, Canada, 1982, silent, colour, 45 minutes

Stan Brakhage, USA, 1994, colour, silent,
4 minutes

3 / 6 / 5

"Four Videotapes which each explore variations in spoken language.  
"Mesostics" are poems in which a string of vertical letters, one from each
line, spells a name or word.  John Cage's calm and sage delivery of these
phrases sits in stark contrast with the deranged performance by actor Tim
Thompson, in Paria, which is based on workshops conducted with prisoners at
a correctional facility.  Taped by video pioneers the Vasulka's, these
disturbing monologues are further unhinged by their technological distortion
of the image. The second half of the programme features tapes by Peter Rose,
who has conducted a deep investigation of language and text throughout his
work, whilst demonstrating an incisive sense of humour.  He often uses
invented words, subtitles, sign language and direct address to spin yarns
that examine syntax an patterns of speech, while simultaneous exploring the
nature of film and video media itself.  This is a rare screening of two
seminal videotapes that are practically unknown in the UK."

John Cage/Soho TV, USA, 1978,
videotape, 26 minutes

Woody & Steina Vasulka,. USA 1984, videotape 26 minutes

Peter Rose, USA, 1983, videotape, 17 minutes

Peter Rose, USA 1984, videotape, 13 minutes


The Mortician's Beauty Parlour ..

is the somewhat flamboyant title of the newest novel by my newest friend, Ralph. Apparently, it's the first "outsider" British novel written, according to "experts", and employs several modes of narrative structure, a la Joyce. Ralph's an elderly regular at Pogo who I've managed to avoid (along with all vegan-frequenters) by hiding in the kitchen and incompetently cooking. But alas today I found myself at the helm of trying to pronounce tasty Polish dishes, and thus exposing myself to The People. Anyway, so Ralph spent his tea break teaching me about Film Noir of the 1940s (I have to see Val Luter's 'The Seventh Villain' and William Irish' 'The Phantom Lady') and their masterful use of suspense. He doesn't like French New Wave cinema (because it doesn't 'grab' him), although he does love Alain de Long's "The Samurai'. And apparently, Cornell Woolrich is the best crime thriller writer, ever. He reckons Hitchcock spoiled Woolrich's Rear Window screenplay by adding Grace Kelly into the equation. How could Kelly ruin anything? So essentially, despite not having a septum, and apparently purposefully writing something provocative in his book "to make women hate" this guy is rather wise. Although he could just be a great liar. This brings to mind the idea that 'telling stories is a euphenism for telling lies'.

A few weeks ago I went to see Jaap Blonk perform Kurt Schwitter's Ursonate at the Jerwood Space, part of the Cut and Splice Sonic Arts Network events. HIs bodily and vocal contortions were pretty impressive and somewhat disturbing; at one point he looked like he was choking on his own canine-esque emittions. It was interesting, but I felt that Schwitter's initial hope of shocking and provoking response from crowds at traditional salons of the 30s with these concrete sounds, was lost on an elite collective gagged and bound by the BBC microphones. The exhibition Dots and Loops on at the same place, is worth another visit though. It has a piece which visually documents sounds entering a microphone onto a large screen in front of it. And lots of interesting forms of notations. And, Raster-Noton wall drawings.

Also a little while ago, while walking home and admiring the relative leafiness of my zone 2 un-tubed suburb, I almost stepped on this cute misplaced creature. I didn't want to pick it up because my basic scientific knowledge reminded me that mother birds reject their kin if touched by humans. So I pointed it in the right direction, and it hopped to relative safety.

Brockley Bird

Tim Exile at Resonance FM on Saturday night was a welcome replacement for the tired Venetian Snares, if only for his shout-outs, BPM rate and mind-bogglingly complicated lap-top contraption which had different layers represented by rectangles and connected/activated by moveable cables. Perhaps these things are commonplace at Planet Mu, but my eyes had never seen one, and is still trying to reconcile its methods with Macromedia's Flash

This morning, grappling for audio accompanyment for the 453, I found an Edith Piaf/Jeanne Moreau/Serge Gainsbourg tape. I've never really taken the time to discover Gainsbourg, it's too much of a cliche for my liking. Although one song immediately displaced me from Old Kent Road to Avignon; 'Je suis venu pour dire que Je m'en vais'. I thank Nostalgie FM for this. Nostalgie plays 75% French hits from the 50s to the 80s, and is staple in-car entertainment for the 16 hour familial journey down South. It's also a favourite at Parisien squat parties, I hear.

It's Veggie Week at Pogo Cafe. Starting from tomorrow there is all kinds of "cruelty-free" food fun happening in Hackney Central. They're showing 'Why Vegan?' featuring Benjamin Z tomorrow (which sounds hopelessly condescending but is a film nevertheless) and giving away Vegetarian starter packs, which have a Vegetarian London book, Pogo recipe book and a bar of Green and Black's chocolate. I wanted one.

Quotes I can remember:

"If I learnt from my mistakes I'd get betterrrrrrr!" - Tim Exile
"I hate states, I hate borders ... I am not a citizen!" - Brother Alex, hilariously perturbed after 4 hours in the impossibly beaurocratic French Embassy


A forest without leaves


This mesmerising post-modern-Alice in Wonderland-esque installation by Abbas Kiarostami is currently residing in the V&A foyer until June the 5th. It is beautiful. Neglected in this image are the amateur illegible hatchings declaring some love or other.

In between Forest Hill and Sydenham stations, lies this interesting structure. I'm not sure what it is, and this troubles me. But it captures my attention increasingly on each passing, and is gorgeous.

unknown structure

Quote of the Day: "You should do work in the day, and sleep at night." - my dad.


"four-eyed version"

I got a shout out at FWD last night, according to friends with better ears. In hindsight I'm chuckling, but at the time I recall inwardly wishing I had a boy-disguise. Not a tracksuit though. I'd like to think I could be as immaculate as Wiley. It was impossible to merge into the wallpaper and just listen, and although I dance and appreciate this insular come-all attitude, the flaneur in me ups its percentage and I become acutely aware of the limitations of my gender role. Ha. Anyway, more importantly, Kode 9 was amazing. My throat has never felt better basslines.


I've spent a few minutes needlessly wishing I was Australian in the past..

Or at the very least concocting daydream courier-plans. And now Design is Kinky's Semi-Permanent finally comes to London the weekend I'm in Amsterdam, June 10th and 11th. Surface to Air, Pixelsurgeon and Universal Everything are speaking, although they don't excite me as much as the idea of the event does. I wonder if any of these people will actually give any insight into their work, or whether it'll be style over content, self-indulgent, self-deprecating 'witty' joking-about for two days.

I had a brief introduction to the Circle of Sound exhibition last night. It was a little strange not being able to immerse myself in the little worlds so carefully constructed - sitting in a deck chair surrounded by private-view conversations whilst trying to envision myself on a Brighton beach courtesy of Magz Hall, regardless of scenic pebbles, was impossible but a great 'sound piece' in itself. The gutteral noises of the wheel in the centre of the Foundry's basement was a welcome and fun addition to the night's sonic landscape. Seeing old be-academia-suited men stroke their chins and rotate, with Jim Backhouse's PVA records clicking and crackling loudly in the background made up for the fact that I was too impatient for the Kaffe Matthews chair queue. Tomorrow that red crushed velvet "throbbing" chair (I quote Magz here, it came with an enthusiastically raised eyebrow too) will be mine, for a moment. I don't think these kind of exhibitions really lend themselves to private views, but I had a good time trying to figure out who Dan Wilson was.

Yesterday while flicking through Grafik I jumped with childlike glee (think I'm allowed for 3 more days) when I found out about Her Noise, an exhibition happening in the South London Gallery in November. In Camberwell. In South London. Anyway, curated by the great folks at Electra, it's all sound installations by international ladies (including Kaffe Matthews and Kim Gordon) which rely on dialogic communication with the audience, and seem to promote and encourage engagement with our immediate environments ... I can't wait.

Quotes of the Day:
"It's plainer than plain." - Karolin, drooling over American Apparel wares.
"No." Gavin the radio astronomer (see below) on whether he had seen Rokeby perform on Sunday night.
Apparently, Radio astronomy is but a hobby for Gavin; he spends his day-times putting the back catalogues of independent record labels online. The diplomacy he used in reference to Rokeby the cyborg, was pretty impressive. When pushed, in some half-arsed attempt to recreate the potential heated melodrama of Cybersonica, I think the most scandalous thing he'd comment was "He didn't really have much to say. We just don't agree."