Saturday, 28 June 2014

He reaches But MAKES NO SENSE


Theatre is Mere Illusion

Sex in the Fringe

Clown Slut
Written and performed by Joanna Griffin
Venue: The Street (venue 239)
Dates: 2nd-23rd August (Not 12th)
Time: 4pm (60 mins)

Sex, With Benefits

What a Gay Play is on every night at 11.15pm at C Venues on Chambers Street from 30th July to 24th August, and features a very sexy cast of 7 young men.

Five Reasons why Star Ratings are Totes Amazeballs

In an accelerated culture - Alan Moore reckons information is going to turn into steam sometime in the next half hour - detailed analysis is a bourgeois luxury. Some people might have time to gobble hummus while watching Sting play the lute, but text speak isn't just a cheeky signifier of youthful energy. It's all about all there is time to type before the spectacle unfolds its latest trickster.

So star ratings are all we have time to read.
They give a quick suggestion of relative worth.
They keep printers in business during the difficult August in Edinburgh as companies print off more stars to plaster on their posters.
They get my name in press releases.
They cause discussion, like what theatre is supposed to do.

Anna Andresen presents DANISH FACE

Friday, 27 June 2014

Five Things Lady Gaga Needs to Do To Be a Proper Performance Artist.

Because it is so difficult to define, anyone can claim to be a 'performance artist.' Applying Guffman's theories, everyone one is performing all the time, which makes it even easier for me to claim a lineage that includes Abramovic, Bausch and Franco B whenever I put on my hat and use the ATM.

Lady Gaga has demonstrated an interest in being more than a mere international pop star - as this loving article explains, she fancies being a live artist. Getting spit roasted on stage, and being covered in spew is a good start, but if Gaga wants to be taken seriously when applying for Buzzcut, she'll need to up her game.

1. Wander about in the scud
one for the ladies
The whole 'strutting about in your shreddies' thing is so 1963. Ever since the Lord Chamberlain got bored reading every play written in the UK, and suggesting changes along the lines of 'replace 'fucking hell' with 'blooming Nora',' even scripts include a bit of bedroom fun. Gaga spends a great deal of her time in outfits more suitable for the beach than the stage, but that just makes her a burlesque routine.

Even Miley Cyrus did the full monty, that time on the wrecking ball (a subtle attempt to illustrate the feminist concept that 'the master's tools won't dismantle the master's house'). If Gaga is serious about her desire to share the heritage of Yves Klein (who gave himself a heart attack when he watched a film of himself), nudity is the elementary stage. If she covered herself in gold paint and sat on a child's swing, she could call it a Franco B tribute.

Plus it would quash all those rumours that she has a penis.

2. Nail herself to a car
This one could be doubly effective: she could arrange for Ford to sponsor her tour, and finish the night off by being crucified on the bonnet of an old Cortina. Admittedly, getting nailed on a car is more common round the back of Tescos than on-stage at the Hydro, but the interaction of Christian imagery, self-harm and the commodification of art would send a message to those pretenders than Gaga means Dada.

Unlike pop videos, which rely on a montage of images and a suggestive narrative, performance art is often all about the visual moment. As per Franco B (above), the physical presence of the artist combines with an immediate semiotic mesh, and the suggestive use of piercing and motor-cars can mangle the sweet spot between sex and death. I am thinking it would be a symbol of Mother Earth being tortured by human's use of oil, maybe the symbolic death of the artist through mechanisation, the eternal conflict between the creative genius and the forces of capitalism.

Chris Burden's original version uses a Volkswagen, which gets extra points for evoking Nazism, probably, but fails on the grounds that the style looks dated. He might as well be wearing flairs.

3.Dress up as a swastika
The recent Captain America film reminded everyone that, in an ever changing geo-political climate, the Nazis are always the baddies. Despite Lemmy's attempt to buy up as much Third Reich Memorabilia as he can afford from his dwindling record sales, English speakers can still find true evil through wearing cheap monocles, Hugo Boss designed jackets and throwing 'schweinhund' and 'achtung'  into a sentence.

Actually, maybe there is a bigger conspiracy behind this. The real villains, probably the Masons, realised that dressing up in WWII fancy dress would make everyone think that a secret cabal of Germans was behind international terrorism. I expect Captain America III will clarify this.

One of the downsides of all this, though, is that they have to make special versions for German release. It is not allowed to represent a swastika in Germany. While I bet they made this law so they didn't have to watch all those American films about the War in which they are depicted as baddies, and I have problems with the explicit censorship - far-right sympathisers should tattoo the fucking thing on their foreheads so I can see them coming, or just carry a copy of The Daily Mail, it did lead to this brilliant art work.

Martin Kippenberger With the Best Will in the World I Can't see a Swastika 1984
Now: imagine Gaga's cheeky smile poking out of the top of this. And let the world's press have fun. Gaga oh la la! Then she could explain how brilliant Deepak Chopra is.

4. Do a Press Release that makes no sense
I won't pick out any names here - it is invidious to mention one live artist over another. However, writing gibberish, and thereby mystifying both process and product is as endemic to performance art as using the British libel laws is silence opposition is to wealthy celebrities. Gaga has an advantage here: not only did she do her dissertation on Damien Hurst, giving her a working knowledge of International Art English, she likes Deepak Chopra, who uses quantum physics to explain why not taking your medicine is a great idea.

Admittedly, unlike every other suggest, this would be a step down for the author of lines like Cause I'm bluffin' with my muffin/I'm not lying I'm just stunnin' with my love-glue-gunning. But here's a suggestion for the release of the next single.

Gaga uses the language of romance to interrogate the function of music by calling to attention the displacement in time and location that occurs in its realm.

Moving from a structuralist account of desire in which positive words are awarded a semiotic meaning that structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, Gaga re-articulates the question of desire into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.

To put it another way, she uses a lot of dirty chat to undermine the traditional romantic notion of love.

5.Stick a baseball bat up her arse
Sadly, this isn't me being unnecessarily violent, and it refers to an artist whom I rate pretty highly. Ron Athey explores the danger and violence implicit in the human body, using his own skin as a canvas and his fluids as paint, in a manner of speaking. Athey is a live artist, but he evokes a medieval aesthetic, echoing those pictures of saints with the added bonus of being staged in real life.

Admittedly, this is the real rough stuff - Athey isn't out to take prisoners. It has ensured that his work is not amenable to the mainstream - Athey won't be doing an Abromovic and mistake having a chat with a fan for a serious art work any time soon. Strangely, Athey's work is not offensive, beyond the visceral reaction he provokes. There is an element of compassion to his performances, and through his extremity comes a calm, which might be close to the spirituality that people like Madonna claim to have paid for. 

Athey, however, might be one step ahead. I think he is doing a Lady Gaga routine already.

On a final note, I think Gaga knows her options already. Her use of the keytar is clearly influenced by the boundary pushing influence of Bryony Kimmings and her poster for the Art Rave Tour looks like one of those things I slap up from press releases on Paint. And I know she'll be reading this and thinking how she can add me as dramaturg for the next tour. Since her last move was to hang out with Marina Abramovic, who was last vibrant around the time someone thought Ayds a good name for a slimming tablet, I'll be by the phone.

Five More reasons that the Fringe is Crap

6: Lady Gaga is not performing
After the success of my previous post - quite clearly, all this hard work to develop new forms of critique could have been more productively spent on lists of My Little Pony  related stories - I am back with more Vile Bile. Thank you to Kate Stannard for suggesting these: but let's cut straight to the Hate!

1. Cost
It is not cheap. The escalating cost of theatre in the Fringe means that a good day out with three or four shows will cost a couple of ponies - you could get half a good meal at an Eric Clapton concert for that.

For a single show, it's not too bad - but why go to the Fringe to see one show? The whole point is to see tons of stuff, to compare and contrast. The price system plugs into that problem of different sorts of shows (community, student, professional) not being clearly delineated. Flinging a Pavarotti at an accomplished South African company doing a heist thriller with ironic cultural undertones (Silent Voice) is one thing, a couple of double nuggets in the bucket for The Creative Martyrs is a fair return. But splashing out a pinky and ending up at three versions Macbeth by a school companies is a liability.

2. Ethics
It's a bit rich for a critic to bang on about integrity - I refuse to go to shows if I have to pay - but Kate pointed out that some companies compromise their artistic integrity to get audiences. It is time for the bum story.

Once upon a time, there was a critic - we'll call him Margaret - who went to see a student production of Artaud-based antics. He ought to have known better, but he fancied finding out how Artaud, a real theatre wild-man, might translate into the modern idiom. 

On the whole, he found the sight of a woman in a naughty nurse outfit, a man dressed as a priest and another as a centurion pretty hilarious. Other audience members didn't, and walked out across the stage, shouting that Artaud would be turning in his grave. But the critic - let's call him SpinOza - stayed on.

There was this one bit where the naughty nurse laid down right in front of the critic - his name is Criticulous - and kicked her legs in the air, exposing her bum. The critic got a little distracted by this and cast his eyes upon the bottom.

His thoughts, which weren't really being held by the performance, pondered the ethics of the situation. Did the young performer recognise how she was exposing herself? Was she aware of the thin line between exploitation and challenging sexual normativity? Does an audience member have the right not to be presented with a bare bum, whether that bum is monstrous or attractive? It was a tough series of questions, and the critic got very involved in considering them.

Suddenly, he heard laughter from across the stage. He looked up, thinking that something funny was happening in the Artaud antics again. Sadly, the audience were pissing themselves at the sight of the critic staring at the actor's bum. 

Two stars.

3. Science
While this won't apply to every show that uses scientific theory as a theme or narrative, there is a tremendous amount of performance that mistakes a poor understanding of natural selection, or the Higgs Particle, as a signifier of intelligence. If I wanted to learn about relativity, I'd ask a physicist, not a playwright or actor.

This does imitate a Facebook trend: people who share 'I f-ing love science' memes. Science does enrich our lives, and a working knowledge of the correct meaning of 'theory and hypothesis,' 'experiment' and the difference between 'natural selection' and 'evolution' would help everyone (not least so that I don't mock you for not recognising the last entry). But vague gestures towards quantum theory in a version of The Antigone or hour long rambles about how cool technology is does not move theatre into new territory.

4. Three Weeks
It is inevitable that a critic will bemoan Three Weeks, the student review magazine. I used to do it myself - on one occasion, I took a photograph of some friends in a creche and tagged it The Three Weeks Editorial Team in Their Office. I was being a snide ass.

It is that sort of complaint - that Three Weeks or Broadway Baby aren't proper critics - that I hate. Of course they aren't proper critics: they are enthusiastic students trying to learn how to write criticism. If they get it wrong, so do the paid critics. If their grammar is a little idiosyncratic, it's not worse than wikipedia entries on The X-Men.

These reviews are a place where people can learn, and they provide a service to those companies who can't afford a PR by looking at everything indiscriminately. While anyone who thinks that a Three Weeks review is better than mine is wrong (in a relativistic way, that is), they do provide another subjective opinion on theatre, encouraging the debate, offering new voices and allowing students to experience the full horror of working in the industry.

5. Shakespeare
Like everyone else who runs out of ideas, I just go with Shakespeare. Again.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Five Reasons why The Edinburgh Fringe is Crap

Every year, the Fringe Society announces that it is now bigger and better. Better seems to mean that there are more shows so, tautology aside, the Fringe - which was started off, to quote wikipedia, 'when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival in 1947' to provide an alternative to the mainstream productions - the Fringe is now 'the world's biggest arts festival.' So instead of being the place where the obscure, the challenging or the experimental can happen, it's the aesthetic equivalent of a student disco on a Friday night. The beats are predictable, the outfits almost fashionable and the only thing that anyone cares about is being pissed or picked up.

Of course, I don't really mean it. But I am going for some click-bait. So here's my handy guide to the Fringe's utter crapness.

Star ratings are more important than critical assessment.
A few years back there was a campaign to address the problems of 'star inflation' (critics marking shows up to get attention). Since one of the leaders in this campaign puts has posters for their shows that assign over 40% of the space to previous star ratings, it was lucky that it never went beyond Facebook moaning. 

But it does highlight a particular problem. There are so many publications, and so many reviews, that is difficult to tell what the ratings mean these days. One publication now marks out of seven stars, meaning that the former gold standard of five stars is as trustworthy as Tony Blair's opinions on the Middle East. The most successful business in Edinburgh during August is printing, as companies put in bulk orders for sheets covered in stars. 
The downside is, no-one reads the reviews. I might as well replace my finely crafted opinions with guest slots from rubbish villains from comics.

Student Companies don't distinguish themselves from professional companies.
I love drama by young people, but I don't want to critique it in the same way as I do professional companies. It has an entirely different set of intentions. I've discussed this elsewhere, but the short version is that, last year, I saw a few student companies whose advertising suggested that they were the next step down from the RSC. Watching these works suggested all sorts of ways that I could critique their work - to their advantage - but I had to give them the same sort of review I would give to the RSC. I just hope I didn't destroy anyone's ambitions: the lesson is: don't pretend to be something you cannot be.

There is too much comedy.
I don't mean in the comedy festival. I mean in the theatre section. The idea that theatre ought to be funny works up to a point. That point is when actors mistake getting a laugh for connecting with the audience. 

There is too much Shakespeare.
If you need me to justify this... you don't actually go to the theatre. 

Radical interpretations one year become the establishment the next.
Yep, from content to form, once an idea is given a Fringe First, expect it to come back in spades the next, and be agitating for its own section the year after. This refers especially to: gender swap versions of Shakespeare; feminist versions of Shakespeare; confessions of sexual failure or excess; lectures about science; comedians doing theatre (thank you Mark Thomas). This year, a Fringe First will go to a play about sex work. I have fifty quid on it down at Ladbrokes. Next year, the Fringe Society will have a workshop called From Pro to Professional: Making Your Sex Work work for Your Script.

Disclaimer: I just made this all up. I love the Fringe really. Mind you, I think all these points are worth debate. Try to show you've read the whole piece, trolls, by not making an ad hominem argument about my cynicism. I am actually being cynical about cynicism, see?

The Pipe Factory

The Pipe Factory present a two day festival centered around the written and the spoken word with film screenings , spoken word performance, texts, and food.

Featuring works and contributions from:

Phoebe Amis  (as heard on the amazing Google Useless Radio)

Sarah Bowers 
Amelia Bywater 
Francis Davis 
Emily Ilett 
Emilia Muller-Ginorio & Florrie James (poetry is not a luxury)
Rob Kennedy (did the tech thing for the recent People Show  in the CCA)
Geoff Lucas 
Joanna Peace 
HOAX publication  (champions of art/not-art text)
Calum Rodger 
Sarah Rose 
Susannah Stark (print-making perfectionist)
Laura Simpson 
Gareth Vile (King of the Critics)
Martin Vincent 
Rebecca Wilcox 
Fritz Welch 
JL Williams (out of Opal - poetry fights electronic music and both win)

And works by:
David Antin | John Baldessari | Guy Debord |
Mike Dunford | Hollis Frampton | Derek Jarman | 

Hag-ridden, Lower Church Gallery, Summerhall June 4th - July 11th


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Comic Con Questions: My Little Pony

Having booked my front row seat for the Cos-play Parade already, I am left with the difficult task of deciding how to spend my wandering hours around the three spaces.  Apart from going up to various creators to apologise for those cheeky mistakes that I always seem to slip into my articles (a prize for each one, eagle-eyed readers), I am working on as series of questions for the writers and artists to explore my concept of sequential art dramaturgy.

Oddly enough, it is artists who work on comics that I don’t necessarily read who have piqued my interest. Take Emma Vieceli: she does My Little Pony and I am not one of those guys who dress up as Princess Luna. My interest in comics designed for young girls extends as far as noticing how the bright colours suggest a Bollywood aesthetic.  However, Vieceli’s clean lines also evoke that Jack Kirby tradition that I love (a style that I trace back to the illustrations of William Blake, which encouraged me to read a whole MLP story.

My question for Vieceli is how far she is able to bring her own style to her work on a tightly controlled franchise – and this extends to Simon Furman, who does Transformers (probably best known for the unwatchable movies), Denise Mina when she adapts The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (not quite a franchise in the same sense, although you probably can buy action figures based on the novel by now), Leah Moore and John Reppion for Sherlock Holmes and… and… well, anyone who does the whole Marvel thing.

My Little Pony strikes me as especially interesting though. Unlike a superhero franchise, which has different versions of each hero and offer an author the chance to apply their own enthusiasms (look at how Pete Milligan used X-Force to study celebrity)? Even the colour scheme is pretty set and although the target market might define the necessity for a simple artistic style, MLP fetishises the form, making it more significant than the content.

That might explain the weird sexualisation of the Bronies. Seriously, if you don’t know them, don’t search for them. It might also explain the weird fan fiction on the Ponies, which has them eating each other and all sorts.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Measure for Measure @ theSpace

The Fringe and The Fury (Updated)

The Fringe and The Fury

Journeys Beyond @ TheSpace

Wac Arts is a dynamic charity that works in imaginative ways to support gifted young people facing exceptional challenges to discover their talents and fulfil their potential through arts and media programmes created at the charity’s London home at Hampstead Town Hall. 
By empowering young people to change their world through a range of arts and media activities, support and guidance, Wac Arts aims to improve the lives of young people, however long that journey takes.
Wac Arts’ success has been tested over 35 years – amongst our Alumni they are proud to count Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Oscar nominee Sophie Okenedo, world famous jazz musicians Courtney Pine and Julian Joseph and four Mercury and Mobo Award winners including Ms Dynamite and Zoe Rahman.

Fringe Fun with Fin Fang Foom (part 2)

Fringe Fun with Fing Fang Foom (PART 1)

The foom continues his tips on the following page...

Blurt at Stereo

Lucy Guerin Inc and Belvoir: Conversation Piece

Stephanie Fox and Robin Lane: A Small Prometheus

Butterfly Dramaturgy: Ramesh Meyyappan @ Edfringe 2015

The Fringe
What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?

Ramesh: Puccini’s opera wasn't entirely the inspiration for Butterfly – although there is tragedy in Butterfly. Butterfly has however, been inspired by the short story Madame Butterfly by John Luther Long and I suppose my desire to explore and present some of the themes related to loss and grief. Like many people I have experienced grief and loss – an emotion that is so intense that it can overwhelm us - an emotion that cannot, in my view be adequately described in words. I wanted to explore how grief manifests itself both emotionally and physically. 

I wasn’t just interested in the most powerful image created when
reading the story - how her child was taken from her – evoking much emotion based on her loss, but also I felt that Luther Long presented some other themes and ideas that were worth considering – thoughts from this included; cultural differences and the different expectations between men and women, the trust from a woman and her betrayal and disappointment. All of these I felt would allow me to create something with real ‘drama’ and tell a very human story.

While writing and creating Butterfly, I took a genuine interest in butterflies themselves and I do think that we created some interesting some theatrical motifs that are inspired by these and help us tell the story. I was struck by their colours, movement and the very delicate nature of butterflies, this led me to become interested in Lepidoptery and Vladimir Nabokov (although known for his writing including the modern classic Lolita). Nabokov influenced the creation of one of the male characters – he had a love of butterflies entirely appreciated their beauty, but he also captured these which ultimately meant killing them – this dichotomy was also an idea I wanted to explore. 

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?The Edinburgh Fringe is a massive opportunity and challenge for all artists. The Fringe – in my view at least – is one of the biggest festivals of its kind and is a top 10 in a performers bucket list…it’s something that all performers (I'm assuming) want to experience. 

It’s an opportunity to share to a potentially very wide and diverse audience – who won’t always necessarily be kind or generous – this ensures that performers give their absolute all – no complacency. Indeed, much of the challenge is getting ‘punters’
through the door – no audience – not even one person is guaranteed to purchase a ticket.

The Fringe has a great energy about it – a hard slog BUT at the same time it can be quite exhilarating – just being part of the ‘buzz’.    I think amongst performers there’s a shared understanding of what it is all about and how tough it is…this keeps you going.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?A beautiful piece of visual theatre that has been complimented with a sensitive and stirring soundscape composed by David Paul Jones (Scottish Composer). I’ve performed in Edinburgh before – but these have been solo, with Butterfly I’m delighted to be joined on stage by two actors who have engaged with and indeed helped find the visual theatrical vocabulary used throughout the piece. 

Butterfly has a clear narrative told by combining an eclectic mix of visual elements including some choreography and puppetry.

The Dramaturgy Questions
I’ve used different processes when creating work – I hope you don’t mind if when answering these I refer to just Butterfly, it is the most current and much was learned in the process and it is therefore the most relevant.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work? 
Generally their role when engaging is to – I would hope – feel some empathy with the character of Butterfly, as I feel loss (although not the loss of a child) has been understood and experienced by most of us.

I’d hope they’d get a sense of working out for themselves how the use of puppets and ‘rewind’ represent Butterfly’s thoughts – her state of mind after the trauma she suffered.

There is – I hope – opportunities to appreciate the use of the butterfly motif, it’s connections with the character, how it perhaps symbolises perceptions about her. 

There isn’t any spoken word within this performance – and for many this style of storytelling, that is not dance is challenging – the audience do have to work to decipher for themselves some of the aspects of the visual language / vocabulary, they will have to watch closely and even intensely to pick up all the subtle nuances expressed by the actors to feel they’ve satisfactorily understood the character. The story itself is very clear but to engage with, have empathy, understanding et c requires some close watching – nothing is spoon fed!


Erik Larsen @ Comic Con

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Branding the Serocell...

Good evening, my comrades in art. Russell Brand here. You may remember me from such television programmes as Big Brother or that one where I rambled on about stuff to the lowest audiences that can be measured by E4. Most recently, I performed a free gig outside of the BBC HQ, in front of a large crowd who thought that they were protesting austerity. Turns out that even that can't get me back on the old google box.

You might notice a few things about this article. First of all, it has proper punctuation. When The Guardian gets me to write a piece for them, they are so pleased to have something on their site that might be interesting, they don't bother to edit my words. This time, however, I am being impersonated by a bitter Scottish critic, and he knows the difference between 'who' and 'whom.' So this is less a stream of old Russ' consciousness than usual.

The reason for this little interlude is both to make a few satirical points about the celebrity version of politics and suggest a relationship between the statement 'all art is political' and a rather splendid release by serocell. While I often make trenchant remarks on the corruption of the British democratic system - and even more pertinent insights on the role of the state in continuing the absurd war on drugs - my status as a very rich comedian and self-righteous clown tends to cloud the issue.

And so - yes, my anarchism is all well and good, but lets not forget that austerity for me merely means one less All You Can Eat buffet at the China King, not a trip down to the Gurdwara for a free curry. And I might note that for all of my support for absenteeism, I have really worked out how that is going to make anyone notice the protest.

This leads us nicely to Trim, the first track on serocell's Fourth Estate EP.

Here's the thing. Political art - you know, like that poem Alan Bissett wrote, is all well and good. But it is usually as good as the audience's commitment to the cause it espouses. The wonderful music writer Simon Reynolds would often ponder The Redskins during the 1980s. He could not understand why a band schooled in music he liked (black American soul) and the politics he, at least, respected (Marxism through British socialism) were so bloody dreadful. The answer is, of course, that the accepted modes of popular music become fundamentally conservative as soon as they are defined.

In other words, it is no good having a radical agenda if you are aping the moves of earlier talents.

Now, I love me some James Brown and I love me some LFO. But I know how their beats are going to sound, and so my thought patterns are consoled, not challenged.

Check out the beat on Trim. That ought to freshen up those bio-rhythms.

The varying tempos on Trim break down both the traditional four to the floor and needlessly complex signature shifts, replacing them with a stuttering yet fluid propulsion. Towards the end, a melody sneaks in, underneath the beat, but suggestive and eloquent.

I am not saying it is a template for a new society, but this experimentation with form manages to replace the hierarchical structures of rock without sounding like a jazz band falling down the stairs.

Instant Crowd Fund: You chance to spend a tenner or less on the future of criticism...

I am going to do a mini-experiment in Crowd Funding. So, for today only, I introduce the Vile Arts instant crowd fund.

I am launching this appeal to create a New Host for the Vile Blog, one with a smile on his face. He is aiming to make about a tenner, but if he doesn't make it, all supporters are still going to get their rewards...

The rewards! That's the best bit...

For the price of a large latte and a cigarette, Gareth K Vile will cut and paste a preview of anything you like and put it on his blog. The only thing he won't do is something abusive or offensive (and Gareth K Vile retains the right to decide what that is).

For a large Chinese take-away - up to the price where they give free prawn crackers, Gareth K Vile will do an online interview with anyone of your choice (again, don't ask for famous people or porn stars. This is really a service for people who fancy being on the Vile Blog and want to buy me dinner)

For a packet of Pall Mall Menthols and a medium latte, I'll do a radio interview and release it on Mixcloud.

If you take me to that Buffet Restaurant in Sauchiehall Street and let me have the special soup option, I'll actually write a really good preview of 500 words on the blog for whatever show you fancy (see previous notes, and it better not be musical theatre).

Offer ends today at 7.30pm. Supporters probably need to be in the West End of Glasgow, or can get there easily...

I'll be passing this off as satire and not a consequence of forgetting my bank card again.

Clapton only manages a few lines of Cocaine

The world of AOR has been rocked by the behaviour of aesthetically compromised guitarist Eric Clapton, it has been revealed by The Scotsman. At his SECC Hydro gig, Clapton only managed a few lines of Cocaine, his cover version of the JJ Cale number about the drug that has been ruining music since 1973.

Although Clapton got through versions of his bloated classic, Layla and manipulative ballad Tears in Heaven, fans rushed to express their disappointment on Facebook and The Scotsman's bulletin board. 'In the old days,' said one fan, after adjusting his false teeth, 'Clapton couldn't be stopped once he started on Cocaine. It is said to see a fellow pensioner succumbing to age.'

Apparently, Clapton walked off stage for a bit, then came back on for another song. He then went off without saying good night.

'Seriously,' added another fan who lives in the West End of Glasgow. 'If he behaved like that at a dinner party, he wouldn't get invited back.'

This isn't the first time Clapton has courted controversy. According to Auslander, he was the front-man for MTV's attempt to re-establish itself as 'authentic' during the 1980s, following the Milli Vanilli scandals. When MTV made a fool of itself by praising the miming duo for their songwriting skills, they dug out Clapton to do an acoustic set. This revived his career and made MTV look like it believed in the ideal of rock'n'roll as a live medium, or something.

Clapton's former friends, however, are unsurprised at this latest turn. One, an old hippy known only as Relevance, said this is typical.

'Clapton used to love Cocaine, but I think he might feel different about it now. He walked out on me, and my pals Worth Listening To and Cool at the end of the 1960s.'

Perhaps the most shocking thing is the reaction of the audience. Not only are they willing to admit they went to an Eric Clapton concert in 2014, they were boasting about how much they spent.

'Man, some of them spent more on food in the venue than I get in a week from the JSA,' said Relevance. 'It's odd to see a Glasgow crowd so angry, since more serious issues, like the debate on Independence, have been conducted with so much respect and decorum.'

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Jack Teagle - another Comic Con Guest

How Many Bastards?

For many years, The VileArts has pondered star ratings. There was one year at the Fringe where a big Facebook group kicked off, with many artists complaining about the proliferation of stars all over posters. These artists couldn't actually bring themselves to stop putting stars on their posters.

So the next year, one newspaper started awarding marks out of seven stars (completely fucking the system that made five stars 'the best thing in the world ever') while I suggested a rating system based on the Fibonacci sequence. Although this later was highly practical, since it went into infinity AND  had two one star positions, I was ignored.

However, a genius came up with a solution: step forth Eve Nicol and your cat picture reviews. Funny, succinct AND SUCCESSFUL, it ought to have destroyed the 250 word review (the first sentence being the only one anyone reads) and the whole edifice of ratings.

It didn't, so I am stealing the concept. Pending his permission, I am going to use a picture of Red Bastard to rate shows this year.

There is a logic for this: I regard Red Bastard as providing a gold standard for performance. I am not saying his show is perfect (although deconstructing it to find the imperfections would challenge me to assess my own identity, since I am so bound up with adoring his work), but in terms of doing the things that I want theatre to do (make me laugh, challenge my intellect, effect real change and show me a willy), it scores highly. Plus, his photos work better than mere adjectives as semiotic signifiers of qualitative meaning.

Of course, it won't mean that Red Bastard supports my ratings. But to show you how it works, here are my Red Bastard reviews for the past few shows that I have seen.

(Contemporary choreography from Europe, including tunes from Phil Glass).

A Small Prometheus @ Tramway
(Contemporary choreography from Australia, including tunes from Robin Fox).

 The People Show @ CCA
(Devised performance from the UK, including tunes on a flute).

Normal Madness @ Pleasance

Where does meaning happen?

I put words in the mouth of Red Bastard.... his looks, my words


Get REDy or LEDDY for the Fringe

Friday, 20 June 2014

Best Writer supported by Black Hearted Press

  Gill Hatcher - Beginners Guide to Being Outside

Colin Bell - Dungeon Fun: Book One

John Lees - The Standard #5