STEP SIX

February 12, 2020
Photograph taken by Tracey Moberly

The Twelve Steps continue.

The title of Step Six has now been written on the wall under Spaghetti Junction.


BAD WISDOM

February 4, 2020

BAD WISDOM is an imaginary film.
Partially imagined by Tenzing Scott Brown.
It is set in the present day, whenever the present day is.
And it tells the story of three young women.
And their quest to save the world. 
Or at least saving themselves.

These three young women are Sakura, Miriam and Destinee.
Sakura, Miriam and Destinee live off the Holloway Road in London.
And when we say young, we mean in their late 20s.
The first flush is over.

Sakura is Japanese, she moved to London at the age of 18.
Miriam is north London Jewish.
Destinee is south London second generation Afro Caribbean.

Sakura is mainly into the history of Britpop.
Miriam is mainly into contemporary R&B.
Destinee is mainly into her grandmother’s collection of modern jazz records.
All three like a bit of all sorts of other things.
These others things include The Combahee River Collective.
And bringing down the patriarchy.

All three were at Camberwell College of Art.
It is were they met.
And became best friends.
But that was sometime ago.
The years have begun to drift past.
The focus lost.
There are younger and more vibrant ex-art students on the prowl.

Scene One:

It’s a Tuesday evening, they are in the Good Mixer, sharing wine and stories for old times sake.
The Good Mixer is a bar in Camden Town.

Destinee:
So why are we here?

Sakura:
Because this is where all the Brit Pop gang used to hang out.
Where it all happened.
Where it all went down.
On a miserable Tuesday evening in November like tonight back in 1992 you would have the likes of Brett from Suede, Johnny Dean from…

Destinee: 
Who?

Sakura:
Johnny Dean from Menswear.

Destinee:
Never heard of them.

Sakura:
Even Justine from Elastica.

Destinee:
Well at least I have heard of her.
Love her paintings.
Love her attitude.
Love her.

Miriam:
I remember my uncle always going on about this book about these three failed rocks stars or something. And how they decided to set about saving the world, like failed rock stars used to do back in the 80s…

Miriam has not been part of this conversation. She has just been taking the odd sip from her glass of red and staring out into the middle distance of her imagination. But then she turns to the other two..

Destinee: 
Is this just another of your rambling stories that go nowhere slowly?

Sakura is not listening, she is checking out if anyone ‘famous’ is in the bar..

Miriam:
Maybe, but that is not the point. The point is these three failed rock stars decided the world needed saving. And the way they way were going to save it was by taking a painting of Elvis Presley to the top of the world and leave it there and…

Sakura:
Elvis?
Where?

Destinee:
Hang on a sec Sakura, I wanna hear this.
You can tell us about your exploits with Alex from Blur in a minute.
Carry on Miriam, we’re listening.

Miriam:
Actually maybe one wasn’t a failed rock star, maybe a veteran of some war or other. Afghanistan I think. Or was he a roadie?
Anyway this painting of Elvis left at the North Pole was going to leak love, peace and happiness down the longitudes and out across the latitudes and world peace would surely break out.
And this is what they believed.
And one of the failed rock stars did the painting and they set off.

Destinee:
What?
And they did that?

Miriam:
Well they got as far as a lighthouse on an island off the top of Norway.
The most northerly lighthouse in the world.
And they left the painting of Elvis with the lighthouse keeper.
And he told them he would hang it on the wall of the galley in the lighthouse and…

Destinee:
Well it does not seem to be working.
I mean there does not seem to be anymore love, peace and happiness in the world compared to back then, whenever back then was.
As for the patriarchy, they still need to be brought down.

Sakura has not been listening, she has been checking her phone.
But then she turns to her comrades.

Sakura:
Then I suggest it is down to us.

Miriam:
What?

Sakura:
I will paint a painting of Amy Winehouse and we can take that to this Lighthouse.

Miriam:
Fuck Amy Winehouse, no good vibes are ever going to leak from her.

Destinee:
Then I suggest Nina Simone. She is proper Diva. With all the proper powers.

Miriam:
Yeah, but who the fuck cares about Nina Simone in the here and now real world?
It should be Beyoncé.
Beyoncé is the only living breathing Diva with the power to change things on this world right now.

Sakura:
What say we all each paint our own chosen Divas tonight and tomorrow morning we head for Heathrow and get the first flight to the nearest city to the North Pole.
Or at least the nearest to that lighthouse.
And Destinee bring that credit card you found.

Destinee:
It’s a deal.
Miriam can you get that book your uncle had, so we can check some of the facts?

Miriam:
I don’t think the book was that strong on facts, but I will get it.

The three young women order another bottle of red and make a toast.

Meanwhile in a dark corner of the same bar, three ageing, battered and worn men are sitting around a table nursing their pints and discussing the long un-awaited third part of their trilogy of books. This one is to be called The Fountain of Youth. This will be the last we hear about them, and their Fountain of Youth, in this story.

This opening scene to the film ends with Sonya Madan walking through the doors of Good Mixer. Sakura is overcome. Miriam and Destinee do not know who the fuck she is.

Scene Two:

Scene Two is set in Heathrow Airport.
Destinee, Sakura and Miriam are trying to find a flight to the North Pole.
Destinee, Sakura and Miriam are freshening up in the ladies when they come across a poster of Angela Davis blu-tacked to the inside of a cubical.
Destinee, Sakura and Miriam have no idea who Angela Davis is.
Angela Davis will make a profound influence on this film.
Angela Davis will replace Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse and Beyoncé.
The patriarchy will fall.

For the foreseeable future – you can imagine the rest.

The End

ICH BIN EIN EUROPEAN

January 31, 2020
Photograph by Tracey Moberly

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow was the title of a piece that Bill Drummond wrote on the 24th of June 2016.

The 24th of June 2016 was the day after the UK voted to leave the European Union.

Also on the 24th of June 2016, Bill Drummond invited a Romanian Gypsy band to play Beethoven’s Ode To Joy under Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham. This performance was recorded and filmed.

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow and the film of the band playing Ode To Joy were made public via the online magazine The Quietus.

Click HERE to read the piece and to listen and watch the band play.

Photograph by Tracey Moberly

NO SPARE TYRE

January 31, 2020

NO SPARE TYRE is a forty second play by Tenzing Scott Brown.

It was first published by The National on Friday the 31st of January 2020.

NO SPARE TYRE starts now:

It is 6:48 on a Thursday morning. 
It is the day before the UK leaves the EU.
Bill Drummond is attempting to change a tyre on a car.
He is approached by The Woman.

The Woman: Do you mind me asking?

Bill Drummond: Depends.

The Woman: I just wanted to know if you thought…

Bill Drummond: Look – I’m for less borders not more.

The Woman: Aren’t we all but…

Bill Drummond: I know, it is more complicated than that but…

The Woman: But what?

Bill Drummond: I’ve always had an issue with identity politics.

The Woman: What about the The Combahee River Collective Statement”?

Bill Drummond: I better go and read it then?

The Woman: You better had. 
Hope you get your wheel changed before you get run down.

The Woman moves on.
Bill Drummond realises the car has no spare tyre.

The End

Post Script:
Tenzing Scott Brown is one of Bill Drummond’s other selves.
Tenzing Scott Brown does and writes about the things that Bill Drummond would never dare.

And if you need to know more about The Combahee River Collective Statement click HERE

THE REPUBLIC OF UŽUPIS

January 14, 2020

The Republic of Užupis is a micro nation.

The Republic of Užupis has three mottos.

They are:

DON’T FIGHT

DON’T WIN

DON’T SURRENDER

But…

translated into twenty three languages.

To know more about The Republic of Užupis click HERE

For the year of 2020 the artist’s residency in The Curfew Tower is being curated by The Republic of Užupis. The weight of these curatorial duties will fall mainly on the shoulders of Gleb Divov.

Gleb Divov is a citizen of The Republic of Užupis and an inventor.

Gleb Divov is also the Minister for Sound, Events and Innovations for The Republic of Užupis.

Republic of Užupis is also currently situated in the country known as Lithuania.

The Curfew Tower has acted as an artist’s residency since 2003.

The Curfew Tower is also currently situated in County Antrim, Ireland.

Since 2009 each year The Curfew Tower has been curated by a different set up.

These include:

2009: Void in Derry
2010: Catalyst Arts in Belfast
2011: Eastside Projects in Birmingham
2012: Static in Liverpool
2013: Spike Island in Bristol
2014: The Seamus Heaney Centre in Belfast
2015 / 2016: Nothing but Longing in Jerusalem
2017: Penthouse in Manchester
2018: Neu! Reekie! in Edinburgh
2019: Searching for the Miraculous in Miami

On the 1st of January 2020, Zippy Kearney raised the winter flag of The Republic of Užupis, on a makeshift flagpole, on the top of The Curfew Tower. The flag will remain flying there until winter passes, when Zippy Kearney will ceremonially lower the flag and hoist the Spring flag of The Republic of Užupis – acts of God aside.

The winter flag of the Republic of Užupis

WHAT IS POETRY?

December 2, 2019

Fate willing…

What is Poetry? is the first of 40 Forty Minute Interviews that Bill Drummond will be conducting with forty different individuals.

Each of the Forty Minute Interviews will focus on one subject.

The first subject is Poetry.

The first interviewee is Kevin Williamson.

The first question is contained within the title.

The second question is ‘What is Poetry for?’

Kevin Williamson is a poet from the far north of Scotland.

Kevin Williamson was also the founder of Rebel Inc and…

Is one half of Neu! Reekie!

This is a link to his official blurb at the Scottish Poetry Library.

Throughout 2019, Kevin Williamson has been posting on Twitter one poem a day, each one by a different poet. This is the hash-tag: #365poems365poets

Bill Drummond and Kevin Williamson have worked together in various capacities over the past few years.

WARNING: This first Forty Minute Interview is considerably longer than 40 minutes. The remaining 39 will not be.

The next Forty Minute Interview will have the title ‘What is Bass?’

RAGWORT WEEK – 2019

November 4, 2019
Photograph taken under Spaghetti Junction by Tracey Moberly

Ragwort Week 2019 lies between Monday the 4th of November and Sunday the 11th of November.

Ragwort Week 2019 celebrates those late flowering Ragworts in your life – in all our lives.

Ragwort Week exists to celebrate those who are the unloved, the unwanted, the spat upon but… those who are still able to shove all that to one side and push their way up through the cracks and burst into blossom, even in the dankest of locations at this, the arse end of the year.

Ragwort Week has existed for millennia.

But…

Ragwort Week was first acknowledged by humans in the year 2011.

To mark this acknowledgement Bill Drummond wrote a book called RAGWORTS.

And Penkiln Burn Books published it in an edition of 1,000 copies.

As of 2012, and for a period of ten years, 100 copies of these books are being made available for sale during Ragwort Week each year.

And each year they sell for ten quid plus post and packaging.

But only via Alimentation.

These are some of the words that the book contains:

I loathe the word ‘regeneration’. Anytime I hear an area is up for regeneration my heart begins to sink. I like the opposite. I like things falling to bits, crumbling and corroding. I want more degeneration, not regeneration.

Great bands, music and art in general, are never sanctioned from above, they are never born out of Arts Council Funding, or their equivalent. And they definitely never, ever blossom in the safety of designated cultural quarters. This is a sweeping statement on my part, a simple over generalisation, but nonetheless true. The only art ever worth having is art that has not been state subsidised. As soon as it is state subsidised it becomes state propaganda. However subtle that propaganda is, it is still doing the states bidding. I am also aware that this kind of reductionist talk, is bordering on the rhetoric of the American right. This is something I have yet to square…

The flowering of a great pop practitioner is all too brief. It is usually only months between their first public stirring and their greatest work. But that is the way it should be. Their later careers, spent trying to squeeze a living out of people’s hunger for anything that triggers nostalgia for their lost youth, should be ignored…

I would also argue, the survival instincts of any society only permit that, which will not bring it down. We in the free market loving, democratically governed west, allow for political art, because it not only bolsters but strengthens the system that controls our culture. By allowing for it the system we live under, can demonstrate to the rest of the world how inclusive and attractive a system we have. Looking back at what I’ve been involved with over the years, I’m probably as guilty as anyone…

THE TRAVELLING SALESMAN

October 17, 2019
Books in a box in the back of a van.

Bill Drummond is driving a van 415 miles from Sizewell B to Scotland.

In the back of the van will be boxes of the book After Curfew

Bill Drummond will be selling copies of the book After Curfew at Leith Theatre on the evening of Friday the 18th of October 2019.

And…

At Portobello Bookshop in Edinburgh between 11:00am and 11:30am on Saturday the 19th of October 2019.

And…

Aye Aye Books in Glasgow, between 1:00pm and 1:30pm on Saturday the 19th of October 2019.

Then…

Bill Drummond will drive the van the 415 miles back to Sizewell B.

GALICIA

September 10, 2019
If you wait for the bus, the bus will come
One of The 25 Paintings waiting at the bus shelter at Albion Parade. Hoping to catch the bus to Galicia.

The 25 Paintings world tour arrived in Ribadavia, Galicia during the early hours of Tuesday the 10th of September 2019.

Galicia is in the Iberian Peninsula. 

Further information regarding the outcome of this leg of The 25 Paintings world tour, might be made available at a later date.

ÅNGERMANLAND

September 6, 2019
Poster made by Gary Fowles to promote the screening.

Ångermanland is a province in northern Sweden.

Pernilla Bergman Fowles & Gary Fowles live in a small village in Ångermanland.

The small village is called Näsänget.

Pernilla Bergman Fowles & Gary Fowles performed the world premier of WHITE SAVIOUR COMPLEX (Version One).

The performance took place on Saturday the 31st of August 2019 in the Näsänget village school. 

Included in the performance of this play was a screening of the film BEST BEFORE DEATH.

There was an audience of seven people. 

Things were discussed.

Pernilla Bergman Fowles and Gary Fowles performing WHITE SAVIOUR COMPLEX (Version One).