Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Pan's People Person



Is there a dirtier, more grotesque part of London than Elephant and Asshole? Even the dirt and filth has seen better days. Good job then that I was going to the antidote, the nearby Cinema Museum, a rarefied building with high ceilings, beams, comfy sofas and reasonably priced ales and lagers. I was there to come face to face with my teenage self, lost for however long but about to find itself mirrored in the lined faces of the three remaining members from Pan’s People’s classic line up, the one featuring Babs, Dee Dee, Ruth, Louise and Cherry (not forgetting Flick of course). And there they all are on a giant screen playing clips from their heyday, from black and white 60s clips to glorious mid 1970’s technicolour jumpsuits, hotpants, mini skirts and mutts that refuse to ‘get down’. All too soon the dream was over; Pan’s People gave way to Pan’s People’s People (Leg’s & Co) who in turn begat Ruby Flipper before the world moved on and left these classically trained go go dancers in it’s wake.


I bought a beer, a coffee - and I bought the book that tells their story and Ruth and DeeDee both signed it. They were both very gracious and wrote lovely messages. DeeDee asked me where I was from and said she too had come from Bath, or a village nearby which I was unfamiliar with. For a reference point she asked if I knew Trowbridge, and remembering Morrison's I exclaimed 'it has a supermarket', thinking that the late middle aged woman in front of me probably liked nothing more than pushing a trolly round on her afternoons off from being a former lust object.  At this point she must have read my mind because she lost interest and began chatting to someone else.


 The talk began – it was all very genteel with inoffensive questioning and I sensed there probably wouldn’t be any exposes of former Radio 1 DJ’s leering down their youthful decolettages. In the interval I collared the iconic Babs and we exchanged a few pleasantries whilst the grandee of popular daytime dance held her glasses on with one hand whilst signing with the other. She then introduced me to a nearby chap as being the author of the book. I said that whilst I hadn’t read it I was sure it was a terrific read. What I should have done was ask him to sign it also but I was so overcome with long forgotten Thursday night feelings that all I could do was focus on lovely Babs. I feel bad that I didn’t but the deed is done.


But it took me back to a time when as a young teenager growing up in West Bromwich the highlight of the week was Top of the Pops, and more often than not the highlight of TOTP was Pan's People, and I shall forever be grateful for the splash of colour they brought to many a dull and uneventful Thursday evening in an unprepossessing Black Country town.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

I Heart Art


Attended a PV last night in a large city situated somewhere between Bath and Portishead. Took ages to get there and when I did I parked in a side street and, strolling past a small gaggle of artist types stood outside gesticulating at each other, courted a couple of suspicious glances. Inside I bought a cup of flat ginger beer, set my mindset to mingle and wandered through to the arty bit. 12 people stood around chating intently, another couple of glances – perhaps they think I’m a dealer, or a critic, how exciting! 

I didn’t really understand the work and I wondered if even the artist did; videos both projected onto walls and diplayed on monitors, dialogue hard to make out over the chatter, some seemed speeded up (the films) and some didn’t (the guests). On a table were some books for us to look at, possible clues as to what was going on or else waiting to be returned to a library.  

I finished my drink quickly and tried to imagine bubbles going up my nose before not making any excuses to anyone and leaving. Exiting via the threshold I passed the same gesticulating gaggle, this time they ignored me. I reset my midset to comfort break and revved up my car to suggest it was getting into gear for a spin to somewhere further than Wells and, once I was out of sight, pulled up at a garage and bought myself a Ginsters Ploughman.  

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Emergency Third Rail Power Drip


The gallery on Platform 2 of Worcester’s Foregate Street station (you knew there was a gallery there, right?) has been turned (until November 9th) into Cedar’s Graffiti Supply Store, providing an opportunity for Worcester folk to dip into the ‘alternative’ world of street art.

ekta ekta

Curated by London based artist Cedar Lewisohn and featuring street artists from the UK and beyond it has paint cans and pens galore but there isn’t a till and you can’t buy anything - and anyway the cans are empty so don’t bother nicking them. There is no graffiti on the walls but in a corner stands an interesting placard, there’s a cover version of the Sgt Pepper LP cover by Pure Evil (that comes alive under neon) opposite a badly stretched canvas (which in context is not necessarily a bad thing) of what might almost be a ‘negative’ of a Michael Craig Martin painting; all perfectly positioned weights, delicate balancing acts and primary colours. Meanwhile a nicely detailed drawing of a railway station sits next to a monitor playing a video of trains whilst a rapper raps along to some hip hop music as clouds of graffiti roll across the screen.

El Tono and Nuria

Graffiti has been with us an awfully long time. The Greeks and the Romans weren’t averse to a doodle on the way to the Acropolis or the Forum and today find yourself in a men’s loo and as you settle yourself down onto a still warm seat your eye may well be drawn towards a hastily drawn penis, a phone number and perhaps an invitation to meet up for something mutually consensual. The joke here (intentional?) is that Movement is a converted Gentlemen’s toilet so the shift from illegal soul mate graffiti of yore to the legalised work on show is mirrored in the balance whereby what is acceptable within the gallery walls becomes illegal on the platform only a matter of feet away.

Cans and pens

So was acceptance into the mainstream always on the cards? From our safe European homes it might seem a romantic art form but consider the danger to life and limb; an art born out of necessity? Less emergency third rail power trip and more love on a branch line as street art, despite appearances seems less feral, less street corner territorial spraying and instead finds itself repositioned as work to be considered, at leisure in the rarefied air of the gallery. I imagine street artists viewed themselves as outsiders; maybe the prospect of a conventional art college education followed by a lifetime networking over Belgium lagers and salty snacks was not the agenda and that tagging a train and then imagining that image moving through the city’s dystopian shadows before bursting out into suburbian daylight to infiltrate the mindsets of the haves would not have been without a measure of satisfaction.

One station under a groove? Chris Stead

Making my way down the platform afterwards, sidestepping fresh faced commuters heading home to a tea of chicken nuggets followed by a blast of Grand Theft Auto’s vicarious living on Liberty City’s streets, I wondered if any of them were sizing up the train’s grubby exterior as having potential for a throw up. On they scrambled, all fold down bicycles and redundant umbrellas and the 17.32 to Hereford via Harlem, Lexington Avenue, Great Malvern and Colwall chugged out over the viaduct and into the late afternoon sunshine. 

Literature




Tuesday, 3 September 2013

STUDIO<>VISIT (or what I did on my holidays)


Thanks to everyone who showed up at the PITT gallery for the Garden party that was the culmination of my summer micro residency, the unveilling of work for the Nu Contemporary English Landscape Painting (NuCON). And a massive thanks to Nat for being a consummate curator and gallerista!


Beer was drunk, stuff looked at before we retired over the road to the Chestnut pub where we enjoyed the fruits of the Worcester Music Festival.


Also my first foray into reviewing should be in this months SLAP magazine, a write up of the Worcester Open. Hope it reads ok.


Today is also the sort of moving day into exile in Bath – the boss has gone on ahead to open the shutters and shake the grits out of the bedding, just as long as I get the drums down all will be fine. Nephew should be in situ to take over the reins at some point this week.

And tomorrow is my birthday – with a spot of life drawing pencilled in first thing. Start as I mean to go on.

The red dot = 'sold' 

What a nice chatty post this has been! 

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Rokeby Venus's Arse


Just one day to go before this weekend's Garden Party show at the PITT Project Space. here are a few words about what I've been up to. 


The Nu School of Contemporary Landscape Painting (NuCON) draws inspiration from the Microsoft screensaver depicting a somewhat nondescript hill, possibly somewhere in the United State of America.

For some kids, hardwired into online status recognition, their head in the cloud in some inner city urban ghetto this might be the first hill they ever see; Mount Para for the digital age, the meeting point where nature impinges on a virtual world. For the older, casual browser however, this green unpleasant mound might have become the point at which, the laptop having pinged into life they are forced into a decision, to choose between googling leisure wear and/or an evening browsing t&a through dead eyes, glass of Merlot in one hand, unresponsive mouse in the other.



This is a conventionally sexual hill, a gently undulating yet threateningly tilting tit or belly, the latest in a line that links the Rokeby Venus’s arse, Courbet’s Origin of the World and Andrew Wyeth’s Christine’s World, minus house, barn and girl. It might even be called Depilation Valley, shorn as it is of trees, shrubs, not a bush in sight. Nothing to spoil the view: everything revealed, all concealed.


We wonder what is the other side of it, what lurks just out of sight to the right, over the brow of the hill, those hills in the distance, menacing, inviting. Silent.


How did this seemingly ordinary image become arguably the most recognisable landscape in the world; more famous than a Constable hedgerow, Turner Wheat field or Stubbs’ pony, in leafy arbours languidly resting?

Thursday, 8 August 2013

No Pain, No Gainsboro.


Time goes by, what are we, day eight or thereabouts and here I am, once more back in the lions den, the pit of despair, the PITT of hope in the Land of Hope and Crosby. It has been a while since I have picked up a paintbrush in anything approaching anger, mind you, the Worcester Open getting in the way for two weeks didn’t help. The studio was a bit of a mess but have had a tidy and thrown the doors wide open to let some fresh air into the place.

Playboy Bounty Bunny Hunter (+ mess) 
The big news is that I have bought two more canvases, one medium sized and one smaller sized. And talking of sizing, that is what I have done, applying a nice coat of glue evenly on the back and whilst the larger one still has a bit of muffin top the smaller is as tight as a drum.

am continuing with the English Landscape painting theme as previously mentioned and am using the Microsoft screensaver image as the basis for my Bunny paintings. Microsoft’s image must surely be the most recognizable landscape in Britain, if not the world, replacing Constable’s Haywain at the top of the naturist’s chart.

I am not a naturist but anyone can recognize how exposed one would be on this landscape, the Hatywain offers far more protection from the elements and also cover from unintentional prying eyes.

Monday, 5 August 2013

If Nigella Made Art....


If Nigella made art then this might be what she would make – creamy blobs of sticky figurativeness wrestling with lashings of vivid detail inviting the viewer to dip their finger before stepping back and idly contemplating the canvas through half closed eyes. One can almost imagine a soft focus Ann Bennett winking at the viewer as she dreamily teases out another oily motif, perhaps brushing her lips against the tip of soft, squirally sable, her eyes briefly meeting yours before she tilts her head to contemplate another bout of languid mark making.

So it’s a touch odd to then realise that the six large canvases that make up Tabula Rasa, the centre piece of her show at the Artrix are of chubby, healthy looking babies, possibly the artist’s own, each one luxuriating smack dab in the middle of their own large, creamily dreamy canvas. Each baby appears content, as though they have just been tickled by a favourite parent or been gently woken from a particularly satisfying nap. No chiarascuro here, nothing so dramatic, instead each huge baby comprises a series of fragmented gestures; a curious eye, twisted fingers, the curve of limb, a cowslick, that leap from the canvas whilst their torsos blur into marsh mellow yellow and white chocolate fudge-cakey nothingness.

But it is as much about the paint and it’s application as it is the image. If you step up close to the canvases, real close, no – closer, so close that you can almost taste where the butter and the turpentine meet and where the edge of the canvas melts away until form becomes meaningless, and you allow your gaze to skirt around caked ridges before it tumbles down linseed alleys and painterly micro valleys then it is like being once more escorted back into your own private childhood, one of imaginary landscapes where your imagination could run wild and for a moment no one could know what you were dreaming, no one in the grown up world.    

Tabula Rasa is at the Artrix, Bromsgrove until September 1st.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Worcester Open 1-0 I am the Warrior


End of my first week invigilating at the Worcester Open and it seems to have gone well. I’m sharing the duties with Chris, an engaging young chap, three days each and all the leftover crisps and nuts we can eat. An opportunity to round off that unread novel, catch up on correspondence and spend some quality time with some rather good artwork. The DVD machines are working, viewing figures on the up, the gallery looks splendid and I Am the Warrior is starting to fill out nicely.


What is I am the Warrior? It is a mis en scene put in place by Juneau Projects and whose original intention was to house work entered for but not chosen to be in the Open Competition.  In reality it is the former library shelves at the far end of the gallery that once held children’s books but now, resplendent in blobby-esque yellow and pink, only with the goalposts repositioned slightly with it now being open for anyone to enter work; just drop it off and Chris and myself will do the rest.

Self Portrait @ WM&AG

The Worcester Open contains, as one might expect, interesting work with all the usual suspects being present and correct: some film, some animation, paintings of course, a smattering of photographs, a wooden structure that may have once been part of someone’s staircase, a flag and a couple of small sculptures. Nothing truly remarkable, but generally speaking all are excellent in their own way and each a worthy entrant in the show. Trouble is, is it just me or is it all a bit predictable……dull even? It’s all been made and chosen seemingly in the best possible tasteful but, isn’t good taste the enemy of art?

Not Now Pet

Contrast this with ‘I am’s’ exhibits – take Alexander Williams’s ‘Not Now Pet’, a pink and blue psychedelic yodel seemingly puked up over a cheap canvas and all in the name of ‘art’; on a nearby shelve sit a pair of seeds, credited to and possibly accidentally stolen from Ai Wei Wei’s Tate show they find themselves teamed up with a pair of peanuts that the invigilators probably dropped and the cleaners missed and called ‘Not Ai Wei Wei’.  Ned James has entered what appears to be a death head pin cushion whilst Charlie Pitt has exhibited work that a five year old might have done. No disrespect to five year olds, some of their work has merit.

Let’s finish with what the audience thinks. Is Jed Edwards’s lovingly detailed yet possibly pointless micro copy of Picasso’s ‘Des Moiselle d’Avignon’ that finds itself tacked onto some green boarding any worse, or less relevant than James Brennan’s Myth 111 – Protect and Survive, a small study in oil of a pair of pert yet undemonstratively undraped breasts which cushion a pendant and which is strategically placed above another work by the same artist of a tree, or bush, that is included in the main exhibition?


Perhaps we should leave it up to the Italian student who came in with his classmates on the Tuesday to decide. After all they, the Italian grown ups rather than their students that is, masterminded the Renaissance, invented egg tempura and could call on Leonardo, Titian and Caravaggio if there was a bit of wall that required tagging, He must have thought Brennan’s topless temptress the more critically engaged of the two works because he kept returning to it, over and over again, each time with a different classmate, pointing and giggling, eager to share his opinion with them.

So, there you have it, one occasion where going tits up pays. The Worcester Open just nudging out I am the Warrior in the popularity stakes.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

STUDIO<>VISIT (day 6)


Things moving apace – now at the end of week 2, this is day 6. Work slightly hampered by helping sort out and set up the Worcester Open, of which the opening is tomorrow and I hope you will all attend.

Anyway, I have almost finished a painting. It is called Playboy: Bounty Bunny Hunter and features a near naked figure stalking two giant Playboy style bunnies grazing just the other side of a hillside.


It draws inspiration and comfort from the man made signs and symbols that are dotted around our landscape. The bunny logo brings together the old with the modern. The male figure* is based upon limestone outlined figures on chalk downs, often of horses and often found in Wiltshire, although this one might be more closely related to Dorset’s Giant at Cerne Abbas. 



In truth it's not very good although I have had fun with the drippy paint technique that Peter Doig and his followers seem to be much enamoured with. Apart from that it's a bit shit. 

*shorts models own (not pictured). 



Friday, 5 July 2013

STUDIO<>VISIT (days 2 and 3)


So, didn’t post on Wednesday because that was a ‘staring into space day’. There is always one and it was good to get it out of the way early on. Today I rose early after a restless sleep, excited about what the day had in store but since it is Friday and I’m not in situ then it doesn’t really count.

Thursday was also the day that the timber got delivered for the Worcester Open (to which I have been accepted) so I was there early doors at the Museum and Art gallery putting in a shift heaving stuff around.

After showering I went up to WRE to buy a couple of decent sized stretchers and began preparations to paint reverse sides with watered down PVA glue. Next I put up my postcards and also printed off screensaver images of landscape – I’m tempted to do one with a silhouetted Playboy bunny logo on a pole in the distance, might lend the scene a little gravitas.

Looking at postcards – they could be used at Band B (B&B) as a promotional tool along with a map of the city and a list of suggestions where to go to see stuff. 

No pictures as I didn't take my phone. Back next Tuesday when I will finally get to pop pen one of those tubes of Windsor and Newton. Pop along, I'm waiting...... 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

STUDIO<>VISIT


Today I started micro-dency @ PITT project space in Worcester – the residency which will stretch out over July is called Studio<>Visit and you are all welcome to visit. I have a kettle but no running water so please bring your own and I will make us both a refreshing drink. If you are going to visit please do so on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 10 a.m and 2 p.m. 

This must be the place....


I am investigating landscape painting and over the coming weeks intend developing my own Nu Tradition of landscape art.

So far I have unpacked and explored my new surroundings. There is a toilet and as a contrast, French windows that open out onto a small, pleasant walled garden. I have a radio and paint and I took a flask of coffee so I was happy. After listening to the radio, drinking the coffee and admiring the lawn for a short while I made some cursory notes in my cursory notebook, locked up and travelled the short distance to a nearby settlement where I bought a sandwich, two postcards and a Fleetwood Mac cd although not all from the same shop. 

Farmer on a skateboard

I set up a small installation that references homelessness and rough sleeping although the piece is called ‘Glossing’, a term that references Glamour and dosing, hence ‘glossing’.

Glossing

Tomorrow I will take some water to put in the toilet and begin unpacking the paints in earnest…. 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Drop Zone

Lately I've been making sculptures - I didn't set out to do so and until a week or so back I wouldn't have considered them as such. Micro Bill boards - interesting how it has developed from the ones I made last year which were text based, to these which are much more about the sculptural qualities inherent in their structure. The reverse is often more interesting than the front, the way the frame can be used in conjunction with objects/culture carriers (books, magazines, cd cases etc) and also how the BB responds to the plinth.


Now they've gone from just making a couple to thinking about them as a gallery landscape (working title Drop Zone imagining Drop City taken over, falling apart and now the hippies are coming back to reclaim it) - different sized plinths (maybe wallpapered), maybe one on the floor - in darkness but with lighting, perhaps using outdoor bulbs to create that yellowy 'motorway' style of atmosphere. Shadows. Maybe sound too, a hum or drone. Electricity.



Colour coded too with a restrictive palette, the above is an exception but otherwise sticking to wood varnish, grey/white card and cream gloss paint. Got a bit of a manifesto developing here! Included them for Worcester Open; it's the closing date for Exeter tomorrow with Ludlow and Wells to follow. We'll see.


Other news - new www coming on nicely. Mr Mecca has done a sterling job of putting it together. Just need more images. Details to follow.

Also picked up some work from Brum, photo's on aluminium, one largish and two 7"x 5", just need a third for a trip-tych. So, on a bit of a roll, not done any Cheek by Joel stuff for a while but I think the break was worth it.

Brum degree show was last Monday, good to catch up with Laura who I hadn't seen for a while. Good show too and lovely to be in the old building once again.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Cunt'ry Life


This month Scot of the Attic is promoting Cunt'ry Life Online Magazine               

Issue 19 - OUT NOW! 

Packed full of Tractor Articles, Ploughing Reviews, the Muck Spreading Gossip Column, Tips on how to Sow Your Seed, Horrorscopes, Farm Girl Fashion, T.V Drama - Swine Flu Over the Cuckold's Nest, How to Cook Roadkill (and not poison your family in the process), Health and Beauty - farm hands and moisteurising, Know Your Hole, True Romance - 'I fell in love with a scarecrow' by Hugh Heiffer! PLUS competitions + prizes.................. 

....and all on a farmboy’s wages!





                                                           (Back issues still available)                                      


GET IT WHILE IT'S HOT!!!




Scot Atticus is currently on holiday, he may return before the end of the month. 


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Worcester Man Chosen as New Pope!


White smoke over Worcester when Brian ‘Basher’ Bishop woke up this morning to discover he had been elected the new leader of the Catholic Church, writes Scot Atticus.

Brian 59, of Strawberry Way, Dines Green, who recently retired after seven years as a plasterer  revealed that he only entered the competition after encouragement from his wife Janis, 53; ‘I thought I had no chance but she kept on at me saying – ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it!’ Brian claims his new job won’t change him one bit and he plans to continue coaching Dines Green F.C Under 13’s in their Sunday League campaign where they are through to the Quarter Finals of the North East Worcestershire Junior Cup. They face second place Batchley Colts this Sunday, kick off 2pm at Mount Pleasant Leisure Centre.

Before Brian
When asked about some of the broader issues facing the church today Brian, who admitted he’s 
never travelled abroad and only goes to church every other Christmas said he couldn’t see a problem with condom machines in Africa providing they could build enough public toilets to house them. The papal prophylactic wondered if too many different currencies might be at the heart of the problem, making it impossible to manufacture a generic machine at their Beijing plant. In his first address the profiteering Pontiff urged African nations to consider adopting a common currency similar to the Euro suggesting that ‘if they all had an Afro then they’d probably get on a bit better’.  

After Brian
Bishop will be known as Pope Rural I. 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Love of the Common Peepz


It’s dress down Friday at the station, but they don’t need the aggravation,
‘cos when the cops come out to play they look like men @ C&A
lo-fi high rise wi-fi too, Cherry Red caught Sniffin' Glue;
pace the cage in human zoos, listening out for blues and two’s.
(later)

a fat man wearing nylon slacks gets cornered by the P.A stack 
as subway dwelling disco bratz bait bouncers waving rounders bats;
D.I.S.C.O damaged firewall kid pulls ghetto princess off the skidz, 
(whilst rural punk plays Mercian funk that gloryfies his lifestyle junk).

- meanwhile on the other side of a town, designed by planners with no manners whilst getting hammered...

bingo wings at Burger King eat cheesy chips and onion rings; 
whilst Osbourne’s stately mandarins find horse meat in banana skins; 
Ukip safe trip, Premier in, Travelodge for Polish skinz; 
where Asian Babes sell webcam porn, U.S.B ports in every storm; 
handcuffed to a divan bedhead, bloodied duvet muddied bedspread;
flattery then battery, they drowned her in the ladies lavatory; 
blubbery and rubbery, schoolboys wank into the shrubbery, 
imagine her in reader's wives, 
with plastics, carrotts, cukes and vibes, 
it transformed their X-box lives - they only show you tits on SKY!
…….no safe word was whispered here, so they turned off her laughing gear.

Shall I go on?  

Nike, Bodem, Broadband modem, you're no one 'til you've been on Wogan, gotta problem? – adopt a slogan!

Relax…just do it, when you want to go through it

behind every door in every town, some weird kind of shit is about to go down. But Friday night is five* more sleeps, livin’ in the love of the common peepz.  

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Worcester Fashion Week

Well, for the past fortnight it's been Worcester fashion week and we've all been struck down with runway fever! The city's cafes and charity shops have been over run with fashion savvy farmers and their gauche daughters eager to taste everything the city has to offer. We're grateful to Cheek By Joel for sending in these lovely images. For some time WFW has been viewed as being reminiscent of a crime scene and as a result photographers have  been banned - hence the press's reliance on artist's impressions such as these.


The event, which for the 4th year running was sponsored by The Lone Furrow Tractor Co, was held in the city's Guild Hall and was opened by Councillor Bob Roberts and featured Worcester's very own Carnivore Queen, lovely Katy Hackett, 19 (below). 'I had a lovely time' said Katy 'and I'm sure the experience will help me a lot'. We're not sure which designer is showing in each of these images, but we're fairly sure that they will be coming to what remains of our high street fairly soon.


Joel informs us that he is suprised these turned out as well as they did since to use his term he was as 'drunk as a lord' when he did them. So well done Joel for entering into the spirits of the event but without leaving your work ethic at the bar. 


It's taken a while to get off the ground, and whilst it may not yet quite be up there with New York, London, Paris or Milan - yet! - it's good to know it's taking off!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The fat Comedian


This was recently sent in by various artist, who thought we might like it!

The fat comedian stared at himself in the dressing room mirror. Placing the first finger of each hand below an opposing eye, he pulled slowly down and peered into the yolky rheumyness. He was having his collar felt by the fifteen minutes to show time river of sweat and the small of his back was next. There was a murmur of voices from the corridor followed by a light tap on the door and a cheery female voice rang out, ‘Ten minutes Mr Funny, Funny Man’. The fat comedian grunted and lowered his eyes until they rested upon the plate of half eaten food on the table in front of him. What scraps might he throw them tonight? Revenge, served cold as a default setting for the audience, the braying herd of sheep that followed him around the country, night after night after endless fucking night, one night stands from here to eternity, from fear to maternity. In Milford Haven there had been one woman with a shriek that could shatter glass. It was reason enough to never have to play there again. He swore that should he ever hear it again he would wade beyond the footlights into the stinking morass of slime masquerading as humanity, drag her from her seat, rip her head off her shoulders and shit in the hole. 

He wasn’t even half way through the tour. Where was he? Some shitty little club outside Newport called Chez Lounge. Somewhere he could keep his head down. His critics said he’d got a way with too much but in truth the only thing he’d got away with was words. Nothing for it but to talk about the war again, his war, and how the only way it could end was when all the soldiers, marines, vets, reservist corps and everyone else who could be called up had been called up and sent packing in matching Louis Vuitton body bags until all that was left was the obese 74% of his countrymen complaining whenever CNN interrupted their cartoons with inconvenient and thoughtless newsflashes. Lured away from their plasma crutches and onto to air bases on the promise of extra Mcdonald’s rations, where, too wide to squeeze in transporter holds and too fat to fit into tanks, they would be airlifted, by helicopter, one at a time and, without wasting parachute silk would be dropped upon enemy positions. Unable to run away they would be gunned down, traffic calmers on Adobe lined sleepy country roads, sleeping soldiers upon whom the generals were pinning not medals, but the hope of the enemy running out of gas trying to drive around them. The country, now trailer trash free would be ready to turn on, tune in, reload and have another go at ‘trying to get it right’, only this time starting at Level 2. 

The fat comedian removed his fingers and the bags rearranged themselves either side of his nose. He imagined the woman with the shriek being zipped into a body bag and allowed himself the faintest of smiles. There was another knock on his door. Show time.