October 29, 2009


St Philip with St Stephen Church, St Philips Place( just off Chapel Street), Salford, M3 6FJ map below (0161 834 2041),
THURSDAY the 29th October , doors open 7.30pm, entrance fee: the usual £5

LEMUR are:

> Hild Sofie Tafjord performer and composer, plays french horn and electronics. She studied jazz and improvised music at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Tafjord has a solo project and plays in bands like Lemur, SPUNK, Agrare, Trinacria, Phantom Orchard Orchestra, She is one half of Duo FE-MAIL with the prolific and bonkers Maja Ratkje and she has collaborated with numerous artists like Wolf Eyes, Campbell Kneale, Matmos, Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins,Otomo Yoshihide, Fred Frith, Zu, Evan Parker etc. She participates on more than 30 releases at a.o. Rune Grammofon, Asphodel, picadisk, ECM, Universal, Moserobie, Jazzland, Important Records, Psychform Records, Gameboy Records, OHM records. www.myspace.com/hildsofie

> Bjørnar Habbestad, flautist educated in Bergen, London and Amsterdam. Works as a chamber musician in INTONARE, improviser in LEMUR, noisemaker in REHAB, ensemble player in N ENSEMBLE, sound artist in HABBESTAD&LARSSON and electroacustician in USA/USB. His collaborators range from fellow N-Collectivists MoHa! through Lene Grenager/Hild Sofie Tafjord of SPUNK, pianist Ellen Ugelvik, bassist/bandleader Per Zanussi, John Hegre/Jazzkammer and a long list of ad hoc constellations. Habbestad founded the N Collective in 2003 and currently runs N ENSEMBLE, the collective ́s ensemble-alter-ego. He is also co-curator of the Bergen-based sound gallery LYDGALLERIET and half of the record label +3dB. www.myspace.com/quartetlemur

> Lene Grenager cellist, composer and conductor educated at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. She tours regularly with her main ensembles SPUNK (rune grammofon), Lemur (+3db) and a duo with Sofia Jernberg (olofbright) . Grenager also performes solo and in various ad hoc constellations. She has collaborated with artists such as Mattin, Lucio Capece, Ellen Fullman, Mats Gustafsson, Harald Fetveit and Unni Løvlid and has performed at festivals like FIMAV Victoriaville, Ultima, Borealis, Banlieues Bleues, Stockholm New Music & Nordic Music Days. In 2006 she released her first soloalbum “Slåtter, slag og slark” (Euridice) . www.grenager.no

> Michael Francis Duch was born and raised in Trondheim, Norway and plays the Doublebass. He has been involved in about 20 recordings released in various formats. Duch plays the music of Christian Wolff and Cornelius Cardew in a trio with John Tilbury and Rhodri Davies and is a member of the rockband Dog & Sky, the dronetrio TRICYCLE , acoustic postnoise with the duo ORIGAMI TACET with Tore Bøe, and different other constellations. Ad Hoc collaborations with
Otomo Yoshihide, Taku Sugimoto, Sachiko M, Mattin, Mats Gustafsson, Peter Brötzmann, Jaap Blonk, Gert-Jan Prins, Christian Wolff, Tony Conrad, Cadillac, www.myspace.com/michaelduch

October 19, 2009

The Other Room

most perfect days there is nothing horizon
in the protocol we employ
Unwent, urelements we are not, with our grey the same as theirs


Sunday, 25th October, 13:45 start
Apotheca, 17 Thomas Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1FS.

The Other Room is organising an extra event as part of the Oxjam festival. For this event only, The Other Room will be at Apotheca, 17 Thomas Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1FS. Entry is free, but a donation to Oxjam is suggested. Read more about Oxjam at http://www.oxjammanchester.org. I will be reading including extracts from Space The Soldier Who Died For Perspective (also above).
Hope to see you there. Also reading:

STUART CALTON has published four books of poems: three with Barque Press, and one on his own press, Fenland Hi-Brow. His fifth, Three Reveries, is awaiting publication. He is also a musician who records and performs Free Improvisation and Musique Concrète under the nom de Dictaphone T.H.F. Drenching.

JAMES DAVIES has two short e-collections: The Manual Handling Process (Beard of Bees) and Acronyms (onedit). He has a collection Plants due from Reality Street in 2012. He is one half of the poetry/photography duo Joy as Tiresome Vandalism who have a collection aRb (if p then q) and are currently working on Absolute Elsewhere found in progress at www.joyastiresomevandalism.wordpress.com. In addition he is editor of if p then q and one of the organisers of The Other Room.

October 18, 2009

Kill Tony Trehy

There was a moment when I was pulling together the Language Moment structure when I knew that all the major organisational issues had been resolved. At that instant, even though I was very tired, I also knew that this would mean that by the time the event actually happened (if it did) I would have to have moved beyond it to stop myself being bored. I was reminded of Geof Huth’s proposal for my ‘death’ back in June during the Text Festival Thinking Environment workshop. We were considering the question: “What are the assumptions + obstacles that prevent the extension + intensification of the connective + transformative model which the Text Festival represents?” In one of the circuits through the participants, Ron Silliman suggested that the solution would be ‘to clone Tony Trehy’. Geof Huth picks up the story on his blog at the time (http://dbqp.blogspot.com/2009/05/it-was-metaphor.html ) “By the time the conversation wended its way around our circle to me—I was two people away from Ron, so it didn’t take long—I said something like, “I apologize, Tony, for what I’m about to say. But what we need to do is kill Tony. Whenever you think you’re doing something right, you need to do something different. Otherwise, you’ll keep doing the same thing but think you’re moving forward. The good thing, though, is that Tony knows how to kill himself. Over the past two days, in conversations with me, he’s shown how he is trying to find new ways to do things, to become something else than Tony Trehy.” It has been fun teasing Geof about the death threat, I think he apologised again in Finland. As I recover from the intense draining effort of getting the Language Moment ready, Tony Trehy had already been killed before it was submitted and now to finding the new things. The ambitious conception of the last six weeks or so has opened up global possibilities with new collaborators whom I look forward to creating new thinking with, but I look forward most to my own new thinking.

This week Sue and I are in Nice.

October 15, 2009

Crisis? What Crisis?

In 2006, the Arts Council of England (ACE) decided that as an arts organisation it should commission some new works itself, rather than its general remit of funding other organisation’s. It coincided with its new intranet/finance computer system. So the brief was that they would commission 9 new works – one for each of the Arts Council regions – images of which would be suitable for as desktops or screensavers for each individual officer to use on their computers. It was a strange internal selection process which they didn’t advertise. The first I knew about it, I had been the shortlisted to the last 2 for the north west region – I never knew whom the other person was.

So in response to the invitation to submit, empathizing with the existential antinomy facing individuals with a commitment to the arts in the context of a bureaucracy, I proposed a new text work which would set out to consider the question: how can a creative individual function (and survive the pressures of conformity) in the framework of institutional rigidity? It was a question which artistically resonated with my context too working in local government. As there were then 900 ACE staff (and therefore that many computers), and ACE’s logo is the three words in a circle, I envisaged a 900 times 3-word poetic form – ie a 2700 word poem. The final work would have at least 3 forms – a full 900 circle limited edition print; a 5 circle neon-text which early meetings indicated would be installed in the North West regional office; and the version on the intranet system.

My proposal ‘won’ the commission and I broke off work on 50 Heads to create the poem, which I’d called ‘Arena’. Everything went well and in a couple of months, I had pretty much finished the writing. I had a progress meeting with 3 ACE officers which was very positive except for right at the end, when one of them wondered whether my form crossed over onto ACE’s logo copyright. The consensus was that it didn’t but if it did, as ACE was commissioning the work, it could just grant use of copyright style for the work. It’s a bureaucracy so it was only to be expected that someone covering their back suggested we confirm everything was alright with their legal department. No-one expected a problem and I was told to proceed with costing the neon and getting the design specification sorted with my designer – which I did.

A week later, ACE email to say that the circle design is breach of copyright so the poetic form needed to re-configured. I asked for a meeting to discuss this judgement, duly arriving with about 30 examples of other company 3-word circle logos ready to argue that ACE couldn’t possibly have the copyright on the form. When the meeting happened it was a very strange thing. We met in the early morning before anyone else seemed to have turned up for work. In empty offices, it felt vaguely furtive. One of the deputy directors led the meeting and with slight embarrassment explained that the copyright issue wasn’t actually the problem. Instead, the word coming down through the organisation was that under the current government, ACE could not be seen to commission a work that suggested that there was an existential problem for creative people in a bureaucracy: the official position was that creativity was a valued element of the organisation and the staff had none of the problems that concerned me: there is no crisis. Note here, that no-one had actually read any of the work so they couldn’t know what it said. In one bound ACE had taken an existential crisis and thrown in some Kafka. After the meeting I had to re-write sections of the poem because I had not realized just how dark the constrictions on creativity went. Still embarrassed though, the ACE official offered to pay me not to continue with the piece – I was being offered a commission not to create the work!

There didn’t seem much point in going on – especially as I was now regretting breaking off from 50 Heads to be messed about like this – so I accepted just to get out of the ‘Trial’. And the poem was actually written so it could be published as some other time despite ACE.

For some reason this memory has resurfaced this week.

October 11, 2009

Busy as usual

Again not much time to write: busy developing my new website, just finished proofing the new book "Space The Soldier Who Died For Perspective", which gets launched on 15 November at the London Small Publishers Fair; and a rush job developing an artists' books project with Foligno Museum (Italy) - apparently the town in which Dante's Inferno was first printed.

October 09, 2009

Bigger than the Olympics?

While we await the decision from the Olympic Selection Committee, the big news is that Barney has been called for an audition with a modelling agency.

October 08, 2009

Oh no! It’s National Poetry Day.

It’s that dismal day again. As Charles Bernstein noted “poets are symbolically dragged into the public square in order to be humiliated with the claim that their product has not achieved sufficient market penetration and must be revived by the Artificial Resuscitation Foundation (ARF) lest the art form collapse from its own incompetence, irrelevance, and as a result of the general disinterest among the broad masses ...”

“Our” theme this year is Heroes and Heroines. Ostensibly this resonates with the spirit of the time, daily stories of backs-to-the-wall heroism in the war, while at home according to the media, citizens need courage just to step out of the door in the face of yob violence. Similarly it is fairly obvious that Carol Ann Duffy should have been invited to be the poet in residence for this her first year as the Poet Laureate. However, there is a poetry politics subtext in the theme. The celebration of heroes and heroines recycles Official Verse Culture’s axiomatic narrative assumptions. The implication for this heroic day: the Poet achieves sufficient market penetration after all, aspiring to cultural relevance, to centrality in our increasing militarization, aspiring to Homerism, “the world is found to be meaningful, but not for and to itself; it is meaningful because perceiving it makes the poet special; the poet plunders the world for its perceptual, spiritual treasure and becomes worthy (and worth more) on that basis” (Lynn Hejinian).

Anyway, the on-going artistic crisis for the Hegemony of the Banal is no more evident than in this year’s TS Eliot Prize: ‘the most important poetry prize in the UK’ went to Jen Hadfield:

"I will meet you at Pity Me Wood. / I will meet you at Up-To-No-Good. / I will meet you at Stank, Shank and Stye. / I will meet you at Blowfly."

With their canon telomeres wearing so thin, National Poetry Day could really pass us by without recognition or comment – I’ll bet there are people reading this who didn’t know it was National Poetry Day – the mainstream reaching new levels of incompetence, irrelevance, and general disinterest, but there was something new in the call for involvement from the organisers this year.

“We need lots of pictures of poetry in public places - on buildings, written on pavements or walls (though naturally we don't condone vandalism, ahem.....), in local landmarks or sculptures. Send us the best pictures you can and we'll post them in our gallery closer to the day. I've attached examples to show you the sort of thing I mean - poems on buildings or street furniture, in graffiti or on t-shirts.” I find it interesting that the attempt to renew begins to turn to public art. Manchester has a number of examples of poems on the wall – all of them bad poems. And this is part of Banalists’ problem: they can not address the fundamental issue which is the inability to address the quality of the writing.

Anyway, here’s my contribution to the ‘festivities’, from 50 Heads:


0: Scuttering under a blue cloth within the inquorate grain
of memory, can rigidity be said? As hero as shaman.
Quotidian fantasy too direct competition for resources,
travelling that demands special kinds of travel insurance.
Fluents have no time to relax and straighten before
celebrated release in flexural waves. Its shattering energy.
A lantern to find an honest man? Some particles escape
through evaporation, also that microwater bacterially
small in the matrix of solidity. We must accept. Direction
of travel statements imposed bijective quietus, spending
patterns, election to representative bodies more serial
measured in responsibility quorum. Monument lions
drowned out formants immobilised in narrow happy-
clappy tunes. La, la, la for the rest complete transfusions
ensure none of the recipient’s blood is left at the scene;
though surgeon’s forgotten instruments as a verb for
human development starred ill I aspire as a critical advice
giver: the world looms the same everywhere: 1

October 06, 2009

Special Event 'Paul Neagu' exhibition

Thursday 8 October 2009, 7 - 9 pm
Romanian Cultural Institute, 1 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PH

Hyphen-Ramp, Serpentine Gallery London, 1976. © Paul Neagu Estate
Talk in the Gallery
Artists and Curators: Is there a difference between artists, with their special knowledge of working processes, and curators, with their special understanding of exhibitions, in creating a show?

with: Marianne Eigenheer, artist and curator, Basel / London; David Thorp, curator, London; Stephen Foster, Director of the John Hansard Gallery at the University of Southampton.

'Paul Neagu' - a film by Ruxandra Garofeanu, 2003
UK Premiere, a Romanian TV production
Translation, subtitles and editing by Lucas Florian

The event is part of the 'Paul Neagu' exhibition, first major show of the British-Romanian artist's work in London, five years after his death.
Curated by artist Marianne Eigenheer (London/Basel) & Iolanda Costide (Paul Neagu Estate London). A partnership with The Paul Neagu Estate.
Sponsored by: Mr. & Mrs. Sh. Canatacuzino, Mr. & Mrs. G. Iacobescu, Mr. & Mrs. M. Radoi, Princess Marina Sturdza, NTA Projects Ltd. Chartered Architects, London.
The exhibition is open at the Romanian Cultural Institute until 16 October 2009.
Free entry.

October 05, 2009

The Other Room

Wednesday 7th October, 7.00pm
CRAIG DWORKIN (video presentation) and MICHAEL HASLAM.

Old Abbey Inn, 61 Pencroft Way, on Manchester Science Park, M15 6AY, UK

Admission is free.


October 01, 2009

The Figure of the Question is in the Room

The Figure of the Question is Death
The Figure of Interrogative Philosophy
The Figure of the Question is in the Room

The James Lee Byars at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park http://www.ysp.co.uk/view.aspx?id=688 is great show - split between the Bothy Gallery and the Chapel. The former has some truly beautiful pieces. The first room features a huge scroll partially unrolled with a single drawn line - a remarkable sweeping gesture. In an intimate space, the QD, IP, QR gold columns were powerfully affecting. The installations in the chapel are less powerful, being reconstructions - interesting configurations of Byars but strangely parenthesised by his own quotation "I cancel all my works at death!"

The context that made the show look even better was its juxtaposition with the utter banality of the endless Peter Randall Page retrospective on at the same time.