Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Have You Ever Smelt Marianne Faithful? ?

No photos. Pin back your eyelids and try reading some words for a change.

Howaboutno and Nolions rocked up to the premier of Joy Division by Grant Gee, courtesy of an email passed on from an obviously nameless mutual friend and photoshopped to look like addresssed to us. Two immediate questions, why London not Manchester and why bother when last year's film of the year Control had covered the whole Joy Div/Ian Curtis obituary, albeit throught the slightly third party eyes of Debbie Curtis.

Not being miserable enough or Manc enough, turned out we were on a secondary list and thanks to a bit of lip from HAN to the oriental bird graciously deigning to hand out tics, the doors were slammed in our face. None the less, having a eagle eye for an opportunity, as the introductions of the faces were being made to the audience, we managed to hook on behind a small group and ended up sneaking into a pair of very plush seats in a box. Ligging and blagging is a refined skill.

Spookily, for the second time in three days we bumped into MJar, what are the odds!

The film has a bunch of major defects. Before it begins you know how it is going to start, all 70s ooop-north depression, sparking cloggs and smoke pumping chinmeys. The whole of the film is again an obituary and you know what the bloody ending is going to be. Unlike control which was pure dramatisation using actors and no appearances from band members, this film is pure documentary, relying on grainy gig footage and talking heads. As Hooky says in the film, "we never meant things to sound so fucking miserable, we really wanted the records to chop people off at the neck like the live stuff". Top punk attitude.

Grant Gee and legendary Factory Records design guru Peter Saville took the stage afterwards to answer questions.

"Peter, how do you think this contributes to the legend"..."Well it doesn't really"

"Peter, what do you think of the film posters"...."Pretty shit really, I'm glad I didn't have to do them..I left that behind over a decade ago, I can't think what Joy Division wuld look like now"

Afterwards, we blagged a ticket off the same forgetful or forgiving Oriental vision to some West End red roped celeb tarts bar for free Japanese beer and shoulder rubbing with various ancient ghosts from the past. "Smoke either side of the red rope" said the bouncer, which seemed less designed to allow us maximum freedom and more an excuse for him to twat us either way.

We don't think we saw Marianne Faithful but we were puzzled how poncey journo chat-up lines are supposed to deliver the close-quarters limb entanglements when a dready next to us asked a posh bird "Have you smelled Marianne Faithful? she smells deeeeeeviiiiiiiiiiiiine" we certainly didn't smell anything devine dahhhling so perhaps the fragrant Faithful was elsewhere.

The bus ride home was memorable. Rain bucketed down and the bus skewed through deep channels spraying tar and froth over windows and pedestrians. The budget windscreen wipers failed to clear upright rivers from the windscreen, and lights shone green, red, amber and white through the rivulets. The miserable cunts even arranged the weather as a PR stunt.

What a Difference a Couple of Weeks Make. . .


It was bound to happen.....especially in the middle of Hackney


Monday, 28 April 2008

Christ Strike A Light, It's Monday...And Here's An Update!

Here is a new laugh for you... I'm going to turn this into a daily update. Ahahahahahahahaha. Maybe.

Nuff said.

Cancer Sell Street Art Tour

The freezing temperatures and shitty smells of Hoxton, Shoreditch and Brick Lane are readily tolerated by vandals going about their clandestine work on walls so a little dank mist and a few squally showers weren’t going to deter a hardy group of walkers in search of graffiti enlightenment and soul purifying charity support.

Photo: HowAboutNo (all other photos NoLionsInEngland except where noted)

We headed first towards Clerkenwell where Nick Walker’s 11 day old Ratatouille was found to have been partly dogged, evidently in a petty fit of graff jealousy.

Around the corner in Whitecross Street, Banksy’s Ratapult was thankfully intact but the small oil painted vegetable that appeared nearby a while back had developed a stalk and budding flowers, added by the original unknown artist. A bit of communication on flickr revealed that the plant has grown in stages and who says it has stopped growing?

Photos: top-NoLions; above-with kind permission of Unusualimage; right - HowaboutNo

At Blackall Street we came across a new paste-up by MJar that hadn’t been there the previous Friday. By the time we had admired the quality of the 2007 Swoon and Elbow Toe paste ups it was already apparent that the pace was slower than we had really allowed for.

We observed a great variety and quality of street art, the various techniques looked at included stencil, free hand spraypaint, paste up, rooftop roller jobs, shutter jobs, stickers and with thanks to the observational powers of our youngest vandal-to-be, mastic graffiti.

Among the new pieces we were able to spot were a rich collection of stencils by Asboluv, a Titifreak on Brick Lane and a well worked Dicky Smif on Pedley St.

Colours, smells and swear-words our graffiti neophytes were exposed to were produced by Apishangel (Nick Walker), Banksy, Kriebel, C215, Eine, Cartrain, Prefab77, Ace, K-Guy, Insect, Asbestos, Titifreak, Sickboy, Elbow-Toe, Rowdy, Elmo, Cyclops, Sweet Toof, Hera, Bortusk Leer, Swoon, Copyright, Mantis, Dicky Smif, The Krah and many many more than a sane person would want to be bothered with right now. The prolific international artist Unknown had also been pretty active.

Photo: HowAboutNo

We did miss out probably 3 key Shoreditch locations in an effort to end before darkness fell, one being the EndOfTheLine spot (think Eine’s Vandalism) which would have revealed the jaw dropping ultra fresh ATG paint job, another that twilight zone behind Curtain Street and also we missed the Banksy sniffing copper alleyway where we would have seen MJar at the top of his game doing a collection of his fantasy figures on a transparent paste-up.

Photo: HowAboutNo

Most of the week the wall in the Sclater Street car park is blocked by cars and vans but this Sunday evening we were able to catch Lister, Sickboy, Dscreet et al in stunning glory with the stench of piss and billowing market debris to lend true street ambience.

Eventually, we wound up in The Archers pub down at the bottom where Brick Lane turns into Osbourne Street, beer at £2.50 a pint suggested some kind of timewarp pricing kicking in. We bumped into MJar of all people who shared a pint (or two) and loads of cool stories about getting up and being involved over the past decade or so, the group was wowed by meeting someone whose street art had been seen on the walk. Coooool. All our exhausted perambulators received an envelope of stickers and cards collected (by Howaboutno and NoLionsinEngland, not by Cancer Sell) from street artists and shows over the past 6 months and in a particularly unusual form of lottery, two copies of Martin Bull’s Banksy Locations and Tours were given away.

We enjoyed sharing quite a lot of facts and no little bit of fiction with the group and as Cancer Sell remains a truly noble fundraising cause, we will dare to repeat the venture.

Another good reason to repeat is the wonderful efforts of this mob below whose self-perpetuating job-for-life is to prepare the blank canvas for our street art creatives, keep up the good work guys!

Graffiti Solutions!

Our plans are probably to do another Sunday afternoon job in a month or so, and possibly also a couple of mid-week evenings. Keep ‘em peeled for further news and as usual, more pics here.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Ahead of The Git

Stopped on my bike on the way home this evening to snap some rooftop stuff. It has been there for ages, its on a pretty fast and hectic stretch of road, the Euston Road just before the underpass.

Scientific measurements by journalists last year proved this is the shittiest, most polluted bit of road in England.

Its easy to spot this stuff on my way in to work, but I am usually late and it is also on the other side of the road. Tonight, as I came up the underpass I thought hah - lets do it. So I pulled over onto the derelict un-trodden paving that separates the 2 lanes of the westbound underpass from two lanes merging from Tottenham Court Road.

(this mauvey looking building is RASA, one of the best indians in London. Used to be the home of Ghurkas 20 years ago, a great Nepalese restuarant and student staple).

I'd grabbed a few pictures when a silver Porsche pulled to a stop on the outside lane of the slip road. The driver wound his window down and snarled "Don't stand there, you look like a policeman" (I was wearing a cycling top which retains its luminescence despite being 14 years old). I walked over and got a bit Churchillian right in his face, and he hit the pedal and fled.

Since when was a policeman putting the fear of the law into penis-mobile drivers a bad thing?

In case you were wondering, ATG, look above the restuarant rooftop, stands for the Ahead Of The Game crew which includes errrrrrrr... Elmo, flyboy, Mighty Mo, Panik, Asure, Getsy. possibly some or all London Frontline members, possibly they are one and the same, I dunno. But thats what it stands for and thats why the title.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Toronto Graffiti - Wild Times

Toronto is a grey place. Grey skies, grey buildings, grey lake, grey roads, grey people. When the sun un-expectedly burst through the clouds I grabbed my camera and went looking for a bit of wall colour.

I found brickloads, in a system of alleyways just south of Queen St West, between Spadina and Portland. Tons and tons of wild style, quite a bit of art.

The pieces curiously were very dated, ranging between 2005 and 2007, there didn’t seem to be much renewal, much churn. Quite a lot had commercial overtones and appeared to link to art shops or recording studios nearby. It had the appearance of being rather formal and sanctioned and in my eyes for that lost some appeal.

Walking along Queen St W, there was a healthy quantity of roof top tagging and roller jobs but unfortunately my camera battery had died. There was even a building with a slanted line along the side and the message “Proposal: tilt this building 5 degrees”! Again, a nice idea tainted by a whiff of legitimacy.

The pictures below are a few of my favourites from this wander. Lots more on flickr as per usual.
A Nigerian cabbie (I got his life story and his business plan!) told me there was a lot in the area of Kensington Market and Chinatown, though as I was on my way to the airport I mentally noted this for my next trip. If there is one.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Alternative Philosophies

Feat: Anton Unai, Marok, Jaybo, Andy Howell, Daniel Tagno, Ala Ebtekar, Kill Pixie, Bortusk Leer, Antonio Diaz

The Leonard Street Gallery 18 Apr – 22 May

A kaleidescope of art and entertainment opportunities within spraying distance of eachother meant a hectic night on Thursday 17 April. Cargo for Nick Walker was obviously going to be an insane and unseemly zoo, Pure Evil was always likely to run out of beer, so we started at the Leonard Street Gallery’s group show.

Kill Pixie’s elaborate and strikingly colourful ink and watercolour drawings are a definite highlight in this show. The intricately drawn and naively shaped figures in the crowd scenes could have been celebrating weird mysteries or possibly fawning in terror from some un-seen deity. Word To Mother might be an influence (or possibly has been influenced by..)

Kill Pixie

Andy Howell’s large knotty limbed anatomies would definitely spook the horses. The Golddigger version of the Bad Tarot Series superficially looks attractive, until you scrutinise the drug warped eyeballs and skull holes. Imagine Elbow-Toe’s multiple jointed limbs but more psychedelic and less fine art.

Andy Howell – Egyptian Vodoo Princess

Andy Howell – The First Bionic Hand

Part2ism’s collages with ink scrawl were mainly colourless and flat, and the biro scrawls whilst poisonous and bitter (“I cannot ring you as you do not pick up your phone when I call you…”) didn’t add any much intrigue or any interest. The pictures looked like the visual equivalent of an un-tuned radio.

Part2ism - Emotional Exit

Jaybo aka Monk’s monkey faces have Matt Small’s strong colours swirling colouration on a Supine-esque blackness. They evidently were popular though I preferred the surreal Slow Down with its ginseng root being fed to a fat oriental face by a disembodied hand and the Everything OK Up To Here mixed media collage.

Jaybo – Slow Down

Jaybo – Monkeys

Ala Ebtekar’s small collection of manilla or white paper cutouts on crumpled then flattened out paper were nothing special, the characters were pencil drawn robotic Samarai warriors from some sci-fi fantasy Ghenghis Khan cruscade.

Ala Ebtekar

Marok brings the most obvious whiff of the streets onto his work with graffiti like slashes, tags and sprays cutting into more conventional abstract collages. The work is a bit heavy and dark, his black Manhattan landscape has the artist’s name looming across the skyline but overall effect is an un-resolved conflict of ideas, is it about his brilliance, his lucrative career or a shot at Wallstreet Gordon Geckos, and do we read anything into the presence of the twin towers? The biro exortation to “sell your wack shit before it’s too late” in the detail of a more abstract piece could have been a direct message to frenzied price-insane refugees from the nearby Nick Walker show.

Marok over Manhattan

The Anton Unai pieces beg concerns about actual longevity of art, featuring materials such as stickers, stuck on photocopies, old newspapers and coffee. The wooden box below looked like it had been left out under a pigeon roost.

Anton Unai - Dissection

Un-announced, possibly a cheeky little spoiler against the main show opening simultaneously at BRP, an Apishangel stencil and spray on canvas surreptitiously sneaked into the show. The stencilled characters appear a bit vague in places, the background fuses the appearance of street tags with abstract slashes and shapes of colour and give the impression of a canvas prepared in burst of anger.


Trotting swiftly through other artists featured:

Bortusk Leer: featured a collection of modified and framed old prints and painting, some of which had been seen at his previous joint show at the Voila Gallery.

Bortusk Leer

Daniel Tagno – though hard to tell from the picture below this was acrylic on a 2m tall canvas. He also had an abstract print featuring coloured marks on black paper on a much more manageable scale.

Daniel Tagno - Tim Dogg vs Madonna

Johnny Rodriguez, possibly a late addition to the line up as he didn’t feature in the pre show announcements:

Johnny Rodriguez - Friday

Leonard Street had crammed so many artists into this show that even in the miniscule Project Room had to accommodate three, seemingly selected to maximise the use of the space rather than any coherent link between their work. Downstairs was empty. Strange decision.

More pictures here:

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Church Street Graf Area

For a couple of years we’ve been meaning to check out this space. The London Frontline collective/Mighty Mo is the most obvious stuff seen from the top of any passing number 6 bus.
This particular one has awesome tartan and psychedelic whirl fill-ins.
Hadn’t expected so much ATG. A little bit of sniffing around on the net suggests ATG could be Panik, Asure, Getsy, possibly others as well.
Spoke to the guy in charge, he sees the graffiti as not doing any harm. Doesn’t mind good stuff getting thrown up. He was pissed off whoever that his favourite ATG – “Ahead Of The Game” had been painted over. Thanks to Bravo99, who’s pic I’ve nicked here, (Bravo – if you can help identify the others – chip in!).
(which previously was....
photo courtesy Bravo 99
I've no idea who this one is by but melikee
Bloke in charge also says the cops sometimes come around to check signatures. What next – the Met doing Banksy print authentication? He doesn’t like pornographic or political stuff, and couldn’t understand why “Blood For Oil” had been slapped up one day.
Plenty of Wildstyle slapped about
The guvnor also said something about college students coming round to practise their graffiti. Is there a course in that as well these days? Anyway, leaving the bet until last, I was quite gobsmacked to come across this D-Face:
There was some stuff which had vans parked hard up against it, one day I’ll return. Just give it a few years. Plenty more pics here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11928372@N04/sets/72157604517443370/

Friday, 11 April 2008

Dale Grimshaw - Echoes and Exorcisms

Signal Gallery, Curtain Rd, London, 11 Apr - 10 May

Dale Grimshaw previewed his first solo show at the Signal Gallery in Curtain Rd last night. His pictures are dramatic, energetic and powerful. I saw hints of Conor Harrington on the slightly canted lines across the portraits. At times the montaged composition of the faces is reminiscent of the style of Francis Bacon. In the more monochromatic pictures, like Echoes below, there seemed to be nods to Guy Denning who had a pretty dark show in this space a couple of months ago.

Time Past and Time Present

Turning Point

In The Beginning There Were Punks

The New Labours Of Hercules


more pictures: