What They Could Do, They Did

Arts, events and culture in South London and beyond...

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WTCDTD : Under the Covers

Escape! January 2009

Thursday 29th January, 8pm - 1am / FREE


Under the Covers: Come in out of the cold and under the covers.

A selection of popular covers from:

<<< So Say So
Glorious pop music laced with harmonies, dynamic guitar and piano interplay

<<< Brenda
Combining the jittery ignition of 65daysofstatic with the bleeding guitars of Fugazi

<<< Real Feal
Raw rock from members of Infants and Optimist Club

<<< Bobby Malone
Emotionally charged folk-pop

<<< Philip Barebones & Billy Cog
Vibrant acoustics from popular folk rock duo

<<< The Duchess and the Demon
Dark folk, folk noise & folk horror

<<< Junker
Legendary reunion of two punk luminaries refusing to cover anything but Minor Threat

Each band will be performing a short set of guilty pleasures accompanied by projections of the originals, a covers jukebox and a pub quiz with prizes from Hairyaddams.

Setlists include classics from David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Iggy & The Stooges, Bruce Spingsteen, Mark Morrison, Elton John and many more.

As always, free entry. How to get here...

..and say hi on the Facebook event...

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Tonight the bus I was on, traveling back from my class, ground to a halt on the Walworth Road. The shrill lady driver flashed the lights on and off and shouted into a microphone and through distorting speakers:

'The bus can't move 'cos there's a wheelchair in the way. None of us have to go to West Norwood! Woo-hoo!'

Confusion ensued. Some people left immediately. Others lingered sighingly, used to these kind of interruptions. Some attempted to peer through the wet windows at the obstacle, though the top-deck (where I was) didn't allow a line of sight to it.

Having decided against any social arrangements I might have engaged in, I was not particularly pained by the delay. I was also curious about what was happening. I went downstairs.

A bus was edging around ours. I saw a girl in a wheelchair, hood up, who, noticing the other bus, moved to position herself in front of that one as well. Both buses were in front of traffic lights, which continued to pointlessly shift from green to red and back again in a way that somehow amused me.

I left the bus. A small crowd had gathered on the pavement near where she was, most of whom were railing against the girl in tones ironic and scornful.

'She's discriminating against us!'

'Everybody just feels sorry for her cos she's in a wheelchair.' (There was not a particularly strong sense of sympathy.)

'We should call the police, that's what we'd do to a normal person.'

To questions of the type 'What the fuck are you doing?' the girl replied:

'I'm protestin''

To imperatives of the type 'Get out of the way!' the girl replied:

'Fuckin' walk, you've got legs innit.'

I went up to the girl and asked her what she was protesting about. She declared that she was fed up with waiting at bus stops, while every bus that passed had an excuse for not picking her up, either that they were too full, or that their ramp was broken etc. etc. So she decided she wouldn't let the next one pass. I made encouraging sounds. A lady joined me and in a velvet French-African accent made encouraging sounds also. The girl noticed the bus behind, the original bus I was on, attempt to move around this one. She moved to intercept it. I moved back to the pavement.

I stood for a while in the rain, calmly raising some objections to the heckles of the crowd. Then I moved on. I shouted 'good luck' to the girl and walked further up the road to the next bus stop. From a distance I saw police cars arrive but they didn't successfully move her from the road for the fifteen minutes I was there. Everyone was briefly awake. Sudden comraderies formed themselves, either in arrogant or frustrated enmity, or amused solidarity, or concerned sympathy. Some buses managed to circle the obstruction and bemused bus drivers let people ride for free, given that they had to flee their original rides. A rare interruption here caused a rare fluidity there. Positions and alliances showed themselves.

I wish that I had stayed and seen it all play out. True, I wasn't going to join her in the road, and I didn't like to stay in the crowd. Furthermore there was an immense pride in the girl which I preferred to admire from a distance. Nonetheless, it felt too easy afterwards to have walked away. And I am curious. If anyone knows what happened I would like the rest of the story. You can reach me at h (at) theydid.org (dot) uk

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Taschen warehouse sale, January 23-25

Art publisher Taschen are having a warehouse sale at their King's Road branch this Friday to Sunday, with 50-75% off "slightly damaged and display" copies of their stock. Worth the trip west...

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The Dream Machine and other Dulwich hidden treasure

Our brethren in leafy Dulwich have put forth their local tips for 09. Top of the list is The Dream Machine, a treasure trove of a record shop which I'm shamed to confess I had not heard of until a couple of weeks ago — especially given that it is run by South London's favourite cosmic pioneer John, famed round these parts for running the Cease To Exist night at the Half Moon. The night bowed to its own commandment and only ran a short but glorious period, staging gigs by The Early Years, Cylob, and They Came From They Stars, I Saw Them, amongst others.

Anyway, The Dream Machine recently made the South London Press due to its current economic plight: it's in dire financial trouble and desperately needs your biz'ness. Go, buy buy buy! Moreover, if you're in a band, they operate a small practice room from their basement space which is pretty reasonably at £10/hr and demands your presence.

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New film season at Whirled Cinema, Loughborough Junction

Whirled Art Productions have been operating from the railway arches at Loughborough Junction since 2001, transforming it into an art space including a studio complex and cinema. For the south London artist on the breadline, the latter is particularly exciting: they're screening an impressive programme of 3 films weekly, to which entry is entirely free.

As part of their new season for 09, they're showing Spanish cinema verité thriller [• REC], which looks and sounds unmissable and seems to have been universally acclaimed.

Rec is a pelting vérité nightmare about a television crew locked in a city tenement with a flesh-eating virus. The Spanish equivalent of the National Guard hems the hapless civilians in the building under pain of death for those who attempt to escape. The satire about repression is as bald and brutal as the shapely young television presenter's fight to survive. The footage shot by her camera crew sustains the illusion of spontaneity.
More of a rollercoaster white-knuckle ride a than movie, at barely 80 minutes Rec is too frantic to overstay its welcome. You will leave the cinema shaken and scared...


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noise=noise: Mind Body Brain at Goldsmiths, Weds 21 January

Following on from this morass of impending south London events, there's another gig at Goldsmiths next Wednesday featuring some of the talented researchers around the computational studio arts arena: noise=noise: Mind Body Brain will be "exploring noise (music) through research into new interfaces for musical expression and perceptions of noise".

It features such luminaries as Disinformation (who was kind enough to appear at our Escape July 2008 event), Mick Grierson (who does stunning A/V performances controlled by physical cognitive processes, pictured above), Ryan Jordan (melding an array of sensors into an immersive, ritualistic performance) and more.

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South London art events in early 2009

So it seems that 2009 has hit the ground running with cultural happenings in S/SE London. The Goldsmiths institution of the Thursday Club, a mostly-weekly showcase for innovative new works, kicks off with two talks on sensory interfaces by Ryan Jordan and Artemis Papageorgiou (today, 15 January, free). This is followed by the first of the monthly Electronic Music Studios concerts (16 January, free), at which I'll be performing with AtomSwarm on their 8-channel diffusion system.

Also related to Goldsmiths, though taking place further north, is a 2-day show of events and performances organised by students from Goldsmiths MFA Curating and Royal College of Art Curating Masters. Contested Ground is at Project Space 176 in Chalk Farm this Saturday/Sunday (16-17 January, free). Some of us will be heading over for the series of multi platform events on Saturday, followed by the amusingly-nomenclatured "artist disco" in the evening.

SE London map

Gasworks in Vauxhall, meanwhile, is staging a radiophonic intervention by the Resonance FM Radio Orchestra on Friday (15 January, free) as part of its exhibition of South London artist-inventor Felix Thorn's amazing machines. Also features the long-awaited face off between sound theorist Nicolas Collins and SuperCollider/livecoding veteran Nick Collins, described in a mailout thus:

a live coding vs. live circuit building competition with Nick Collins (Sussex University) versus Nicolas Collins (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), vying for the annual award of the "Nic(k) Collins Cup," an exquisite ceramic vessel commissioned from Devon potter Nic Collins (no relation).

Finally, Herne Hill's 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning are hosting two further events as part of their current exhibition People, Signs and Resistance (28 Jan & 11 Feb, free). Next up is an audience with Sam The Wheels, a first-generation Jamaican migrant who arrived in London in the 1950s and has since been capturing video footage of the area which should be essential viewing for those interested in local heritage — through the Brixton Riots to their legacy.

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The Fragmented Orchestra
[icon] http://www.thefragmentedorchestra.com/

The Fragmented Orchestra is a nationwide sound installation which combines the natural rhythms of the human cortex with live audio from 24 sites around the UK, creating a live distributed instrument whose output is constantly changing and evolving. I somehow ended up responsible for the network infrastructure of this ludicrously ambitious project, a role that utterly consumed the latter half of my 2008. This culminated in its opening at Liverpool's FACT in December, where it can be experienced in its preferable form as a 24-channel sound installation.

The piece can also be listened to via the website, through which you can hear live granulated streams from each of the 24 sites. These include a broad range of venues and sonic characters, including Belfast's SARC, the National Portrait Gallery, the Roundhouse, a cattle market in Inverness and the West Pier in Brighton. Closer to home, South London is represented by an impressive 2 institutions: the Institute of Psychiatry (Denmark Hill) and the Stephen Lawrence Centre (Lewisham).

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