There’s a load of crap on the TV again(Anti-Media stories part 4).


anti-media continued…. mess-age-magnet-on-careers.jpg

Some other memories of the Anti-Media films. They took lots of footage at Wapping where there were protests by printers at job losses due to computerisation . I think I may be getting some of my years mixed up…apologies for that ,Wapping was in 1986 but I am talking about involvement with Anti-Media events for a period of a couple of years so when I have written 1983 it could have been 1985! I will write more about this in other blogs connected to Club Dog and Alice in Wonderland’s Magical Mystery Trip.
They also had films of shop dummies in windows, it was a bit eerie.
I remember attempting to do stand-up “alien” comedy jokes at our events at Pentameters. My jokes died live on stage. I realised telling jokes was not my forte but throwing jelly at the audience saying it was my ex-husband who suddenly disintergrated was making them laugh, as was playing my silver fake electric guitar, getting out of my silver cardboard box spaceship, emerging from being covered in a mass of newspaper like a mummy shedding it’s bandages, singing love songs to Mr.Spock ( not Dr. Spock) and general anarchy.
I performed as Astragone Arglegargle in many different contexts but performing at the Anti-media events at Pentameters gave me a space to experiment with my act ,write and record new materials, in front of a small supportive audience before doing bigger events or performing to hostile audiences!
I also had an act of performing “Opera Classics”. At that time there were some awful albums of “Rock Classics” i.e. orchestras playing perfectly harmonic arranged and orchestrated versions of famous rock songs and in one fell swoop missing the point of rock music altogether. So I dressed up in a beautiful pink and yellow long dress , wore some kind of fake pearls and sang songs in a suprano fake operatic voice with appropriate posh body language, facial expressions and gestures. I sang Arias including
Hey Fattie Bum-bum“, (Sweet sugar dumpling) by Carl Malcolm, “War Pigs ” ( Black Sabbath), ” Assault and Battery” ( of the human anatomy) by Hawkwind, and of course ” Anarchy in the UK” by the Sex Pistols and other songs I can no longer remember.
Although this kind of thing has been done since then it was a first at the time.
I gave Christmas cards at one event but had tippexed out all the messages and instead gave the audience cards with unusual messages such as ” Throw away your TV” or random symbolic messages from the I Ching or vague affirmations on self-realisation. This was also before the concept of ” affirmations” tore its way into popular psychology books and made us feel guilty for not being able to achieve our perfect goals for ever more.
There was also performance poetry, from a poet with a club in Barnet, it was as I recall stream of consciousness stuff. There were a lot of masks and balaclava helmets, there was spontaneous political anti-corporate/anti-media ranting, jazz piano playing, live graffitti, more films slash edited and experimental in the style of Jean-Luc Godard , strange trousers and costumes, always deliberately wearing the most unfashionable types of clothing, more interviews with people in hair, fashion and maybe even TV executives, Jud Suss, ( a band of multi-instrumentalists mostly of Jewish families pretending to be Hasidic Jews with much melodramatic wailing naming themselves after an anti-semitic nazi film ..more in another blog), more films, more poets, more crazy music and acts of nonsense .
Leonie was always there in the background like a benevolent force smiling on.
I wish I could remember more but because I had to memorise my own bits and pieces and was often cowering with stage nerves at the side of the stage during the other films and random acts I didn’t always take in what was going on.
However one day we went too far for Pentameters and for the world.

Unbeknown to me there were plans afoot in Hogan and Richard’s mind of which I knew nothing , on this occasion and others. They seemed like such sweet young polite lads too!
After an evening of performances, I finished the show or so I thought with a bit of Astragone Arglegargle alien Music-Hall type stuff.
Then Hogan and Richard put a large TV on the stage. Both of them looked really serious and were in the wings. I just knew something bad was about to happen.
Hogan went on stage and faced the television set, he looked like he was doing some kind of ritualistic silent prayer with the TV set as an altar and made ritual gestures. Then he unzipped his trousers and pissed on the TV. I remember being worried in case he electrocuted himself.
Now forgive me for forgetting who exactly performed the next bit but I had my head turned away and left pretty promptly around this time. So I cannot remember if it was Hogan or Richard , but someone then made the most enormous sausage of poo on top of the TV set.
I heard later that they had been saving it up for 5 days to be sure it would work.
The punchline was ” Look ! There’s a load of crap on the tele as usual!” ( boom,boom,)
A lot of the audience left but about 3 remained and Clive ( Treatment) then grabbed a bagel which was on a table put a bit of shit in the middle and went up to individual members of the audience saying:” Would anyone like a shit sandwich?”
I left. I was slightly peeved that they hadn’t warned me that a show I was taking part in was about to make such a coup.
The place cleared easily with some heckling and later we regrouped at Bob’s place up the road where I seem to remember Clive removed the banister from the staircase by accident of drunkenness. The first time I met Clive a few years before, he was crawling down a staircase head first and there have been a few Clive staircase related incidents since..odd.
Leonie was not at all happy she ordered Hogan and Richard to have the place fumigated and disinfected and I believe Pentameters had to close down and cancel shows as a result. I think the shit sandwich had been passed around a bit too much.
That was the last Pentameters Anti-Media event sadly…but Anti-Media was not dead. If you think that was extreme forget it!
Next time I write you’ll understand why names were changed.
(I so wish blogs were not written with the last one at the top…it would be better the other way around. Thanks for reading.)

What happens when a good idea degrades into chaos and insanity(Anti-Media stories part 5)

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Anti-media, aliens, hippies and the 80s subculture in North London(Anti-Media Stories part 1).


“Anti-Media”= a very small bunch of radical loonies including me. We need them now!
Names of some of my Anti-Media associates have
been changed to protect them.

How I was recruited …. Back in the early eighties……

The Anti-Media people had seen my alien act at “The Chainsaw Party” a crazy spoof heavy metal gig we put on (more of that in another blog) and because the main song I did referred to TV personalities and programmes from the sixties and eighties they felt I was right enough for them.
The song I did called “She just desperately wants hippies” was co-written one evening a couple of months before between myself ,Richard, Michael and Bob at a house in Finchley just after Bob and I had had an argument . It was originally about a girl we knew who came from outside London to the gigs we organised to look for hippies to go out with. I suggested I got dressed as an alien who had come from another planet coming to earth looking for hippies and turned this into an act for our forthcoming “The Chainsaw Party”.
My alien character having seen earth TV through satellite television broadcasts , thought it was 1969 not 1984 as the TV signals had taken 15 years to reach my planet. So my character had come from Planet Foam to Planet Earth looking for hippies and found none because it was the eighties when young people wore suits and were yuppies in wine bars, with mobile phones the size of house bricks and wore smug glasses. In my imagination my alien character chose to come to our psychedelic gigs where the second generation hippies gathered to see “Treatment” and other psychedelic/punk bands. My character was a pop star on Planet Foam and so was touring the Universe with her hits. I suffer from horrendous stage nerves /lack of confidence and having a character to hide behind meant I could unleash whatever I wanted. The song ” She just desperately wants hippies” had absurd TV references . Some of the words were quite rude ( a certain “Mastermind” quizmaster having carrots stuck up his bottom…Bob’s line not mine!).
Bob dared me to sing it dressed as an alien and that’s how Astragone Arglegargle was born.
( I hope no one from Magnus Magnusson’s family ever reads or hears about it! If so…it was nothing personal he just had great aliteration in his name)

During my first performance at The Chainsaw Party I was pelted with mud from the mud-wrestling pit by some skinheads but I continued and won the audience over and as soon as I got off stage four people booked me for gigs including Hogan and Richard of Anti-Media .
Hogan had just started working with us by projecting his experimental super 8 films at our gigs and Richard I had met before at Bob’s place where he was staying, I think they had gone to the same school together.
Hogan was wearing a cream coloured polyester 70s suit and geeky glasses and slightly long hair. In London in 2007 this might be considered a fashionable or interesting “retro” look but in 1984 it was very uncool. Even in our anarchic gathering you had to have a uniform to identify you as a hippie or a biker or a punk or a goth or even a pratt new romantic , but this identified him as someone who defied fashion and labels. Richard looked like a cross between Norman Bates in Psycho ( sorry Richard) and Mike Nesbitt from the Monkees but without a woolly hat. He was dressed in drainpipe trousers and neat shirt with short hair and so he also stuck out from our crowd of crazily dressed hippies, punks and bikers. At subsequent gigs I remember Richard with his “normal look” but if you looked down on his feet he wore cloven hooves a bit of a give-away that all was not quite conforming to normality.

When I asked Hogan and Richard what kind of gig they wanted to book me for they were evasive and said it was an “Anti-Media Event” and they gave me flyers which were abstract and said virtually nothing . When I asked them if it was like an art event in the 60s where art students went through a town at night and would paint all the street furniture and anything they could lay their hands with red paint they looked at me and said “Maybe”. I found it hard to take them seriously at first but they took themselves very seriously they were such nice people and clearly brave crazy intellectuals. Although I was part of Anti-Media I kept to the sidelines to a certain extent as I was busy with my son and the gigs Michael and I were running plus I was recording and performing and at that time I started a charity with a friend too so I was very busy. My stories therefore about Anti-media are only the tip of the iceberg. In the end it got too extreme for me and I had to quit.In order to keep this fairly chronological …..“In the next thrilling episode of my blograma…..my first Anti-Media Event and more ranting “

Goings on in Pentameters Theatre:Anti-Media event, rantings on TV, fashion slavery and incompetent policemen(Anti-Media stories part 2)