BY TOM STOCKLEY
Welcome back, readers, to another ill-thought out and mildly inebriated piece of journalism from your favourite dilettantes.
This month, we were felicitous enough to catch the latest show from "mid-sized television personality, failed jazz musician and 1990 East Leinster under 14s triple jump bronze medallist" David O'Doherty at Bristol's Tobacco Factory. Known for his brand of erratic, often musical, occasionally otter-based comedy; we caught up* with David for 60 seconds of unbridled journalistic lunacy.
*wandered into his dressing room unannounced and slightly drunk, and were more than courteously obliged despite placing him in a situation that many would refer to as irksome at best.
Here's what we asked him (Pullitzer Prize imminent):
Why are you here and what do you want?
* some time elapses in which we pretend to be proper journalists and garble some nonsense about an interview, to which David graciously consents *
1. MARMALADE OR JAM?
Neither. Fruit should not, under any circumstances, be cooked.
2. BRISTOL IN THREE WORDS?
Excellent. Bicycle. Shops.
3. FAVOURITE QUICHE?
I'm very consistent in my views. Tomato, as a fruit, should not be cooked. So no quiche.
4. IF YOU WEREN'T YOU, WHO WOULD YOU BE?
Ernest Shackleton, the famous (and dead) explorer
At this point, we really should have asked why, and revealed some candid life philosophy from a brilliant comedian. Unfortunately, we were still thinking about quiche.
5. A PIECE OF ADVICE TO YOUNG COMEDIANS?
Don't listen to old fuckers like me. We know nothing and we're very boring.
6. FINALLY, WHO WOULD WIN IN A FIGHT BETWEEN YOU AND CHRIS O'DOWD?
Well, he's a good friend and a very nice man. We were both quite athletic when we were younger but he's much fitter than me now - so if it came to it he'd probably pulverise me.
I'm going to find my friends now...
David performs You Have To Laugh once more at Tobacco Factory TONIGHT, before continuing his tour across the UK. More information HERE, and we recommend a peek at his wonderfully shambolic website HERE.
Tom Stockley is an incredibly average writer, poet, artist, organiser and turtle connoisseur. The last time he attempted anything remotely similar to David O'Doherty was when he performed an hour of poorly prepared musical comedy to a crowd of middle class goths, receiving such high acclaim as '...awful' and 'the worst thing i have ever seen'. To subject yourself to future works of intellectual integrity, click THIS LINK RIGHT HERE
We like our niches here at Uncollective HQ, and 2018 has gifted us with one of our favourites to date - South/East London Nautical Themed Weird-Pop. Pleasure Barge take pride of place as alumni of this group including Tugboat Captain and Living Island.
The latest band on our radar; London/Manchester quintet Pleasure Barge share Tugboat Captain's bassoon playing, crimp-haired, often nude band member Buddy Caderni (AKA Sloppy Guiseppe), and that was enough to get us interested. Although it's fair to say that Pleasure share an esoteric humour with their London cohorts, new single Electric Ride has seen them veer drastically away from Tugboat's Pastel-tinged folk or Living Island's sharp stylings; prancing like jockeys on Dressage day, displaying a breadth of influences that would make King Crimson blush.
Two self-proclaimed idols of the group are Frank Zappa and Death Grips, with wider sonic foundations including classical piano, gabba and the 2014 East Croydon rave. Further stones unturned reveal an affinity with the Madchester scene and its modern equivalents - it's not impossible to detect the ghostly energy of Shaun Ryder and co in Pleasure Barge's latest track, something which crystallises in their live shows.
Electric Ride has a refreshing edge compared to previous single Start Up, with a heavier nod in structure and style to both modern House and Madchester, conjuring up thoughts of Hot Chip and Happy Mondays respectively. Accompanied by a computer-generated video and a very apparent amount of care in production, it's this song that's put Pleasure Barge on our watchlist for 2019. Let's just hope they don't share the Happy Mondays lax approach to televised antique auctions.
Tom Stockley is author of this article and the founder of We Are Uncollective. He currently lives in Bristol where he dabbles in journalism, design, performance, artist management and event production. He's the Creative Director of Langaland Festival 2019.
Today, we’re immensely proud to make our first full-length release on Uncollective Records - and it couldn’t anything more worthy (or moomin-related)
We first met Alexander Sokolow at an open mic affair we were running during our time in the sunny (yet creatively cyclical) climes of Falmouth. Fronting what was then known as Naked Lights, their idiosyncratic recitals of life among supermarket shelves and cheap watering holes struck a chord with an embryonic Uncollective. It was clear that this was a refreshing counterpoint to the pretentious nonchalance that prevailed at the time.
Fast forward through the years to their first appearance at Langaland Festival (2016) to a triumphant return under shiny new moniker Tugboat Captain (2017) and a year of the shows, schemes and questionable fashion obsessions we’ve had the pleasure of sharing with Alex and his nautically endearing sextet.
And now we present dedicated 2 u - the lowercase littered, emotional, ocean-based outburst from The Captain himself. We could review each track one by one, but there’s 16 tracks (plus a lovely cover by GINS) and we’ve got to meet our mum for brunch. By way of introduction, here’s a statement from the artist:
“At the beginning of May I quit drinking and swiftly wrote, recorded and mixed an album in a delirious flurry of musical diarrhoea”
Tugboat Captain share much of our creative ethos - work hard, be nice, occasionally get naked. But as well as irrepressible positivity there’s always been a sadness in their tales of seaside romance and ikea furniture. The debut release from the man variously known as The Captain, that guy outside with the flasher coat and now the groke sees Sokolow build on this bittersweet reputation and assemble a one-man rom-com opera on a Daniel Johnston-esque scale.
We managed to catch the groke on his first live outing since writing the aforementioned ‘musical diarrhoea’. Taking to the stage in an unusually early slot before contemporary nice boy Elliot Brett, the sanguine face of Tugboat Captain seemed apprehensive as he delved into 76 second singalong Favourite Things - one of a few Tugboat songs specially curated to suit his solo semblance.
The Crofters crowd were also treated to some of the most succulent slices of the album; including i’m still in love… (a jingly advert for sobriety), record time (the sound of sorrow on speed) and engine room (a Disney moment of dejection and delour). The self-effacing troubadour also packed in the ‘proverbial banger’ Don’t Want To Wake Up On My Own, a rendition of Car Seat Headrest’s Destroyed By Hippie Powers and a newly formed (and as yet unreleased) ode to oat milk.
All in all, the album stands alone as an irreverently unique but universally relatable chunk of loss and love from a human shaped bag of bones. Although Tugboat Captain are a voluptuous phonic force when fleshing out their glacé pop as a six-piece, there’s something about taking a lustration in this intricate creation (yes, I am a poet) that we know will leave you crying tears into your Weetabix, wondering what this cruel world is all about but knowing that, somehow, it’s all going to be ok.
You can stream the album on Spotify and Soundcloud
If you have firmer morals you can even buy it on Bandcamp, Amazon and iTunes,
and thanks to our mate Jay-Z, you can also find it on Tidal. Also available on other peculiar platforms like Savvn and Pandora.
the groke invites you to “what promises to be the worst album launch of all time. With the blessing of The Joiners Arms (Camberwell) I have at the last minute decided it might be something resembling a good idea to play some of these songs live without the endless thump of my out of time drumming. I will be supporting a Welsh Electro-Pop band and in lieu of having any merchandise or physical copies of this album I will instead be holding a small jumble sale of my assorted personal items.”
You can catch him and his merry band at various locations through the Summer, including: Tugfest (June 19th), Indietracks (July 27th) Mr Wolf's (July 31st), Plymouth Underground (August 1st) and the ‘most esoteric fest in the west’ Langaland Festival (August 4th). You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Bandcamp...
... Whilst more discerning readers can join The Tugboat Captain Fanclub for a mere shilling.
Thank you to Alex (the groke), thank you to Tugboat Captain and thank you to everyone else for your love and fluids. We Are Uncollective and we love you.
Music © Alexander Sokolow
Artwork © Anoushka Sokolow
Photo © Grimshaw Mink
Released by Uncollective Records, 2018. All rights reserved. Invite your Nan.
We caught up with Harriet Elder from Dogeyed on Thursday after they opened for Peaness, Radiator Hospital and The Spook School. The self proclaimed creators of "sad lounge music" have been snapped up by Specialist Subject after a string of demo albums and, most recently, their debut EP.
Here's our 60 second interview:
Hey! Great show. We've been listening to your stuff since we moved to Bristol
That's so nice!
We try. Georgie (GINS) wants to know what advice you'd give to emerging artists like her
Be passionate! Just f*cking do it!
What famous animal would you have on stage for one song?
ok... dead Lassie
New band name?
What venue/city/country would you add to a Dogeyed world tour?
Most underrated band in Bristol?
Dogeyed! No I don't know.... there's so many!
How would you describe your hometown?
Sounds lovely. And Bristol?
Dogeyed launched their EP at The Exchange on Friday. You can catch them there again on June 16th with AJJ and Toodles. In the meantime, we recommend getting deeply and inappropriately acquainted with Throw The Bones - it's sublime.
After their debut at Brixton's Hootananny, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang arrived in Bristol on Friday with a line up of live jazz, funk and DJs at the infamous Attic Bar.
Here to get us in the mood for the upcoming Under The Hill Festival, self-made DJ and promoter Rich Hale AKA Mista Trick delivered a perfect line up of local legends and touring talent. In typical Stokes Croft fashion, the crowd were late to the party; giving first act Mr. Fitz some time to play around with his line of "funk, swing and everything in-between". Fitz dipped our toes into a tranquil hour of instrumental hip hop with his signature scratch technique (the perfect remedy to shake off those memories of a working week) before upping the anti and spinning tracks from the likes of Funky DL as well as his own meticulous mashups. By the time he was finished, Attic Bar was a sea of bouncing snapbacks - pretty impressive for the mellow side of midnight.
FFO: Chinese Man, Wax Tailor, Hong Kong Ping Pong
Top Track: No Diggity Vs. Bonobo
Next Show: Golden Lion (Bristol), May 5th
The sophomore star of the night was Bristol's own China Bowls - a rapidly rising name and well worth the hype. One of the current names in Bristol's burgeoning jazz scene, the young neo-soul singer has already been snapped up by Saffron Records and Electric Harmony. With a full backing band (featuring Snazzback's Chris Langton), it's clear that China (real name Lucy) is one of the hardest working musicians in town right now. Their set was an uninterrupted ride through 2016's blues-tinged Talk EP as well as more recent tracks like To Belong - a step towards the smooth pop of Lianne La Havas or classical jazz greats like Etta Jones. It's clear that China Bowls is not so easily pinned down though - Lucy occupies the role of composer, guitarist and conductor as well as lead singer, and with a vast collection of influences ranging from Chilli Peppers style funk to R&B and House, we recommend seeing her live as soon as you can (if not sooner). If 'making a baby at a public venue' is on your bucket list, this is the music to do it to.
FFO: Eva Lazarus, The Pipettes, Fat Freddy's Drop
Top Track: The Way
Next Show: Archspace (London), May 17th
The penultimate pleasure-makers of the night were Crinkle Cuts, another Bristol-based act. Promising a blend of "tantric funk, smooth reggae and new-wave latin", the septet didn't fail to deliver a sensual display of ska-based aural antics. Although the spectacle-wearing collective haven't released anything since 2015's Bigger Than Patrick, it's clear that they've been anything but quiet in the last 3 years. Chatting to the band before their set, they alluded to a recent attempt to push their sound towards a more intense abyss of brass-led funk - citing influences as heavy as Skindred. Although songs like Two Shoes offer a saccharine escape from the real world of the 9 til 5, it seems like the Crinkle crew are digging deeper both lyrically and musically - pushing the boundaries of various genres and experimenting more as performers. Friday's show saw solo breaks from just about every instrument at hand (including the finest jazz flute since Ron Burgundy) from a band who were enjoying the show with as much abandon as the audience. Ones to watch this Summer and beyond - they release their debut album next year. We especially recommend Crinkle Cuts for anyone who's on the lookout for jazz songs about testicles.
FFO: Cosmo Jarvis, Land of the Giants, The Skints
Top Track: Dan's Song
Next Show: Gwdihŵ Café Bar (Cardiff), May 4th
London-based DJ Fizzy Gillespie closed the night with a set of swing-tinged Drum 'n' Bass. No stranger to Boomtown, Cirque Du Soul, Global Beats and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang itself (and heralded by Dutty Moonshine as "balls to the wall fun times") Fizzy appears at this year's Under The Hill Fest. For the well-below average ticket price of £45, you can make your first festival of the Summer one to remember with a line-up including A. Skillz, Tankus The Henge, The Undercover Hippy and DJs like Fizzy across two days ( May 25th - 27th). Volunteers and emerging artists can get involved via the festival website.
FFO: Dutty Moonshine, Cat In The Hat, The Heavy Beat Brass Band
Top Track: What'd I Say?
Next Show: Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen (London), May 4th
Tom Stockley is the founder and creative director of We Are Uncollective. He currently lives in Bristol where he dabbles in spoken word, artist management, workshops and event management. He's a Creative Producer for Under The Hill 2018.
On Friday 30th March, a hundred or so indie rejects from across the South West descended on Plymouth's premiere punk venue, Underground. Orchestrated (and headlined) by the rapidly emerging School Disco, they'll be a full review of the night over at Red Van Reviews in the next few days.
For now, Loopholes founder and promoter India Hicks gives us the lowdown on the second EP from the band (who, let's not forget, supported Wolf Alice last year) for this month's Pint For A Piece article...
"They’re a force; perennial and eternal. Plymouth/Brighton rockers School Disco return from their journey of self-exploration in space, bringing back with them the gift of their latest EP Look To The Sky.
The city kids with a penchant for the extraterrestrial, LTTS has been massively influenced by 50’s/60’s horror and sci-fi movies, creating a strange post punk / psych hybrid for the band, featuring a whole host of new instrumental additions - analog synths and theremins to name a few.
An intergalactic proto-punk synth-boogie odyssey, the EP explores a new synth based sound for the trio. It’s the start of an experimental chapter for the boys- repetition, oscillation, gradual decay, accelerated build-up and fits of bass. It flows from track to track, with the first two providing a protean swirl of organ and guitars, where rock collides beautifully with hazy, sonic trance. The title track is a sensory overload with nothing but swirling atmospheric synths to prepare you to blast off into a whole new galaxy. The production on this record is great; the sound is clean, but also raw and gritty at the same time, with frontman Rory describing the recording as “a little lo-fi, but it suits the sound well.”
The standout track for me is Waxmage - the heaviest of the four tracks. Rory’s deep, haunting vocals combined with fat riffs make for a huge sound. Almost 7 minutes of noisy guitars, whooshing synths and a distinctly dirtied and twisted post-punk overtone, it’s a white knuckle ride through pulsating kraut that will quite literally blow your mind.
Whilst straying from their usual shore, this new found spacey experimental stage is still distinguishably School Disco - daring, exciting and noisy. The band show their influences such as Hawkwind well while making and exploring their own branch of space rock. 2018 is already set to be a huge year for the boys, and you better buckle up for lift off as they prepare for universal domination."
Listen to the EP on Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/schooldisco/sets/look-to-the-sky // Buy it on Bandcamp: www.schooldisco.bandcamp.com/album/look-to-the-sky
Catch School Disco AND Loopholes at Langaland Festival, August 3rd - 5th 2018
Now March has approached, we figure that it's time for some better-late-than-never Valentine musings. We all know that February 14th is a cynical attempt by the oligarchs of chocolate, flowers and cards to empty our wallets - but equally, who doesn't count Love Actually as one of their favourite films?
So continuing on the assumption that some of us have enough shreds of soul left to believe in the concept of love, Georgie Biggin and I sat down recently to make a list of our TOP TEN MUSICAL POWER COUPLES WHO WE THINK ARE PRETTY NEAT. Catchy, right?
10. Alan Sparhawk & Mini Parker
Is there anything more beautiful than a Shoegaze marriage? What was the first dance at their wedding? Do they ever smile? All these questions and more arise from the union of Low's founding duo.
Our Favourite Song: Lullaby
9. Exene Cervenka & John Doe
First-wave L.A. punk band X were formed when John Doe realised that two men with guitars and steely personalities weren't convincing anyone. Cue Exene Cervenka; poet, writer, actor, artist. When Cervenka formed X with her then-boyfriend, she tunnelled a vein of hardcore female punk alongside pioneers like Patti Smith and Lydia Lunch (Although she's a bit too into whacky conspiracy theories to make it further up our list).
Our Favourite Song: Los Angeles
8. Britta Phillips & Dean Wareham
Galaxie-500 have been on my mind this week, after catching Tugboat Captain at the weekend. They do a lovely version of the eponymous song, and may have a power couple romance blossoming themselves (GOSSIP). But enough of that. Not content with making the world weep with Galaxie, Wareham went on to form the equally saccharine Luna. Since meeting and marrying bassist Britta, the couple have transcended the realms of twee-ness to score films like The Squid & The Whale.
Our Favourite Song: Moonshot
7. Beth Ditto & Kristin Ogata
Ok, so only half of this pair is technically a musician - but it's no surprise that the body positive, gay rights championing, feminist powerhouse and former frontwoman of Gossip also has a damn cool wife. After fronting her punk trio for over a decade, Ditto now travels the world with Ogata; promoting plus-size fashion collections, LGBT causes and generally being the coolest pairing since doritos and hummus. Tickets are still on sale for her small UK tour in May.
Our Favourite Song: Standing In The Way Of Control
6. Jack & Meg White
The White Stripes secure a place at number 6 for the PR stunt of pretending to be brother and sister. Whilst this has some slightly gross inferences, the ex-husband and wife duo have inspired every 15 year old with a guitar (ever) to play the chords off Seven Nation Army and have taken on the US Air Force.
Our Favourite Song: You're Pretty Good Looking (For A Girl)
5. Kim Gordon & Thurston Moore
No Wave noise-mongers Sonic Youth have been inspiring generations to kill their parents and hit the road since the 80s. They were uncool before being uncool was cool; and although the couple split in 2011 their legacy lives on.
Our Favourite Song: Superstar (The Carpenters Cover)
4. Kathleen Hanna & Ad-Rock
Godmother of the Riot Grrrl movement Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill) is married to Ad-Rock (Beastie Boys). They went skateboarding for a first date and probably have conversations about feminism, punk rock and armpits on a daily basis.
Our Favourite Song: Rebel Girl
3. Marika Hackman & Amber Bain
Marika Hackman & her partner Amber Bain (AKA The Japanese House) are the cutest thing since this tiny tortoise ate a bean sprout. They're pretty low key about their relationship, but make up for it by both being badass musicians. They're also pretty funny - you can listen to them chat on this episode of Lend Me Your Ears.
Our Favourite Song: I'd Rather Be With Them
2. Laurie Anderson & Lou Reed
We couldn't put them at number one because we'd think about it too much and probably cry. The King and Queen of Avant-Garde, Anderson and Reed have been an item since the 90s. Although sharing the world's sadness at his death in 2013; Laurie continues to make beautiful music and says she still "sees Lou all the time".
Our Favourite Song: Hang On To Your Emotions
1. Matt & Kim
Our new favourite thing, and the inspiration for this article. If the electro-pop duo are as in love as their songs sound, then these guys set the bar for creative couples the world over. They have an extensive catalogue of soul-tickling tracks, a hilarious vlog and an MTV Award. Matt & Kim, if you're reading this: Marry Us?
Our Favourite Song: Daylight
Tom Stockley (T.S. Idiot) is an artist, poet and director of We Are Uncollective. Georgie Biggin (GINS) is a musician, tattooist and longtime collaborator in our projects. They play together as The Mooncup Band and live together in Bristol with a large menagerie of guitars, animals and humans. You can get in touch at email@example.com, or via our social media.
This month, Team Uncollective headed to Exeter Phoenix to check out a collection of new works by a St. Ives based artist who is finally putting a bit of spunk (in some cases almost literally) back into the once renowned scene. I last crossed paths with Simon in 2016, when he invited me (and fellow artist Maddie Broad) to join him in a performance of poems at Newlyn Gallery, including a timeless piece about ‘Terry Frost’s Nipples’. This, I hope, begins to set the scene if you were previously unaware of his oeuvre.
The new show takes its name from an essay by Mary Reufle on the subject of sincerity and irreverence. These two terms are fitting for Simon’s work, which seems steeped in further themes of conflict, often humorous; A truly post-modern practice leaping from traditional pottery (Fifty Slipware Plates) to contemporary neons (PAST-ORAL), urban sensibilities and rural identities. At this junction a comparison with Grayson Perry seems lazy but somewhat just. The plates are arguably Simon’s most ‘commercial’ work, at home in any upmarket Cornish gallery - but in fact some of the most subversive and ingenious of his creations. I hope that the artist takes as much delight as I did to see elderly couples appreciating the fine china work before realising that they are intricately and profusely decorated with symbols of spermatozoa - A piece of punk art born from the errant love child of Perry and Bernard Leach himself.
The subtle dismantling of traditional ideals continued throughout the show - Although the artist’s attention turned now to macho culture and beat poetry. His blacklight poems demonstrate Simon’s skill in conveying a lifetime of experiences and ideas in just a few words. Throughout the evening, there was a steady flow of bodies weaving between the text filled canvases - And with good reason. With lines such as “A phone from her hand like a seagull to chips”, viewers of all ages were intrigued, moved and sometimes confused with no discretion necessary. I couldn’t help but be reminded by the equally concise and warm writings of David Robilliard, these fragments of introvert thoughts made overwhelmingly public.
The pinnacle of the evening’s events lay in ‘Gabba Haiku’, however. Self-confessed ‘dance music enthusiast’ Simon invited the audience to witness his take on the traditional poetic form. In another seamless melding of eras, art forms and style; the mild-mannered artist became a 21st century beat poet for one night only. A flickering purple strobe transformed Bayliss into a Hacienda DJ, a queer Kerouac with a tongue in cheek style at odds with Exeter’s bubbling bourgeois. The homoerotic stanza of “...Underwear bulge, sideways glance, OMG” earned a well-deserved giggle from some audience members, but don’t be fooled - Some points of the performance reached an intersection of ecstasy and agony only matched by a 90s acid house rave. With his new video work still rolling, we were given a poignant context to the night - Kangaroos, steeped in a pinkish haze, amusing but somehow tragic and tender. There’s not many artists who could make a marsupial so engaging.
The inaugural collection of Simon's Artist Tea Towel company is currently on show at the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. He'll be appearing at this year’s Langaland Festival, and is currently preparing another solo exhibition for the South West Showcase in Autumn 2018.
Tom Stockley is the founder and creative director of We Are Uncollective. He currently lives in Bristol where he dabbles in spoken word, artist management, workshops and event organising. He’s the editor of Pint For A Piece and is always looking for more writers to feature.
As three of our team settle into life in Bristol, a City famous for its vibrant creative scene and poets of all shapes and styles - Massive Attack and Damien Hirst both hail from Bristol, both purveyors of contemporary poetry in their own way. Not to mention the 18th century poet and provocateur Hannah Moore, who was well known for her radical writing in a scene dominated by men. So it seemed poignant to share our collaborator Dave Green’s thoughts on Bukowski - poetry’s original bad boy and a big influence on how we think and work. Follow our social media to hear about our upcoming plans for spoken word and other endeavours in our new home - Tom (Editor, Pint For A Piece)
The following is a Bukowski aperitif. A cocktail mixed with Gaylord Brewer’s thoughts from his book ‘Charles Bukowski’, and Bukowski’s poems from Canongate’s collection ‘Charles Bukowski: The Pleasures of the Damned. Poems, 1951-1993’. Five hundred words isn’t enough for a hearty meal into the life and mind of this creative and deranged ‘laureate of American low life’ (Time). Hopefully, the following poems and comments will make you crave more of his work.
I had lost the last race big
somebody had stolen my coat
I could feel the flu coming on
and my tires were
low. I went in to get a
beer at the German bar
but the waitress was having a fit
her heart strangled by disappointment
grief and loss.
women get troubled all at once,
you know. I left a tip
and got out.
Somewhere on the web, I read that Bukowski was a master of finishing poems on a punchy line encapsulating the feeling of the piece. Ask Caesar. Wealthiest, most powerful of men got stabbed in the back by an old friend. Bukowski: grizzled poet having a hard day of it. He’s not the only one. Bukowski captures all this in as fewer words as possible. Gaylord Brewer comments that Bukowski strove for simplicity, directness and rejection of metaphor. The language he uses in these shorter works reflects the sharpness of his poetry.
there are worse things than
but it often takes decades
to realize this
and most often
when you do
it’s too late
and there’s nothing worse
Bukowski is, like custard doughnuts or eating cucumber with hummus, divisive. There are those who adore his gritty poetry reflecting the underbelly of society with the coarse beats of his words emulating the pains of the forgotten. There are also those who view him as too callous, too absurd, who write him off as being exactly the character he has made for himself: a grizzled, poor man with holes in his pockets and no finesse. According to Gaylord Brewer, both views reflect a short-sighted reading of Bukowski and his poetry. This, in itself, hints at the depth and width of Bukowski’s work.
I live alone in a small room
and read the newspapers
and sleep alone in the dark
dreaming of crowds.
There will only ever be one Bukowski. He had the raw heart of those who knew the difficulties of squalor and life. Skid Row, a place Bukowski often wrote about, is a district in LA measuring 11.2km2 and is home to 17,740 people living in varying degrees of destitution. A lot of Bukowski’s motifs tend to be entwined with such a location. That was his experience. Taking Bukowski’s style and my experience (working alongside asylum seekers and refugees), I’ve written the following in homage to Bukowski’s work.
My Sudanese friend and I
at the edge of the icy rink
Laugh as others slip and slide,
laugh as others conquer the ice.
We laugh in the same place,
we laugh in the same world,
Dave Green is a poet, writer and children’s worker currently based in Loughborough. You may have spotted him at last year’s Langaland Festival, and you can see more of his work at www.facebook.com/abyadpoet
“In his new show - The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! - Perry demonstrates with great finesse the spectrum of masculinity and excels in making art which attracts the general public”
As we travel into the New Year, our heads at Uncollective are full of ambition, hope and a good measure of nervous energy. We think that this short essay by Rosa Stevens is a perfect debut for Pint For A Piece; a thoughtful reflection on what masculinity, popularity and class might mean for artists in 2018 - Tom (Editor, Pint For A Piece)
The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! is an exhibition designed to question your beliefs of masculinity and gender. The large frilly pink motorbike pokes fun at the traditionally macho view of motorcycles and what that tells us about expectations of men. Perry wants us to look at the object through a new lens, one that isn’t gendered or altered by societal norms, but rather to just see a vehicle or a piece of art. Arguably, Perry’s specific choice in the medium of his work is one of their most successful aspects, as working in pottery allows him to use size and organic shape whilst also making a statement about the type of work you might expect to see.
Perry has a way of addressing the stereotypes of masculinity by focusing on their hypocrisy. His piece Object in Foreground (2016) shows the hypocrisy of London’s investment bankers. The phallic shaped statuette is Perry’s way of calling out their macho-corporate world by ultimately concluding that it is all down to the very dated views on the role of men and importance of masculinity. Perry uses a grey and neutral colour scheme to show how men are often encouraged to shy away from bright colours as these are seen as too ‘feminine’. Perry couldn’t be making a bolder statement by exhibiting Object in Foreground with the highly decorated and ‘feminine’ motorbike.
However, although Perry’s work generally presents a very critical view of ideas of masculinity, he also does consider a more empathetic side. Unusually his work doesn’t just tackle masculine ideals in the ‘upper classes’. His piece Death of a Working Hero (2016) tackles the often-oppressive hyper-masculine ideals which can be prevalent for working class men. Perry’s use of imagery (like training weights or a boxer) shows how men can feel pressure to be physically larger and stronger than their peers. In juxtaposition to this, Perry shows family members grouped around a coffin, which arguably shows how masculine traits are essentially meaningless when the end comes. This aspect of masculine ideals for working class men is particularly poignant due to increasing rates of male suicides and the loss of many jobs during (and since) the recession of 2008. Now more than ever it seems we need artists like Grayson Perry to not only highlight the pressure many men feel to conform to masculine ideals, but also to show through art work the great diversity in what a man can be.
The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! Is now closed to the public, but you can Watch Grayson Perry’s interview with Arnolfini HERE, and follow him on Twitter @Alan_Measles.
If you have any more questions or concerns about Men’s Mental Health, visit CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably)
Rosa Stevens is a History student at the University of Bristol. She’s also an artist (@rosaleonoraart) and a poet (@rosastevenspoetry).
PINT FOR A PIECE
Receive £4 for an article! 500 words (roughly) on something creative - Your favourite single, an exhibition you've been to, a new project or anything else you can think of! Feel free to include images. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll choose one each month.