Thursday, 26 March 2015

Media landscapes according to Quilla Constance

Quilla Constance is a punk persona looking to provide a critique of the development of the pop ascetic. Recently she took club soho to court. She says “I thought it would be something quite funny to do a gig there as a spoof militant punk persona.” But in the end they double booked her gig with a corporate gig. She went straight to equity and they sued and won. She said: “I did a protest outside, which was actually I would have said a lot more punk than anything that would have happened inside the club anyway.”

Quilla is insistent about providing an alternative to the mainstream, which she sees as toxic. She is interested in the fact that women now seem to find it empowering to take off as many clothes as possible. She is scathing that Lilly Allen is saying oh yeah I’m a feminist ambassador and then the next day she’ll be like, you know posing in FHM. “I’m just wondering where that alternative voice is.”

Her message she says looks at an over identification with a familiar ascetic and where does a black woman reside in this very air brushed European look. The interruption of that very glamorous language.

“She’s the arbiter of taste. She’s the QC. Let’s call her the mainstreams ultimate quality control.”

Feminism vs conformity

When I was doing lots of research for this PR blitz video (her last performance) I was just ripping out headlines from these gossip magazines and a lot of the headlines were about a woman’s weight … or whether they were happy with their bodies and stuff. And it’s just kind of like God you know is there really nothing else to talk about?

She speaks at length about the way the media is driven by PR. She clearly sees the whole thing as fundamentally flawed. She is irritated by the fact that women are drawn to careers like Jordan’s rather than other professions. She goes on to say: “I think possibly I’m repulsed by it more because I’ve never fitted into that ascetic anyway.”

“People think, oh if you’re a feminist you must be a really butch angry woman it had a very bad press behind it and the problem is, it’s not defined, it can’t be defined really, I don’t agree that it is as cheap as it’s being sold to be. There’s more to it.”

Where next?

Asked whether she would like to see the media landscape as it currently exists to self destruct she says: “I don’t think that it’s ever going to be, the joke about the PR blitz with the news of the world landing on a puppet of Rebekah Brooks at the end is the fact that it’s never over and it never will be, it’s only going to get worse I think actually”

With QC she is trying to claim back some of the power that she feels has been lost. She is not trying to create pop, but rather provide an alternative landscape to the dialogue that she feels resides there.

The Private View of her exhibition is tonight from 6pm.

Solo exhibition, opening at 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning (funded by Arts Council England). The exhibition runs from March 26th - May 8th, with a symposium at UAL Chelsea College of Arts and video screenings / performances at The Freud Museum and St John's College, Oxford to follow.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The Boy in Darkness

The Blue Elephant have finalised their production of Boy in Darkness.

Boy in Darkness is an episode in the Gormenghast series when Titus Groan, referred to mostly as "the Boy" in the story, is a young teenager.

Yearning for freedom from his ceaseless duties he escapes the ancient castle and encounters the nightmare world outside.


When I saw this show in development I was impressed by the physicality of it and it's brooding dynamism, despite being a one man recital.

The final production had added stage props to aid with the exploratory climbing of the tale.

This is a beautiful dark representation of the Mervyn Peake book.


I still have reservations about the length and intensity of the production, at times it feels as if there is need to take stock of the story, especially as it flows straight through with just one narrator.

However the overall effect is quite spell binding and is a great effort to bring a spine chilling storybook to life on stage.

The run ends soon, so go while you still can.
The simplicity of the production adds to it's foreboding.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

No sugar moodiness

Today was not my happiest day.

I am wondering at this point in my sugar fast, which is rapidly becoming every sweet thing but fruit fast, whether my mood is being hit by the absence of sugar.

There are more pressing things to consider than this minor ponderance of mine, but it is perhaps worth noting that I have spots, so if you're thinking of cutting sugar out for that then don't bother.

The wider world

In other news I was heartened to see so many people out on the streets of Israel protesting.

Hope is a precious thing in such a situation.

And given the myriad of confusing news coming from the region I feel opposition couldn't come at a better time.


And the fictional fashion duo are becoming real life fashion stars.

Seeing them pictured next to Anna Wintour makes me feel a little uneasy.

Still burning with anger from How Glamour Lost it's Lustre.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Food nonsense

Given that I'm in this weird anti-sugar Utopia it seemed eminently timed for thug kitchen.

Passed on through the wonders of Facebook this 'spoof' book (hard to be sure) encouraged me to eat like I give a f&*k.

That's a dandy idea that one, especially after the worst ever salt beef sandwich I have ever come across.

Mama don't preach

Thing is, actually cooking up a storm is not exactly high on my agenda.

I feel despondent.

Aware that despondency is only likely to be increased by a poor diet, but there you have it folks.

How a person feels, or at least how this person feels directly relates to how excited they are by cooking things.

Simple dinners are us

Tomorrow I will be mostly eating noodles, because I am aware that I am not on a wage that actually supports people properly in this city.

So pass the noodles and soup ingredients, budget cooking is all the rage in this very annoyed brain.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Black sexualisation WoW style

Ok, this is a bit of a rant.

The south bank centre runs the Women of the World WoW festival once a year now and I may be suffering from the fact that nothing is going to compare to the first feeling I got of attending the event, but I was a little disappointed by some of the line up this year.

I went to the sexualisation of black women event hoping for some insightful debate on how black women fare in the realm of sexual imagery.

Indeed, some interesting points were raised about the number of black women who were abused by their partners proportionally and the phenomena of denigrating darker black women's skin tones, which is truly heart breaking.

However, then I felt the debate started to turn a little south.

Troubling ideas

The issue of white women being prized over black women, seems bizarre.

I have to say that is very damning and de-humanising of black men, not saying that they never do this, but the dialogue seemed to tar all black men in this way?

I felt similarly disturbed by claims that black women were punished for not being white.

Physical abuse may have more to do with other social and economic strains affecting black people, rather than because of any desire among black men to punish black women.

Again, not saying it doesn't happen, but I truly believe it's not all about race.

Let's just blame it on race

Then claiming that idealisation of lighter skin tones comes from the white community, it is a very select and privileged set of white people in charge of things like fashion magazines and they serve to dissempower both white and black women by trying to insist on a standard.

The debate started to simply sound prejudiced.

All white women, just like all black women are not the same.

This dialogue helps no one by being purely confrontational.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Enchanting frivolity

I ventured to Brighton on Sunday, despite the ever rising rail fares.

An invitation to The Seven Stars in Brighton.

Turns out on a Sunday they have live music, perfect really.

A haven from the sea air

There was a beautiful atmosphere, friendly, lively and warm.

The band performed some lively jazzy numbers good for toe tapping and full on whirling.

Indeed, some of the attendees displayed some mighty fine footwork.

Sublime glass ringer

But nothing quite prepared me for Sam Chara.

She innocuously slipped on stage to perform on the mic.

The only word for what followed was phenomenal and I do not say that lightly.

To my imperfect ears her renditions of famous jazz numbers was flawless and rose to scales I had not even heard in the originals.

Hats off woman, it's no surprise that you're trained in Opera and Jazz, in some alternate reality I'm sure you could weave silver with those lungs.