Six Of The Best: Lisa Lovebucket | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The Red Room is an immersive evening of the weird and wonderful at Basecamp, Middlesbrough on Friday 21st February. Complete with its own cocktail and complimentary amuse-bouche and kazoos the event will feature screenings from Nic Alderton (The Albion Tales Pt1: Misdirection), Kev Howard (Landscape of the Flesh) and Kirsten Luckens. There will also be comedy from Leon Brown, music from Lauren Stones and Joe Quillin, signs and rhymes from Coll Metcalfe, neo-burlesque from Jenny Said Pas, poetry from Alex Asher, Julie Easley and Dan Sumption, as well as a play extract from The Warp by Neil Oram.

It was an almost impossible task to select just one influence each from six of the creative arts (theatre, film, poetry, comedy, literature and music) so, admittedly, I’ve snuck in a few extras along the way. Reflecting upon my selections, I would say that the theme which unites them all is eclecticism. As Robert Heinlein said: “Specialisation is for insects.” We do have a moth coming along to act in a scene from The Warp this week, but really we are mostly human and, as such, we offer up a beautiful mix of music, comedy, poetry, short films, play extracts, magical rites, amuse bouche, bizarre turns, random acts of kindness, general fuckwittery and other high weirdness. 

Ken and Daisy Campbell 
I first met the Campbells some 23 years ago, shortly before they founded the Ridiculously Long Production Company to stage Neil Oram’s epic 24-hour-long play cycle, The Warp. I had just read Robert Anton Wilson’s book, Cosmic Trigger, which contains an account of Ken’s stage adaptation of Illuminatus! starring a ‘bare-ass naked’ Wilson alongside such delightful folk as Bill Nighy, David Rappaport, Jim Broadbent, and Prunella Gee, with a set designed by Bill Drummond. ‘This is a man I need to know,’ I thought to myself. Within weeks, I had inveigled myself into Ken’s extraordinary world, and met his astonishing daughter, Daisy. It is because of Ken that I stood in the 1997 General Election (for a party founded by Peter Cook’s neighbour, Rainbow George), that I learned to speak Pidgin (when he staged a production of Macbeth adapted into the language), and that I met a bunch of time-travelling Atlantean magickians from Damanhur and learned how to function as a multimind. It is because of Daisy that I became The Gatekeeper of Chapel Perilous (for her stage adaptation of Cosmic Trigger), a Brick of Mu (when The KLF returned from their self-imposed 23 year moratorium, as Undertakers to the Underworld), and Cilla Black (as some kind of cosmic joke that neither of us really understands). To this day, if a Campbell tells me to do something, I do it, knowing that it will be the greatest caper on Planet World.

Twin Peaks
I guess this one comes as little surprise. I am a massive fan of all Lynch’s work but what I love about Twin Peaks in particular is the way it juxtaposes horror and hilarity. One minute you might be witnessing a brutal murder and the next it’s barbershop quartets and llamas snorting in people’s faces. As Alan Moore says: “Life isn’t divided into genres. It’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you’re lucky.” Twin Peaks seems to cover all of this and for me that’s what makes it truly exceptional. The Red Room pretty much covers all this ground too. Although we have some deeply moving, insightful, and political performances, there’s always plenty of comedy, and a nice slice of carnage too, especially with our kazoo-controlled, Gong Show style music policy. Whilst there may not be pornography per se, you can definitely expect a bit of comedy erotica and neo-burlesque. We’ll be making full use of Base Camp’s 360˚ projectors to create a fully immersive Red Room, and giving away Twin Peaks inspired delights, including stickers, badges, and Black Lodge amuse-bouche. 

Salena Godden
Knowing so many poets, I’ll probably get lynched for this but I am going to make a bold statement: Salena Godden is the world’s greatest living poet. Again, for me, it’s the range of styles and subject matter covered that makes her work so impressive – the whimsy of The Back Of The Internet, the hilarity of I Want Love, and the magnitude of Courage Is A Muscle and Pessimism Is For Lightweights. As Mavis says in Illuminatus!: “Nothing is true unless it makes you laugh, but you don’t really understand it until it makes you cry.” This is the way Salena makes me see the world, through an exquisitely embroidered veil of tears shed in sorrow and laughter. On a personal level, it was an article written by Salena that inspired my move into the world of comedy erotica: “These curious and curiouser worlds of experimentation and hedonism it seems have always been narrated by men and from the male perspective. I want to read about female ejaculation.” This was a call-out that I specifically heralded in my in-yer-face tragicomedy, The Glass Bullet, which was serialised at The Red Room last year, and staged in full as part of Notwork23’s festival, Castle Perilous, held at Featherstone Castle last summer.

The Comic Strip Presents ‘Mr Jolly Lives Next Door’
Again, with a name like Lovebucket, it should come as no big surprise that Mr Jolly Lives Next Door has been a major influence in my life. Peter Cook is one of my all-time heroes, along with Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson, having been reared on Derek And Clive and The Young Ones. After I became involved with The Rainbow Party, I spent many happy hours with Rainbow George, listening to the cassette recordings of Peter and George’s drink-fuelled banter, and marvelling at the fact that Mr Jolly really had lived next door. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t join The Rainbow Party a few months earlier, so I missed out on meeting Peter Cook in person. I did get to meet another great hero, Ian Dury, through Rainbow George, after Ian recorded a song for The Rainbow Party during my 1999 campaign against Michael Portillo. We spent an amazing evening together at Ian’s home studio, smoking, drinking, and singing old punk and new wave tunes. A real honour. In obeisance to health and safety regulations, sadly there will be no exploding tonic water down at The Red Room but you can expect to be served a beautifully handcrafted Red Room cocktail, with an optional dash of Fairy Liquid to taste… 

Mindplayers by Pat Cadigan
For me, Mindplayers is the seminal Cyberpunk novel. It’s an exhilarating ride through humanity’s urge to explore the extremes of its own consciousness despite the damage this may do – what Philip K Dick refers to as ‘playing in the street’ in the epilogue of A Scanner Darkly. Technologically facilitated ‘mindplay’ renders the mind into a physical place, which you can wander through alone or accompanied by other mindplayers, such as neurosis peddlers (who teach people to use their fixations to positive effect), pathos finders (who help people to discover their true purpose), and belljarers (who assist people wishing to melt their minds into silence). It is an exploration into important questions of what is human, what is real, the pivotal role of play, and whether any absolute answers really exist: “Truth and information are not the same thing! And neither are reality and state of existence!” Tempting as it might be, the denizens of The Red Room will not attempt to remove your eyeballs and jack you into a mutual dreampool, but we do aim to produce a similar effect without anyone having to gouge their eyes out.

Andrew Weatherall 
Like many others, I was devastated to hear of Andrew Weatherall’s passing. I misspent a big chunk of my youth in fine style, hitching round the country following Primal Scream, The Orb and Mr Weatherall on tour. The night before the news came in, I had just discovered that local film producer Maxy Bianco worked with Weatherall on three short films. We had planned to screen Stranger on the Shore: Hounds of Whitby next month but, in light of the sad news, we will show this short film, scored by Andrew Weatherall, at this Friday’s Red Room. And there will be plenty more Weatherall to come. Last April, Daisy Campbell led 69 of us on a pilgrimage from the well-endowed chalk giant at Cerne Abbas to the Super Hadron Collider at CERN (#Cerne2CERN, #Hardon2Hadron) on a mission to reset the universe, or ‘Immanentise the Eschaton’ as it’s known in the Discordian lexis. At next month’s Red Room, I will perform my audiovisual poem, If We Knew Why We Wouldn’t Be Doing It, which includes Smokebelch II in the soundtrack. Later in the year we will be staging extracts from my play, Tony Blair Walks On Water, which features Wilmot in the score (undoubtedly one of the hottest tracks in human history). A statement from Andrew Weatherall’s family ended with this request: “Please do what he would have wanted… creating, listening, dancing, but above all pushing boundaries.” We intend to honour this call.

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