City without a head – New book by ME4Writers published

City without a head cover
City without a head cover
City without a head

“…this anthology is wonderfully enthralling and the passion that oozes from each page is unquestionable.” **** Femalearts.com

Medway-based ME4Writers are proud to present their new book – City without a head – an anthology of creative writing written over several years, which was launched on 8 October at the Rochester Literature Festival.

City without a head is based on ME4Writers’ long-running writing project: The City Project aka Encyclopaedia Citaecephale, where they created non-definitions for an alternative encyclopaedia which was printed in a series of 8 limited edition zines and left around Medway (and further afield).

The book is a collection of poems, stories, interlinked sci-fi fragments and found writings collected in the form of an index by ME4Writers’ regular authors Barry Fentiman, Sam Hall, SM Jenkin, Anne-Marie Jordan, Sarah March, Tara Moyle and Roy Smith. It also features illustrations by award-winning artist Victoria Wainwright.  The aim of the book is to try to define what the authors feel about living in cities, and take a sideways look at our urban predicament. This is a theme which many of ME4Writers’ projects respond to.

City without a head has been published by Wordsmithery and costs £12. You can order a copy from www.wordsmithery.info

Tea presents: Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society – 16 June 2012

There is something about small venues and they don’t come much smaller than the cellar of the Singapora Lounge in Rochester. TEA presented an excellent evening of guttural blues-rock form Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society, stomping through a set to launch their new album ‘On The Brink Of Misadventure.’ Ably supported by somewhat settled hobo, William Harper, they created an oasis from the football and towiesque pseudo-hell usually occupying this part of town. Surveying a catalogue of slide, picked and thumping numbers, whilst haunting the dimly lit nowhere, the band mesmerised an audience set on looking beyond an easily packaged night out.

The brutal cry of ‘Decimation’ leapt out from the set, calling us all back to the workhouse on a well deserved Friday night, as Mr Turner threw aside his megaphone to focus on some thorough guitar beating.

Rochester has been in dire need of an alternative High Street venue. Somewhere unshackled from the zombie march towards clubland, and although a cellar full of music lovers might seem a small start, there is hope below ground.

More about Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society can be found at http://www.myspace.com/stuartjamesturner

By Roy Smith

www.royalansmith.co.uk

Area : South East

Billy Childish – Frozen Estuary Exhibition – Review

Cult labels can obscure the viewer’s perspective of the artist’s work, with associations of niche celebrity given meaning by sycophantic fans and media observers. Childish is touted as a ‘cult’ figure in his latest exhibition at Chatham dockyard. This could scream popular or ‘cool’ to the ‘right’ people or celebrate an alternative and underground status. Childish’s character(s) loom large, set on pleasing themselves before courting the crowd, perhaps at the risk of eclipsing his work. In a 2010 video for the Tate’s ‘Sound and Vision’ series, he dons the costumes of painter and musician to playfully interview himself, with respectably awkward questions. When the artist asks about his influence on the musician, the answer is ‘no’ followed by a wistful smile.

The frozen estuary series offers something pleasantly different. The dockyard exhibition gives some space to history and personal mythologising – displays of album covers, books and memorabilia to greet the audience. Maybe this is a triumphant return to a place he left with little love lost.

13 oil and charcoal on linen paintings cover the main walls, some with the paint still wet. Despite featuring friends and family, the subject seems less personal, the focus is the river itself, depicted in vivid blues and whites and frozen in time and canvas. Inspired by photos of the winters of 1895 and 1947 when both estuaries froze over, Childish captures a stark landscape, where workers pose with boats locked in ice, dominated by blue skies and glaring white. Details run in earthy browns, a muck upon the landscape, as wet paint dribbles down many of the canvases, forming icicles of dirt and snow.

Here is something about place rather than person, escaping the ‘cult’ cliché and exploring the relationships between time, place and identity. A full size nude stands by the entrance, leading visitors through the memorabilia to something else entirely. Something brave.

The exhibition is on at the Historic Dockyard, Chatham, until 30th September 2012. Details are available at: http://www.thedockyard.co.uk/NetsiteCMS/pageid/1023/Billy%20Childish.html

By Roy Smith

@roy_smith 

www.royalansmith.co.uk

Guest Writer

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