The raison d’etre of The Arts Show is to showcase current talent, particularly acts and artists who defy easy classification or fall between genre-types. But we permitted ourselves a few guests who work within categorisable forms, this week, and may devils eat our socks for having done so.
I haven’t seen Karen Andrea in a couple of months, so it was great to see her looking so well. She’s currently taking the kids’ story market by storm with her novel The Enchanted Library. I heard parts of it read, during its incubation phase, in the critique group I run in Brick Lane – since then it’s taken on a life of its own. KA’s done a sterling marketing job; especially impressive given that she’s quite busy enough with her day-job as a lawyer. The Library has natural appeal, given its themes of inclusion and using one’s imagination. Sea Fire, her current project, blends several even bigger themes – I can’t wait. Given the amount we both have on, it might provide the excuse for our next meeting.
There was a wealth of music to play into Luke Styles’ interview, each track using
different instruments – far too great a selection for us to give an accurate representation of the breadth of his musical output. I really enjoyed what we heard. That uncomfortable, jerky sound seemed to be a recurring motif. During the sound-check, Tim Orpen, the clarinettist (and boy, that man can play) explored the upper range of the piece, an ear-splitting screech like a terrified goose. Horrible, said one of the sound techs. That’s the point, said Tim.
Jacob Sam La Rose is an accomplished poet, clearly. His second poem, the one that dealt with a distant father, really spoke to me; it was moving and understated, and I’d strongly urge you to keep an ear or eye out for Jacob’s words.
I expect big things of The Darlingtons. To my mind, for a band that’s been together for so short a time (just a year) they’ve created a surprisingly mature, rich and self-assured sound. Glitch, the song I played, is their latest release, but they sent me a couple of others – one pretty lively and one built for chilling out, and listening to those I feel like I’m in the hands of musicians who know what they’re doing.
We returned to ‘alternative’ form with our final guest, Francesco Benenato, a visual artist who uses different materials each time he works, and who revealed that he once asked all his friends to give him their pubic hair in order to fashion a hirsute reclining nude. Francesco is engaging not only because he has a genuine passion for finding original and meaningful ways to express himself, but also because his perspective as an ‘art brut’ artist – that is, an auto-didact – is refreshing and incisive, untrammelled by convention.
Which I think returns the show to its familiar turf.