Bowie InstaMiniSeries: no. 1

You probably don’t need me to draw your attention to this, but the first vignette from Instagram’s new miniseries Unbound, featuring music from David Bowie’s final album Blackstar, has just been released.

An explanation of the series is here …

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"UNBOUND: A ★ InstaMiniSeries” In the Fall of 2015, David Bowie gave us unique pre-release access to the music from ★ (pronounced ‘Blackstar’), his 28th studio album, allowing us to create our own visual interpretations of his songs, with no limits or preconditions on his part. Completed in December 2015, UNBOUND: A★InstaMiniSeries takes the audience on a journey of evocative images inspired by the moods suggested in the album’s music, lyrics and artwork. Each episode of the series is sure to capture the imaginations of all who experience it and will undoubtedly lead to endless speculation and discussion of meaning, metaphor and intention. We are honored to have had this opportunity and hope you'll join our 16 episode series, premiering February 25th. New episode every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Executive Producer: @InstaMiniSeries Director: @nikkiborges Music: @davidbowie Writer: @carolynncecilia Co-Producer: @lawrenceperyer Director of Photography: @joshuasterlingbragg Line Producer: @delaVega Associate Producers: @amandadelanuez @itscecfernandez Production Designer: @LezGolden Costume Designer: @Bodilicious Hair / Make Up Artist: @missy_mua Miss Clarkson’s Make Up Artist: Angie Elizalde VFX Production House: @heym1ster Dance Choreographer: @ofbonesdance, @hollyebynum Stunt Coordinator: @stuntmanpete Wire Rigger: @stuntworks Stunt Woman: @hellskitten29 Behind The Scenes: @a_madd Production Assistant: @clemencyforclem Special Thanks: @instalucas Protagonist: @tavitulle Lounge singer: Patricia Clarkson The Dancer: @rysak Woman at the Train: @Jayknowlest Young Boy: Jonah Herman Man in the alley: @Qdb_omg Woman in the red dress: @nikkiborges Drummer: Owen Riley-Duffy Older woman: Ching Valdes Anan Piano Player: @katiemorrmidd Dancer #2: @maks_wel18 Dancer #3: @katiemattar Dancer #4: @fulloutfarrish Dancer #5: @_ious Dancer #6: @felixs_journey Arm of man: @delaVega Woman in the audience: @amandadelanuez

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… and episode 1 is here …

 

 

Enjoy!

Furillen catch-up

I’ve not been inworld much this week, having been caught up in a whirl of meetings and gigs in first life. I won’t bore you with details about the meetings, but the music is worth mentioning.

I am in the midst of seeing two bands twice. Many of you might not have heard of Enter Shikari – people try to give them a genre, such as post-hardcore or Electronicore, but this approach doesn’t really work for me. They are a ‘political’ band, citing Rage Against The Machine and Sick of it All as influences – although here, too, a label doesn’t do them justice.

Anyway, they are really great live – and having seem them twice in 2015, I wanted to catch them as they step up from medium-sized rooms to what in the UK we call ‘arenas’, i.e. spaces holding around 10,000 people.

On this tour they are playing a few Mindsweep remixes from Hospitalized, and the sound coming from the long line of sub-woofers in front of the stage was – literally – causing a breeze.

Here’s a clip from the show I attended with my daughter – a huge fan – last weekend.

In case you are wondering – no, I wasn’t taking this video. I was getting bruised ribs right at the front.

I’ll be seeing them again tomorrow in London’s best arena. I say ‘best’ because there are no seats at all, and there is something about standing – and moving – with 9,999 other people that I rather like.

The other band I saw twice is a duo from Columbus, Ohio, called Twenty-One Pilots, playing back-to-back gigs in Bowie’s part of London, Brixton. I have been to a lot of gigs recently, and – having seen them three times now – these are, for me, the best live performers of them all.

Their sense of theatre, with some great masks and costumes, and their movement around the stage – quite an achievement for a duo where one guy is a drummer and the other often plays piano – are brilliant.

Here’s a clip from last night’s gig of them performing Car Radio.

Once again, this isn’t my video. I am – with my daughter, again – in front and to the right.

So what’s all this got to do with Furillen?

Music.

When I look back on my gig list from 2016, Radiohead are bound to be on it. Several times. I’m hoping they will headline Glastonbury this year (I have a ticket), and will try to catch them at one or two other festivals on their calendar.

Their album could – will! – drop any moment between now and late May. If we are lucky- who knows? – it will be out in time for our Radiohead weekend at Furillen.

But even if it’s not, keep making those pictures and videos, because it’s one hell of a back catalogue.

Seeing as I’m giving you clips not pictures today, let’s sign off with a link to the full hour of Radiohead’s legendary set from Glastonbury 1997 – and no, alas, I was not there.

May all your Fridays be good ones.

Furillen cartoon strip

I met Jinx Shipman a few days ago and commented on the great cartoon strips in his Flickr stream. I suggested that he might put a strip together at Furillen.

He did. It’s here. And it’s brilliant.

Someone has to do it...

As you can see, Furillen’s chairs – and your friendly neighbourhood janitor – survived the mindless attack from this little hooligan.

Thanks to Jinx – and I hope he does some more.

the janitor

The Janitor

A janitor is usually defined as ‘a caretaker or doorkeeper of a building’. In the UK we call them caretakers. Every school used to have one (these days they are ‘site managers’); they lived in grotty houses just inside the school gates, and kept equally grotty dogs or cats. They were marginal figures, hovering on the boundary between the school and the outside world.

In the Harry Potter series, for example, this figure is Argus Filch, with his cat, Mrs Norris. He is quite an unsavoury character. The name says it all: ‘to filch’ is to pilfer or steal something, usually in a casual way.

filch-mrs-norris

Filch is not an outsider, but rather a figure who sits awkwardly between the two worlds – a squib, born into a wizarding family but possessing no magical powers.

I called myself the janitor at Furillen as a joke. I am just the guy who looks after the place, cleans up after visitors, fixes things. The designation suited my favourite outfit, the overalls.

The Old Man And The Sea

Over time, the name has stuck.

The janitor isn’t an artist – nor a curator. It is a role that is difficult to define, but interestingly, it does come up in installations within galleries, as in Palmer C Hayden’s ‘protest painting’ from the 1930s, The Janitor Who Paints 

janitor who paints

… as well as in cartoons about galleries …

'We better first check to see if that is trash or a piece of art.'
‘We better first check to see if that is trash or a piece of art.’
The janitor also appears as the innocent figure who cleans up a ‘mess’ that turns out to have been ‘art’

janitor 5

… or who removes a ‘stain’ that was integral to an art installation

janitor 6

In much the same vein, I quite like this cartoon, where the janitor is being told that what looks like trash is an artwork called ‘shunned by society’ …

Induction day at the modern art gallery was proving to be heavy going for Sam. . .
Induction day at the modern art gallery was proving to be heavy going for Sam. . .
… or this attempt by John Cake and Darren Neave to ridicule Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde-preserved tiger shark, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living – with a lego janitor, scowling and cynical …

janitor 3

In such images the janitor is portrayed as the wise fool, a guy with common sense and unwitting insight. Lacking the education or ‘class’ of the artists or visitors, the janitor plays a role similar to the child in Hans Christian Andersen’s story, The Emperor’s New Clothes – pointing at this ridiculous figure and puncturing the pomposity of everyone around him by stating the bleeding obvious and calling out ‘he isn’t wearing any clothes!’.

emperors-new-clothes

This is not, I hasten to add, how I see my own role at all. I like and enjoy a diverse range of art – and far from pointing out the pretentiousnesses of others, I can be rather pretentious myself.

But it’s interesting that art ‘needs’ such a figure, policing the margin between the ridiculous and the sublime.

And that – quite by accident – we created one at Furillen.