All the Fun of the Fair

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Last week saw the ‘All the Fun of the Fair’ installation take over at Bold Place. This weeks blog shares the original fiction works which was the intial sourse point for the installation.

All the Fun of the Fair

She felt low down, sank down, fallen through into a space only six foot by two foot. Crammed into a recession, three similar sized walls behind her to head height, two long stretched walls either side of her tapering off towards her feet with a small final surface encasing her body. Her weighty box-like cell, mahogany Formica panelling, lined with a thin cushioned faux silk, imitation gold handles surround the outer casing of the coffin.

As she begins to regain consciousness she raises, lying flat, floating upwards in a gravity-defying motion, out of her prison. The coffin was not real, the mahogany panelling on the walls of a cheap motel room. The handles belong to the dresser, the faux silk is the bed sheets, but they are not sleek and satiny, they are rough and bobbled and begrimed with the spills of what had occurred. Unable to move fully she can feel the presence of a body beside her, a giant of a man, not fat but colossal in size. Although he seems to be moving slightly as he breathes he appears to be unaware of her presence on the tiny mattress space she is embedded upon.

What had happened? She thinks, her brain encircled by storm clouds from being unconscious, she begins to place last night’s activities, her short term memory had been shredded into a thousand pieces, the sections still there, but only making sense when entwined together. How had she got to the tiny mattress space she occupies? She had been out drinking with one of the girls she had been working with for her summer job. They had been around a few bars and were really quite inebriated. Approached by a man, her friend first, then she remembers kissing him on his direction. Next, he grabbed her arm, almost dragging her, plucked from the bar, a predator choosing his prey; not being hauled through the doors, but not fully consenting.

To the unbeknown, nearby motel room, he took her, unsure of what to do she kept walking with him, still quite tipsy from the evening; should she try and push him off her? From entering the motel room he lashed her down on the bed, in a frenzy, he was on top of her, she was morphed like a giant lobster engulfing her, its claws gripping her down as she was smothered by the body. The antenna’ worming over her face and the walking legs combatting the struggle of the body. She couldn’t move and she couldn’t breathe, his chest pushing in around her throat and nostrils. She struggled with an inward thrusting motion like the crusher claw had reached down from its front line position, forcing its path with no care for the flesh it rips open. Her groyne muscles were trying to fight it, clenching together at their full will, trying to push out in conflict. No oxygen, no more strength, then black.

As she begins to come round she cannot move, in placing together what had happened she couldn’t fully understand, not then, not for many months, then many years later she would be able to accept what had taken place. She found some safety in the fact he seemed to be asleep and unaware of her presence. She still could not move as she lay there for what felt like an eternity: static and unreactive.

ceiling tiles

wall panels

carpet

eyes moving

body still

motionless

over and over, rhetoric

unresponsive body

thoughts, idea’s, existence

Then salvation comes: a feeling like water rushing through her body starting at her head then zigzagging across her form, over her spine and down to her feet, she could move again. Purity flowing through her being, release from deadlock, allowing her muscles and head to function in sequence. From this she managed to get up, moving as quietly as a semi-functional person could. Unsure of her clothes and her bag, she seemed to have most of them on, she began to look for the door but she couldn’t find it. Fumbling over the mahogany panels as they engrossed the space, she tried them all looking for an escape hatch, her vision blurred, only capable of seeing a few feet in front of her. One must open, but which one, then he spoke:

‘Doors over there’

He had been awake the whole time not asleep as she had imagined. Dismissive in the way he casually said the words, like nothing, had happened, dis-guarding the girl after she had been stripped bare to her skeletal form. Oblivious to what he had put her through, no remorse, no sorrow, no regret, nothing…

Alison Little

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Kissed by Satan

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Kissed by Satan is a central chapter to the novel: Casual Nexus being written by Alison Little. This chapter looks at what happens to the central character Sal meets with a college friend to confide in what had occured early in the summer. The extract looks at when the two charcters meet up from there summer jobs in the United States:

The sun beams down, Sal had not been waiting for long by the clock tower when Devi arrived. After greetings Devi told Sal now tanned she looked, Sal hadn’t realised but in view of the fact she had been wearing nothing but shorts and T-Shirts for the past four weeks she must have browned out a bit. Sal looked at Devi, she was wearing the same well-worn clothes she had always wore, combined with spotty skin and greasy hair she could not think of anything which was complimentary but genuine to say about her appearance. When Devi had first come to Uni the girls in her Halls of Residence had tried their best through lending her clothes and hairstyling tips. This was to no avail she simply resorted to the same shabbily dressed girl with hair and skin in desperate need of attention. Sal decided to compliment on over her summer job instead:

‘Looks like things are going well for you in your job, use of a car and everything.’

Devi smiles:

‘Yes, it’s been great getting around on four wheels.’

Sound City: Performs

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Alison Little, the artist and writer behind many North West based Arts and the creator of this very blog to perform a reading at this weekend’s Sound City.

Sound City is the award-winning Metropolitan Festival set to take over Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle this weekend. The unequalled Festival presents an array of new music and the Arts, re-enforces Liverpool’s cultural heritage. The very best of new acts are to include ‘Slow Readers Club’ and ‘Low Island’ in addition to a variety of acts from all over Europe. Now, over a decade old the Festival is in its eleventh year and looks to be most anticipated to date.

The Unusual Arts Sourcing Company is set to take over the former Cains Brewery site. Named one of the Best things about Sound City 2017 they are back for the second year. We are to join in with life drawing, listen to poetry and watch the operatic performance over the two-day event. Tapas and an array of drinks available from the cafés and bars present in the newly transformed arts venue.

‘All the Fun of the Fair’ is an extract from the Novel ‘Casual Nexus’ which Alison is looking to publish in the autumn of this year. The novel follows a young girls journey from childhood into early adulthood encompassing all turns, many of which are ultimately tragic. The reading is to take place at 5:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday, the art form, a giant representation of a lobster to be present throughout both days.

The best on offer for this Bank Holiday weekend.

Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th of May, Cains Brewery, Liverpool.

Free Entry to Cains Brewery Village

Sound City

The Unusual Art Sourcing Company

Cains Brewery Village

 

A-Z of Amazing Women

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A-Z of Amazing Women is the new range of prints from Alison Little. The main print takes us through a range of iconic women alphabetically, these are combined with a range of prints of individual women with short statements. She Talks us through why she selected the women for the new range:

Anne Frank                                 The young girl whose diary gave us a real insight into the                                                      Holocaust.

Mary Berry                                  A national treasure, the cooking show host who                                                                      frequents our TV screens.

Cruella Devil                              The 101 Dalmatians leading lady that really kicked ass.

Diana, Princess                         She stole the heart of the nation, her legacy will live                                                               on for eternity.

Emmeline Pankhurst                Led the Suffrage Movement into women gaining the vote.

Florence Nightingale               The nurse who became a Victorian icon and through                                                             making her rounds became known as ‘The lady with the                                                       Lamp’

Ariana Grande                         The singing superstar who helped survivors after a suicide                                                     bomber detonated an explosion at the Manchester                                                               Arena during her performance.

Barbara Hepworth                   The sculptor who led the way for women to work with                                                             heavy materials such as bronze.

Laura Ingalls                              The pigtail parading young lady who inspired young girls                                                       during her appearances in ‘Little House on the Prairie’

Joan of Arc                               The 15th Century female warrior who led the French to                                                           victory, when finally capture she was executed.

Kelly Holmes                              Double Olympic Gold winning runner who was awarded                                                       a Dame hood.

Sarah Lucas                              Leading feminist artist who represented Britain in the                                                               Venice Biennial in 2015.

My Mum                                   The ladies which raise, support and cherish us throughout                                                      our lives.

The Nolan’s                               The seventies all Irish sisters who sung there way into the                                                        limelight in the seventies.

Oprah Winfrey                         The all loving talk show host who became America’s first                                                        multi-billionaire Black person.

Pocahontas                             The native American who stared in the folk tale by saving                                                      the life of an English man held captive when her own                                                            father tried to execute him.

The Queen                               Simply, the Monarch.

Eleanor Rathbone                   The Liverpool member of the Suffrage movement who                                                          helped get women the vote.

Sylvia Plath                               The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet acclaimed for her                                                                    collections.

Tracey Emin                              Turner prize-winning artist famed for ‘My Bed’, the                                                                     installation which caused controversy.

Eunice Huthart                         The contestant that beat the Gladiators then went to                                                            Hollywood to become a stunt double.

Vera Lynn                                 ‘The Forces Sweetheart’ who entertained the troops during                                                    World War Two.

Amy Winehouse                       Legendary for hit such as ‘Back to Black’ and ‘Rehab’ her                                                       music will live on forever.

Beatrix Potter                            The writer and illustrator who brought us books such as                                                           Peter Rabbit.

Malala Yousafzai                     The once school girl who survived being shot by the                                                              Taliban for going to school.

Renee Zellweger                     The Texas-born artist who became Bridget Jones.

All prints are A4 in size and available from Arts Hub.

Arts Hub

 

 

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Making an old £5 note count again

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Birkenhead based artist Nigel Leslie has been selected as 1 of 100 important artists to decorate an old £5 note for a charity auction. Names already signed up include the Chapman Brothers, Gilbert and George, Gavin Turk, Liverpool’s iconic Peter Blake in addition to Cyrano Denn aka Danny Crone.

‘Fivers for Artistic’ is a bright new charity set up to help mentor new young artists to overcome barriers and become self-sustaining within the art world. Fivers for Artistic said:

‘The aim of “FIVERSFORARTISTIC” is to collect 100 old fivers and convince important contemporary artists to sign and then decorate the fiver in any way they wish making the note completely original. Artistic will then auction the collection of fivers to raise enough money to launch Artistic as a CIO charity.’

‘Artistic’ the charity behind ‘Fivers for Artistic’ is a wonderful charity ran by volunteers to build creative communities and support artist’s, many of the participants are autistic.

Leslie spent the mid-nineties studying in the Capital, falling in with the Jarvis Cocker, Damon Albarn and Damien Hirst crowd that centred around St Martins. After a decade of hard parties, sofa loafing and at times making some Art. He returned to Liverpool in 1999. Through his abstracts, he combines figurative forms which play strong relation to the environment in which they are placed. Indications of human forms appear to effortlessly wiped onto the canvases. Some imply elements of bone structure and skull forms, weapon like straight edged are often added. The simplicity of the often brightly coloured environments which the figures have been placed often suggest disturbance. ‘Wrecked’, one of Leslie’s latest works was created last year and reflective of the emotive relationship which is played out within the Metropolis, directing us towards feelings of turmoil. We get the impression of a ship like for from the base, an indication of an old-fashioned wind powered, sailing vessel. Central to the ship there is an indication of a central figure, possible a human form of even a feline based creature. The pink tones of the water suggest a blood, combined with a simple line of the horizon they are not intrusive in regards to the central focus. The title ‘Wrecked’ looks at the idea of awakening from a night of drinking and general misadventure suffering the consequences and deciphering what had happened the evening previous evening.

On Thursday morning the postman posted a prominent package for Leslie: the old fiver had finally been delivered. So in fitting with Leslie’s creative practice when asked how he was intending to decorate the well-worn note:

‘Not sure yet.’

was an appropriate response. Like his studio application techniques where he cements on layers of paints then scrapes them off to imply rather than dictate a clear vision we will have to wait and see what emerges on the paper money base.

Nigel Leslie a true Liverpool talent and an old £5 note which will be immortalised for future generations when currency only exists in the electronic format.

http://www.nigelleslieart.com/

Artistic web

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In the Red Dress I Wear to Your Funeral

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In the Red Dress I Wear to Your Funeral is a poem written by Erin Belieu which appears in her latest book Black Box. The textiles based machine embroidery was created by Alison Little as a response to the poem. Erin has kindly given her permission to use the poem as the subject matter for the artwork and for the poem to be reproduced for this article.

 

In the Red Dress I Wear to Your Funeral

—ERIN BELIEU

1.

I root through your remains,

looking for the black box. Nothing left

but glossy chunks, a pimp’s platinum

tooth clanking inside the urn. I play you

over and over, my beloved conspiracy,

my personal Zapruder film—look,

here’s us rounding the corner, here’s me

waving at the crowd. God, you were lovely

in your seersucker suit. And weren’t we happy

then, before the cross-fire triangulation?

Answer me, dead man.

Wait. Here comes the best part,

where my head snaps back and you crawl

blood-addled and ferocious

from the moving vehicle….

2.

I am undead and sulfurous. I stink like a tornado.

I lift my scarlet tail above your grave

and let the idiot villagers take me

in torchlight

one by one by one by one….

Your widowed Messalina, my soprano

cracks the glasses on the buffet at the after party.

I know you can hear me.

Is my hair not coiffed like the monster’s bride,

lightning bolts screeching at my temples?

What electrified me

but your good doctor’s hand alone?

3.

I’m a borscht-belt comedienne

working the audience from behind

your headstone.

I shimmy onstage between Pam

And Her Magic Organ and

the gigantic poodle act.

Your coffin is a tough room.

Mourners talk through my set,

down schmutz-colored highballs, wait

for the fan dancer to pluck

her scuzzy feathers. But you

always loved

the livestock, didn’t you?

I say how many of you folks are in

from Jersey?

The microphone sweats

like your cock did in my hands.

4.

I help the Jews drape the mirrors. I peel the foil from

the Protestant’s bleak casseroles. The Catholics and Agnostics

huddle in the parking lot, smoking a memorial bowl.

My dear, even the worst despot in his leopard skin fez

will tell you: the truth doesn’t win, but it makes an appearance,

though it’s a foreign cavalry famous for bad timing and

half-assed horsemanship. History will barely remember that you

were yellow and a cheat, a pixilated bi-valve who consumed

as randomly as the thunderheads pass, and yet, how strange,

how many of us loved you well. So tenderly, I’ll return

what you gave me—a bleached handkerchief, a Swiss army knife

bristling with pointless blades. Tenderly, I return everything,

leaving my best evidence in your bloodless lap

5.

I go to our Chinese take away,

where the placemats say I’m a snake

and you were my favorite pig, though

astrologically you were a wasting

disease and I’m the scales of justice.

Coincidence?

Get down on your knees

and cross yourself all you want:

all systems are closed systems, dead man.

I keep my saltshaker holstered in my garter belt,

ready to spill.

6.

I recite the fairy tale

in which only I can save you: it’s our story,

so there’s a swamp instead of a forest,

and no trail but a river agog with water moccasins

winding through the cypress knees.

Your faithful Gerta, true sister

in my red pinafore,

I’ve tracked you doggedly for miles,

appearing at the critical moment,

when you take the Turkish Delight into your mouth.

I’ve arrived just in time!

It’s impossible to miss me, eager as a stain

behind the Swamp Queen’s white shoulder,

your tattered avenger, your loyal roach, who’s wanted only

you in every suppurating hut, who’s belly-crawled

through the shit-filled bogs to find you,

to whom you gave your vow, my will undone, family

asunder, my home disappeared by the charm of

your girlish tears…

and that’s it. Nothing comes next.

That’s the moment you decide, dead man.

You look into my face and gulp her

candy down. You shoot it like a bad oyster.

No matter

how I tell it, this world ends when

you swallow.

7.

I was never your Intended,

never meant to be the official widow

like that plain, chinless girl I refused to recognize

or comprehend.

But the plain ones are patient, aren’t they?

I’ll admit, she’s earned her orchestra seats

at this burial the old-fashioned way.

She’s up front, next to your mama,

that Chanel commando baked medium-well

in her spray-on tan. A rare example

of the real Southern lady, how many nights

did it cost her, patrolling

the family compound for Jezebels like me?

Your women, dead man. From here

they look like two snap peas squatting

in the same pod.

And they did their job, didn’t they?

They made it easy for you?

But later, once the ladies go,

I’ll climb down to you again.

I’ll come to you in that dirty box

where we’ve already slept for years,

keeping our silent house

under their avalanche of flowers.

8.

EYE AM THE PROMISED VISITATION

PRIESTESS OF BLACK POPLARS

MY TREES R HUNG W/ BRAZEN BELLS

EYE HAVE AUGURED THE PREGNANT SOW’S INTESTINES

RORSCHACHED                    THE PICKLED WORM

GLUED TO THE BOTTOM OF YR SHOT GLASS

EYE BRING U NEWS OF                  THE UNIVERSE

AND THE NEWS                 AINT GOOD               DEAD MAN

B-HOLD!

THE ZOMBIE COCKTAIL HOUR            OF THE YEARS TO CUM

A PURGATORY            UNBENDING AS
A BADLANDS

HI-WAY

IN THE T-LEAVES               EYE SPY YR OUTLINE

YR CORPSE                  SNORING IN A VINE-

STRANGLED HOUSE

REBEL DRAG MOUNTS THE WALLS                    LIKE A CONFEDERATE

HARD ROCK CAFÉ                O! THE BLURRED DAYZ

COLLAPSING INTO DINNERS                  WHILE THE MAID BURNS

THE FAMILY BISCUITS                  & YR WOMAN BEATS

THE GRAVY STIFF                  U ARE LOST
GANYMEDE            GONE THAT BOY

WHO POURED HIMSELF                  WHOLE INTO THE SIBYL’S

LOVING CUP                NOW EYE CUM
TO BURY U

4 EYE AM
THE GHOST OF X-MAS PAST                      AND YR FUTURE

BEGINS          NOW                 DEAD MAN

9.

I do not desist in my delusion    do not permit the victor’s history

will not admit your fake religion    what jams your fingers

in the dry vagina of tin idylls    will not    will not    go quietly

your evil goody    who cries me in the marketplace    who knocks

my ear to the pillory with false instruments    my crimes never

crimes    for firstly    I be the pretty pony of all plague    slant-gashed

a coil beneath my scum of loveliness    No!    I was    I always am

your yellow roses in a beer bottle    your weakness and reward

one organ    conjoined in the blue tipi    of floating whistles

doubled thunder coming    in my wicked mouth    to eat you and your

grandma    too    Name her! Name her    who bites you harder    little girl!

Will not say    for seconds I am filth    dirty as the damaged apple    I bore

not yours    never yours    that unspeakable sunshine    Turn your head!

Turn your head    and I’ll kindly cut it off    Yes Yes    the best reason    I am

left only    the mother of a great sun    you would go blind and    blinder to look

upon its number and    for finally I am not    of your being    being Queen

of the flat kingdoms what crop your emptiness    I do not admit these    nor

I lied    nor I betrayed    nor I am starving    for you    nor can you make me

never    Will    I disappear

10.

I peel myself

and wherever these rubied

feathers drop, a poppy unfurls

in the graveyard, each head plush

as a stitched lip.

You’re right,

it gets me high, how thin I am, my

love, the substance uncontrolled.

But this molting becomes me,

your naturally-occurring razor,

your baby I.V. Now I am fashioned

the gun so truly fired

I blast like a magic cap through

my own skin. So go on,

throw the bones

to your hairy pack and let them gnaw.

I’m done with the meat. Soon, I’ll be

demolished. I’ll step away free.

at Length

Pendle Sculpture Trail

A Quick look at the Prosal put forward by Alison Little for the Pendle Sculpture Trail.

The Proposal

Bat Hanger presents an installation where an Aitken wood tree is to be taken over by bat-like forms. The main structure of the tree to include around 100 hanging forms, similar in form to the way in which they sleep suspended upside down with there wings tucked around them. As they are to be arranged at high up points simple cable ties can be used for fitting. 10 bats in flight motion to be added in lower down positions using wall mount fittings. The bats to be represented are to be similar to the noctule bat and a tree with potential for roost to be sited. Bats to be produced through laser cut technology using plywood as a natural material, the be finished in exterior wood gloss and would simply need to be re-coated in terms of maintenance. The higher bats the be hung using cable tie above the likelihood of any vandalism. The in-flight bats the be fitted using black wall mounts, making them difficult to abduct. Use of scaffolding for the fitting of the high up hanging bats, cordless power drill equipment for the use of wall mounts.

The installation draws on the Pendle witch trials, the hanger a play on terms to address the 11 who were hanged after being found guilty of witchcraft. The Pendle witch trial held in 1612 saw the prosecution of the 12 witches of Pendle forest for the death of 10 people through the use of witchcraft. Of the 12, 11 were found guilty and hanged, there were 9 women and 2 men. 6 of the Pendle witches came from one of 2 families. It remains one of the most famous witchcraft trials in history.

For each of the 11 hanged we present 10 bats, totalling 110.

Bats have been associated with witchcraft since Biblical times, the Bible giving reference to them as unclean animals and the Old Testament prohibits the eating of bat meat. Painters, sculptors and writer have connected bats and the devil throughout the ages, the wings of the devil frequently bat like in form. These associations strengthened throughout the middle ages and into the period of the Pendle witch trials. Magic practices often require the use of bats, Shakespeare’ Macbeth using the nocturnal creature in an opening scene. In modern depictions of witches, it remains the most common companion for the satanic female.

Secondary concerns about the installation are to increase awareness of bat population decline and the work of the Bat Conservation Trust.

Pendle Sculpture Trail