THE ROT OF THE STARS
25 – 31 May 2015
At ICA Studio
Opening Monday 25 May
6 – 8pm
Installation open all week, with live performances
Monday 6.45 – 7.05 pm
Tuesday – Saturday 1 – 1.20 pm
with Thursday 7 – 7.20 pm
THE ROT OF THE STARS
The Rot of the Stars (ROTS) initiates communications with the isolated unicellular microbes that inhabit the plastisphere, an ecosystem inhabited by more than 1,000 species of bacteria and algae that have evolved to live on microplastic debris. ROTS, composed of visual and performance artist Jo Fisher Roberts and experimental musician and writer Mark O Pilkington, will construct a sympathetic environment charged with images, sounds, smells and light in order to open up a channel between our world and that of the microbial plastisphere. The mise-en-scène is amplified and the visual presentation complemented by daily live performances occurring at lunch time throughout the week. Please book your tickets for the daily live performances here.
ABOUT THE ROT OF THE STARS
“The Starres eat… Those falling Starres, which are found on the earth in the form of a trembling jelly, are their excrement.” (Henry More, 1656). Pwrdre Ser, or the Rot of the Stars is a pale, foul-smelling jelly traditionally associated with meteorite falls.
Formed in November 2014, ROTS is a collaboration between Jo Fisher Roberts and Mark O Pilkington. Jo is an artist with an interest in natural history and the Grotesque, currently working primarily in live art and installation. Trained at the Slade School of Fine Art, Jo exhibits internationally and teaches Natural History Illustration. Mark is a writer and experimental musician; he also founded and runs Strange Attractor Press.
“For the entire month of May I’m undertaking a 31 date reading tour of England called An English Trip. I’m going with my good pal Kjetil Nernes – the brains & brawn behind Årabrot – who is creating music for me to read over while we do shows in high security prisons, schools, libraries, record shops, bars, churches, village halls, book stores, cinemas, theatres and gig venues.
This ill advised, poorly thought out, risible adventure is, as you have almost certainly realised in quicker time than I did, part of a burgeoning mid-life crisis (triggered by a common or garden case of bi-polar disorder).
However, despite how anxious I’ve become about it now that I’m less mad and I’ve had some time to think it over, I’ve got to say, it’s been quite exciting to plan. I bought a large fold-out road map of the UK from a petrol station to lay out on my living room floor. And as I started placing small star stickers (stolen from one of my son’s Thomas The Tank Engine magazines) over various towns and cities, I tried to pin down where this idea had originated as I marked Salford, Eastbourne, Plymouth, Manchester, Bristol, Stockton-on-Tees, Durham, Sunderland, Sheffield, Taunton, Liverpool, Rochester, Cambridge, Leeds, Bradford, Birmingham, Totnes, Nottingham, Northampton, Worcester, Brighton and other destinations.
Each of the small, colourful circles of paper had been placed over the site of a gig location. Every marker stood for an opportunity I was taking to collaborate with various artists, poets, musicians, writers and filmmakers along the route.”
More, including an extract from Jolly Lad, can be found here
DATES FOR MAY
Fri 1: The Coach House, BRIGHTON – featuring Verity Spott and Kemper Norton £4 on the door.
Sat 2: Star & Garter, MANCHESTER – featuring Ten Mouth Electron & ILL. £5 door/adv. TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE.
Mon 4: The Vinyl Frontier, EASTBOURNE FREE ENTRY
Tue 5: The Book Hive, NORWICH FREE ENTRY
Wed 6: Pop Recs Ltd. SUNDERLAND – with King Ink FREE ENTRY
Thu 7: Sound It Out Records, STOCKTON ON TEES – with Rick Holland FREE ENTRY
Mon 11: NN Cafe, NORTHAMPTON – with Roger Robinson, Falling From Cloud 9 & Alistair Fruish. £3 on the door.
Tue 12: Broadway Cinema, NOTTINGHAM – with Nik Void & The Quietus At Leisure Films. £5 adv/door.
Wed 13: Drift Records, TOTNES – with The Undertakers ENTRY BY DONATION
Fri 15: The Adelphi, HULL – with Andy Kirkpatrick & The Patron Saints
Sat 16: Black Cat Records, TAUNTON – with Henry Blacker – FREE ENTRY
Sun 17 DAYTIME: Rise Records, BRISTOL FREE ENTRY
Wed 20: The Exchange, LEICESTER – with Lone Taxidermist. £5 adv/door.
Sat 23: The Old Police House, GATESHEAD – featuring Chrononautz
Thu May 28: CSV MEDIA CLUBHOUSE, IPSWICH IP1 2DX, IPSWICH 7pm, £3 Details
Fri 29: Underground, PLYMOUTH – with Sly And The Family Drone, Knifed Out Of Existence, Steve Strong & Richard Thomas. Full line up TBA
Sat 30: South Records, SOUTHEND – with Martin Newell FREE ENTRY
Four new titles arriving between mid October and mid November 2014.
We’ll have more details and ordering information available here shortly.
Watch this space.
[click on each image for a better view]
FORBIDDEN SOVIET MUSIC ‘ON THE BONE’
8 October, 7pm
£6 Advance / £8 on the door (book here)
The Horse Hospital, 1 Colonnade, LONDON WC1N 1JD
Composer STEPHEN COATES tells an extraordinary story of forbidden music, cold war culture and Soviet bootleg technology.
Many older people in Russia remember seeing and hearing strange vinyl flexi-discs when they were young. The discs had partial images of skeletons on them and were called ‘Bones’ or ‘Ribs’.
In the post war period, both the Soviet recording industry and its permissable musical repertoire were ruthlessly controlled by the State. But a vibrant, secret and risky trade grew up in bootleg records containing forbidden music. These were made on used X-Rays obtained from hospitals, cut into discs and engraved with the grooves of copied gramophone records.
Stephen will present ‘X-Ray Audio’, an Arts Council England sponsored project and 2015 publication by Strange Attractor Press, which will illustrate this incredible tale through photographs, essays, sound and film with testimonies from surviving Russians of the period.
Sound artist and researcher ALEKS KOLKOWSKI will be providing a live demonstration of recording onto X-Ray plates using vintage analogue record-cutting lathes and a commentary on groove-based recording techniques.
ELECTRIC SHEEP, STRANGE ATTRACTOR AND SCALARAMA PRESENT
ALL THE COLOURS OF THE DARK
Dir Sergio Martino Italy/Spain 1972 88 mins
The Horse Hospital, 1 Colonnade, LONDON WC1N 1JD
7PM £7 ON THE DOOR/£5 ADVANCE CLICK HERE
Hallucinatory satanists infest swinging London in this hard-to-find psychedelic Giallo from one of its boldest proponents, Sergio Martino (The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, Torso, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I have the Key). All the necessary ingredients are here, including giallo queen Edwige Fenech as the troubled victim of a psychopathic stalker, exotic West London locations and a psyched-out sitar heavy theme from Bruno Nicolai.
The Carpenters: Your favourite horror film themes played live by Filmbar 70′s Justin Harries and friend.
Cover design by Mark Titchner.
Coming early 2015.
River Peck with Tom Bolton
Sat 6 Sept , 11am – 2pm
Tom Bolton, author of London’s Lost Rivers: A Walker’s Guide, leads a walk along the full length of the River Peck, from Honor Oak Park to the Thames at South Dock. The lost River Peck is Peckham’s river, buried under south east London. It sweeps from One Tree Hill across Peckham Rye and the industrial backlands to the Surrey Docks. On the way it takes in parts of London few ever visit, well off any tourist trail.
Meeting point: Honor Oak Park, SE23 1DY
Nearest tube: Honor Oak Park
River Peck at Totally Thames
River Tyburn with Tom Bolton
Sun 7 Sept, 11am – 1.30pm
Tom Bolton, author of London’s Lost Rivers: A Walker’s Guide, leads a walk tracing part of the buried River Tyburn, from Baker Street to Vauxhall Bridge. The Tyburn is one of London’s lost rivers, buried to accommodate the sprawling city and West End – but still flowing beneath the streets. This river traces and shapes the history of the West End, including the institutions of monarchy, church and department store. On this walk you will uncover layers of social history and cultural curiosity, and find out about the controversies along its route.
Meeting point: Baker Street Station, Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LA
Nearest tube: Baker Street
Tyburn at Totally Thames
£10 – cash on the day only. Email email@example.com to book.
PLUS – THE GEEK OFF!
Sat 20 Sept, 11am – 12:30pm
HMS President, Victoria Embankment, London EC4Y 0HJ
Book tickets here
London’s Lost Rivers author Tom Bolton will be leading a new series of walking tours in July and August, details below. We strongly advise advance booking as they are sure to be popular.
Meanwhile you can still buy copies of his book from us, and we’ll have news of his follow up, The Vanished City, soon.
London’s Lost Rivers – walks with Tom Bolton
Sat 19 July – Tyburn river walk
Sat 19 July – Fleet river walk
Sun 3 August – Neckinger river walk
Sun 3 August – Walbrook river walk
Walk the lost Tyburn river
Baker Street station to Vauxhall Bridge, 3.5 miles, 2.5 hours
10.30am, Saturday 19th July
The Tyburn is one of London’s lost rivers, infamous for the gallows named after it. It traces a route through Marylebone and Mayfair, cutting behind formal streets, hidden in London’s busy West End and under London’s most famous building. Follow the lower Tyburn with Tom Bolton, author of London’s Lost Rivers, and see the underside of the London tourists know.
Meet by the Sherlock Holmes statue outside Baker Street tube station at 10am on Sunday 3rd August. Bring an umbrella if it looks like rain – we’ll go ahead, whatever the weather. End point: Vauxhall Bridge. The walk costs £10. Pay on arrival (cash only). Emailteabolton@hotmail.com to book.
Walk the lost Fleet river
King’s Cross to Blackfriars, 3.5 miles, 2.5 hours
2pm, Saturday 19th July
Under the London pavements are the city’s lost rivers, hidden in tunnels and sewers. The most famous, the Fleet, runs just below the surface of central London. Follow the lower Fleet from St. Pancras to Blackfriars with Tom Bolton, author of London’s Lost Rivers, and hear how the river ran with blood, cured the sick, shaped the city and became London myth. End point: the Thames at Blackfriars Bridge
Meet outside the Pancras Road exit from St. Pancras Station – the one opposite the German Gymnasium and King’s Boulevard – at 2pm on Saturday 19th July. Bring an umbrella if it looks like rain – we’ll go ahead, whatever the weather. End point: the Thames at Blackfriars Bridge. The walk costs £10 – pay on arrival (cash only). Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
Walk the lost Neckinger river
South Bank to the Design Museum, 3.5 miles, 2.5 hours
10.30am, Sunday 3rd August
Cutting through the South Bank and Bermondsey, this walk along the buried route of the River Neckinger reveals South London’s visionaries, dissidents, madmen and women and a selection of well-known household brands.
Meet by the Thames at Bernie Spain Gardens, the open space between Coin Street and the Oxo Tower Wharf, at 10.30am on Sunday 3rd August. Bring an umbrella if it looks like rain – we’ll go ahead, whatever the weather. End point: St. Saviour’s Dock, near the Design Museum. The walk costs £10 – pay on arrival (cash only). Email email@example.com to book.
Walk the lost Walbrook river
Shoreditch High Street to Cannon Street, 1.75 miles, 2 hours
2pm, Sunday 3rd August
The Walbrook is buried deep under the City of London, providing not only the most direct route into the vaults of the Bank of England, but guarding London’s Roman heart. Follow the route of the Walbrook with Tom Bolton, author of London’s Lost Rivers, and uncover the ancient secrets lurking under alleys and back streets.
Meet outside the exit from Shoreditch High Street Overground station at 2pm on Sunday 3rd August. Bring an umbrella if it looks like rain – we’ll go ahead, whatever the weather. End point: the Thames beside Cannon Street Station. The walk costs £10 – pay on arrival (cash only). Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
The excellent new Comics Unmasked exhibition at the British Library contains work by two SAP artists, Savage Pencil, author of Trip or Squeek’s Big Amplifier, and Alexander Tucker, artist of the Andromeon postcard set. The Influencing Machine author Mike Jay also has some early writing on display.
There are numerous special events and guests scheduled for the exhibition, and as part of these, on Friday 16 May, Mark Pilkington will also be leading tours of the exhibition’s collection of magical texts and artworks, including material from Dr John Dee, Aleister Crowley and Freida Harris. More details to follow.
[photo by Etienne Gilfillan]
‘I was born at the full moon atop a crescent-shaped hill, the main mineral found (t)here being selenite, and I have a slightly rough-edged crescent birthmark on my left forearm … so I was obviously destined to be either a werewolf or a lunatic.’ Steve Moore, 2011
We’re deeply sad to announce that Steve Moore, author of Somnium and a regular contributor to Strange Attractor Journal, passed away over the weekend, under a beautiful Spring full Moon.
Steve was a warm, wise and gentle man, with a surreal sense of humour and an astoundingly deep knowledge that covered history, the I Ching, forteana, magic, oriental mysticism, martial arts cinema, science fiction, underground comics and worlds more.
Steve was amongst the earliest members of the Gang of Fort, who launched Fortean Times magazine in the early 1970s, and later edited its scholarly journal Fortean Studies. He was also the author of a great many influential comics and short stories for publications including 2000AD, Warrior, Dr Who magazine and, most recently, the Hercules series for Radical Publishing. At the time of his death he was working on a number of new projects, including his ongoing, privately published Tales of Telguuth and The Bumper Book of Magic, with his lifelong friend Alan Moore.
In 2011 Steve gave a rare interview to Aug Stone of The Quietus, while Alan Moore’s book and album project, Unearthing, explored Steve’s life, their friendship and their magical relationship in great detail.
Steve and Strange Attractor had recently been discussing a paperback edition of Somnium, as well as a collected Tales of Telguuth, and we hope to be able to make these available, in Steve’s honour, in the near future.
‘Pay attention to his spectacles, refracted light turning the puzzled eyes beyond the lenses into abstract clots of pearl and white. Just change the point of view a little, move an inch or so to one side or the other and the optical illusion fails… There’s nobody there, was never anybody there except a fluctuation in the visual purple, a perceptual misunderstanding, trick of moonlight.’
Alan Moore, Unearthing
Steve Moore 1949 – 2014