On Saturday the 26th September I was involved in a charity event at the Three Tanner Bank, organised by a top man Nigel Divine, to raise funds for the refugee crisis. The day was a mixture of a ‘pop up’ art exhibition and live music. It was a terrific day and evening, but unfortunately I would assume like many of these events, attendance numbers were low even though it was spread all over social media!! (Charity fatigue, wrong choice of live music, austerity, other events on that day…who knows?) However, money was made and those that attended had a great time.
What intrigued me however, was the venue. The Three Tanner Bank is an old kipper smoke-house, found snuggled into the banks of the North Shields fish quay, that is being used for all sorts of ‘pop –up’ events. It is ‘rough and ready’ and has a real throw-back feel about it that reminded me of a bohemian 21st century version of punk/new wave venues in the late 70’s and early 80’s such as Spectro Arts, the Bridge Hotel, the Bunker, the Post Office, the Delby and Bambara’s. On the whole these places were free from ‘funding directives’ and ‘cultural outcomes’, and were mainly organised by individuals, bands and collectives to facilitate the playing of music outside the ‘mainstream’ (both live and recorded), and for some more of the entrepreneurial types, to make a few bob as well! Sadly, as the entrepreneurs moved onto bigger and more profitable things, and Thatcher’s Britain took over these places and ideas, it all just seemed to just melt away, as I did in 1985 to find work in the south!!
So what am I trying to say? Is there a new wave of cult venues evolving? Maybe… Maybe I just moved away, grew older and missed everything in between, then suddenly found myself being asked to help in a great event in a venue that clawed back the memories of my youth.
For me, the event focused my ideas, especially after a post gig conversation with two artist friends who suggested that the integration of my video work, music and live performance suited my ideas and ‘soul’, much better than the closeted world of the galley system. The three-song performance video I put together for the event rekindled my enthusiasm to play live and to further explore these three creative elements of my work. After the initial fear subsided and I got back into playing live again after so many years absence, I realised that the package I had put together (with a little fine tuning) would work. The next step is to complete five more videos for the remaining remixed songs from my 2013 album CORRUPTION and organise my own ‘pop-up’ bohemian/punk event. As, after almost three years of trying to get people interested in my art, with very little success, I have come to the ultimate conclusion that no one else is going to do it for me. And why should they, I am an ‘outsider’ and I’ve never done ‘fitting in’ or ‘licking up’ too well. So, wish me luck, if you have the love to do so.