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Monday, 22 December 2014

There will be Good News

Is this Karen McLeod?
Two weekends ago I, as in Karen McLeod, worked with a Performance Artist called Scottee at the Tate Britain.
I had to ask people to leave random messages on an answer machine where a series of booths were set up for this purpose only. It was part of the Radio City season and is for a podcast called 'After the Tone' Link: where at any time you can ring up Scottee and leave a message.
If you are in an art gallery you might expect this kind of thing to happen, but half the people didn't and do not want their art to move or breath or walk towards them.

Scottee on the blower
 'Please leave a message after the tone'
This is what I ear-wigged from the messages being left this weekend:              
A twelve year old girl feels guilty about not drawing anymore
A man loves his fold up bike and the fact that London allows it on the buses
A man named Fabiola died on Friday

And this is what I saw:
A lot of people are looking for the toilet
A coffee costs 80p in the Tate staff canteen
Men over a certain age will not join in with me asking them to do something. They don't get past me being a youngish woman.
Older women do not like the fact that Scottee was not wearing shoes and that he wore a mask of foundation.

Barbara ranting at a poetry night
 for drunks and dyslexics 'FRAFF'
I have not performed as Karen McLeod for a long time. Barbara Brownskirt has been the one getting all the attention. Next year there will be more of Karen than of Barbara, or at least just as much. Ali Smith, the author, my long-term occasional mentor, said to me after watching Barbara perform at Queen Elizabeth Hall, 'Do not let Barbara take over your writing. We need your writing.'

The Folder in which it all is brewing
Next year will see the completion of the new novel and I hope there will be Good News. It's been a while. A lot of little deaths have been happening. A lot of voices have got in the way and Barbara was one of the good ones to get born, because she is about being uncompromising in her passion and vision. She is the extreme of me and she doesn't mind being shit because she does not know she is shit. And humour...making people laugh is sometimes all that is bloody good.
The future is bright, the future is Karen and Barbara.
Come see us at 'Duckie' on 17th January 2015. 9pm - late.
Royal Vauxhall Tavern, Vauxhall Tube.

Or in the very least remember to let off a party popper and kiss everyone you love.
Here's to 2015