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BRITISH-IRISH-POETS  1998

BRITISH-IRISH-POETS 1998

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Subject:

Reading versus Performance Audience...

From:

Pete Smith & Lyn Richards Wool <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Sat, 21 Mar 1998 15:04:37 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

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...Being a True Account of a Writing at the Kootenay School of Reading,
March 19 1998: Nico Vassilakis & Maxine Gadd.
[NB: a hallmark of other events I've attended at KSW has been the
total respect during the reading/performance.]
Who is it saying that and is it what they are saying I am hearing?
There were about 12 people present. Two of the twelve were readers or
reading writers, Nico & Maxine, others were writers too, Gerry, Judith &
Rob for three. Most probably. What's that? Most probably were
writers, listening writers that night. Did they hear what I heard? Rob
introduced Nico: the memory loop's gone on those words. Nice is the
flavour of the memory stain: it was an intro it has to be nice. Nasty
would be a nice change: rile & ruffle it up a bit. We're supposed to be
subversive, not perverse. Necessarily. Nico read from a text made of
early grade grammar rules: no words in my memory cells, the stain is a
pale watercolour. I happen to like watercolour. A man with a
grey-white pony tail pulled masochistically back, lighting his
cigarettes, trying to look like Clint Eastwood, giving cash to the
beautifully ugly young man, seems to be dripping wet from Narcissus'
pool: a goddamned camera. Is that a performance? Is he in cahoots with
Nico, some kind of counterpoint? I'd say No: Nico's shifting from foot
to mouth - getthefuckoutahere - did he say that or me? Secret selves
were everywhere nowhere to be seen. I heard two, though, around the
corner of the Or Gallery, aggressive stage whispers. Nico reads through
distractions & all: others seemed able to focus. Interlude. The man
whose personality is leading him around hails Nico, "Do you drink,
Poet?" The young man has left. Listeners now talk, perform perforce.
I look around the listening, talking groups of people & wonder which one
is Ernest Slyman. Those others are still all hid. Five, ten,
fifteen...
The performance audience crasher really cashes in on Maxine's turn.
Leans forward, click; stands against the wall, click; lights a cig. Now
he's clicking some of the watcher-listeners. Swigging water, lighting
up, now walking to the back where the young man's returned. Maxine is
apologising for a promised new work not yet finished, shrugs, says
she'll read some sections though. The inner voice's ragings about the
asshole begin to subside: the poems sound good, "Subway" was in the
title, "what was it called?" I ask myself, "Just listen," a less patient
me hollers. I shift in my seat, hope no-one heard that. The young man
impatiently indicates that words are not his fix. Maxine's eyes are
closed, she's reciting: something shamanistic, almost. The two pools of
froth at the corners of her mouth are beginning to get bigger & the
visual field now grows louder. I look away to the portraits of French
Revolutionaries & Reactionaries on the wall, try to tell them apart,
close my eyes, fight to keep her words uppermost in my head. Maxine's
words are losing out: must find someone to record it when RFRF
broadcasts it. Sounded so powerful. I was here, how could I have
missed so much...Clapping. Over. The guy is trying to smile at me, I
talk to Gerry; he grabs my shoulder, thrusts out a hand, twice, says,
"Hi, didn't we meet at the Blaser Conference?" Shit, why isn't Lyn
here? I sneak behind the shield of my profession, "Then we have to talk
..." I advise back in L.A. he locate a good neuropsychologist, look
into meds for executive function...the young man's back with a trophy in
his palm...I get outside. On the street between Main & Manitoba,
Diogenes' deconstructed godchildren, the Performance Sidewalk, do a
remarkable, hallucinatory version of a downtown skidrow: piss, puke,
mimes, pimps, twelve year old hookers. The city's collapsed vein
teeming. "World hang over. Clang ode & we bleed language of it."
[Deanna Ferguson - "A Treatise on Reason"]
Pete.


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