Is this thing on? Alright then. Ahem.
Short sentences, present tense.
Kate Power helps artists Julia Sniatynskyj and Shay Taylor install their work for tomorrow night’s “GROUPSHOW”. Power is in a constant state of cheerful panic. She is a fine addition to the Collective. Adele’s Cut-Up Party is exactly what was predicted – half a dozen dorks sitting around cutting up books for lulz. It’s more or less exactly what Format was invented for – there should be more of it. Except with music. And toasted sandwiches. Then DANCING ROOM takes over the basement. DANCING ROOM is what the world would be like if the Yippies won the war. No booze, no harsh punk negation, no overt politics – just silly costumes and fizzy drinks and smiles and R&B. Seeing 50-odd people dancing in a pink lamplit basement, stone -cold sober in the middle of the day is… well it’s something to see. It’s every Tuesday, come to the next one. Usually at the Reading Room.
Kay so then it’s off to Dr Ianto Ware’s zine lecture at the Writers’ Centre, via the Radio Adelaide window installation. (Which, irritatingly, is not yet installed – hopefully by tomorrow folks. You can’t rush genius. Or weird psychedelic art school nerds. Or both.)
Ianto more or less invented Format roughly 80 years ago. In a way, everything we do at Format is an embodiment of an epiphany Ianto had about society and culture when he was a fat only child – something along the lines of “Excellence is overrated, opera isn’t the sole expression of the human condition, middle-aged white men are terrible arbiters of taste, it’s okay to be shit before you get good, and it’s just as okay to stay shit for the rest of your life, so long as you and everybody else has the opportunity to have a Good Time in a Place where there is No Judgement.” On display is Ianto’s personal collection of zines – one of the biggest in Australia. Anyone with even a slight interest in how subculture has evolved pre- and post-internet MUST see this. The collection is available for viewing at the SA Writers’ Centre (google it) 12 til 5pm most days. Say what you will about Ianto – and I’ve said plenty – the stuffy, slightly conservative, borderline-autistic misanthrope is indirectly responsible for a lot of good in this town. Including a number of things that Ianto himself finds abhorrent – DANCING ROOM for example.
Which isn’t to say this town is any good. Adelaide is an awful town, mostly full of awful people. The same can be said about most cities on earth, but there’s something especially awful about the level of cultural regulation, the slow-burning racism, the horrendously myopic architecture, the culture of alcoholism, greed and exploitation, the hypocrisy, the blind cowardice, the general meanness of the place. The more often we stumble out of places like Format – or Magazine, or FELT, or the Metro, or the Jade Monkey (RIP) – blinking and avoiding eye contact and ignoring the dead-eyed sadness and desperation of everyone on Hindley Street – the more convinced I am that these places are rare, shrinking oases in a wasteland of shit.
Then again, tomorrow (or tonight, given that I only bothered to post this today) there’s a show at FELTspace off of Gouger St featuring Katie Barber an the incredibly calm, deep thinking Sam Howie – two local artists who do more than their fair share to keep this town ticking over. At the same time “GROUPSHOW” opens at Format, as well as SQUISHBOT, HACKERSPACE, DEAD TOYS, DJ WOLFPANTHER and three kinds of whiskey. And at 4am a crew of council workers will prepare our front wall for Sam Howie’s two-day mural repaint – which, we’re told, will involve projectile streams of crazily expensive acrylic.
So, yeah, alright. Let’s stick around for another year. At least until we’ve sorted out a lease in a nice country town. One with proper rain and sensible folks who don’t mind if you use their bathrooms. Strathalbyn maybe. Or Sydney.