Monday, March 21, 2011

Tony Conrad – Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain

What normally happens is this: I listen to what I’m reviewing through the week, thinking up thoughts and ideas about what I’m going to write and come Saturday the words magically appear on a white rectangle and I save them and post them on my blog. Except for this week when I was struck by a hideous malady. An illness so henious and insensitive in its effectiveness that it had the impertinence to appear on Friday morning and clear up on Monday morning [just].

This then to let TDOTEP, Hypnogogia, Rob Hayler, Stan Reed [I’m assuming its Stan but if its not then thank you to the person who sent me the two LP’s from the States featuring BSBC etc ..] and Hyster Tapes that their work is here and has been played. The words are in my head floating about. Its getting them onto the white rectangle thats the hard bit.

Here then, in place of my usual weekly ablution, a review from about five years ago. At the bottom you will find a link that will enable you to replicate this experience, if only for about three minutes.

Tony Conrad – Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain
Leeds City Art Gallery – April 3rd April

See that saw Tony? Saw it good. Take that violin and saw the saw, saw that fucker into little pieces in your Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain journey. Saw it up your arse and never come back and haunt the dark streets of Leeds ever, ever again. Nothing personal of course. Maybe I should have got stoked on some decent whiskey like Campbell. I could see his baldy head bouncing around down the front. I was sat at the back had been up since 5.30 that morning and had little sleep the night before. I wasn’t in perfect condition for an arduous ninety minute drone-a-thon so this review is somewhat tainted.

Maybe I should have got ripped on some appropriate drugs, spent all day in the Duncan or maybe stayed in bed a little longer the night previous. Whatever, I was beyond tired and had only really gone to see Kyle who had come all the way from NYC so I had to make the effort. We made small talk outside the venue whilst he doled out vegan sandwiches to his family, I could just about make out his accent from underneath his big bushy beard, his kids were cute and impeccably behaved, we should have gone to the Victoria instead.

It was a sell out. All of us sat there in rows with a four paneled screen to the fore. Each screen slightly angled. The violin began its sawing and the right hand screen flickered with a grainy image of black and white alternating strips. The one violin was joined by other instruments. I couldn’t tell which was which as the players were behind us but one of them made big boinging sounds like when you pull out the bottom ‘e’ of a bass guitar as far as you can and let it go with a massive TWANG. There was some kind of instrument that made nice resonating sounds that could have been played by a Japanese lady but I only got glimpses of them after the dust settled so I can’t be sure. And then another of the screens came to life with another jumping around black and white grainy image. The woman in front of me was beginning to fall asleep. I became more transfixed on her slowly descending nodding head as I was the flickering screens. Eventually all four screens were filled with jumping around black and white stripes. My back ached and I shifted around trying to kill the numbness in my arse cheeks. I resisted the temptation to look at my watch fearing that only ten minutes had passed and hoping that it was more like eighty five. I lost all track of time. I eventually noticed that the four images were slowly moving into each other. Maybe when all four screens merged into one the whole thing would be over and I could go for a pint before heading back home. I shut my eyes and could feel myself falling asleep. The sawing continued. I felt as if I was tripping, as if I was having a bad dream, as if I was trapped. Some people were walking out but how long had they stood it before realizing they could take no more. Maybe I wouldn’t be able to take it much more. My back was stiff. I moved my legs and watched the nodding woman for a bit more. Eventually the sawing and throbbing and TWANGING slowed to a halt. People applauded, some whooped and whistled but I think most people were just glad it was all over.

I eventually made it to the Victoria. Wire scribes propped the bar, copy already running through their heads, pints at elbows nodding knowingly to TC when he appears in his pensioner’s coat and bend in half shoes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i gave tony yr home address - he sez he's coming round to sort you out good + proper next time he's in yorkshire ... the guy's a MANIAC + carries a blade