Sunday, 29 August 2010

Central Station - My Artist

Recently I contributed to a blog chat at Central Station called MY ARTIST. That discussion is now online: LINK


"In his contribution to the catalogue accompanying the Martin Creed exhibition at Fruitmarket, Alex Coles refers to Creed as ‘my artist’, adding that ‘everyone has one’.

My understanding of the term used by Coles is the artist whose work provokes an instinctive reaction of familiarity and affection – the notion is a romantic one. It goes deeper that ones favourite artist- it suggests a degree of ownership over them and their work. It’s the artist whose work you return to time and again, and who is always there in the background.

It may be comparable to an old, strong friendship.

It might be love.

Throughout the Edinburgh Arts Festival I have been collecting thoughts and idea on this concept from artists and curators. The responses will be collected and added anonymously below."

Thursday, 26 August 2010

15 albums in 15 minutes

I'll be spending a few days at home in Leeds for a bit of home cooking and convalescence. Before I left I was asked to complete an inconsequential Facebook survey, and I do hereby present my reply...

The rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you've heard that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag fifteen friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what albums my friends choose...

Nico - The Marble Index

Soft Cell - Non Stop Erotic Cabaret

Suicide - Suicide

Whitehouse - Great White Death

Scott Walker - The Drift

Serge Gainsbourg - Histoire de Melody Nelson

Siouxsie and the Banshees - Kaleidoscope

Current 93 - The Inmost Light

Velvet Underground and Nico

Dopplereffekt - Gesamtkunstwerk

White Noise - An Electric Storm

Coil - Musick to Play in the Dark Vol. 1

ABBA - The Visitors

Chris and Cosey - Techno Primitiv

Kate Bush - The Dreaming

Granted that took a little over the allocated time, but still I think it's a decent selection. It captures a narrative and it does so better than any of the others I saw.

Monday, 23 August 2010


Payday today, so I ordered a bunch of things:

Yukio Mishima, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, £2.54

Dennis Cooper - Period, £1.00

Current 93 - Of Ruine Or Some Blazing Starre CD, £7.99

Friday, 20 August 2010

Central Station blog chat: Mike Kelley

Mike Kelley, Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (A Domestic Scene)

Please consider if there is an artist whom you instinctively regard as ‘yours’ and, if you are so inclined, submit a short text (a paragraph approx) detailing the relationship you have, and have had, with this artist and their work.

The artist who’s had the biggest influence on me over the past 10 years has been the American artist Mike Kelley. In 2000 I visited the Royal Academy’s Apocalypse show in London and saw an installation by Kelley titled ‘Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (A Domestic Scene)’. It was a darkened stage set featuring a room with a bed and an oven. On a monitor in the corner a play was shown that used this same room with two high school students performing an absurd psychosexual narrative , all overacted to the point of hysteria. It was camp, tragic and hilarious and it was also a kind of epiphany for me. Shortly after that I went and bought his Phaidon monograph and took that along to the Fine Art course at Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee where I produced a lot of art that bore his influence, both directly and indirectly. In 2002 he released a book called Foul Perfection: Essays and Criticism and that still influences my art writing too. What I get from him is the notion that raunchiness, irony and complexity can coexist happily. I also share his deep mistrust of the entertainment industry in general, and identify with his declaration of being an avant-gardist. Maybe that’s idealistic and romantic but I think it’s beautiful.

Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (Domestic Scene) on UbuWeb

Thursday, 19 August 2010

is this about football?

Now this post isn't for everyone, so if you don't like it then maybe you should go search out some funny videos of kittens or cruise for some porn instead. But if you've any kind of fondness for The Beautiful Game then these here links may well contain something of interest:

Mole on the Wall - a great new blog about football and politics.

Football Weekly
- The Guardian's bi-weekly podcast presented by James Richardson.

Zonal Marking - An anorak's definitive guide with lots of formations, diagrams, chalkboards and graphs.

Barney Ronay - In my view The Guardian's most consistently amusing football writer.

When Saturday Comes
- The self-styled half decent football magazine.

My bookmarks on Delicious marked 'football
' - it does exactly what it says on the link.

Monday, 16 August 2010


"I'm into really sick true-life crime. My dream is to go to prisons, real dark prisons where you see rapists, paedophiles, Hannibal Lecters, murderers. Yeah, absolutely. Get inside their brain, that's what I'm interested in. I'd love to be a detective like that, or, what are they called, a psychologist. Absolutely, that would be my dream job now. And autopsies, anything about that. I'd like to cut up bodies, I'd like to go to a murder scene and try and work out what's happened. I actually looked into how to be a detective, but you have to join the police force first. I looked, I actually looked last week. I'm so into it."

What is it she finds so fascinating? "The brain, how it works. I think it's really interesting."

Decca Aitkenhead, Katie Price: 'People think I'm not normal', The Guardian, Monday 16 August 2010

Sunday, 15 August 2010


Extract from Unica Zürn, The Man of Jasmine:

How strange and soft the floor is beneath her feet!
A sort of rubber flooring filled with springs. She walks along it cautiously and attempts a small jump. This amuses her. This special flooring catapults her back into the air. It's like being at the circus.
She amuses herself with her leaps for several minutes on end and feels as light as a feather. But suddenly she finds herself in new surroundings and does not know how she got there: a door is closed behind her. There is a small barred window in this door. The face of a woman in white looks briefly behind the bars and vanishes. She is on her own and gazes about her: a strange room, old and without any windows. Electric light. The walls seem to be lined with cloth from potato sacks. The walls have holes from which straw juts out. Next to the wall is a leather mattress covered with a horse blanket. In one corner there is a round hole in the ground. That's all. A blood-curdling song intones from a stranger close by. Coloraturas, up and down, a phenomenal and very pure voice in the throes of ecstasy.
What should she do here to occupy herself? She plucks the grass from the holes in the walls and begins to play with it, and shortly she is fascinated by this game and adorns herself with blades of grass from summers long since past, then uses them to decorate her ugly leather bed as if she wished to set up home in this room for ever. She blows the dried grass into the air with her breath and watches as slowly it floats down on her in the form of dainty insects. Is she playing Ophelia, or Gretchen turned mad by her love for Faust?
She performs for the first time, just for herself, a long mime-show whose meaning and details she is later unable to recall. But while she occupies herself with her game in this gracious and imaginative way, she thinks briefly that there ought to be someone to record this mime for posterity in a little film - but there is no one.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Stefano Electro - Synthzeug Mix

Merely a post to notify anyone who might be interested that the mix by Stefano Electro on the end of this here link is a total gem. As a quick gander round Google would divulge, it was posted on MySpace back when it was just how things were done. If this post encourages one more download then it'll have brought at least one extra glimmer of happiness into the world: LINK

Monday, 9 August 2010


What follows is a sneak preview of material intended for the Skinny's ZAP! email newsletter later in the week:

You’ve doubtless heard of organisations holding an AGM or Annual General Meeting. The Yuck ‘n Yum collective will soon be holding the first ever AGK where the K stands for karaoke. Creative types from across Scotland are invited to make a karaoke video and perform their chosen song on September the 18th in Dundee, and buses will be charted from across Scotland to bring the country’s hottest arts talent to do karaoke battle. I contacted Yuck ‘n Yum’s Gayle Meikle with a few AGK questions:

What do Yuck ‘n Yum hope to achieve with this event?

Yuck ‘n Yum are really interested in playing with the concept of corporate marketing when it comes to distributing art and viewing art as a commodity.
Why karaoke?
We like the idea of using a business model such as an AGM, and we thought it would be interesting to host something that wasn’t just another networking event. We love the whole concept of karaoke and we also thought it would be a nice way to showcase video artists, filmmakers, sound artists and performers talents.
So what prizes are up for grabs?
Our top prize is £300 courtesy of Yuck ‘n Yum and Central Station plus a mini residency at the Hannah Maclure Centre's performance and cinema space. We are also awarding a prize for best performer and an audience award on the night, although those prizes are still to be confirmed.
Who are you hoping will enter?
We hope that anyone with an interest in video, music, karaoke or performance will enter. Like with our zine, if we like it then it goes in, regardless of background.
Will there be future AGK-style events?
Other groups are welcome to adopt this model. We’d love to see someone do an AGP beauty pageant for instance, but the possibilities really are endless.

The deadline for video submissions to the AGK is August 12th. For more details see

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Jute cafe bar music policy (draft)

Dear sir / madam,
Firstly, I write as a regular user of Jute cafe bar in Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre and do not mean to cause any offence or panic in contacting you. I have always enjoyed the facilities on offer and find both the building and the events to be absolutely top drawer. However, on numerous occasions over a number of years I have found my enjoyment to be severely curtailed and often completely ruined as a direct result of the music that has been played in the Jute cafe bar. Surely a "world-class centre for the development and exhibition of contemporary art and culture" (your words) should have a music policy that reflects the diverse, sophisticated and contemporary tastes of the Dundee cultural elite. Instead we hear a selection of mediocre, mass market and frankly dispiriting tripe: Snow Patrol, Maroon 5, Amy Winehouse and Jamiroquai. These are but a few of the atrocities that it has been my repeated displeasure to endure. This bar is not Top Shop but a blind person would be pushed to tell the difference. Anywhere else with a claim to credibility would go to the trouble of venturing beyond the top 40 album rack at Dundee HMV. I am by no means a "hipster" but standards must surely be upheld.
I sincerely hope the DCA can resolve this matter with great urgency. If not then blood will be shed.
Yours sincerely
Mr Ben 'Jack Your Body' Robinson

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Sophie Lisa Beresford

To the Cooper Gallery last night at the art school where I met someone whose work is, I think, worthy of your attention. I took a photo of a girl who was stood clutching a Sonic the Hedgehog toy. She then led me over to a corner at the back of the gallery, a hastily improvised picnic area where a couple of people sat making patterns with coloured plastic beads on the floor. She offered me milk and cookies as rave music rattled noisily from nearby speakers. The tableau was somehow Edenic in a thrown together, slipshod manner which was baffling and charming and the sort of situation that you sometimes find yourself in at art school. But I took a leaflet and read her text, which I found to be urgent, poetic and beautiful. Here's a short extract:

“I have always been fascinated by geometry and can feel it really deeply in my body. One of the finest examples that I have experienced all my life is the three stripes of Adidas. One day I was at a rave, while I was dancing around, these Adidas stripes were shining at me in the UV light and I asked them ‘What are the fundamentals of your power?’ and I got this answer, saying there is a zero point or a nothing and there is a plus and a minus. Everything comes out of that tension, which then collapses back in on itself forming a vortex which creates all things. Then I looked into the expansion of the number ‘3’ and drew loads. Recently I was watching something about Daoism, when the bloke explained what 3 meant this feeling washed over me and I realised that I’d learnt the exact same thing by asking the Adidas pants. I could see the universe everywhere and when he was pointing at the number 3 I could see the Adidas stripes…"

"I had always felt like an artist and have recognised myself as one. When I went to University I felt it was assumed that I knew nothing about art and that I wasn’t an artist and that I was going to be made into one. I sometimes felt like they overlooked who I already was and I found that problematic. I felt it wasn’t recognised that I kind of knew what I wanted and just needed a bit of nurturing…”

Her work strikes a chord with me because it seems real, true to its intent and is so painfully and magnificently sincere. Whereas I'm so saturated in media and irony that I don't even know what reality is anymore. When I see art such as that by Sophie Lisa Beresford I treasure it and so should you.

Pizza Shop Dance

Sophie Lisa Beresford's artist page at Workplace Gallery:

Me & Ben (3 Day Sesh)


She graduated in Fine Art from the University of Sunderland in 2008. This year she was awarded the Newcomer of the Year at the Journal Culture Awards.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Yuck 'n Yum's AGK Helpdesk subdivision

Over on Facebook you can now find Yuck 'n Yum's AGK Helpdesk subdivision homepage. There are handy hints and tips, exciting links and everything you'll need to create that perfect karaoke video: LINK

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


A selection of music videos that I've posted to my Facebook page over the past couple of months:

Sunday, 1 August 2010

AGK promo

I've been away down in Leeds to attend a couple of weddings, but yesterday in my absence the Yuck 'n Yum team filmed a spiffing video to promote the forthcoming AGK. Sure you'll agree that they played a blinder.