Seeing us through to the end of the year we’ve reached out to a number of our favourite artists and cultural creatives to join us in celebrating good things. A bunch of five things that make their world go around, inspire them or just need celebrating for what they are. There’s no theme here. It’s no kind of “best of year” round-up. These are just five things of the many things identified as making the world a better place to be. We’re all about positivity. Almost all of the time. We promise…
Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard are artists and filmmakers. Their acclaimed documentary 20,000 Days on Earth was nominated for a BAFTA. Most recently they have co-curated the landmark exhibition The Horror Show! which is currently running at Somerset House until 19 February 2023. The exhibition celebrates our greatest cultural provocateurs and visionaries, examining how ideas rooted in horror have informed the last 50 years of creative rebellion in Britain. Go see! Here’s Iain and Jane with their fab five.
Rik Mayall’s Five Mantras For Life
When Rik Mayall accepted his honorary Doctorate from the University of Exeter, he gave one of the greatest speeches of all time. We play this often. This is the kind of advice we wish we'd been given when we graduated. We had high hopes, in the years shortly before we finished our degrees, the graduation speeches had been given by the likes of Malcolm McLaren and John Cale. Smash cut to 1995, and we're sat in the main hall at Goldsmiths listening to some dyslexic bloke who started a carpet selling empire on the Old Kent Road. Oh Rik, where were you when we needed you?
Gavin Bryars – Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet
Perhaps the closest we've ever come to a spiritual experience. The long version with Tom Waits is of course wonderful, but nothing will quite beat hearing it performed live at Cafe OTO. We once curated a screening programme that ended with the accompanying film Stephen Dwoskin made of a tramp walking towards camera in extreme slow motion. If nothing else, it did a pretty good job of clearing the room.
Leigh Bowery – South of Watford
'South of Watford' was a forerunner of those classic 80's Yoof TV shows. In this episode, the inimitable Leigh Bowery is profiled by a baby Hugh Laurie. It's a brilliant piece of time-travel, right back to the days of Taboo. We were particularly thrilled to be able to include one of Leigh's original outfits in the show we've just curated at Somerset House, The Horror Show! It's a piece he wore during his performances at Anthony d'Offay Gallery, which can also be seen in the exhibition via a fantastic film by Dick Jewell called 'What's Your Reaction to the Show?'
Stewart Lee – Moving to the Countryside
This bootleg recording was the only place we could find this online, but Stew's bit on moving out of London also features in the second series of 'Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle', which we highly recommend you rush out and buy. We first heard him do this at a Soho Theatre show. A couple of weeks later we went to visit a friend for the first time in rural Argyll. He picked us up from the station, and as soon as we arrived at the house he grabbed a torch to show us... a horse... in a field. Somehow the whole idea has become even funnier following the great Covid-Exodus of London.
Perhaps the most WTF moment in the entire history of movie casting (out-ranking even Arthur Lowe as a Nigerian dictator in O Lucky Man!) It's Gary Oldman as a character with dwarfism, who also happens to be the twin brother of Matthew McConaughey's "non-dwarf" character. The cast also inexplicably includes Peter Dinklage, surely a shoo-in for the Oldman character. Just to add to this sea of improbability, Kate Beckinsale apparently agreed to be in it for SAG minimum wage, on condition she could wear her "lucky hat" throughout the movie. The entire bizarre package is topped off with the strap-line "It's the little things in life that matter". You couldn't make it up. Well, you could, and somebody did. But why would you?
Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard are artists and filmmakers. Their BAFTA nominated film about Nick Cave, 20,000 Days on Earth is available from all the usual places. They're also co-curators of 'The Horror Show!' more info on that here and more on Iain and Jane right here.