BEEN THERE DONE THAT - WHEN THE CAT BITES, WHEN THE BEES SCREAM, THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVOURITE THINGS
"This is what we want from our performers, transcendence, someone to take us into the realm of magic, to cross the boundaries, to the other side of glamour, to go where we dare not...this is what The Banshees did in legions. Sioux has said she wants to be remembered as ' a thorn in the side of mediocrity'. I think she's gone beyond that: LEGEND, she is crowned."
by Bertie Marshall
COPYRIGHT © 2002, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS
Went to the Lucian Freud retrospective at the Tate Gallery -- rooms and rooms of misery, bodies prone before they die.... one painting of the artist's mother wearing a paisley print shift, the design looked as though little shoals of leeches, sucker fish, were eating the old bag alive.
Portrait of a girl -- 1975/76:
This is of a friend of mine....Katie Mckewen, eyes downcast and disorientated, flesh in grey and mud tones...a cross between Patti Smith and Jane Birkin ( Katie drowned off the Kenyan coast in 1984)... Freud's subjects don't seem to have a happy end... looking at the painting after twenty years, I thought I would feel upset, instead of numb.
I walk into another room and Francis Bacon's paintings scream and puke at me -- whew! relief...
Then on to The Horse Hospital gallery near Russell Square, which used to be a umm Horse Hospital...cobbled stone floors, stable doors, etc... currently home to an exhibition of photos -- 'PERVATEEN' -- a group of Czechlovakian teenage rent boys on drugs, clusters of boxers, Brandos, street urchins, all addled on a Nazi-invented amphetamine called Pervatin -- by photographer 'SIX', perfect enviroment for this subject, a dark sweaty box. Each photo in a different colour fliter becomes a letter that spells out the word Pervateen.
Boys with homemade scars that tell stories, cropped hair, pouting lipped, cut and plastered abused and abusing, kids with 'no future' etched across their hearts, kids of now -- Psychoboys -- world without endlessly possibilites...
The chanteuse Marc Almond stood gaping at one adolescent nipple in a shade of green, which reminded me of a story about Judy Garland: how one of her lovers asked her to gargle 'Over the rainbow' with cum in her mouth...
Siouxsie and the Banshees play two legendary nights at London's Sheperd's Bush Empire -- part of The Seven Itch Tour (careful where you scratch). The last night especially went into the beyond, with the manic genius of Budgie on drums and all things that rattle and the divinely cool Mr Steve Severin on bass. Sioux came out, stood with her back to the punters, dressed in a silver /grey pinstripe suit, swaying from one foot to the other then launched into 'Jigsaw Feeling' from their first album The Scream. Having known Sioux and Severin for 26 years (BB = Before Banshees) and seen them at various stages over the decades, nothing prepared me for the utterly devastating version of 'Voodoo dolly'... from the slow psycho tribal drums and guitar feedback and pensive bass line (which actually massaged my sphincter!)
The ritual of a little malevolent dolly sucking our blood and discarding us into the void...Sioux crashed to the floor screaming 'SHE.....SHE......' her voice fuller, deeper and scarier, now stripped to Crystal bra, twirling, whirling, whipping that mircophone cord into a nest of vipers, something in my mind dislodged, my eyes burning holes into the back of my brain.... Sioux then rolls around the floor, sitting up like a possessed ventroliquist dummy, bouncing off the foldback, like she can't get up, dolly got her? Severin sways entranced, Budgie flaying wildy..... I'm already burning effigies...
This is what we want from our performers, transcendence, someone to take us into the realm of magic, to cross the boundaries, to the other side of glamour, to go where we dare not...this is what The Banshees did in legions. Sioux has said she wants to be remembered as ' a thorn in the side of mediocrity'. I think she's gone beyond that: LEGEND, she is crowned.'
The Pervateen exhibition is on at the Horse Hospital until August 10: Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1HX (Russell Square tube station). On August 10, there will be a special evening programmed by Six, author of the Pervateen exhibition.
Picture of Siouxsie by Alexander M. Osbourne, 2002.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
was born in 1960, grew up in Catford, South London, dropped out of school to follow the Sex Pistols in 1976, and became part of the legendary Bromley Contingent. His first novel, Psychoboys
was published in 1997. For more info read our interview with Bertie
and visit his website