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BEEN THERE DONE THAT - NOTES FROM A HANDBAG


"So other people can tell you who you are? That's the problem with reading philosophy: you have to think. Montaigne had his dreams, farts and La Boetie; Schopenhauer had his daily routine that never varied in twenty-seven years and of course, his pet poodle 'Butz'. And I'm developing an obsession for Gasworks and empty tennis courts."

by Bertie Marshall

COPYRIGHT © 2002, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Some random bits from Notes From a Handbag the little cardboard-covered one I keep in my bag ...

"Dog days, but where are the cat nights? Summer's finally over, dropped, smashed to the ground and swept away by a dust pan and brush."

Writer Bruce Benderson thinks I'm "creating an extended promenade of our fragmented contemporary culture in all its amorphousness. Little puddles of thrill in disassociation from one another". Life seems empty, so one lives in the realm of other people's quotes.

"It is but smoke and ashes, a night dark and dreary -- since that day when I lost him . . . I merely drag wearily on": Montaigne describing his grief over losing his companion Etienne de La Boetie (a private joke = Etienne et Boetie = Stephen and Bertie = sic pun).

So other people can tell you who you are? That's the problem with reading philosophy: you have to think. Montaigne had his dreams, farts and La Boetie; Schopenhauer had his daily routine that never varied in twenty-seven years and of course, his pet poodle 'Butz'. And I'm developing an obsession for Gasworks and empty tennis courts.

I'm thinking that you dear readers (how many am I talking to?) should you feel inclined, write to me if you have any ponderences on anything -- so that this monthly monologue might at least, for a short while, be a dialogue. There, put it out there ike a dart/plane made of paper

My first film, Peehole, is about to have its premiere on 26 September at The Horse Hospital in London. It's a 14-minute profile on U.S. cartoonist Mike Diana -- just a jumble of images and scenes, starring Mike, who was busted in his native Florida for obscene publications. His comic zine Boiled Angel featured cartoons of an alternative Flintstone family, serial murders and child rape of Bam Bam and Pebbles. Most of his work looks like a psychoboy on acid gone mad with colour crayons which is in sharp contrast to Mike himself -- a shy, sweet, sly Iggy pop clone, gym bod with golden tresses, devil tattoos, known to dress in dirty jeans and Laura Ashley blouses... a boy girl. My film is also a portrait of the downtown art scene of NYC where limits of taste and glamour are still being pushed. My NY pals complain that nothing's happening there, to which I reply: "You should be in London where nothing has happened for twenty-five years!"

Echoing in my head, yes Sioux manages to get into this month's column, something she said recently at a party where we were sitting on a terrace drinking gazing up at the sky at night, blanched clouds twirling above us. "It's the doing that counts. Just doing something, that's what matters." Simple but true.

Bertie Marshall's Peehole will get its world premiere at The Horse Hospital on Thursday 26 September. Doors 7.30, entrance free; donation on door. The evening will feature a spoken word presentation by the filmmaker. The Horse Hospital, Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1HX. Tel: (020) 7833 3644

"In a fourteen minute condensation of underground New York, Marshall creates a part documentary / part homage to and featuring notorious American cartoon artist Mike Diana. Arrested in his native Florida in the early 90s on obscenity charges for his comic zine Boiled Angel, Diana now lives in exile in New York, go-go dancing by night, having S & M sex with himself by day.
Vivid, pornographic, listless and knowing, Marshall's film creates an evocative portrayal of both the artist and Manhattan by night -- a world where the creative process is bound with Catholicism, pink baby doll nighties, and Marguerite Duras."

Stills from: Peehole
14 mins UK / USA
Hi-8
Featuring Mike Diana and Michael
Music by Philip Guichard
don't explain films 2002







ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Bertie Marshall 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.











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