Monday, August 03, 2009

London Trip, 4th Day: John Foxx/DNA Exhibition Opening Party, Horse Hospital

On Monday evening, I headed over to the opening of the DNA exhibition at the Horse Hospital in London. I had been hoping to get a quick nap before the event, but no such luck—there were electricians in my hotel, drilling and making a terrific racket in the hallway. I wasn’t thrilled about feeling exhausted before the event. I think I was quieter than usual as a result.

There is a pub across the street from the Horse Hospital, and I spotted Rob Harris at one of the tables (Rob is the webmaster for the Metamatic and Ultravox sites). When I went inside, I realized that a whole group of Foxx fans and other exhibition attendees were meeting up for a drink, so I joined them, and Rob was kind enough to buy me a drink. I have never signed up with the Metamatic forum, so this was the first time I’d met a lot of the “regulars” on the forum. (I still haven’t signed up for the forum—have to do that one of these days...)

The exhibition opened a little late, about a half an hour later than expected. It ended up being really crowded, which is good for John and the other exhibiting artists, but I’m not much of a big-crowd person, so it was a bit overwhelming at times.

The exhibition had pieces on display and films from a number of artists. John Foxx’s grey suit was on display, the one that inspired the film, music, and writing connected with “The Quiet Man”. Gary Numan’s synthesizer was on display, as well as digital artwork by Nick Rhodes, and a whole section of works by Karborn. Video mixes and films by Karborn and Roger Spy played at the event, though the sound system was a bit overbearing, and the conversation of the crowd tended to drown out the film. I think the exhibition would have been best viewed on a non-opening day, to really get the best experience of it.

Brian D. took some video of this exhibition, which you can see here. (I’m talking to Karborn at about 5:58):

I saw Foxx when he first came into the exhibition, and he came right over to me. We didn’t talk long, because he needed to make the “rounds”, but I did catch up with him a bit later, and after the show. He is always very apologetic about the fact that he can’t spend more time talking with me, but I hardly would have expected that at this kind of an event. Karborn had made some special “VIP” editions of a DVD he was giving away at the event. The DVD has various video mixes/re-mixes made by Karborn; I’ve not had time to sit down and watch it properly (I hope to do that tomorrow), but he told me it was one of only 5 editions that he made, so I was well-chuffed to have received one. Karborn does some amazing video mixing work—you can see examples of it here.

The event was supposed to be over by 9:00, but I don’t think we all left the Horse Hospital until about 10:45, and we went back to the pub to grab a drink before last call. Once John was settled we were able to talk for about 20 minutes over a beer. Karborn was with us, as was Steve Malins (John’s manager), who very kindly bought drinks for everyone who came over.

I finally left the pub around 11:30 as they were closing, and everyone was heading for home. Overall, I was very happy to meet everyone, and I’m always floored by the hospitality that Rob, Steve, John, and Karborn display when I come to see them. Thanks guys, you always make it worth the trip.

I did learn a few things about some John Foxx events that have been ambiguous in their outcome. I should note, as usual, that the official sources are going to have the last word on these, but this is what I learned for what it’s worth:

Battersea Power Station: A huge multimedia event was announced a couple of months ago that was supposed to happen at Battersea Power Station sometime in September. The event is still going to happen, but whether or not it’s September remains to be seen—in fact, Steve and Karborn suggested March 2010 as more likely. John said it was all up in the air, so it might be then, might be sooner. The reason for the delay has been the size of the event, which is precedent-setting, and the interest in doing it right. Funding is an issue, and all of the different components of this rather complicated set have to come together before a date can be established.

The Vincent Gallo/John Foxx Collaboration: I’d wondered about this, since this was the first potential American gig that John mentioned to me last October. I’d heard from another friend that the Gallo thing was “completely off”, but John said it was another project on hold. He and Gallo have recorded either 6 or 8 songs (I can’t remember which number he told me—it’s “enough for an album”), and the collaboration was formed at Gallo’s behest. But not much has happened since; Gallo has moved out West, and Gallo is so busy with his own career that this project seems to be on the back burner. Whether it is permanently or not remains to be seen.

With regard to John’s “parallel career” in education, he’s stopped teaching, as he no longer has time for it, and told me that he really didn’t want that to be a “primary thing” in his career.

With no set date for Battersea, the next firm John Foxx event is at Leeds College of Music on October 29 (which I understand is more for the students there), and then the event at BCB Gallery in Hudson, New York on November 7 and possibly 8. John is also doing a “conversation” with writer and psychogeographer Iain Sinclair on December 5 at the University of Bath. More details on all events can be found here. Leeds is iffy for me—I may want to go, just because John is doing “Tiny Colour Movies”, a film/music set that I haven’t seen. I love the music for TCM, and I’d love to see John perform it, so it’s not out of the question...

One more day of London before my hellish trip home...I’ll save that for tomorrow...

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