HAIR OF THE DOG: A PUNCHEON OF RACHELLE TOARMINO (72 imp. gal.)
Lydia Hounat interviews Peach Mag's Rachelle Toarmino on teaching, writing and the Internet.
(...) Writing has always felt like a natural outlet to me. I'm interested in finding new ways to feel, and then reporting back on those feelings with language. A lot of my poems begin as notes to other people; I'm deeply type A, and when I want to say something important to someone, I feel a pressure to make sure it's as efficient and meaningful as possible.
As for writing in Spanish: no, and I don't plan to. Spanish is my second language, and I try to be mindful of what it means to be a white woman who speaks Spanish in a country that is quite cruel to those who speak Spanish as their first language. In my work as an editor, though, I'd love to expose myself to more poets writing in Spanish, and lately I've been really drawn to translation. I love reading bilingual editions of poetry collections; I think you need to not only have a mastery of the language and understanding of the culture, but also a unique perspective to contribute to the feeling of the poem. Maybe there's a future project in there somewhere.
I see how you integrate internet linguistics into your work, acronyms to smileys etc. ‘Brennifer "texting each other again”’ from GRAPHIC, your chapbook, works with emojis. Do you feel like online communication is an art form in and of itself?
I think I'd feel really inauthentic as a writer if I never mentioned or made use of internet linguistics. Sometimes I'll read a whole short story written by someone our age, and it'll be written in the first person with a really narrative-driven plot, and the protagonist will spend whole days without any mention of checking their phone or sending an email. Why? I think there's this weird pull as a young writer to edit through the gaze of an established, older writer, but I'm trying to resist that. I like to write as if my reader were one of my best friends. Emojis, texting, memes, social media--they might have originated in digital space, but that space interacts with and is a part of our spoken linguistic lives.
Do you think internet communication is denigrating language or is it just a part of language’s evolution?
It is absolutely part of language's evolution--end of story. I think people forget that languages represent the groups of people who use them, and not vice versa; they're a technology, and when someone begins to use that technology differently, we call that evolution. There are no rules! I like to tell my students that grammar and spelling, for instance, only exist to help us understand one another's speech and writing more clearly; that's important, but what's more important is that people are ultimately expressing themselves. I think the idea that internet communication is denigrating language comes from a fear of one's culture changing, which is such a simple and entitled reaction to aging within the space that surrounds you. Get over it.
You told a kid to “get their mouth off that aquarium” once. What was that all about?
Oh g*d. I organize and help out with a variety of extracurricular clubs and activities at my school--newspaper club, creative writing club, STEM, the annual middle school musical--and last year, while doing a read-through of High School Musical in a room full of forty or fifty children, I looked up from my script to find an eighth grade boy kissing the glass of the art teacher's axolotl tank. The kiss lasted several seconds. I've personally found that the best way to earn cred from kids that age is to catch them doing weird shit and call them out on it--the more savage the roast, the deeper the respect. My job is so surreal sometimes.
Does being a Spanish teacher directly influence your work? Do you feel your interactions with your pupils tell you a lot about who the next generation are?
Absolutely. Kids are masters at turning anything into a joke. I get to laugh a lot at work, which I'm not sure most people can say about their day jobs. Humor and childishness have a big influence on my writing, and the hard work and gratification of connecting with a room full of people has affected my style of performing at readings as well as my motivation in pursuing many of my editing projects.
As for the next generation, they're smart as hell. I joke a lot about the dumb things kids say and do, like when I overheard a student yodeling the word "daddy" for at least a few minutes last week, or how my sixth graders have renamed the game "Caliente o Frío" (Hot or Cold) to "Caliente o Fritos," but the truth is that these kids have given me a lot of faith in people. If teenagers were allowed to run for office, I'd vote for them every time; no demographic is as disgusted by injustice or obsessed with unfairness as kids. They're effusively and fearlessly kind, and they're more equipped with information than any other generation that's come before them. I think adults should be a lot nicer to them.
Does working with kids must make you wonder about your own generation and where we’re going as a selective? You wrote a piece called "late millennialism" for Metatron, how does being a millennial in the USA feel?
I worry about my generation. We're all mostly broke, without healthcare, in an unfathomable amount of debt, and we're constantly made to feel like we have to argue our humanity and basic needs to those who make decisions for us without even including us in the conversation. I think we're skeptical as hell and very intelligent. We're trying to reevaluate and reconstruct our relationships with money, gender, race, sexuality, abuse, and trauma, and do so in a caring way that prioritizes the safety--both physical and emotional--of one another. Sadly, being broke, smart, and loving makes us extremely vulnerable to struggle. It's tough. I wrote "late millennialism" because, at the very least, I'd like to make my generation laugh.
When did you start writing and why? Do you ever write in Spanish?
I've kept a journal since I was in kindergarten, though that first one was just pages and pages of the different words that rhyme with "cat" in glitter crayon. I was obsessed with cataloguing emo lyrics on Livejournal in high school, and got very into creative nonfiction in college, but I came to poetry pretty late. It was after college, while I was living in Spain, and I had discovered an online community of poets whose work really inspired me to believe I could write poems too. I liked the freedom of poetry in that you can make the reader work a little harder. I've always struggled with structure and transitions, and though those are also important elements in poems, there's a lot more creative license than in fiction or essays. (cont'd on left...)
Rachelle Toarmino (@rchlltrmn) is from Niagara Falls, New York. She is the author of the chapbook series of paparazzi poems, Graphic (Ghost City Press), and the chapbook of embroidery poems, Personal & Generic (PressBoardPress, 2016). Her writing has most recently appeared at McSweeney’s, Metatron, Shabby Doll House, and other places online and in print. She was longlisted for this year's Cosmonauts Avenue Poetry Prize with guest judge Tommy Pico, and was Buffalo Seminary's 2018 Elizabeth McNulty Wilkinson Poet. She is the cofounder and editor in chief of Peach Mag, and recently served as an assistant editor of My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry (BlazeVOX, 2017). She lives in Buffalo, where she teaches Spanish at an elementary school and is pursuing a master’s degree in education.
hair of the dog: a Solomon of Oscar Lyons (20 L)
Edward May discusses futurism and politics with Oscar Lyons.
Do you think you could describe your practice to me?
So far I have primarily produced video work, but my main interest lies more so in the material physicality of set productions. I’d say filming has become more of a tool for recording performative constructed scenarios. I explore themes surrounding the utopian impulse, with references to science fiction and amateur world building. Amateur means ‘the intent to create something in which you have no traditional training’, as well as its alternate meaning which is to be ‘a lover of something’. I want to visualise the link between how a utopian and an amateur producer thinks; they are both dreamers wanting to create a reality far beyond their means.
You are interested in politics and the way in which society functions. Do you think you could outline your views as concisely as possible?
I’m interested in how people perceive and interpret the future. At the moment, people more often than not believe that the world will only ever get worse. I guess I’d say that in comparison to others, I probably have more of an optimistic belief in the future. Sorry if I sound like a self help book, but I think that by envisioning alternative futures, this shapes how we live our lives and if we don’t believe there is a future there wont be one.
How have these views influence the work that you make?
I try to position my work in discussions on how the future could be, or how others perceive it will be. My fascination with amateur world building comes from an interest in obsessive thinkers, who dream up improbable ideas. This comes down to my own frustration with the lack of societal progress and an urge for a return of grand narratives (i.e. some future to aim towards). Amateurism is a good place to start.
What's the most recent piece of work you've made? Do think you could describe and explain the work?
The last completely finished piece would probably have to be ‘Orbis’, which was a film piece produced in collaboration with Venta. It followed the conflicts on the fictional planet Orbis between the utopian groups that we envisioned would live there. With each group representing a certain common utopian attitude apparent in contemporary politics, we questioned how these groups would live their lives based upon their beliefs, (i.e. more globalism vs. more localism, collectivism vs. individualism, the preservation of nature vs. technological progress). Also, due to the political climate surrounding Brexit, we wanted to use the format of a fictional referendum, to demonstrate why these groups struggle to communicate, understand each other and collaborate on one singular common goal (or better yet, a common utopian vision).
How has your practise developed over the course of the past few years since starting your foundation at the Royal Drawing School? Where do you see it going in the future?
I think even at Drawing School my works always had a strong materiality to it, as well as following themes around futurism. I think I’d like to progress to making work not only about our relationship with the future, but also our past, and possibly delve deeper into concepts surrounding the retro-futurist aesthetic .
hair of the dog: A Methuselah of thinking (6 L)
Jonathan R. Parsonage documents the culture of 2018 in this prose-poetic personal essay.
It’s easy to see. There are bicycles lining the streets. Councils invest in them, they aren’t just a trend anymore. It’s a way of life. Your coffee is artisan. Your tobacco is loose.
You can hear it too. Walking into a record store, it’s vinyl that greets you. Overpriced, smiling out of the windows at the cold street. You can smell it in the incense that’s all the rage.
You can feel it. The vintage clothes, unwashed, baggy on your arms. Pressing against your skin as a gust of marijuana-air limps towards you and asks you for change.
And that’s the word: change. It has been apparent for quite some time that there is a quiet war. You look at your phone. You take a photo of your post-vegan-pre-organic-liberated-kale-buddha-bowl. You turn to your friend as he rolls his American-Spirit-lime-moistured-liquorice-wrapped-clipper-lit roll-up. Your Ray-Bans dent your nose, your dad’s nose was thinner. Yours got wider over a loo-seat as the bus-ticket-ball-wrap-ink-stain-pink-powder filled it.
It’s immediacy. That’s clear. The argument against constant stimulation is so old-hat I’m surprised people still talk about it. Knowledge is a flirty whisper to your iPhone away. We’re all having an affair with Siri. 534 people in the world liked your post, your friend’s post looked ‘pretty much the same’ and he got 634. That’s a hundred people that will never be on your friends list, block them.
Imagine 100 people bursting into your room as you lie in bed. Giving you a thumbs-up. How surreal. A small army standing in a student flat, glued together and nameless.
Not all’s lost. The love of the tangible is creeping back. You may order your vinyl online, but you drop the needle, play it, raise the needle, flip it, drop the needle, play it, raise the needle, flip it, and look at it: side A, then side B. You hold it.
You put it away, on a wooden shelf, you sit down and open a wooden window, and you fumble in your ripped jeans for a rizla. You hold your rizla, an open envelope. You filter it; safety over sepia. You fill it, you roll it up, you lick the gum, you put it to your mouth. You send that envelope 1st class. The urgent letter, waiting in your mouth. Nicotine knocking at the door to your lungs and, of course, you let it in.
Immediate gratification in real-time. No ‘likes’ stealing the lime-light as you sit there alone in a tangible silence, on a real chair, with real polluted air rising around you.
It’s easy to see. From your window you see a bike go by. Another one, then another one.
You hear the spokes spinning. Tick-tock, smoke rising.
You feel it. The nicotine shakes your brain’s pink hands.
And just when the moment is real. Just when the room is hugging you, just as the chair is solid, just as the mood is moving.
‘You’re such a fucking asshole’
Someone’s come into the room, but you’re on your own. Someone’s kicked in the door. Someone, somewhere, was thinking of you, asshole. Your phone doesn’t have a doorbell. No one comes to check on you anymore.
Edit out your eyebags. No one needs to know.
JONATHAN R. PARSONAGE
HAIR OF THE DOG: a tun of Tom Austin (216 imp. gal.)
Edward May interviews Tom Austin about his art practice and what motivates him to create.
Do you think you could describe your practice to me?
My practice covers a range of mediums; I use everything from painting and sculpture to video and performance work. This allows me to explore whatever ideas I am interested in, in a variety of different forms. Sometimes these separate practices feel like islands, I’m always trying to make sure these islands are interconnected.
Since graduating however I have focused more on video and performance work, this is partly to do with not having any space, but these are also the two mediums which are the most exciting to me at the moment. They mirror each other nicely, the video work involves props, costumes, sets, and some bad acting. In the performance work I am normally just being myself, attempting some kind of process or activity, and exploring ideas live.
What is the motivation that you have for making work? Are there any major artistic influences? Or other influences not connected to the arts?
I like to make artworks because they help me figure things out in my own head, I hope that my artwork could someday do that for someone else. My practice is very inspired by a bunch of American artists from the 80s, people like Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley, and Ericka Beckman. These guys really made a lot of breakthroughs in the way they approached video and performance work, I am especially interested in how they began to blend the two. By using masks and costumes they were really key in moving these genres of video and performance away from the focus on the artist’s body and actual reality and towards something more constructed and playful. Along with them I am also a big fan of Jeff Koons, I really admire the way they all used humour, violence and kitsch within their work.
What is the most recent piece of performance art that you have shown? Do think you could describe and explain this work?
I did a piece called Flow of Energy, it was performed in an art space in Toulouse called IPN. It was a combination of speech, diagrams and me interacting with some objects I brought into the space, bin bags, a hose, some whistles.
I think the performance went well actually (despite the fact no one understood it because everyone only spoke French). It achieved what I want my performances to achieve; an idea was slowly explored, live, through speech, diagrams and actions. I am happy with the piece because despite the fact people didn’t speak my language I still got the feeling people understood it, perhaps because I was exploring these ideas in many different dimensions.
How did your work change whilst you were at art school? And how has it changed since leaving?
Towards the end of my time at art school I began to take an interest in fabrics and sewing. I have kept making costumes and slowly over time they have become more elaborate and my sewing abilities have improved. I really enjoy costume making, I’m currently designing and making all the costumes for an upcoming film I’m working on in collaboration with VentaCorp.
You are part of the artist Collective, Ventacorp. Could you give me some more information about how the collective came about and past and future projects?
Yes, the collective consists of four members (myself, Robert Ive, Oscar Lyons and Edward May); we studied together and have a very similar set of interests. The collective came together very organically, a lot of time spent together talking about art and science fiction. We were collaborating together and organising exhibitions together before deciding to make a feature length science fiction film together, Orbis.
Since graduating we have each moved to different places, so things have slowed down a little but now we are working on a new project, we are producing a film inspired by the writings of the 20th century Russian philosopher Nickolai Fydorov.
It’s still in the early stages so I don’t want to give too much away but it should be out at some point in the second half of 2018.
HAIR OF THE DOG: A jigger of Robert Ive (1.5 fl. oz.)
Robert Ive creates artworks which explore the physical environments that surround us and how they influence the way we view the world. His work explores the effects of contemporary technology and its position in ‘designing’ the world. He uses science fiction as a way of exploring this through an experimental process spanning film, drawing and painting. He is currently based in Bristol. Since graduating in 2017 from Falmouth University, he has completed a residency at Spike Island and exhibited with Circle Triangle Square and the Newlyn Gallery.
Do you think you could describe your practice to me?
I have been making films, drawings and paintings that explore environments and investigates the ways in which thinking happens through them. How does architecture affect ideologies? When does nature stop and landscape begin? I have been interested in the differences between place and space for a long time, and while my work is not purely about this one question; I keep coming back to it, and I see most of my art as linked to it in some way. When making art, I will often experiment with a certain medium and see how I can shape it to examine these topics.
What is the motivation that you have for making work? Are there any major artistic influences? Or other influences not connected to the arts?
One of my main influences is science fiction. I am fascinated by its exploration of the human condition. It allows us to speculate about how the future will be. This is important for art making as it is often technology that drives shifts in Art history. Good science fiction really illustrates how humans are linked to nature and what happens when we may try and shape it; be it through utopia or space travel. I think that I try and question the position of technology in our world through my artwork and investigate the problems which crop up when technology attempts to redesign the world.
What is the most recent piece of work that you have completed? Do think you could describe and explain this work?
The most recent piece of work that I have completed is a completely abstract painting, which is unusual for me, but I was compelled to paint it after spending a week in Cornwall with a group of Concrete artists. I wanted to see if I could make work in their way. The design for the painting is based on a code that I wrote which generated moving shapes; a lot of my work comes through a process of image finding and I gather images to shape what I want to make.
How did your work change whilst you were at Falmouth? And how has it changed since leaving?
While I was at Falmouth my work became a lot more digital in its nature, maybe as a reaction to the attachment to traditional practices at Falmouth University. I was using computer animation to generate virtual spaces, and with virtual spaces I would create films. These virtual renderings were stages for peculiar happenings, as the objects inside them will shape shift, roll around clipping through the walls and set on fire.
I have recently moved to Bristol and this has made my work less computer based. I am also trying to work around making things with less resources than were available to me whilst I was at art school.
What are your plans for future works?
Venta, the collective I belong to are creating a film based on Cosmism, an old Russian philosophy that wants to bring everyone who ever lived back to life and have humanity join together to colonise space.
I am also helping to put on a science-fiction themed dinner party with a group called Uncollective, who also studied at Falmouth, as part of Bristol's food festival in June; the event will be a mixture of a meal of strange foods and a performance that will send the audience through a turbulent world of the future.
I am also starting a new series of Zines called "Symbio" which will be a combination of images and texts that jostle for attention; finding ways to contrast them to produce a disorientating narrative.
All these projects, while unrelated, seem to all be exercises in world-building.
HAIR OF THE DOG: A HeFTy GROWLER OF ALEX CAMPBELL (64 fl. oz.)
Taking inspiration from confessional and psycho-somatic art, and with a strong belief in the power of art therapy, Alex Campbell, 24 is forging her way as a freelance artist. Alex, who is known by her friends as ‘The Latex Queen’, talks about her life in a pretentious art-world that really, really, pisses her off.
This is the first interview that Alex Campbell has ever done, yet she’s anything but nervous. Could it be the wine we’ve been sharing since the early afternoon? Perhaps, but there is a confidence simmering under the surface of her skin: and it’s certainly stronger than our corner-shop Shiraz.
Alex rolls her cigarette quickly. A tuft of tobacco sticks out of the end. She puts a strand of her autumnal hair behind her ear as she lights it.
A deep toke, a long exhale, and then:
‘I’m quite a quiet person. I speak quite quietly.’
She begins to talk about how her mum helped her make collages of leaves when she was younger, how she was forever doing potato printing, but thought nothing of it.
‘I wasn’t ever destined to become an artist, it’s just something I wanna do. I never really engaged with it until GCSE, when I was like, ‘fuck it, I’m gonna do Art’. I was shit at Art, like, crap, absolute crap. I traced everything, got an A*, and was like ‘fuck it, I’m gonna do it at A-Level.’. She lights a cigarette, she doesn't breathe out the smoke. Instead, it oozes between her words,
‘I didn’t have another avenue to go down.’
The quietness has clearly gone out of the window, unlike the smoke that hangs in the air. The smoke presides over us and then parts as she sits forward and says,
‘When you’re institutionalised you’re taught how to perceive art, how to critique art, how to create art, which I think is really damaging. You’re limited. I want to make things that are aesthetically pleasing, you see a painting and you engage with it because of how it looks; brushstrokes, whatever. I’ve never gone in for the, ‘I did three lines on a page and that’s about fucking veganism’, that’s just bullshit. At uni I’d always say, ‘Girls, I’ve made this artwork and I’ve got no idea what it’s about’, and I’m not sure it matters.’
‘I went to uni as a painter, but I was told to experiment with different mediums. No one else was using latex. Now I make latex sculptures, and they all call me the ‘Latex Queen’. Getting up at 4am and making sheets and sheets of latex is like a ritual. Stretching latex over a frame, ripping bedsheets. It’s tactile.’
All of the associations people make about Latex may be misplaced in certain cases, but Alex’s social-media accounts are full of images of vibrators and dildos. On this, she says, ‘Yeah, that’s a part of me. You shouldn’t be judged on those things. Everyone is so different. The only concern I have is people who feel like they have to create a persona to be successful.’
I top up her wine, and ask her about her persona, and whether being the ‘Latex Queen’ is a monicker she’ll always want to be associated with. She replies curtly, ‘My work is a process of finding out what I want to do and progressing. I used wool originally. ‘Wool Woman’ is worse than ‘Latex Queen’. Maybe that’s why I changed.’
She talks quickly but calmly, she is at once completely engaged and indifferent.
‘Latex is really human. It’s like skin. It’s quite feminine. It’s maternal. It comes in a liquid form in a tub. You paint it. You add pigment. You talc it. You peel it off. You pierce it.’
Just as her eyes begin to widen, they shrink back again. She laughs, and in a faux-posh giggle whispers:
‘I’m from a small town. No one from there has ever even got on a train to go to London. Genuinely, my brother has only been three times to go raving. My mum went and had a panic attack on the tube. Now I’m eating houmous while talking about latex. This is the artiest thing ever...’
When asked which artists she likes she simply says, ‘Porous Wanker.’
Her friends are coming over, and the night is young, so we leave it at that.
JONATHAN R. PARSONAGE
hair of the dog: Three shots of circle triangle square (25 ml)
The shapes of the Circle, the Triangle, and the Square, comes from a movement of thinking that it is these three forms that represent the universe in its entirety. The Circle is representative of the earth, the Triangle is representative of human interaction and the Square is representative of the tools and objects we have developed, which have in turn, separated us from other animals and have allowed us to create art. Our organisation, ‘Circle Triangle Square’ has been named after this concept that directly ascertains this artwork that is produced.
During my time at Falmouth University in Cornwall I found myself surrounded by artists that intrigued me. I wanted to create an art platform which would provide exposure and support for these artists.
Circle Triangle Square is an art platform as opposed to art gallery. A platform implies a sense of a permanent theoretical space for the artwork, as opposed to a gallery which has a permanent physical space in which artwork is interchanged and sold. An understanding of start up culture and the importance of the minimum viable product also influenced me to start a platform which could avoid some of the problems that the traditional gallery model face. Equally the term ‘platform’ derives a permanence that complements the nature of the Circle, Triangle and Square, universally. The artwork that we work with is lasting, wide-reaching, and expansive. I felt it also would provide a more manageable supporting network of and for artists in the chaotic technological climate that we find ourselves in.
I decided that in this venture, it would be good to have others working alongside me. Veronica Cappelli, an architecture graduate with a great understanding of space and installation and Bruna Lago, a design and visual arts graduate and former long-time assistant to the renowned Brazillian artist Cadu are now working together on the development of Circle Triangle Square.
We presented our inaugural exhibition, Chaosmos: Robert Ive and Harriet Foster between February and March at the Christmas Steps Gallery in Bristol. The exhibition consisted of a series of futuristic, apocalyptic drawings and a short film produced by Robert Ive and two dimensional and three dimensional abstract paintings by Harriet Foster. Their work differed significantly in aesthetic and meaning, hence the exhibition title 'Chaosmos', a word used to describe the literal chaos of our world. Ive’s pieces work within an alternative media tied together by a loose but consistent narrative of natural and man-made constructions. Foster’s painting use colour and shapes in an abstract form, yet other works venture into sculpture and performance.
Circle Triangle Square aims to organise visually and conceptually interesting exhibitions that span a wide range of mediums and themes. It continues a collaboration with like-minded artists that complement the ethos behind the platform, and achieves a new dimension of art that previously has been untouched in territory.
The next Circle Triangle Square exhibition, titled Readymades and Remades will take place in July in London.
HAIR OF THE DOG: A LARGE GLASS OF ANNA MACARTHUR (8 fl. oz.)
Anna MacArthur, 23, is a Bristol based actress and model. Anna has always led a double life, her training was concurrently as an English scholar and an actress. Now, working as a young artist in a creative landscape which can only be watered by the sweat from a furrowed brow, she works incessantly in both of her chosen fields.
Our Editor Jonathan R. Parsonage caught up with Anna MacArthur in Bristol to interview her on leading an interdisciplinary career.
People say there is, but there isn’t really. You have to look pristine, hair back, carry concealer, wear a white t-shirt and skinny jeans.’
Anna stands up and walks to the mirror, ‘I don’t have a thigh gap, well I do, kind of. I have cellulite on my thighs.’ She laughs and continues,
‘I think some aspects of modelling are really fucked up. I’ve been on shoots when I’m self-conscious about my tits, when I’m not fitting any of the clothes’. But her perspective on this, as with rejection, is enormous, ‘You’re literally a body that someone else could be. It’s not like acting. It has it’s good parts though. The people you meet through it are really great. But in terms of the art of it, well, you get a mood-board, you don’t build a character or anything. I suppose they’re just trying to re-create a fantasy.’
Her eyes glitter at the mention of ‘re-creation’. She pauses slightly, a furrowed brow gives away the care with which she chooses her words: ‘Don’t re-create. Always make things relevant to what’s happening in the now.’
She giggles, ‘Ask me something else.’
We begin to talk about beauty, and whether beauty is important to her, ‘I think everything is beautiful, today I was driving through some woodland: Arching trees, 70mph, sheep everywhere. That was nice.’
There’s no doubt that that image is quickly becoming summative of her life. She’s moving fast through a beautiful landscape of creative opportunities, ‘I’m really enjoying it, but a moment’s over before I can fully grasp it. I do so many things in a day, I’m always thinking of what’s next. I’ve got an image of my diary in my head, two weeks away. How fucked up is that?’
‘I really wanna take some time to stop, but it’s impossible.’
We hugged before I left. ‘It’d be nice to go as far away as possible from everywhere and everyone I know and just be.’ Her phone began to vibrate. She looked at me.
My time was up, her future was calling.
JONATHAN R. PARSONAGE
After weeks of phone calls and e-mails, I have finally managed to get in a room with Anna MacArthur, an actress and model who has become adept at spinning plates. None of these plates are falling and smashing. She’s sitting on her sofa. She’s lay back, thinking of sleep, but never closing her eyes. I ask her when her creative life started, she sits up and says: ‘I came out of the womb dancing. I just literally slipped out... I was an easy baby’.
We talk about displacement, and how her early training was more of a hindrance than a help: ‘I wanted to quit my degree.’ She pauses. She laughs. She has a sip of wine and looks up at me, ‘but I don't think it’s a good idea to leave anything that you start.’ Of course, like most of us do, she’s suffered rejection. She confesses that in the past she’s ‘wailed in her room’ for two hours. Of this she says, ‘It feels like losing a sibling. It’s horrible.’
In those moments, as the horror and wailing subsided, she thought ‘fuck it, I’m just gonna do it’. She navigated networks and made her own opportunities, and quickly found herself being an extra and doing commercials. These are, of course, the main ways of getting a pay-check in the acting world. But the most impressive thing about Anna’s budding career is the way that she seems to always keep the jobs rolling in.
‘Don’t re-create. Always
make things relevant to
what’s happening in the now.’
She stands up says, ‘scratch that bit about rejection... in fact, don’t. It’s fine. I still beat myself up, I leave auditions prepared for it. It’s the waiting more than anything, your mind plays tricks on you. I’m killing myself over auditions. It’s always a ‘what if, what if?’’.
Just as she seems to be descending into triviality and trope, she pulls herself back. And just says, ‘They’re just thoughts. You watch them go, and they’re not real’. She begins to squirm in her seat as I ask her about modelling. ‘There isn’t a change in the modelling industry.
HAIR OF THE DOG: SOBER. A PITCHER OF ISSUE ONE (1.8 L)
SOBER. has been very quiet recently, and that's because we've been putting together Issue One: Identity, which is now finally ready.
Issue One will be available for viewing and marvelling on 10th February. Featuring work from amazing artists, Alexis Papatzaneteas, Amy Byrne, Anna Floyd, B P R Greenland, Brontë Palmer, Christina Diakou, CRIME, Jimi Backhouse, Joe Fenwick-Wilson, Keith Bloody Mary, Luca Shaw, Shailee Mehta, Tom Stockley, Tonjë Mørkestøl, and Thomas Neil-Banks. We're so excited to show you guys real, interdisciplinary art. We didn't think we'd receive as many submissions as we did for a new zine ran by a few graduates, and we thank everybody who submitted to us.
Our thumbnail artwork has been designed by the incredibly talented Rupert Phillips.
In other news, editor Eddie May is curating his arts organisation Circle Triangle Square, with an exhibition opening in Bristol this month. We'll update with links soon. Lydia Hounat has had her photography published in Bad Pony Magazine, the issue is due to be released soon, links to follow. REALITY BEACH has released Issue 5, which you can view here.
We won't be opening for Issue Two submissions until May, so in the mean time we'll be providing you with articles to wet your whistles.
For now, we hope you love this issue.
HAIR OF THE DOG: A HALF OF SOBER. (1 HPT)
There's just over 2 weeks until SOBER.'s submissions for Issue 1 close which means if you haven't sent in your work already, get it in. Give us your best (liquor) shot.
In other news, The Word Zoo Open Mic in Falmouth, Cornwall returns this month on the 15th November 2017. It's all set in The Chintz Symposium, and kicks off at 7pm.
Editor Lydia Hounat has had 2 poems published in METATRON's ÖMËGÄ blog, based in Montreal, Canada.
Editor James Kaffenberger and his team at Sea Post Press are now looking for submissions for their next issue, Zoo Zine 5. Be sure to submit to them too!
SPOKES Open Mic in Penryn is running on Friday 17th November in Stuart Stephen Memorial Hall at 7pm. Lydia Hounat is performing with poets Adriana Ciontea, Mac Dunlop and Sara Hirsch at Words Live! hosted by Apple&Snakes London and Falmouth University at The Poly Theatre in Falmouth on Friday 17th November too. Tickets for the event are £5.
REALITY BEACH's ISSUE FIVE release is imminent. They're also featuring an interview conducted by editor Lydia Hounat with fellow editor Jonathan R. Parsonage. Our friend Tom Stockley's work is also appearing in the issue so be sure to watch this space.
Meanwhile, editor Rupert Phillips is working on making SOBER. t-shirts featuring his beautiful work and fixing up ISSUE ONE's graphics.
We're rammed and we're happy. Remember to send us bare work for ISSUE ONE for 1st December 2017 to firstname.lastname@example.org. We close at the witching hour. (Midnight). Although on the other hand most pubs and clubs don't, so, we'll be drinking.
Hello & hi from SOBER. !
We announced our callout for submissions on 1st October 2017 and our deadline is 1st December 2017, so we're looking for your pint of submissions on the theme of 'identity' right now.
The cover image for the poster above was taken at Gylly Beach in Falmouth, which is a place that all the editors resonate with and indeed frequented together, since we all met in Falmouth as a collective. This marks a partial part, of what we consider, the identity for SOBER.
So get submitting your own pieces of identity to email@example.com!
In other news our friend Al Black is hosting and performing at his event TonicTrunk3 at The Chintz Symposium in Falmouth, Cornwall on Friday 27th October from 9pm - 11pm. Al's a legend and his work is sick. Check out the event here.
The next open mic night for Word Zoo is on November 15th 2017, again at Chintz starting from 7:30pm.
We're also glad to announce our friends at Sea Post Press have released their Issue 4, which you can buy at the Word Zoo and at some point online. For now you can buy previous issues here at their website.
All good love, all good wishes, and we're so excited to receive your work,
HAIR OF THE DOG. #1
HAIR OF THE DOG. is SOBER.'s blog, where we'll offer you a hard liquor shot (or basically, short updates) of what the editors, contributors and friends of the zine are currently making and doing.
At the moment we're all working away to release the submissions criteria for our first issue, which we've decided a theme on: identity. We figured that since we're still figuring out ourselves as a new zine, and as human beings who've just graduated, it would be apt to start with identity, and what it means for interdisciplinary art.
In the mean time though, we thought that we'd mention that our friends at Sea Post Press (who also happen to share our lovely James Kaffenberger with us) are currently open for submissions and are looking for new work in Zoo Zine Issue 4, by the 1st October, 2017.