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Meet Hieronymous Proctor! - click opera
February 2010
 
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Fri, May. 16th, 2008 11:40 am
Meet Hieronymous Proctor!

Last night's performance at Richmond Library (photos courtesy of kineticfactory, who blogs his account of it here) was a rather magical and encouraging extension of the "site-specific storytelling" and "improv vaudeville" I've been doing recently -- a blending, in fact, of my rock shows with my art shows, and a promising probe into future possibilities (like the Hide and Seek Festival event I'll be doing during the last weekend in June, turning London's South Bank into Tokyo).

In the gathering darkness of Richmond Library, between the hours of eight and nine, for an audience of perhaps twenty souls, I appeared in the persona of Hieronymous Proctor, a Scottish "spirit medium of print media" or "procurator spiritual". Dressed in black and sometimes draped in a yellow blanket, I sought to reveal and release the spirits of dead people trapped inside the books, leading members of the audience over to specific volumes to choose and read a sentence at random, a message I would then parse for its hidden spiritual contents. "Peggy turned on her heel and walked away" was thus revealed to mean "Here on the endless plain of eternal anguish, we the gibbus dead are forever crossing the threshold into new realms of suffering and degradation. Help us!"

Using the stage door torch from the production of Madame Butterfly going on next door, I lit my own features from below, spun round with a scream, pointing the beam at a creepy fan window high up in the wall and claiming I'd seen a face there, or spotlighting shelves ("like the charred branches of lightning-blackened trees, on which crows and ravens perch") and explaining how the Dewey decimal system will be used to classify us in hell, or how book bindings in fact bind unwilling spirits into the books, trapping them there. I even performed a mini-exorcism on an accountancy textbook.

In between, there were songs -- Beowulf, Ichabod Crane (a new Joemus track, premiered live here, and compared by Kineticfactory to Talkshow Boy), Robin Hood, Scottish Lips and Lucretia Borgia. More pictures here. Oh, and I played the solos on a white Stylophone! HMV are selling them for fifteen quid.

18CommentReply

kineticfactory
kineticfactory
this is not your sawtooth wave
Fri, May. 16th, 2008 10:05 am (UTC)

I've just posted a more detailed review to my proper blog, here. (My LiveJournal post was more a quick sketch than anything else.)

Stylophones for £15, you say? I'll have to look into that.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, May. 16th, 2008 10:12 am (UTC)

"In the first example, a cheerily banal line in colloquial English turned out to really be in "Ukrainian", and a portent of grim things indeed. Later, a book of knitting patterns revealed the battle between Jesus Christ and the tamagotchi—perhaps an echo of Momus' writings about the dualism between the Judaeochristian sex-death-guilt culture and the Shinto fertility religion, though he didn't labour that point."

Ha, but I did work Shinto in when someone (was it you?) asked a question about what spiritual messages I gleaned from the stones of the building. I said stones couldn't write books, and went off on a tangent about Ruskin's Stones of Venice, and his book explaining chemistry to "little maids". Of course, I should have said that Richmond's most famous Stones did have souls, but had long ago sold them to the devil in exchange for fame, money and beautiful women!

By the way, we differ in our account of how many were there -- you say ten, I say twenty. Perhaps you weren't counting the Asian girlfriends?

Thanks for the Talkshow Boy reference, by the way -- good stuff!


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(Anonymous)
Fri, May. 16th, 2008 10:07 am (UTC)
Greetings from WC1

Good morning! Now get some sleep...


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, May. 16th, 2008 10:16 am (UTC)
Re: Greetings from WC1

I'll sleep when I'm dead!

Or should I blog when I'm dead instead?


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(Anonymous)
Fri, May. 16th, 2008 10:26 am (UTC)
Re: Greetings from WC1

Hahahaha. No zombie blog, it would be all BRAINS hentai BRAINS london is a cesspit BRAINS etc etc (I'm being very reductive because zombies aren't complicated).


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, May. 16th, 2008 10:34 am (UTC)
Re: Greetings from WC1

No "London is a cesspit" post this time, but I'll just note that here in Berlin the air is clean and the sun is shining and people aren't shouting "Oor aaaaarrrrrrr me hearties!" at me. It's good to be home!


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womanonfire
womanonfire
Auriea.
Fri, May. 16th, 2008 10:47 am (UTC)

pretty spoooky. i like this.
wish you would do this remotely.
a webcast ichat conference where you take us on a tour of long forgotten websites and haunted 404 pages parhaps. ;)


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(Anonymous)
Fri, May. 16th, 2008 10:57 am (UTC)
The Whisperer In Darkness

I tried to attend but underestimated the time it took to cross London, then got a bit lost in Richmond and ended up hopelessly late. Ak! Perhaps i was misled by the devilish stones...


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niddrie_edge
niddrie_edge
raymond
Fri, May. 16th, 2008 06:17 pm (UTC)

I knew of a gibbous moon but the gibbus dead was new to me. Do they do 4 hour long jams?

I don't know if you remind in that pic of Christopher Lee's Resurrection Joe or his Frankenstein.



Lee was once asked what he thought was the most disquieting thing you could see on the screen and he said, "An open door."

Love the "site-specific storytelling". Writer in Residence at famed libraries.... hmmm.

Edited at 2008-05-16 06:25 pm (UTC)


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niddrie_edge
niddrie_edge
raymond
Fri, May. 16th, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC)

I always associate Proctor with the Salem Witch trials and The Crucible in particular having had to take the part in a school reading.


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(Anonymous)
Fri, May. 16th, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
am a communism

aaaaaaaaabbbbbbbbbbbbbbeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


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rob_kun
rob_kun
robkun
Fri, May. 16th, 2008 09:59 pm (UTC)
Great show!

I was there last night too - my first Momus live experience! I loved the inventiveness and energy of your act and the intimacy of the venue. Like kineticfactory, I thought the new song was great (I hope you stick with that version), but my favourite was probably your rendition of Beowolf stooped and hidden underneath a yellow blanket.

The tour guide performance would have been draw enough without the musical accompaniment, but was it actually intended to scare? It was very funny - loved the joke about the dewy decimal system in Hell, and your explorations of being a 'spirit medium of spirit media' - however, I wondered if you intended to create a creepy atmosphere? Quite difficult when jokes tend to relax people...

Also, if you don't mind I'd like to give you a brief tour guide assessment since I'm a (more conventional) tour guide trainee:

* Audibility & Clarity of Speech: Great! Only drop-off was during Lucretia Borgia when you got the lyrics mixed up.
* Variation of voice: A very melodic voice to listen to. Full marks.
* Vocabulary: Impressive.
* Addressing the Group & Rapport: Faced the group, involved group in reading out random passages. Aside from this (and an attempt to elicit questions which fell a bit flat), I wasn't clear if you welcomed participation, or if it was more of a performance to be viewed?
* Group management, positioning & indication: Excellent... perhaps could have moved us around the library more?

Overall: Well on the way to becoming an unreliable blue badge guide...

Anyway, I'm gutted I'm going to miss your Tokyo in London Southbank tour. Good luck!


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, May. 17th, 2008 04:31 am (UTC)
Re: Great show!

To those who didn't attend, Richmond Libraries -- diligently bureaucratic -- handed out official "Performer Assessment" forms at the end of the performance with categories like these on them! Even I was given one!


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(Anonymous)
Sat, May. 17th, 2008 01:26 am (UTC)


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count_vronsky
count_vronsky
Sat, May. 17th, 2008 02:00 am (UTC)

I was there in ghost form momus! but alas, you didn't pick the book I was hiding in :-(

I was in the Merrill -- p.189

LOG

Then when the flame forked like a sudden path
I gasped and stumbled, and was less.
Density pulsing upward, gauze of ash,
Dear light along the way to nothingness,
What could be made of you but light, and this?


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(Anonymous)
Sat, May. 17th, 2008 04:16 am (UTC)


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(Anonymous)
Sat, May. 17th, 2008 04:18 am (UTC)


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(Anonymous)
Sat, May. 17th, 2008 04:20 am (UTC)


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