April 27th, 2005


Abake and "the man who told the truth"

London, Tuesday: while Hisae gets a 2001-style asymmetrical hair cut on Brick Lane, Suzy and I wander up to Hoxton Square to see the show at White Cube (some Edward Hopperish hyper-realist photographs). Later, walking around the top of the square, we're lamenting how all the good stuff has gone (the Lux cinema, the Lux art gallery) when a red Mercedes speeds up to us, stops, and out jumps a portly man with a notepad. He introduces himself as Andrew Gilligan, a journalist with the Evening Standard newspaper. The name rings a bell.

Gilligan wants to ask us some questions about the defection of Hoxton area Labour MP Brian Sedgemore to the Lib Dems. I don't have much to say about this, but stress that I was against the Iraq War and that Brian Eno has advised people to vote Lib Dem as a protest against it. We agree that the Conservatives are suffering blowback for their super-racist anti-immigrant rhetoric. Suzy, who's heard about the defection on the radio, makes some more intelligent comments and tells Gilligan that Bush is easier to hate than Blair. A photographer takes our picture. We're "the last two people in Hoxton who look like Hoxton people". They assure us the piece will run in today's Late Final edition of the Standard.

I'm still trying to place Gilligan. "Didn't you interview me once?" I ask. "Well, I did use to work for the BBC," he says. When he's gone, Suzy refreshes my memory. Gilligan is the reporter who (correctly) accused Tony Blair of lying about Iraqi weapons. He caused the resignation of all the top brass at the BBC and (indirectly) the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly. He nearly caused the BBC to lose its license. We check the Late Final and the piece isn't in. Maybe it'll run tomorrow. But what a strange thing, to be interviewed by the man who caused such a rumpus in British politics! "The man who told the truth." And a man who seems to leave a trail of death and havoc.

We make our way with care down to the Whitechapel Gallery, where there's an amusing show celebrating Polish 1970s chic, Cummings and Lewandowska (there's also a Robert Crumb show on). The shabby chairs and socialist graphics make the gallery feel exactly like the Boxhagener Platz market in Berlin.

Something of the same spirit animates the Collier's Wood library, a brick oblong filled with books and chairs. I do a rather high concept show with Laurie Anderson-like links. Much more exciting than meeting Andrew Gilligan is having drinks before and after the show with graphic design collective Abake (Patrick Lacey, Benjamin Reichen, Kajsa Stahl and Maki Suzuki), who've come along with James Goggin (maker of the Otto Spooky sleeve, currently doing a redesign of The Wire magazine).

I also do a long interview with noble_savage of this parish (Neil Scott) for his magazine The Mind's Construction. Oh, and rhodri is there, but he opts to eat chips on the street rather than coming to the pub with Abake because "you looked like a set". Come see us Wednesday night at Bush Hall, all you rounders!