Strength Weekly contains posts and articles that deal for the most part with the idea of performance as behaviour we can’t avoid, at any level.
The site has been extensively redesigned over the past few weeks, thanks to the patience and artistry of web/graphic designer Genevieve Closuit. It now has, in addition to unseen yet powerful inner organs, a silken navigation and some handsome panelling.
As well as posts and articles, Strength Weekly contains an abundance of archive material relating to past and recent writings and image work.
I’ve written for live performance, film and TV; as a journalist for magazines and newspapers; as a composer of online text and image entertainments and for myself as a live presenter of such bar and club-based events as David Gale’s Peachy Coochy Nites. I’ve written a lot of performance scripts, particularly for Lumiere & Son Theatre Company, for which I was a co-founder and director alongside Hilary Westlake. On the whole Hilary directed them and I wrote them. Over the last few years I’ve also directed some of my own scripts. I wrote a novel a while ago. I lecture at the University of the Arts London, on the Wimbledon College of Arts campus on the Performance Design and Technologies programme.
Posts are ideally not too long and are, in my view, a handy vehicle for observations on whatever pops up. They are not ‘intensely personal’ but as time goes on I’ve come to regard them as an opportunity to combine the personal with matters of broader interest. They are increasingly rendered in styles that crisscross the border between fragmented musing and a less adorned reportage.
Peachy Coochy is a live presentation format in which a succession of timed slides are projected whilst being talked about by a presenter. First used in Tokyo as a means of compressing pitches by excitable architects, pecha kucha proved irresistible to artists who seized the format and pushed it to its limits. For three years I ran a Peachy Coochy cabaret evening with invited presenters from many walks of life. My own contributions over this period are featured here.
Text & Image
My work with Peachy Coochy involved deep searches of Google Images and this led to me to use Facebook as a platform for series and sequences that, in the case of ‘Pampas’ Seasons 1 & 2, transposed the elements of Peachy to a non-live environment. This led to further experiments with images unsupported by text, as in ‘56 Strips’.
I’ve worked as a writer and director of performance for a long time. In my late twenties I remember thinking ‘This is what I’m on the planet for.’ I’ve only had that feeling once. Hilary Westlake and I were co-directors of Lumiere & Son Theatre Company for 20 years. Throughout that period we were funded by the (then ) Arts Council of Great Britain as a touring company purveying ‘experimental theatre’.
The Essays here deal with topics that I wanted to write about but may have been difficult to pitch to papers and magazines. This would probably be because in either topic or concept or use of language they stray from the highway to a side street. They do not arise from commissions so much as unremunerated urges.
Writing for papers and magazines is almost as much fun as touring theatre. You get to fly to distant lands, sleep in good hotels and meet extremely interesting people in unusual places. The pieces here include interviews with film makers, actors, musicians, artists, scientists and authors as well as denizens of inner space and public isolation. After a while I became a Contributing Editor at GQ under the Editorship of Michael VerMeulen, a brash but decisive Chicagoan who enabled me to have an exceptionally enjoyable time.