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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Unearthing, a collaboration between Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins: live performance review

Regular contributing illustrator Gareth A Hopkins reviews a very special performance of Alan Moore's new collaboration with Mitch Jenkins, based on an essay about his friend Steve Moore. Held in the atmospheric Old Vic Tunnels.

Written by Gareth A Hopkins


Yves Saint Laurent, approved illustrated by Kayleigh Buck

When in the fashion capital, to miss a much talked about exhibition that focuses on the ‘prince of fashion’ would be a crime. Two years on from Yves Saint Laurent’s death in June 2008, the Petit Palais Museum in Paris hosted a magnificent showcase of his work, his life and his history and I went to check it out.

A queuing time of one hour and a ticket price of 11 euros later, I arrived at the beginning of the exhibition which was a history of himself and through to ‘The Dior Years’; a fascinating look at how he was recognised for his beautiful fashion sketches and taken onboard by the famous couturier. Spending much of his time at Dior doing mundane tasks such as decorating, doing the paperwork and designing accessories, Yves Saint Laurent continued to submit his own sketches for new collections which, in time, lead to him being appointed to succeed as designer after Dior, who died suddenly at the age of 52 from a heart attack, promoting YSL sooner than expected and at only 21 years old.


Le Smoking, illustrated by Abi Daker

The exhibition moved through to his first collections including the famous ‘Trapèze’, which were not approved of as he had hoped and slated by the press who didn’t think too highly of his beatnik designs.  A long line of mannequins, donated from the Foundation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent, modelled his wonderful safari jackets, skin tight trousers and the famous Le Smoking suit, which were so perfect and impeccably designed. As the first French couturier to produce a prêt -a-porter line, his rise in fame is recognised with yet another dozen or so mannequins showcasing his ‘silhouette’ designs and a room dedicated to the film Belle de Jour, starring Catherine Deneuve and many of his garments. Film clips of the beautiful actress wearing his suits and dresses lit up the room alongside his very desk where he worked on his fashion drawings and paperwork as he left it and of course, those famous glasses of his which added such a personal and almost emotional touch to the whole exhibition. An almost pitch black room beside it showing beautifully constructed evening gowns and video clips of his inspiration, ranging from old movies to photographs of Marilyn Monroe and pieces of art such as Van Gogh, Mondrian and Matisse. Leaving this, several areas full of his more exotic work which had taken inspiration from the far flung places Yves loved to visit such as Russia, India and Morocco to name but a few, showed a different, refreshing side to his talent. 


Tribute to Piet Mondrian, 1965, illustrated by Lesley Barnes

As his prêt-a-porter line became more and more popular with the public, despite it’s initial reputation, YSL became considered one of the ‘Paris Jet Set’ which, although glamorous, created a worrying relationship with alcohol and drugs and a lack of interest in the production of his work. Despite this sad self destruction, his work was evidently still as fantastic as it was years before. A room decorated in red carpet and full of his best evening gowns, named as ‘The Last Ball’ shimmering underneath the spotlights and producing a lot of gasps and ‘wows’ from visitors, proved that his talent was ever-growing despite his sad personal life. Moving on to his final designs, ‘The Collision of Colours’ which were slightly different in that they were modern, classic and slightly more tamed than the extravagant previous collections, the exhibition came to a close with a few words about his last movements.  


Velvet and satin evening dress, 1983, illustrated by Emma Block

With the historical photographs, films and words alongside real life evidence of his blossoming talent from assistant to famous couturier, the exhibition was personal, thorough and highly favourable of this talented French designer whose contribution to the fashion industry is colossal. After a total of 307 of prêt-a-porter and haute couture designs and around two hours of wonderful education, I walked away feeling that I could definitely go back for another visit and would hope that any visitor to Paris would make time to go and be amazed too. He may be gone in person, but his talent lives on in memory and those who took over. If it is good enough for the fashion capital, who’s to say otherwise?

Yves Saint Laurent, thumb illustrated by Kayleigh Buck

When in the fashion capital, to miss a much talked about exhibition that focuses on the ‘prince of fashion’ would be a crime. Two years on from Yves Saint Laurent’s death in June 2008, the Petit Palais Museum in Paris hosted a magnificent showcase of his work, his life and his history and I went to check it out.

A queuing time of one hour and a ticket price of 11 euros later, I arrived at the beginning of the exhibition which was a history of himself and through to ‘The Dior Years’; a fascinating look at how he was recognised for his beautiful fashion sketches and taken onboard by the famous couturier. Spending much of his time at Dior doing mundane tasks such as decorating, doing the paperwork and designing accessories, Yves Saint Laurent continued to submit his own sketches for new collections which, in time, lead to him being appointed to succeed as designer after Dior, who died suddenly at the age of 52 from a heart attack, promoting YSL sooner than expected and at only 21 years old.


Le Smoking, illustrated by Abi Daker

The exhibition moved through to his first collections including the famous ‘Trapèze’, which were not approved of as he had hoped and slated by the press who didn’t think too highly of his beatnik designs.  A long line of mannequins, donated from the Foundation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent, modelled his wonderful safari jackets, skin tight trousers and the famous Le Smoking suit, which were so perfect and impeccably designed. As the first French couturier to produce a prêt -a-porter line, his rise in fame is recognised with yet another dozen or so mannequins showcasing his ‘silhouette’ designs and a room dedicated to the film Belle de Jour, starring Catherine Deneuve and many of his garments. Film clips of the beautiful actress wearing his suits and dresses lit up the room alongside his very desk where he worked on his fashion drawings and paperwork as he left it and of course, those famous glasses of his which added such a personal and almost emotional touch to the whole exhibition. An almost pitch black room beside it showing beautifully constructed evening gowns and video clips of his inspiration, ranging from old movies to photographs of Marilyn Monroe and pieces of art such as Van Gogh, Mondrian and Matisse. Leaving this, several areas full of his more exotic work which had taken inspiration from the far flung places Yves loved to visit such as Russia, India and Morocco to name but a few, showed a different, refreshing side to his talent. 


Tribute to Piet Mondrian, 1965, illustrated by Lesley Barnes

As his prêt-a-porter line became more and more popular with the public, despite it’s initial reputation, YSL became considered one of the ‘Paris Jet Set’ which, although glamorous, created a worrying relationship with alcohol and drugs and a lack of interest in the production of his work. Despite this sad self destruction, his work was evidently still as fantastic as it was years before. A room decorated in red carpet and full of his best evening gowns, named as ‘The Last Ball’ shimmering underneath the spotlights and producing a lot of gasps and ‘wows’ from visitors, proved that his talent was ever-growing despite his sad personal life. Moving on to his final designs, ‘The Collision of Colours’ which were slightly different in that they were modern, classic and slightly more tamed than the extravagant previous collections, the exhibition came to a close with a few words about his last movements.  


Velvet and satin evening dress, 1983, illustrated by Emma Block

With the historical photographs, films and words alongside real life evidence of his blossoming talent from assistant to famous couturier, the exhibition was personal, thorough and highly favourable of this talented French designer whose contribution to the fashion industry is colossal. After a total of 307 of prêt-a-porter and haute couture designs and around two hours of wonderful education, I walked away feeling that I could definitely go back for another visit and would hope that any visitor to Paris would make time to go and be amazed too. He may be gone in person, but his talent lives on in memory and those who took over. If it is good enough for the fashion capital, who’s to say otherwise?

You might remember Sketchbook magazine from the last time it ‘popped up’ on Carnaby Street. From a bright blue shop in the Newburgh Quarter, nurse the magazine fusing fashion, illustration and culture hosted a series of talks, live music and lectures, with blogging legend Susie Bubble and our very own Amelia bringing their views to the table.

But this time, the magazine team are back with a different agenda. Occupying a shop space in Kingly Court from the 19th to 30th July, Sketchbook STUDIO is like a fashionable laboratory, where young artists, photographers, designers and stylists all get to practice and showcase their work.

At the heart of the studio are 25 young artists, who have each been invited to work on different projects – with the final work to be auctioned off to charity at the end of the week. In the background, photographers and stylists have been encouraged to shoot fashion editorial and looks books. It’s a springboard for emerging creative talent – much like the magazine itself, with the third issue being created ‘live’ as the pop up takes place.

“I wanted to create something a bit like Studio 54 – a creative community,” says Wafa Alobaidat, Sketchbook’s editor and creator. “But this is a lot more open and collaborative than a fashionable clique. Everyone’s welcome!”

On the day we visit DJ Anna Young has hit the decks, sound-tracking a fashion shoot in full swing on the ground floor. One floor up, the magazine team are blogging and tweeting to their heart’s content, and trying to get things ready for the new issue. A stylist sifts through rails of clothes provided by vintage emporium Rokit’s ‘Designer’s Guild’, an exclusive collection of vintage designs reworked by up-and-coming designers.

Downstairs in the basement is the artist’s hub, where illustrators are hard at work sketching. Fashion designer Osman Ahmed drapes a mannequin with fabric, whilst visitors play with a video art installation and help themselves to cupcakes. It’s manic, but seems to be just another day in the life of the Sketchbook team!

Members of the public are also welcomed inside to take a peek, (and quite a few shoppers stray from buying as the DJ kicks in) and meet the team. They can even become part of the Sketchbook experience themselves, with the ‘Sketch a Smedley’ event on the 30th. Rails of luxury knitwear label John Smedley will be on hand to try on, and budding models will be sketched live by illustrators.

Clearly the studio has brought a buzz to Carnaby. But what’s next for the Sketchbook team?

“That’s a secret!” laughs Wafa as we finish our tour of the Studio. “But we’ve got more live projects in the pipeline, so you haven’t heard the last from us yet!”

Sketchbook Studio ends today. To see the magazine when it launches, visit here.

You can also read our review of the previous Sketchbook pop-up and Amelia’s talk here.


Yves Saint Laurent, about it illustrated by Kayleigh Buck

When in the fashion capital, to miss a much talked about exhibition that focuses on the ‘prince of fashion’ would be a crime. Two years on from Yves Saint Laurent’s death in June 2008, the Petit Palais Museum in Paris hosted a magnificent showcase of his work, his life and his history and I went to check it out.

A queuing time of one hour and a ticket price of 11 euros later, I arrived at the beginning of the exhibition which was a history of himself and through to ‘The Dior Years’; a fascinating look at how he was recognised for his beautiful fashion sketches and taken onboard by the famous couturier. Spending much of his time at Dior doing mundane tasks such as decorating, doing the paperwork and designing accessories, Yves Saint Laurent continued to submit his own sketches for new collections which, in time, lead to him being appointed to succeed as designer after Dior, who died suddenly at the age of 52 from a heart attack, promoting YSL sooner than expected and at only 21 years old.


Le Smoking, illustrated by Abi Daker

The exhibition moved through to his first collections including the famous ‘Trapèze’, which were not approved of as he had hoped and slated by the press who didn’t think too highly of his beatnik designs.  A long line of mannequins, donated from the Foundation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent, modelled his wonderful safari jackets, skin tight trousers and the famous Le Smoking suit, which were so perfect and impeccably designed. As the first French couturier to produce a prêt -a-porter line, his rise in fame is recognised with yet another dozen or so mannequins showcasing his ‘silhouette’ designs and a room dedicated to the film Belle de Jour, starring Catherine Deneuve and many of his garments. Film clips of the beautiful actress wearing his suits and dresses lit up the room alongside his very desk where he worked on his fashion drawings and paperwork as he left it and of course, those famous glasses of his which added such a personal and almost emotional touch to the whole exhibition. An almost pitch black room beside it showing beautifully constructed evening gowns and video clips of his inspiration, ranging from old movies to photographs of Marilyn Monroe and pieces of art such as Van Gogh, Mondrian and Matisse. Leaving this, several areas full of his more exotic work which had taken inspiration from the far flung places Yves loved to visit such as Russia, India and Morocco to name but a few, showed a different, refreshing side to his talent. 


Tribute to Piet Mondrian, 1965, illustrated by Lesley Barnes

As his prêt-a-porter line became more and more popular with the public, despite it’s initial reputation, YSL became considered one of the ‘Paris Jet Set’ which, although glamorous, created a worrying relationship with alcohol and drugs and a lack of interest in the production of his work. Despite this sad self destruction, his work was evidently still as fantastic as it was years before. A room decorated in red carpet and full of his best evening gowns, named as ‘The Last Ball’ shimmering underneath the spotlights and producing a lot of gasps and ‘wows’ from visitors, proved that his talent was ever-growing despite his sad personal life. Moving on to his final designs, ‘The Collision of Colours’ which were slightly different in that they were modern, classic and slightly more tamed than the extravagant previous collections, the exhibition came to a close with a few words about his last movements.  


Velvet and satin evening dress, 1983, illustrated by Emma Block

With the historical photographs, films and words alongside real life evidence of his blossoming talent from assistant to famous couturier, the exhibition was personal, thorough and highly favourable of this talented French designer whose contribution to the fashion industry is colossal. After a total of 307 of prêt-a-porter and haute couture designs and around two hours of wonderful education, I walked away feeling that I could definitely go back for another visit and would hope that any visitor to Paris would make time to go and be amazed too. He may be gone in person, but his talent lives on in memory and those who took over. If it is good enough for the fashion capital, who’s to say otherwise?


Yves Saint Laurent, recipe illustrated by Kayleigh Bluck

When in the fashion capital, see to miss a much talked about exhibition that focuses on the ‘prince of fashion’ would be a crime. Two years on from Yves Saint Laurent’s death in June 2008, for sale the Petit Palais Museum in Paris hosted a magnificent showcase of his work, his life and his history and I went to check it out.

A queuing time of one hour and a ticket price of 11 euros later, I arrived at the beginning of the exhibition which was a history of himself and through to ‘The Dior Years’; a fascinating look at how he was recognised for his beautiful fashion sketches and taken onboard by the famous couturier. Spending much of his time at Dior doing mundane tasks such as decorating, doing the paperwork and designing accessories, Yves Saint Laurent continued to submit his own sketches for new collections which, in time, lead to him being appointed to succeed as designer after Dior, who died suddenly at the age of 52 from a heart attack, promoting YSL sooner than expected and at only 21 years old.


Tribute to Piet Mondrian, 1965, illustrated by Lesley Barnes

The exhibition moved through to his first collections including the famous ‘Trapèze’, which were not approved of as he had hoped and slated by the press who didn’t think too highly of his beatnik designs.  A long line of mannequins, donated from the Foundation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent, modelled his wonderful safari jackets, skin tight trousers and the famous Le Smoking suit, which were so perfect and impeccably designed. As the first French couturier to produce a prêt -a-porter line, his rise in fame is recognised with yet another dozen or so mannequins showcasing his ‘silhouette’ designs and a room dedicated to the film Belle de Jour, starring Catherine Deneuve and many of his garments. Film clips of the beautiful actress wearing his suits and dresses lit up the room alongside his very desk where he worked on his fashion drawings and paperwork as he left it and of course, those famous glasses of his which added such a personal and almost emotional touch to the whole exhibition. An almost pitch black room beside it showing beautifully constructed evening gowns and video clips of his inspiration, ranging from old movies to photographs of Marilyn Monroe and pieces of art such as Van Gogh, Mondrian and Matisse. Leaving this, several areas full of his more exotic work which had taken inspiration from the far flung places Yves loved to visit such as Russia, India and Morocco to name but a few, showed a different, refreshing side to his talent. 


Le Smoking, illustrated by Abi Daker

As his prêt-a-porter line became more and more popular with the public, despite it’s initial reputation, YSL became considered one of the ‘Paris Jet Set’ which, although glamorous, created a worrying relationship with alcohol and drugs and a lack of interest in the production of his work. Despite this sad self destruction, his work was evidently still as fantastic as it was years before. A room decorated in red carpet and full of his best evening gowns, named as ‘The Last Ball’ shimmering underneath the spotlights and producing a lot of gasps and ‘wows’ from visitors, proved that his talent was ever-growing despite his sad personal life. Moving on to his final designs, ‘The Collision of Colours’ which were slightly different in that they were modern, classic and slightly more tamed than the extravagant previous collections, the exhibition came to a close with a few words about his last movements.  


Velvet and satin evening dress, 1983, illustrated by Emma Block

With the historical photographs, films and words alongside real life evidence of his blossoming talent from assistant to famous couturier, the exhibition was personal, thorough and highly favourable of this talented French designer whose contribution to the fashion industry is colossal. After a total of 307 of prêt-a-porter and haute couture designs and around two hours of wonderful education, I walked away feeling that I could definitely go back for another visit and would hope that any visitor to Paris would make time to go and be amazed too. He may be gone in person, but his talent lives on in memory and those who took over. If it is good enough for the fashion capital, who’s to say otherwise?


Yves Saint Laurent, ask illustrated by Kayleigh Bluck

When in the fashion capital, information pills to miss a much talked about exhibition that focuses on the ‘prince of fashion’ would be a crime. Two years on from Yves Saint Laurent’s death in June 2008, visit this site the Petit Palais Museum in Paris hosted a magnificent showcase of his work, his life and his history and I went to check it out.

A queuing time of one hour and a ticket price of 11 euros later, I arrived at the beginning of the exhibition which was a history of himself and through to ‘The Dior Years’; a fascinating look at how he was recognised for his beautiful fashion sketches and taken onboard by the famous couturier. Spending much of his time at Dior doing mundane tasks such as decorating, doing the paperwork and designing accessories, Yves Saint Laurent continued to submit his own sketches for new collections which, in time, lead to him being appointed to succeed as designer after Dior, who died suddenly at the age of 52 from a heart attack, promoting YSL sooner than expected and at only 21 years old.


Tribute to Piet Mondrian, 1965, illustrated by Lesley Barnes

The exhibition moved through to his first collections including the famous ‘Trapèze’, which were not approved of as he had hoped and slated by the press who didn’t think too highly of his beatnik designs.  A long line of mannequins, donated from the Foundation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent, modelled his wonderful safari jackets, skin tight trousers and the famous Le Smoking suit, which were so perfect and impeccably designed. As the first French couturier to produce a prêt -a-porter line, his rise in fame is recognised with yet another dozen or so mannequins showcasing his ‘silhouette’ designs and a room dedicated to the film Belle de Jour, starring Catherine Deneuve and many of his garments. Film clips of the beautiful actress wearing his suits and dresses lit up the room alongside his very desk where he worked on his fashion drawings and paperwork as he left it and of course, those famous glasses of his which added such a personal and almost emotional touch to the whole exhibition. An almost pitch black room beside it showing beautifully constructed evening gowns and video clips of his inspiration, ranging from old movies to photographs of Marilyn Monroe and pieces of art such as Van Gogh, Mondrian and Matisse. Leaving this, several areas full of his more exotic work which had taken inspiration from the far flung places Yves loved to visit such as Russia, India and Morocco to name but a few, showed a different, refreshing side to his talent. 


Le Smoking, illustrated by Abi Daker

As his prêt-a-porter line became more and more popular with the public, despite it’s initial reputation, YSL became considered one of the ‘Paris Jet Set’ which, although glamorous, created a worrying relationship with alcohol and drugs and a lack of interest in the production of his work. Despite this sad self destruction, his work was evidently still as fantastic as it was years before. A room decorated in red carpet and full of his best evening gowns, named as ‘The Last Ball’ shimmering underneath the spotlights and producing a lot of gasps and ‘wows’ from visitors, proved that his talent was ever-growing despite his sad personal life. Moving on to his final designs, ‘The Collision of Colours’ which were slightly different in that they were modern, classic and slightly more tamed than the extravagant previous collections, the exhibition came to a close with a few words about his last movements.  


Velvet and satin evening dress, 1983, illustrated by Emma Block

With the historical photographs, films and words alongside real life evidence of his blossoming talent from assistant to famous couturier, the exhibition was personal, thorough and highly favourable of this talented French designer whose contribution to the fashion industry is colossal. After a total of 307 of prêt-a-porter and haute couture designs and around two hours of wonderful education, I walked away feeling that I could definitely go back for another visit and would hope that any visitor to Paris would make time to go and be amazed too. He may be gone in person, but his talent lives on in memory and those who took over. If it is good enough for the fashion capital, who’s to say otherwise?


Yves Saint Laurent, viagra approved illustrated by Kayleigh Bluck

When in the fashion capital, to miss a much talked about exhibition that focuses on the ‘prince of fashion’ would be a crime. Two years on from Yves Saint Laurent’s death in June 2008, the Petit Palais Museum in Paris hosted a magnificent showcase of his work, his life and his history and I went to check it out.

A queuing time of one hour and a ticket price of 11 euros later, I arrived at the beginning of the exhibition which was a history of himself and through to ‘The Dior Years’; a fascinating look at how he was recognised for his beautiful fashion sketches and taken onboard by the famous couturier. Spending much of his time at Dior doing mundane tasks such as decorating, doing the paperwork and designing accessories, Yves Saint Laurent continued to submit his own sketches for new collections which, in time, lead to him being appointed to succeed as designer after Dior, who died suddenly at the age of 52 from a heart attack, promoting YSL sooner than expected and at only 21 years old.


Tribute to Piet Mondrian, 1965, illustrated by Lesley Barnes

The exhibition moved through to his first collections including the famous ‘Trapèze’, which were not approved of as he had hoped and slated by the press who didn’t think too highly of his beatnik designs.  A long line of mannequins, donated from the Foundation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent, modelled his wonderful safari jackets, skin tight trousers and the famous Le Smoking suit, which were so perfect and impeccably designed. As the first French couturier to produce a prêt -a-porter line, his rise in fame is recognised with yet another dozen or so mannequins showcasing his ‘silhouette’ designs and a room dedicated to the film Belle de Jour, starring Catherine Deneuve and many of his garments. Film clips of the beautiful actress wearing his suits and dresses lit up the room alongside his very desk where he worked on his fashion drawings and paperwork as he left it and of course, those famous glasses of his which added such a personal and almost emotional touch to the whole exhibition. An almost pitch black room beside it showing beautifully constructed evening gowns and video clips of his inspiration, ranging from old movies to photographs of Marilyn Monroe and pieces of art such as Van Gogh, Mondrian and Matisse. Leaving this, several areas full of his more exotic work which had taken inspiration from the far flung places Yves loved to visit such as Russia, India and Morocco to name but a few, showed a different, refreshing side to his talent. 


Le Smoking, illustrated by Abi Daker

As his prêt-a-porter line became more and more popular with the public, despite it’s initial reputation, YSL became considered one of the ‘Paris Jet Set’ which, although glamorous, created a worrying relationship with alcohol and drugs and a lack of interest in the production of his work. Despite this sad self destruction, his work was evidently still as fantastic as it was years before. A room decorated in red carpet and full of his best evening gowns, named as ‘The Last Ball’ shimmering underneath the spotlights and producing a lot of gasps and ‘wows’ from visitors, proved that his talent was ever-growing despite his sad personal life. Moving on to his final designs, ‘The Collision of Colours’ which were slightly different in that they were modern, classic and slightly more tamed than the extravagant previous collections, the exhibition came to a close with a few words about his last movements.  


Velvet and satin evening dress, 1983, illustrated by Emma Block

With the historical photographs, films and words alongside real life evidence of his blossoming talent from assistant to famous couturier, the exhibition was personal, thorough and highly favourable of this talented French designer whose contribution to the fashion industry is colossal. After a total of 307 of prêt-a-porter and haute couture designs and around two hours of wonderful education, I walked away feeling that I could definitely go back for another visit and would hope that any visitor to Paris would make time to go and be amazed too. He may be gone in person, but his talent lives on in memory and those who took over. If it is good enough for the fashion capital, who’s to say otherwise?

Katie is an illustrator currently living in Bristol. She likes tea, stomach owns more mugs than shoes, viagra approved sleeps a lot and sometimes plays the guitar. She is interested in all kinds of illustration, online from fashion, to editorial, to children’s books – and would love to do more of all or any of these. She is a self-confessed hoarder and magazine-a-holic, and lives amongst stacks of fashion magazines she can’t bring herself to throw away.

She would be very excited to work with you, and is available for commissions at teabelle@hotmail.com, or can be found at www.teabelle.blogspot.com if you are interested in seeing more of her work.

GarethAHopkins_Alan Moore
Illustrations and photography by Gareth A Hopkins.

I’d been looking forward to ‘Unearthing‘, health the multimedia collaboration between writer Alan Moore, photographer Mitch Jenkins and musicians Adam ‘Doseone’ Drucker and Andy Broder since it was announced, and when details of two live performances of the project, taking place on the 29th and 30th of August in the Old Vic Tunnels were released, I immediately booked my ticket. The project is based upon Moore’s essay ‘Unearthing’, which is about his friend and mentor, the writer Steve Moore, to which Jenkins has created and added a series of photographs, and Drucker and Broder (renamed for the project as Crook&Flail) have provided a soundtrack which accompanies Moore’s reading.??

After a fair amount of wandering around I managed to find the Old Vic Tunnels. The Tunnels themselves were exactly what I’d been expecting, yet at the same time disconcerting to be in. Part of me had imagined that since they’d been taken over, the tunnels would have been done up in some way, but if any work had been done it was very subtly. The air was thick, dusty and damp, and the walls, although structurally sound, were flaky and crumbling. In stark contrast, the stewards placed at strategic locations through the tunnels to guide the audience through were bright and very pleasant, quick with reassuring smiles.??The path dictated by the stewards led to ‘The Bunker’, the Tunnels’ bar, where the audience waited to go through to the theatre. I was there as much for the band, Crook & Flail, as I was to see Moore’s reading, but the audience seemed to be predominately made up of Moore fans – understandable, considering the high regard that he’s held in.

GarethAHopkins_Crook&Flail
Crook & Flail.

The story ran over three acts, each around an hour long. The first detailed the topography and history of Shooter’s Hill, the location of the house which Steve Moore has lived in since his birth, racing through centuries of history, slowing as it moved closer to Moore’s birth. The second was a biography of Steve Moore’s life, from being bullied at school, into his writing career and his discovery and growing dependence on Magick, in particular his obsession/relationship with the moon goddess Selene.

The final part contained two conclusions. In one, Alan and Steve share an extremely bizarre and haunting experience, which I won’t even try to explain here, as it’s so dependent on buying into the story that precedes it. In the second, in a continuity-bending twist, Alan Moore details the actions that Steve Moore will take both during and after reading the manuscript for the first time, and leads into a return to the landscape of Shooter’s Hill, bringing the story full-circle back to the start.

The performance was led by Moore, who read directly from his manuscript, his powerful Northampton drawl setting the pace for the other performers, whose contributions swelled and ebbed around his voice. On a gigantic screen behind Moore and the band was a screen, on which Jenkins’ photographs faded up and down. The photos sometimes illustrated directly what the text described, and in other cases were more conceptual. Some discussion took place in the audience as to whether they appeared in the correct place, as they often seemed to be illustrating a passage which had been read five or ten minutes previously, rather than the current subject… right or wrong, they were beautiful, and highly effective. Crook & Flail, assisted by Drucker’s long time collaborator Jeff Logan, played music that directly reacted with Moore’s reading, rising in some places to almost drown him out, other times dropping out almost entirely.

Unearthing_GarethAHopkins

It was certainly not for everyone – Moore’s text is dense and uncompromising, telling a very odd, kitchen-sink tale of obsession and Magick, referencing Pynchon, Indrid Cold and the hedonist occultist Aleister Crowley, as well as a multitude of others that I didn’t recognise – but the damp air in the tunnels, combined with the music, photography, music and lighting created an intense, haunting, intimate atmosphere, and an experience which will remain with me for a very long time to come.

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