Extracts from the Farewell performance at Kings College, London 1978. Jgjgjgjg formed at the London Sound Poetry Festival in June 1976. Reissue of tape on Balsam Flex. 200 copies
Lawrence Upton (b. 1949) – poet, prose writer, essay writer, critic, publisher. Author of a great number of publications in literary magazines, collections, miscellanies both in Great Britain and abroad, and also of www-publications on various literary sites. Editor and publisher of a number of magazines and international anthologies, author of numerous books of poetry and prose. For many years he has been collaborating with different literary and artistic associations and perform-groups.
Slowscan #36 is a re-issue on vinyl of three separate cassettes originally released on Balsam Flex, a London-based label run by artist Erik Vonna-Michell in the late 1970s-early 1980s. In those days a number of British poets were producing works influenced by radical international currents in sound art, conceptual art, visual poetry and performance art. Bob Cobbing (1920-2002) was a central figure in this continuation of the ‘British Poetry Revival’, a rather loose poetry movement of the 1960s and 1970s which can be seen as an internationally oriented modernist reaction to the English traditionalist and nationalist approach of poetry of ’The Movement’ (Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin et al.)
Many of the Balsam Flex cassettes brought poets connected with ‘Writers Forum’, a small press, workshop and writers’ network founded in 1963 by Bob Cobbing, Jeff Nuttall and John Rowan. After Cobbing’s death in 2002 ‘Writers Forum’ has been directed by poet and artist Lawrence Upton (1949). A joint piece by Cobbing and Upton is included on Slowscan #36.
Also included on this LP are two 1968 collaborations of Bob Cobbing and French Nouveau réalist and Lettrist François Dufrêne (1930-1982). Dufrêne’s sound poetry, musique concrète and décollage harked back to the early Futurist and Dadaist experiments in that field. ’Trigram (Trilofy Four)’ is a collaboration of Bob Cobbing and Helmer Bodil, released on Balsam Flex in 1978 and now re-released on Slowscan. So is the entire 1977 Balsam Flex cassette ‘Big Band Dance Music’ by Welsh poet and artist Peter Finch (1947), whose artwork for the original cassette now also graces the sleeve of the Slowscan re-release.
Robert Filliou (1926-1987) was a French poet, writer and artist affiliated with Nouveau réalisme and Fluxus. Filliou conceived the celebration of Art’s Birthday in 1963. He claimed that 1,000,000 years ago there was no art at all until one day, on 17 January to be precise, art was born when someone dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water. Art’s birthday – which, by the way, happened to coincide with Filliou’s own – saw its first public celebration on 17 January 1973 in Aachen, Germany and in Paris, France. Filliou’s ‘Whispered History of Art’, now released on vinyl as Slowscan vol. 30, is a Fluxus mythology about the origin of art. The playful and humorous lecture was recorded by Ondine Fiore at the New Wilderness Studio, New York in December 1977 and is introduced by Dick Higgins. Courtesy Filliou recording: Archivio Francesco Conz. Verona.