Friday, April 28, 2006

Doug Fishbone at Seventeen

Firstly, let's admire the toilets at Seventeen. Not only do they have men and women, but in the mens there are urinals. Three urinals, in fact. Count 'em. I mean, I know to many of you this is probably far too much detail and I apologise, but, hey, credit where credit's due...three of them. That's some kind of achievement...
Anyway, we are here for a one off performance by Doug Fishbone (above). Mostly what I know about Doug is the 30,000 bananas he dumped in Trafalgar Square, and various other cities round the world. That and the 'lecture' pieces he has been doing the last couple of years, or thereabouts. And we are in luck: he is doing one of these tonight. I don't know the parameters of these things, but it seems to me there are lots of different versions. Or maybe they change or he updates them, or whatever.
There's a table with a lap top on it and a projection behind the table on the wall, controlled by the laptop. Doug, with a comforting, soft voice gently talks us through a whole range of images, pulled down off the net. It's a lecture and a stand up routine. There's cod wisdom in there, hackneyed phrases and old wives tales. There's trashy homilies and profound and profane asides. I wonder if he samples the text in the way he samples the images? I'm not sure. It's very good, though. At one stage he passes round a hat for donations. Is this for real or not? People put money in. Is any of this for real? (It reminds me a little of one of Ryan Gander's pub lectures - truths and lies and half truths all mashed up together...).
He ends on the Footprints story, about how God takes the weight of the individual throughout the bad times of their life and carries them through. I've seen this piece of text a thousand times, reproduced on images of footprinted beaches and sold the world over. Tonight, coming as it did at the end of the talk, and with Doug's easy, laconic voice, honestly and patiently going through each part of the story, it was strangely affecting. I shook my head. I didn't want to be affected by it, thanks very much. What was he saying to us? Something or nothing? Everything or nothing? Or both?

You can also download a version of the talk here


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