Censorship and I don't get along too well.
Scene 1: Cincinnati
It was a backward place and when i lived there it was a ghetto. I'm sure its better now, but it has led the country in dubious things - like being called ""most dangerous neighborhood in the United States," but thats an artist's lot.
On top of that the Sheriff at the time Simon J. Leis JR - Hamilton County's finest - decided that
he would raid an art Gallery and prosecute Dennis Barrie, then director of the CCA. Now he's head of Rock n Roll Museum in Cleveland. Wonder how he's getting on? Anyway he decided that Robert Mapplethorpe's "X Portfolio" wasn't art. If you're not familiar with this RM took pictures of New York friends fisting each other and other variations on this. They are some of the most beautiful pictures of that time.
The short version of this is I almost single handedly fought the police and prosecutors [with a group of maybe 15 or 20] at the time I was on track to become the 3rd generation of Judge or Lawyer in the family and was working at the Courthouse library after school and during the summers doing research and filing new decisions. This caused a few divisions in the family.
Upon appeal The Sherrif / City lost. Censors can only win when its in their little Kangaroo Kourt controlled area - but a larger district, they always lose. And look silly. In fact over the decades - very few Censorship cases ever look reasonable - as time always erodes the supposed morality that "prurience" or ideological decisions are based on.
Then it was my turn - I was threatened for showing Pasolini's Salo at my cinema and not surprisingly - "Chicken hawk - men who love boys"…. however - I just invited a local clergy down and gave them all blow jobs in the back row of the cinema and they changed their minds. Joke.
Scene 2: London
When you ask Joan of Ass to soundtrack a film at the ICA you might be asking for a little trouble, for at the time the "songs" if you'd like to call them that - were a mish mash of abrasive performance art [Tits, Bodybuilding,Greg's Apartment, etc] and barely capable, but over amplified electro. When you ask Lennie Lee to perform with you - it is almost certain. And don't mention the drum sticks in the shower scene either. If I ever run for political office that drum stick shower scene will be my silver bullet. Somehow it still works with the drag queens of Amsterdam. "Cocaine" is one of their big anthems still.
But back to the ICA. The "director" at the time came down into the theatre and asked me not to show the films. So I said without prejudice "Fuck you " Mister Director of the ICA I am going to show whatever damn well I want as its unlikely that anyone is going to be at the show - let alone anyone under 7. I was officially banned from performing at the ICA until he was fired 6 weeks later.
Scene 3: Hastings
Which brings me to the real reason I'm writing this. A few weeks ago a t-shirt I did that says "Im so Fucking Disco" with Daniel Curtis [Vuggaz, Red Mutha] was censored on petty personal and dubious aesthetic grounds. And I'm still not really sure why. In fact, I like the fact so many stories about this are now circulating in the local area. Small towns are like that. Ask Royston!
Anyway, after delivering a few designs during setup and sitting down in the alley out of view of the back of the truck. Now I have to make an admission… I didn't tell Dan and Neil Zeroh that Daniel Curtis aka 1/2 of Redmutha was the co-designer of the shirt. I never for a minute thought would be important. I mean this t-shirt has been worn by the ultra famous like Def Leppard and Squaddie Tony to name a few so its bound to be controversial!
But the way the show was displayed - randomly, Beautifully - hung up in the alley [see picture at bottom from Grande Dame who did the Dodo Shirt... ] made the artist attribution it a little less important.
But the ruckus behind the truck got a little louder and someone came to get me… it was kicking off. I asked someone who was being a baby. Then I walked around to the back of the truck said to his face, "why are you being such a baby?." Following about 5 minutes of this I decided to walk back around the truck.
So what really happened? Without knowing him Noki [though we shared a a few stockists in the 1990s when he and Ben Eine and myself were selling crap with Jaques at The Pineal Eye in Soho] decided to push the nuclear option. Noki had so much animosity and hatred towards Redmutha that he said either we were kicked out of the show or he would leave.
He and Red mutha [I didn't know this] only have met once. But to Noki they were, "talentless, fucking shit, horrible designers." I think that too and that's why I wear them so much. They make trash clothes and aren't the last but definitely not the first to "do" recycled clothing. Others, on the other hand. think they do. But more on that later.
But I said fine, Waved "bye." and wished him well. However, there is more to this. The organisers of the sale, are the exceptionally mild mannered Dan and Neil Zeroh [they later apologised to me after] have worked with Noki for a long time and they told me he was the inspiration of the show. It was unlikely that they would let their star walk. So I relented. And was kicked out of a show by another artist. I was and am still bemused by the whole thing.
Artists generally don't censor artists. I suppose the one time it happened was when I painted a room completely in blood red - heads - faces - bodies in a hippy Squat in Brighton - it didn't gel too well with their acid trips. You can still see my heads I painted in the windows of a squat in Smithfield market area from the bus stop on Farringdon Rd.
Noki for whatever reason, when I went back to the show later, continued ranting and bizarrely said "I know you mention me at dinner parties." This is what made me feel quite sorry for him - for whatever reason I don't think the attack had very much about me or Redmutha. I never go to dinner parties. I don't. Never had to talk about real estate prices or kids or wine terroirs or anything… The one time I did I left before discussions started. And no I haven't even thought about Noki nor can I say that I have even seen his name since Pineal Eye closed - which is a long time ago.
I have no opinion of the the guy - which perhaps is why he's angry. One of his key arguments was when i first went to the sale I "looked" at him. After Djing for nearly 48 hours straight at 11am on Sunday morning with 2 hours sleep is not perhaps the best time to ask for my impressions on your garish ensemble, opinions on your interpretive dancing or how the fuck you're doing? You will generally get a blank stare anyway.
The next day, by coincidence. Kitten and the Hip were on Xfactor - in head to toe Redmutha - and because of an incident during the audition they were also in every paper and millions of youtube hits. Millions of Redmutha images everywhere… in every medium. Things happen like that.