The other week I did my neck and shoulder in. I don’t know what happened, I just stretched in bed and something sort of went. I was in effing agony and couldn’t hobble much further than the end of my street. Luckily all the great stuff going on over that weekend was just down the road at Friction Arts’ The Edge on Cheapside, starting with Happy Artist on the last Friday night of each month.
‘Happy Artist is a joyous celebration, a place where you can really let your hair down and a place where the concept of ‘cool’ is completely banned.’ And let our hair down we did. There was singing:
There was dancing:
There was being utterly charmed by brooding foreign artists on the sofa:
The foreign artists were none other than Diana Ivanova, Babak Salari (no stranger to The Edge) and publisher Manol Peykov of Janet 45, who were here to launch their beautiful new book My Street, Cuban Stories.
As with most beautiful things My Street is a simple idea brilliantly executed. Diana and Babak went to Cuba armed with cameras, which they gave to people asking them to take some pictures and write some words that tell the stories of their street to someone who’s never been there. The results are astounding. Many talk of a very real love they have for their street, almost as if it’s a person:
We loved each other in all possible ways, kissing every detail on our surfaces, smelling our secrets, enjoying our presence. It is a genuine love, true love, love without condoms….
What they’ve achieved with this book really blew me away and thinking about parallels with my talk about local work, I left with my head buzzing and the number of a good chiropractor from Sandra.
But the fun at The Edge doesn’t stop there. On 6th-7th March be packed to the rafters with sold-out fizzPOP workshops, it seems there is a great demand for knowing how to make utterly useless machines. Tonight West Midlands Film Makers are holding a Haiti fundraiser of film screenings.
Next weekend The Edge are hosting Jonathan Kay and the Nomadic Academy of Fools.
They’ll be around right up until the Flatpack Festival weekend, hosting workshops in the art of fooling during the day and performances during the evenings including scratch cabarets, performances of Richard II (not like the RSC, one bit – well worth a look) and some solo performances by Jonathan Kay – if you’ve ever been to one of his amazing Glastonbury shows, you’ll know this is absolutely not to be missed.
Now if Friction say this is ‘not to be missed’ then you’d better believe it – get your arses down there and get your eyes well and truly opened.
By the way it seems Friction Arts have copies of My Street for sale at £9 a pop – well worth the money.