Taking a break in November only – please check original posting for updates
NEW at the Room!
REGULAR SUNDAY CLASS AND PRACTICA
10.30 am – 2.30 pm
Tango Class and Practica, guided by Anthony Howell, at The Room, 33 Holcombe Road, N17 9AS. Between Bruce Grove and Tottenham Hale stations…
Plenty of Room to dance and practise after the class.
Map can be found here:
£10 per person for the two hour class followed by an hour practica – contact 0208 801 8577
The Room has a sprung dance-floor, a fantastic sound system, and it is the nicest space to dance in town. Refreshments can be made upstairs in the kitchen.
Here is the first draft of a new slideshow – Tottenham Marshes
No titles – as it works well when it repeats.
Was there ever a book that was censored because
It was a pack of lies? It will be the eagle’s choice,
His, and his alone. What we say, what we read,
And what we are will soon be what we were,
And sold for scrap, each superseded pylon here.
As some brave admiral in former war
Witnessing the decadence of an empire
Stuffed by the elevation of its fashionable minorities,
Tend your own garden. Spin the web that supports you
Out of your own innards. Shrouds fail to cope.
Banal signs inundate the web. Crowds hunger
Under a sobbing grey. She felt obliged to mask her joy.
But then, or now, the tense changes. Everything enlarges
And becomes normal. Doris barges past the other barges.
A strong breeze creates waves among the trees.
Poplars bring the sea to the canal. A pram’s on the loose!
Tall dead stalks cling on. Hardened nettles occupy
The foreground, the middle-ground. Cranes pose
Like herons, predatory, overlooking the reservoir.
Up go the blocks, ever less distant. This is a horizontal
Stretch defined by the edge of that great grass-surrounded tank,
Its bank raised some twenty feet above the towpath.
The Drum-sheds, it says, on the grey sheds on the other side.
One whole tree has gone yellow below the pylons
That lope across our straight lane for barges and on,
On, over a chill prairie of nettles and docks
Punctuated by hawthorn or a teasel.
Look how the lines are etched onto a dying day,
The clouds bleeding into a soft whirlpool.
Practise breathing through the nose during your constitutional.
There is also a review of her work on page 101 of The Alchemy Spoon – at this link https://en.calameo.com/read/006240328939df95c44c7?authid=PgLe8IRv1QEj
And a new review by David Hackbridge Johnson in The High Window’s Autumn 21 issue.
More about Iliassa Sequin here
Grey Suit is proud to have also published Anchorage – a chapbook by Lorraine Mariner.
There is also a review by D. A. Prince of Lorraine Mariner in London Grip.
For more about our books click here
Those wishing to review our books, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org and a review copy will be sent out.
In Dante’s Comedy, each punishment is a contrapasso, a symbolic instance of poetic justice, and Purgatory seemed an appropriate place to be, last winter. So here, in the Fortnightly Review are my thoughts about reading Purgatory.
List of publications 3 (Miscellaneous)
These four links provide a tour of Grey Suit. The project began as a video magazine for performance art, material film and innovative music and poetry. Later we began publishing poetry chap-books and now we also do larger publications.
I have just discovered this post from the Art Gallery of New South Wales – showing items from the box of drawings for The Tower – created for the performance in that gallery in 1984.
The gallery bought these fine drawings by Dilys Bidewell, which also has photos of the tables used, together with the film of the performance directed by James Bogle. This film can be found on Grey Suit Video Issue 4 1993 at 37:25.
We kept each issue of this video magazine intact as each is a historical document. The full catalogue with links to each issue can be found here – Grey Suit Video Catalogue.
The contents pages preceding each video always give the time location for each contribution.
Grey Suit originated as a video magazine which ran to twelve issues – recording thirteen hours of material – performance art, poetry readings, installations, experimental film and music. The material was digitised from the masters by the BFI several years later.
Aley Howell 1919-1945
In memoriam Aley Howell
My father who died at child-birth
far from his son. Now I run out of words
and climb the forests to lament him:
here, he is precious, is air-currents,
pressures weighed in the leaves’ hands.
An aroma tipped from bracted bowls, passed on
from stem to stem as his breath
bends them. He is the callid, handy god
mother barred the house to at daybreak,
who refuses. She found another man grew up,
their son, who loves at a distance
him & her and his close sisters winding
in his head. But how he loses!
Voices dent him where they can no entry stave.
All he leans back on lurches off.
Astounded, as I grow closer his age,
I lament my father.
He is much younger than his helpless son.
From Inside the Castle, Barrie & Rockliffe, The Cresset Press, London 1969
Born in Copenhagen, Eli Rosenbluth took his wife’s name and changed the spelling of his first name to Welsh-sounding Aley in order to serve overseas in REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) on returning from Australia where he had been interned at Hay – in the Australian outback – as a foreign alien, for the first three years of the war. He was sent to Australia on the infamous Dunera.
L + R – Gideon and Aley (Eli) Rosenbluth, Berlin.
When living in Australia in the eighties, I attempted to visit Hay and a sandstone feature nearby called The Walls of China. I never got there.
WHY I MAY NEVER SEE THE WALLS OF CHINA
As the road unrolls the plain
light gets steadily worse:
The sun has left a stain
like that of a crushed horse.
Less and less can be seen
approaching an increasingly
On we go unceasingly
In one direction – ahead –
pausing only to spend the night
On a hotel bed;
but dressing before the light,
Eager to get there.
As day enlarges,
Our little car
splashes through mirages,
hurriedly in a flock.
We rattle with each bump,
Tilt away from the truck
Rushing towards and past us;
wondering whether our fuel
And water will last us
to the next meal
In a mining town,
the next chamber
In which to put the head down,
dream re-runs of camber
Littered with tyre-shells,
The crow’s wails
and the parrot’s raucousness
When we go for a leak.
Mostly we drive on
And on without a break
across the plain.
‘Do not overtake
on crests or curves’
Reads as a joke
where the road never swerves
And there’s no one to race.
All the road leads to is road.
Scarcely in one place,
we are merely a load
Speeding from sign to sign
– Stock, Dip, Grid –
Crossing the time-zone line
as if on a desperate bid
To beat the clock,
melt the road’s edges,
Where gourds bake
among the weeds’ smudges
Of merging greenery,
while the middleground
Shifts its scenery
before that profound
Place in the distance
where the trees preserve
Their motionless existence
at a far remove
From the dust in our wake,
the tumbleweed ahead,
The thirst we cannot slake
To be either quick or dead.
An axle pulls to the left;
a shoulder-blade starts aching;
The mind keeps going soft,
or shudders on awaking
To the fact of having slept,
if only for a second,
As the swift road swept
how many yards unreckoned
Under the bonnet?
Having come this far,
We rest for a minute
out of the car;
It being extraordinary
simply to stare
At some quite ordinary
corner of nowhere.
Best not to linger though,
given we’ve got
Some distance to go
in order to get
Within sight of the walls.
Keen to arrive
Before night falls,
we continue our drive.
Then the road alters:
wheels choose a rut.
easily squashed flat,
Over and over,
we roll to a stop.
Have we killed each other?
Both of us stand up.
Hurled from our route,
more lucky than bruised,
Where branches hang mute
on a road seldom used,
We have ended up facing
the opposite way
In the staved casing
hired for a holiday.
Turned around and sent
back the way we came,
Our destination bent
by a fluke from a larger game.
So perhaps we tried to bite off
more than we could chew:
Leaving behind a write-off,
I sit across from you
As we trundle home over the plain,
whether or not we please;
Glimpsing, from the train,
animals still as trees.
From Why I may Never See the Walls of China, Anvil, London 1986
Aley kept a comprehensive diary of his time in the internment camp. He also kept the zoo at Hay, and he brought back a big lizard which escaped in the blackout at Waterloo Station as he was about to give it to his future wife Deborah (a government veterinary surgeon) for safe-keeping. It was eventually re-captured and this picture by Aley epitomises his “dragon” and his adoption of a Welsh identity (safer than being identifiably Jewish during WW2).
Deborah Howell – by Aley
Could this be a photo of Hay camp?
Aley and the motor-cycle with sidecar – on which he was killed in an accident, serving as an officer in REME, Naples 1945 (a few weeks before his son was born).
NEAR CLOUDS HILL
He flew over my bonnet like a super-hero.
I had hoped to circumvent the queue
By making a u-turn. Well, it’s down to me,
But they will hog the hump of the road
As if their tires unrolled the line.
Near Bovington, some ten days on,
I just avoid two dawdling boys
On bicycles beyond a rise.
When T. E. Lawrence flew off his
He ended up garrotted by barbed wire.
My father’s had a bad rep with its side-car.
He scowls in front of it in uniform,
Then takes off for the Opera or for Paestum
In 1945. I wonder whether those boys
Are alive, or the ghosts of dead bikers?
From Silent Highway, Anvil, London 2014
Aley as experimental photographer:
Aley on Erica – Deborah’s horse – at Upshire – her mother’s home on the edge of Epping Forest. Probably taken the last time they were together – before he went with REME to Naples in 1944 – from where he never returned.
After I was born the side that had to stand
On its own against them was back full of swords
Where he was the next of the lost. The duck drank in the wild and she
Was painted by Scott but not in a tree.
The forest was committed over a church mound ago,
And so the white weather-boarded house is part
Of a short line of houses crowning the brow
Of Horseshoe Hill. Would my father’s name
Climb the tree to an ancestor?
I was standing there on my small stone,
Born in a gazebo where I must have failed in daughters
And all the leather-bound years that hoard
A suicide view of the barn. On the edge of Epping Forest,
There was a walnut once, my son; and if you could climb to the top
Of it you would get a view of Boadicea’s monument.
There is the small stone gazebo standing on its own in a field
Where her horses failed her and her daughters
Drank the poison first, in front of her, and round the back
Of the white weather-boarded house
There used to be an old black weather-boarded barn
And round the back of that a mound, I think,
Where I was sure I had found her hoard of rusted swords.
Swords they were not. With hindsight I guess
They must have been farm implements, but served the child
I was as swords, and in the white
Weather-boarded house next to ours
There was a ceiling full of birds. I know that
Saint Walnut of Epping died so Hitler could be stopped.
I have been in Boadicea’s monument of swords.
Are they still there, I wonder – wild duck in flight
Painted by the son of Scott who died in the Antarctic?
Hitler was born on my birthday and committed suicide
Ten days after I was born in 1945.
My father served. His name’s engraved in stone
On the side of Saint Thomas’s porch.
He had died just before Hitler though, lost in one black month.
The church was built a little over a hundred years ago
By a Buxton ancestor. I was a child who died of joy
In a field of white. That month engraved
In hindsight with swords was used against Hitler in 1945,
And if I poison the birds a round house by the hill
Of a hundred leather-bound horses implements the wonder
Of Thomas’s horseshoe and of all my weather-boarded houses
Built round the back of the Antarctic.
Ten sure days to get to it by stone. I think a Buxton rusted once.
The lost farm found the little guess I stopped.
The porch is part of the joy that should have been there
Crowning a birthday, had he not been lost.
And did she stand on a brow before a frontline of short swords
As were there of old? He and I know that first
You should edge them though. Are the swords still there?
In that weather-boarded house the ceiling was on top of her.
From Songs of Realisation, High Window Press, London 2019
Boadicea’s monument, Upshire, Essex
Aley and Deborah were socialists, whereas his father and his uncle were prominent Zionists. I have engaged with their relationship, and with my own experiences in regard to Israel in two prose works:
The Best Deborah Stories, Manubook, London 2015.
Painting by Dilys Bidewell – which I used on the cover for The Best Deborah Stories
Consciousness (with Mutilation) – Odd Volumes, The Fortnightly Review, Les Brouzils 2019 – click here for details
Hagit Bar, an Israeli dancer, created a dance work – A Space to Imagine – for The Room, my space in Tottenham in 2006 – as part of a short festival of Poetry, Art and Performance: Art across the Middle East. A choreographer who has performed at The Place in Resolution, at the Laban Centre, in Barcelona, Portugal and Israel, she has conducted numerous seminars in dance. She has been interested in the notion of occupation as it might be applied to a dancer’s actions, though of course the term can equally be applied to a territory. Her work takes on strenuous repetitions that become arrested. For this piece she creates a series of movement “snapshots” – brief, concise episodes of physical expression. Sometimes there is a sense of entrapment about her movements. Further work can be found on Youtube.
Rosella Pellicciotti is a member of the Albanian Dance Theatre Company. Here is an improvisation. The improvisation is accompanied by this quotation – “There are neither major nor minor tragedies. Tragedies exist. Some can be described. There are others for which every heart is too small. Those kinds cannot fit in the heart.” – Sarajevo Blues. This dance work is distinctive for its adept use of rhythm – which is all too often neglected in contemporary dance practice. Pellicciotti works with both dance and performance art and created interesting performances with others at the Paris Summer Academy 2018. Further work can be found on Youtube.
Milica Vukovic has extended her dance practice into a performative arena sometimes interacting with other art – as with the sketches she created for an exhibition by Mark Williams at the Room. More recently her dance work has become engaged in gardening. As a volunteer gardening assistant at Chiswick House in 2019 she created a Disfocus – a short film where her actions are now integrated into those associated with the cultivation and maintenance of a garden – in this case, a very large one. Further work can be found on Vimeo.