Bob’s Caberet (Area 10 – London: Thursday 1st Aug, 2002)

Named after Bob Whitten of Whitten Timber Yard fame (well, in Peckham anyway) Bob’s Caberet is a weekly get together hosted by the folk who brought us the cracking Area 10 party a few weeks ago.

This is a small club in a very large space. Accessed by a secret side door behind Peckham Library you find yourself in a large dark room, greeted by a man with a torch. He leads you to the back of the warehouse where a few sofa’s are scattered around. A bar has been built from scraps of wood left by the previous occupants. A television screen flickers, balanced on more reclaimed planks, showing second rate french porno. In the center of the room a drum kit in the spotlight.

This is Bob’s Cabaret. Anyone can participate here. Tonight there is a Portuguese band (that is the only detail revealed), some videos, and poetry performances. There will be some collaborative sound improvisation too. There are about 20 people here tonight.

The show kicks off with everyone gathering around the tv to watch the french video. It is set in Egypt. Some people go into a pyramid, find a sarcophagus and surprise surprise, there is a naked women in it. Pretty soon everyone is bathing in asses milk. The host decides to put his video on. “From a few years ago” he says. It is a shot of a dancing bare bottom. Dancing to some sort of rhumba music. It to’s and fro’s. It is a mans bum. All hairy. Then the camera zooms in to the crack. Something starts to come out. Sweetcorn. It isn’t special effects. Apparently this film is one and a half minutes long. It seems a lot longer. It ends and people applaud.

The poets begin, and vary wildly.

Then the spontaneous improvised sounds start. People are banging pipes. I accidentaly smash a bottle tapping it on the ground. Someone starts hurling giant steel bars from a balcony, scaring the shit out of me, as they land right next to me. Lots of noise. It is a bit Lord of the Flies really, but amusing. I take a steel bar and hit the ground with it, creating some sparks. Pretty.

And finally the Portuguese band, who play chilled out funk with a film of making bread played backwards behind them. A bit safer. It is getting late now, and this doesn’t quite have the energy to make me stay up all night. So I leave. Very weird. But free and local for me. If you are in the area next Thursday, pop in to Area 10 and bang some pipes!

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