JONATHAN MOBERLY, the man behind Ellipsis the publishers and Foundry the Shoreditch bar, got fifty Russian artists and poets over to London. Then his crew went over to Moscow. Lots of things happened including maggot racing. Illustrations by Chris Watson.
"THE Foundry is going to Moscow. Dom is coming to London. Dom is a place in Moscow with a bar, a stage and walls for sticking art. to. From August 20 to 27 we are giving the Foundry to Dom. In late September the Russians are giving Dom to the Foundry. If you want to come sign here and tell us what you want to do. We have a few quid (thanks to the British Council) but the money is tight. So the more people who can pay for themselves, the more of us can get there. Flights are cheap. This is the application form make your own job title, make your own dream job and tell us why you are the best person on the planet to do what you want to do."
This invitation appeared in the FOUNDRY a few months ago. Open to anyone who could be bothered to respond with a ballpoint pen, a job title and a fitting job description. Offers to contribute towards the cost of the trip also helped. Every one pound contribution liberated a similar pound from the British Council Paupers Relief Fund. From this mixture of self-assistance and government propaganda largesse, a mobbed troupe of fifty Foundry barflys mounted an all-out anarchic alco-art assault on Russia. Storming Russia's Channel One TV station on our first day in the manner of a Seventies bank raid with plastic guns and clown masks set the tone for a week of chaotic intervention that brought Foundry-inspired noise, geeks, circus and opera to the DOM, out onto the streets of Moscow and into the homes of a million Russians for primetime breakfast TV. Our final act as part of a week long Moscow trail inspired by the names of British Cold War nuclear warheads, was the sowing of the poppy seeds in Red Square (the tolerance of the Kremlin Guards was tested prior to this with night fireworks in front of Lenin's tomb). One month earlier thirty five Domovites had descended upon the Foundry with a catalogue of events both outside - naked street performers and burning pavements - and (explosively) inside the Foundry. Greeted by a British Cold War air-to-air Firestreak missile the party continued for a week with an infusion of Russian sounds visuals vodka and graffiti. The world's first alcofilm festival was launched and samogon - Russian moonshine - distilled. Rain-soaked dried fish heads lay strewn around the pavements of Shoreditch as the Russians departed. Functionally equivalent to the Foundry but in style quite opposite, where the Foundry is more Moscow than Shoreditch, DOM is all new Hoxton white walls and gymnasium floor, so a bar swap seemed necessary to sort out our identity crisis.
THE MAGGOT RACES
Isobel writes: A last minute decision was made to move the annual Shoreditch maggot races to Moscow in an attempt to escape the heacy handed racketeers of London's East End although the frantic wagering was quick to attract the attention of the Russian mafioso. The host for the event was the Dom in Moscow.
THE TROUBLE WITH THREE-DAY-OLDS IS THAT AFTER A WEEK THE MAGGOTS START TO PUPATE, WHICH MAKES IT VERY DIFFICULT TO BUILD UP FORM
The shock of the favourite Mr. Wiggler's early demise at last nights final stage of the championships came amidst accusations of serious tampering during the event. Aside from the turbulence one man was very happy. Maggot trainer Stephen Haines regarded the event as a success and blamed the crowds behaviour for the chaotic finish.
"The spectators were getting too excited. They were crowding in and it was getting very difficult to get the maggots in the stalls. Contrary to whaat people might think maggots are very receptive. They pick up on the feverish atmosphere of the meeting and it disturbs them. I think we lost at least three good racing maggots apart from the one Kenny ate!"
Steve Haines is the owner of the "Lavadrome", the track used in the event. It's a standard 18 inch track, which is the official track length over which maggots are allowed to race in this country. There are only six lanes.
"The main problem is getting the maggots to race all at once. By the time you've put the sixth one in the stalls the first one has already wriggled out and gone somewhere else. One of the other problems is getting them all to face in the same direction. Some of them would get half way up the track and then turn around and go in the opposite direction."
I asked Gimpo, the manager of the winning team, if he had any tips on how to pick a winner.
"We had three breeds - red ones, yellow ones and white ones. If you're looking for a result I'd say the red ones are the best!"
From a stable of nearly 1,000 maggots building up a close relationship with individuals is rather difficult. This is compounded by the trouble with racing three-day-olds in that after a week they start to pupate which makes it very difficult to build up form. Haines is adament however that the reaal enemy of the maggot race is maggot tampering.
"They are on their best form if they haven't eaten for at least eight hours before hand. People often try to sneak in with the odd bit of bacon to ecite them before the race. If you give them a hunk of bacon it is more likely that they will eat and then go to sleep and change their skin before you know it you've got flies!"
The FOUNDRY Participants of the "Too Much Free Spirit" trip .....
Leila, The Diva
Diasy Asquith, The Miner
Joe Banks, The Disinformant
Germ, The Strategist
Alexei Blinov, The Russian Agent
Nick Bloomfield, The Third Pianist
Tam Dean Burn, The Cardinal
Paul Chauncy, The Digit
Isobel Clouter, The Noise Recorder
Simon Crab, The Musicologist
Charlotte Cullinan, The First Body Guard
Deborah Curtis, The Supernova
Kenny Davidson, The Satyr
Peter Doherty, The Fretter
Jimmy, The Infiltrator
Valentina Floris, The Video Trapeziast
Nick Fry, The Gigolo
Chris Garcia, The Cement Mixer
Dobrochna Giedwidz, The Polish Agent
Gimpo, The Undercover Agent
Zoe Griffiths, The Red Belle
Steve Haines, The Archaeo-Engineer
Tod Hanson, The Costumier - pencil rubber (specialist)
James Harpham, The Conductor
Torben Hersborg, The Flying Doctor
Ralph Hockey, The Geek
Gabriel of Evercreech, The Second Pianist
Arnold Frenzy, The Ring Master
TK, The Mover
Andy Knight, The Sax Man
Cedar Lewisohn, The Scribe
Jaime Rory Lucy, The Projectionist
Hugh Metcalfe, The Stringer
Jonathan of Westcombe, Big Boss Man
Julia Moore, The Porno Star
Rob Mullender, The Oubliette
Robin Musgrove, The Drummer
Mr Frank, The Special Agent
Jeanine Richards, The Second Bodyguard
Tracey Sanders-Wood, The Taxidermist
Carolynne Shenton, The Matron and Roadie
John Spencer, The Bachelor
Sarah Staton, The Glass Gardener
James Stevens, The Estate Agent
Miles Treers, The Head Banger
Curtis the Turk,
Frankie the Kid,
Gavin Turk, Being Che Guevara
Ivan Vele, Tank Commander
Big Mike, The Music Attache