In order to examine the relation between Performance and The Social, I invited them both over for dinner. I thought we could sit down, have a good meal and talk. But for some reason, things did not go as I had expected. Performance showed up COMPLETELY NAKED and more than an hour late, because it was ”facilitating new possibilities on expanding the ideas on how time can be understood”. It somehow seemed as if I should be grateful for this. The Social was a bit tipsy, and also heavily delayed due to having met a large number of friends, old and new, on its way – ”we just had to stop for a drink”, but gave me a big wet kiss; a somewhat baffling compensation.
Performance then explained that it was a macrobiotic vegan and could only eat a tiny specific part of the now cold meal I had prepared, whereas The Social was fine with anything but seemed to concentrate heavily on the wine. Anyway, here is a short transcription of our conversation:
Performance: Can you pass me the salt, please?
Mr Q: So, describe your relation (passing the salt).
The Social: Well, I am much older than Performance , but really, that doesn’t matter. I really love Performance, it’s so (smartphone rings) ooh sorry, I just have to answer this (answers phonecall) Hi Representation, I was just thinking of you! (continues in the background)
Performance: What kind of salt is this?
Mr Q: Jee, I really don’t know. I’m pretty sure it’s sea salt.
Performance (sceptical): Pretty sure, huh? Where is it from?
Mr Q:I really don’t remember. Look, can you describe your relation to The Social?
The Social (in the background, on the phone): Oh my god, that’s so great! Ok I will check, yeah, mmhm, lovely.
Performance: Well, The Social thinks I’m much younger than itself, but has got it all wrong, not that it really matters. The Social seems to like me a lot, but then again, The Social seems to like everyone a lot, don’t you think?
Mr Q: I guess so. But what do you think of The Social?
Mr Q: Shoot!
The Social (still on the phone) Ok, I’ll get back to you soon. Big hugs! (quits phone and turns to Mr Q) Can Representation come over? In an hour or so? And maybe bring along Network? It will be so much fun!
Mr Q: Uh, well, ok, but, uh, I have to get up early and meet Practice in my studio, so nothing really late, ok?
The Social: Marvelous! Of course! (calls back Representation)
Mr Q (to Performance): You were saying?
Performance: Honestly, I’m fucking tired of The Social. We hang out a lot, but it’s so fucking dependent on others all the time, which really annoys me. Plus it is really heavy on drinking and smoking…
The Social (downs a glass of wine): Ooooh, Performance, you are so hot! Is it true that you are seeing Discourse?
Performance (a bit shy): Well, yeah, but, you know…
The Social: What? (giggles and touches Performances cheek) I don’t know…
Performance: I’m always willing to try new experiences. It’s the old ones I can’t stand…
The Social (lights a cigarette): Performance! (teasing) So judgemental, and yet… so sexy! It’s hot in here (removes designer clothing).
Mr Q: Look, this is leading nowhere. Can you please just describe your relation? If ever so briefly?
The Social: I’ll get it!
Representation enters, completely dressed in orange clothing and wearing sunglasses. letting off a loud howling-wolf sound: AAOOOO-OOOHH! Ich bin ein Berliner!
Performance (grumpily): Boooring…
Representation: I brought Network along (pulls out a tiny odd-looking character from its pocket) Say to Mr Q.
Network: Hello! How do you do? What is it that you do? Where do you do it? How are you funded? Who is your contact there?
Representation: Now now, Network, take it easy.
Mr Q: Jesus, what is going on?
Performance: So fucking lame…
The Social: Network! I haven’t seen you for hours! Big hug!
Network: Big hug!
As you can understand, things quickly got out of hand. There was a big fight over The Socials friend Funding, and Network later pissed on the floor. The Social got very drunk, Representation dropped acid and had to lie down, and Performance prepared my piano with metal objects. After a Skype-concert with Contemporary I managed to make them all leave, and finally got some sleep. However, it was not enough, as Practice was very upset with me the next morning.
Later I heard from Concept that Performance and The Social had spent the night together.
Benjamin Quigley is a musician, actor and performer living in Stockholm, Sweden.
Paddington Station 14:17
What a show!
A lady passes close by – a Prada clutch bag is held tightly. Fabulous. She disappears seconds later swallowed by the criss-crossing throng of bodies. My next ‘spectacle’ bowls through, heading straight for me, eyes fixed not on mine but on the departure board which hangs overhead. He is a large man. He stops no more than a few feet in front of me. As I’m sitting down, my eye line meets his midriff. His midriff stares back. Its impressive.
A man stands in the heart of the crowd. Seemingly happy to act as a stationary, crowd-frustrating bollard. He is also bald. Slightly odd looking – plastic flower in lapel, that sort of thing. He wears a smirk whilst staring intently into the middle distance. He looks like he’s going to do something. Something odd.
A suitcase accompanies him.
He lifts an arm and points up to the cast iron ornate roof. He holds this positon with smirk and stare, for 15 minutes. I’m now very intrigued. He has to do something else. I almost demand it as his only attentive audience member.
He bends down, unfastens and opens the suitcase. A pigeon leaps forth and flys off cooing wildly. With a deadpan composure he takes out a newspaper. He then begins to read aloud from each page before screwing it up and throwing it to the floor, ‘Honda supports Gay Marriage!’ ‘Budget leaves monkeys confused!’ ‘Hats only on Sundays!’ ‘Price of chairs to fall!’ ‘ ‘e’ to be omited from the English language!’. Upon completion of the paper he begins to dance. It’s an odd dance. His feet shuffle , shifting him from left to right – he manges to stagger, swagger, feign and trip all in a single step. What a dance! He humms a tune, almost inaudible.
What the feck is he doing!! is the expression worn by most of those who pass-by. Some stop, others ignore. The crowd move effortlessly, shifting pace, gait and step as they remain determined to exchange spaces with one another. 14:44 Spectacle over. The man clears the newspaper into the suitcase and walks off, quickly engulfed by the crowd. Order has returned to the station. I run for my train.
Tom Stone is an artist based in Bristol.