Archive

Notes & manifestos

A note on 'psychogeography'
Compiled in October 2016.

Entity Poetics
Written in November 2015, this ad hoc manifesto was posted as a comment on Peter Riley's Fortnightly Review piece (a set of four book reviews) on Poets, Angry.

A nonist Manifesto
Created in September 1996 and published in Angel Exhaust 15 (Bizarre Crimes of the Future, Autumn 1997), A Nonist Manifesto created a conceptual maze within which to bewilder the opposition. Many of them have still not found their way out.

The Listening Voice

The Poetry Field Club organises field trips, mainly into the countryside around Southampton, Portsmouth and Winchester (UK) where we walk about a bit. The field trips are advertised in The Listening Voice or in other leaflets.

The Listening Voice is a four page A4 newsletter. You can receive this and other PFC leaflets through the post in the UK (send 6 UK second class stamps and your address to the address here). The newsletters sometimes don't come out very often.

See the events page for more or less up to date information.

The Listening Voice newsletter

The Listening Voice 1 : 120kb PDF file : Summer 1996

The Listening Voice 2 : 256kb PDF file : September 1996

The Listening Voice 3 : 248kb PDF file : October 1997

The Listening Voice 4 : 308kb PDF file : October 1999
St. Catherine’s Hill, Winchester

The Listening Voice 5 : 256kb PDF file : October 2000
Danebury Ring, Hampshire

The Listening Voice 6 : 300kb PDF file : July 2005
The Hampshire Bowman, Dundridge, Hampshire

The Listening Voice 7 : 880kb PDF file : January 2007
Ha Ha book launch at The Richmond Inn, Southampton

The Listening Voice 8 : 324kb PDF file : December 2007
Re-enacting Edward Young at Lower Upham, Hampshire

The Listening Voice 9 : 320kb PDF file : June 2009
Josian in Ermonie launch at The Richmond Inn, Southampton

The Listening Voice 10 : 348kb PDF file : November 2012
Portsdown Hill, Hampshire

The Listening Voice 11 : 264kb PDF file : June 2013
Portsdown Hill, Hampshire

Other Field Trip leaflets

Eggardon Hill A4 poster : 32kb PDF file : April 1996

St Catherine's Hill A4 leaflet : 48kb PDF file : September 1997

Old Wardour Castle A5 leaflet : 132kb PDF file : May 1998

Bokerley Ditch A5 leaflet : 96kb PDF file : July 1998

Smash IBM! A5 leaflet : 108kb PDF file : October 1998

Breamore Miz Maze A5 leaflet : 276kb PDF file : August 1999

Return to Old Wardour Castle A5 leaflet : 84kb PDF file : September 1999

Other Field Club downloads

Hampshire Chronicle preview of the field trip on 24 November 2012 (1.1mb PDF file). Published on 15th November 2012

Hampshire Chronicle review of the field trip on 24 November 2012 (1.1mb PDF file). The review is by Emily Trig and was published on 6th December 2012 (The unedited text of Emily's review is here.)

Other Nonist leaflets

Southern Poet's Counselling Service : Persistent Failure Fatigue
28kb PDF file : A5 leaflet, Summer/Autumn 1995
A bewildered Ian McMillan broadcast a big chunk of this on Radio One. It was on a Monday evening, during the Mark and Lard Show.

The SPCS helped Mr Weedy (Wessex Regional Poetic) & the Fatman (The South Movement) to maintain stability for many years and the therapy provided assisted the Fatman in particular, enabling him to resign from poetry (his public relapse in a 'review' of Jeremy Hooker's The Cut of the Light in Tears in the Fence, issue 44 - issue undated but probably March 2007 - was regrettable but not unexpected).

Colossus Redivivus : The giant form of Southern Poetry
24kb PDF file : A5 leaflet, Autumn 1995
nb. Mr Caddy and his good friend Dr Hinton are still looking for their poetry penis. If you find anything that you think might be a poetry penis please alert the hapless duo via Tears in the Fence magazine. Please mark your envelope ‘Penis Envy’.

"Now the Dark Council rides forth, both the Weedy and the Fat, into the North, to seek the Lost Penis of the South . . . If you know the where-a-bouts of the Southern Poetry Penis, please inform the Dark Council."

Southern Poet's Counselling Service : Dr Mintern's Xmas Poetry Reading
100kb PDF file : A5 leaflet, November 1995
A fundraiser - Dr Mintern here focuses on Southern Regional Poetic Syndrome. He was particularly interested in how this syndrome interacted with a disordered personality. Through this ground breaking work he got close to the core complex, that which motivates Hinton and Caddy, and was preparing his work for publication when he disappeared.

"Come and listen to Dr Mintern’s fabulous landscape poems! Be amazed at the hinged valleys, fields on stilts and scenic absurdities you’ll encounter as this masterly poet explodes the myths of place with ease! Sit back in your chair and roar with laughter at the landscape, social hypocrisy and ridiculous culture of the south of England! Feel smug that it’s for charity too!"

Penis Envy? No Thanks! : Building a campaign against Wessex/The South Movement
100kb PDF file : A5 leaflet, Spring 1996

Featuring the Great Goddess/Cerne Abbas Giant in her original gynophallic body form. This was the deity as she was encountered at dogging sites around twenty thousand years ago. Nocturnal therianthropes humping shamanic prospects at sites later developed into what we call henges and lay-bys. Weregurles, swingers, trannies and hairy panty wearers enact similar rituals at the same locations today. This is the energy we tapped into in our fight against the Fatman's incontinent rage and Mr Weedy's anal retentiveness. (If you were wondering why they still haven't recovered, that would explain it.)

An open address to the Men of Wessex : Distributed with 10th Muse issue 7
28 kb PDF file : A4 leaflet, Summer 1996

Amongst other things we demanded, "The cessation of Tears in the Fence as a vanity press magazine and its transformation from enclosure into an open field". Mr Weedy was never going to respond positively to that, but who would have thought that the reactionary impulse would eventually lead to the enclosure, by others, as a brand, of 'Radical Landscape Poetry'. By this stage the process begun in 'Wessex', that of the gentrification of an idea, had come to reflect and feed the rapacious demands of companies operating in the higher education sector. 'Value added' is now the aim of market oriented academics who, using hip politics as a cover, privatise and exploit the commons of radical politics and poetics and still expect to be seen as groovy.

The farmyard fascist & his insular arse licker : Distributed with TLV issue 2
140 kb PDF file : A4 leaflet, Autumn 1996

"You will note that things got nasty after the Equi-Phallic Alliance and Poetry Field Club published issue one of The Listening Voice newsletter. Although the nonists had no idea what had gone on behind the scenes, the publication of the newsletter provoked a jittery Fatman to reveal what he had done. Hinton grassed himself up to Jeremy Hooker, who it turned out had never seen the review of his book in the form in which it was published."

The full text of Brian Hinton's review of Jeremy Hooker's Their Silence
A Language (Enitharmon, 1993) can be found here.
124 kb PDF file : A5 page
This review was originally published in Tears in the Fence 14

The full text of Brian Hinton's review of Jeremy Hooker's The Cut Of The Light - Poems 1965-2005 (Enitharmon, 2006) can be found here.
120 kb PDF file : A5 page
This review was originally published in Tears in the Fence 44

Proles for Modernism

Proles for Modernism was active between 1995 and 2003. The group was formed to do magico-Marxist direct actions and psychic interventions to prevent the demolition of the Tricorn shopping centre in Portsmouth.

The following two paragraphs are from Oooh, you are brutal
. . . but for some reason people like you by Jonathan Glancey, The Guardian (G2), 21 July 1997

I was looking forward to Saturday's Freeart Collective Festival at Portsmouth's Tricorn Centre. Normally, the name alone would have been enough to put me off: it sounds a little too dippy-trippy for me, smacking of seventies street theatre and frizzy-haired adults dressed in denim dungarees. As the events of the day were to include circus performers, kite-making and craft workshops, I felt justified in my smug and sweeping judgement.

But when an invitation to the event thumped onto my desk signed Proles for Modernism, how could I refuse? After all, the card bore a striking picture of the Tricorn Centre, one of the most brutal of all Britain's concrete buildings. Opened in 1964 and now awaiting demolition, the Tricorn has often been called Britain's ugliest building; Prince Charles described it as "a mildewed lump of elephant droppings". But I gathered from Proles for Modernism that it has no shortage of fans among Portsmouth's young hipsters.

The whole of the article can be found here.

Much of the material produced by PfM was of a temporary or insubstantial nature. Thought forms, transferred emotions, stories. All that now remains are the Tricornia web site (see below) and two leaflets. Jonathan Glancey was reacting to the first of these:

Tricorn 1997 : 288kb PDF file : 19th July 1997
Save Our Tricorn!

Tricorn 2000 : 192kb PDF file : 23rd April 2000
St George's Day Working

Owen Hatherley, author of Militant Modernism (2009), A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain (2010), Uncommon (2011) and A New Kind of Bleak (2012) also responded to material produced by PfM.

Eros House, the Tricorn and Trinity Square were cranky, strange things, doomed to commercial failure because of their architectural caprices. The Tricorn never had enough retail space to entice an "anchor", was not sufficiently freeze-dried and air-conditioned. Proles for Modernism, a mysterious south-coast group who picketed the Tricorn's redevelopers, praised it for exactly this reason.
Gateshead car park: in praise of Brutalism by Owen Hatherley
The Guardian, 27 July 2010

None of the large companies that were intended to occupy the shopping space would do so, meaning that it helped bankrupt the developer and took on a life far more strange and intriguing than it would have had were it a success – something noted by the wonderfully named Proles for Modernism, who issued a communique claiming that “a spectre is haunting Europe … the spectre of the Tricorn – a symbol of demotic resistance that contradicts the role it was assigned. The concept of ‘functionality’ is negated in it”, instead providing a series of walks, vistas and enclaves.
The Tricorn by Owen Hatherley
Icon Magazine, issue 76, October 2009

Not everyone is so well informed though and, as one might expect, since the Tricorn was demolished its image has attracted those who are drawn toward disembodied glamour. One such is Peter James Field who posted an entry in his blog on 13th April 2011 entitled The Ugliest Building in Britain.

In his text Field speaks with apparent authority but the info has been skimmed from articles published on the internet. Field confuses Proles for Modernism with the FreeArt Collective and misattributes a quote from the Tricornia web site. The confusion between Proles for Modernism and the FreeArt Collective began with Jonathan Glancey (in his Oooh, you are brutal article, see above), it has been copied by various people since. For instance, it appears in the otherwise commendable Tricorn: Life and Death of the Sixties Icon (Tricorn Books 2009) by Celia Clark and Robert Cook.

Another of Field's sources was a blog called Necronomania. The entry for 24th May 2010 is called Portsmouth’s Carbuncle: The Tricorn Tragedy. There is more honest journalism in this, the article has content, but the author, known as 'Mikey_C', repeats errors from elsewhere about the failed 'FreeArt Festival'.

This is what happened: the Tricorn festival was a FreeArt initiative, PfM included information about it in our Save Our Tricorn! leaflet (see above). There was no PfM input into the proposed festival. The festival didn't fail because of anything PfM did or said. The festival failed because the FreeArt Collective went to the developer and asked for their permission to put on the event. Had they just got on with it the festival would have happened and nobody would have been prosecuted. FAC didn't understand that direct action is an expression of power. They turned it into a kind of hip self-subjugation.

The idea of an arts festival was a good one, but FAC were too scared to do it. Alerted to the festival, Taylor Woodrow dithered and then took out an injunction banning it. The individual who had identified themselves to the developers as the organiser of the festival then received a 5am visit from the police who woke her up to warn her that if the festival happened she would be arrested. Unknown to FAC the festival was embodied by Stewart Home who walked unmolested in the derelict Tricorn and did readings from his works to some passing skateboarders.

All the uninformed comment on the internet about the festival is taken from Glancey's 1997 article or the repetition of the errors it contains in Celia Clark's and Robert Cook's history, though none of those who quote them acknowledge their source (they all want to seem like they know what they are talking about).

In a 21st January 2004 article in things magazine about "Portsmouth's most radical building" (and its impending demolition) the author happily states:

Proles for Modernism have a point: [the Tricorn is] a bold utopian statement, the likes of which are nearly impossible to replicate at a time when shopping centres are systems-built, empty vessels given character and life only by the brands which inhabit them. PforM aim 'to undermine the aesthetics of consumption by consuming aesthetics', suggesting that the public realm needs a certain degree of challenging abstraction. Their argument, fringed with mythological and pagan beliefs, is that the building is a 'machine for revolution' in that it 'negates bourgeois culture. It puts people off shopping' (my italics).

That's how easy it is to get things right.

It is my intention to one day reactivate Proles for Modernism. They currently sleep in a concrete bunker somewhere under the Tricornia web site. Should the need arise they will awaken and issue forth mouthing slogans and inspiring a fetish for Brutalist architecture amongst the twee and the well spoken. 'I don't think that is very likely', you say? Well, if you know of any concrete maidens in distress please contact this web site and I will give the sleepers a poke. 'Young hipsters' indeed . . .

Whilst PfM was on the case the Tricorn stood. Within a year of us being dismayed by genteel preservationists the concrete crunchers had moved in. Wealthy and well organised they might have been, effective they were not.

Tricornia

Although it is in ruins, the Tricornia web site can be found here.
Tricornia went online sometime in the late 1990s.
It was added to the nonist archive in July 2010.