<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/223045399″>Dont Look Back in Grandeur (2017)</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user60125733″>John Ledger</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Don’t Look Back in Grandeur (title by DS Jarvis) was a videowork quickly thought up for the introductory section to the ‘exhibition space’ in ‘Will The Last Person To Leave The 20th Century Please Turn out The Lights?‘ – an event staged by the collective ‘the Retro Bar at the End of the Universe, in a disused pub within the eerie and unidentified West Yorkshire metropolis.
This introductory space became a quick response to the sense of structural ‘unraveling’ occurring around us in the months of May and June. Across from the videowork is an installation of blog-article ‘The End of The Long 90’s’, posted by Rick of Flipchartfairytales in the week we had a potentially game-changing General Election, and the farcical and despicable tragedy at Grenfell Tower in London.
Obviously in May we had the horrific terror attack in Manchester, and while nobody can (or should want to) argue against showing compassion and trying to create togetherness in the aftermath of such a traumatising act, I couldn’t help thinking that the song that became a unifying singalong, the 1996 Oasis track ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ was beginning to embody the entire state of the nation in 2017.
Because Oasis, and Britpop (the pop music moment they embodied more than any other band), was a decadent and nostalgic movement in music that looked back to more visually recognizable times in British History, it seemed not only doubly odd that it came back strong after 21 years, but doubly fitting for a country that was slowly seeming to unravel after a long period of deep identity crisis, propped up by apparitions of former glories.
“May as well get another round in” for a boozed-up population that lost their culture not to waves of immigrants coming in, but to being coerced into buying into an ideology that cut communities into pieces, and began selling back pieces of the past to us in increasingly absurd forms, with left us with no identity based in the present, save for our own lonely narratives of how we’ll find happiness…eventually.
The video consists of all the prime ministers that have presided over this period, enjoying a boozed up ‘trip down memory lane’.
As part of ‘Will The Last Person To Leave The 20th Century Please Turn off The Lights?’, The Retro Bar at the End of the Universe presents ‘Writings From HMS Brexit’: a ‘live’ performance.
Myself, poet Jonathan Butcher, and the writer JD Taylor (author of Island Story: Journeys around unfamiliar Britain) have made spoken word pieces for the event to be held this weekend – the voice of Merepseud, hauntological diarist, and former resident of nearby Shipley, may well be heard also.
The location is a disused pub, looking back over a dislocating time; an erosion of time and place; a vacuum filled by unfulfilled ghosts from the past. Always in homage to the late cultural theorist Mark Fisher, this series of prose speeches is strange due to the absence of the speakers. Only their half-finished endeavors will be visible; half finished pints and coats flung over the seats – as they proceed to dissect a body that has become to be known as ‘Brexit Britain’.
The events are on Friday 6-11pm.
Below is a map that shows easy access, via footpath, from the station to our event!!