G&G again:
An excellent Gilbert & George interview in the Daily Telegraph (Tues 28th; free registration required), in which they talk about their childhood and a lot more for the first time. Less snide than the one in The Observer, and far better than the one in this month’s iD.

Doddy Did it:
Back in January D’log recommended the Doddy show in Wolverhampton. I’m pleased to say that last night’s show was such a success that Wolverhampton was quite literally gridlocked for an hour or more by the arrival of the audience, and the show rolled on until past midnight. He’s returning again in December; book tickets now.

Junction, turn left, crash:
I’m the bearer of bad news again. Sorry. Following the demise of the Birmingham Carnival (see 22nd May), now it’s Birmingham’s Junction, agency for artists that’s croaked. Junction was funded in 1999 by £££’s of Lottery money; no-one seems to know quite how much. It then had a further £20,000+ for office equipment, and was then WMA-funded by over £54,000 a year. It will now close by August 2002. I was a member of Junction during the first year; in total I got one single-sheet newsletter, and they put up a basic Junction web-site which has never been updated. I also asked if I could come in and consult their ‘resources library’; but had no reply to my e-mail. So at the end of the year, I felt I’d wasted my money and didn’t renew. Junction was apparently set up because consultants identified a crying need for an artist-focussed alternative to West Midlands Arts (how ironic). But despite their name they never seemed to act as an agency; I’ve never heard an artist tell me they got paying work, sales or a commission through using Junction. Most artists didn’t seem to know it existed. So; after Metapod, ArtsNet and the Carnival, it’s sad that yet another Brummie arts org is getting the funding chop. But it certainly won’t be missed.

I think the failure stems from a distinct lack of willingness of those holding the purse-strings to trust artist-led organisations; imagining instead that yet another layer of middle-management types going about things v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y in nice offices could sort things out. Most artists don’t give a monkey’s about wether 1) you’re sitting on an orange-box in a disused warehouse with a mobile and a chunky address-book or 2) in a ‘palm-trees & pretty-secretaries’ suite on the 18th floor with a slim rollodex listing your ‘preferred partner organisations’; “can you deliver the goods?” is the only test. The other failure arises from so-called ‘soft launches’; i.e.: having the big launch party, raising expectations…. and then not doing anything for a year or more. Large parts of Birmingham’s fairly small creative subculture are hyper-connected; so it only takes a few bad experiences by a few key mavens & connectors early on – and the news that your new org may be a lame duck will travel very quickly.