Catalyst Club April 13th
Not to be confused with our namesake in Monterey California (apologies to the person who travelled there recently to see his friend’s talk on unusual molluscs and saw a metal band instead) The Catalyst Club is based in Brighton and now in its 13th year. This April’s is a regular night with three guest speakers on topics that could be anything from adjustable spanners to BDSM-themed poetry. Truth is, they’re even weirder.
VIV ALBERTINE AND SARAH ANGLISS: PIONEERING WOMEN IN MUSIC Wed 10th May 7pm £14
Viv Albertine is one of the founding members of The Slits and author of The Sunday Times music book of the year, ‘Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys.’ She is also a wonderfully disarming and frank speaker.
Tonight she will take the audience on a fascinating journey celebrating some of the women who have inspired her, from Stacie in Hawkwind to Vivienne Westwood; taking in June Child (Marc Bolan’s wife), Sandie Shaw, the bongo player form Kokomo, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Ari Up, the backs of album covers (looking for a girl’s name or girlfriends of the band), the dancer on Heard it Through the Grapevine film on TOTP and Nina Simone.
Musician and roboticist Sarah Angliss will discuss the life and work of Daphne Oram, co-founder of the radiophonic workshop and inventor of the Oramics machine, which created music by drawing on film.
GARY LACHMAN ON COLIN WILSON Thurs 11th May 7-8pm £10
Bosco Tent Spiegeltent Gdns
Colin Wilson burst on the literary scene in 1956 with his first book The Outsider, a study of creativity, alienation, and extreme mental states. From then until his death in 2013, Wilson produced an enormous body of work, exploring existentialism, crime, sex, literature, philosophy, psychology, the occult, mysticism and more in his quest for the ‘peak experience,’ a moment of supreme affirmation and insight. Gary Lachman’s talk will focus on the essence of this extraordinary writer’s existential search and is based on his new biography, Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson.
Gary Lachman is the author of many books on consciousness, culture, and the western esoteric tradition, including The Secret Teachers of the Western World and Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius. A founding member of the rock group Blondie, in 2006 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He lectures frequently in the UK, US, and Europe and his books have been translated into many languages.
MAGICK AND MUSIC Wed 17th May 7-9pm Bosco Tent £12
Bosco Tent £12
A night of esoteric talks exploring the magickal & ritualistic music scene of the 1980s/90s and beyond. From Coil and Current93 to Psychic TV and Nurse with Wound, these bands were created in the aftermath of the post punk era and drew much of their material from the occult, the texts of Aleister Crowley and work of Austin Osman Spare. By experimenting with altered states and utilising such exotic instruments as Tibetan thighbones and Theremins, these bands invented a ritualistic, magical and ethereal sound and created a visible army of ‘modern primitives’ who were as much a creative part of the movement as the band themselves.
Graham Duff (Dangerous Minds / I Deal) will discuss the life and works of John Balance, founding member of Coil.
A.D Hitchin will discuss the continued importance of cultural engineer Genesis Breyer P-Orridge; from the COUM Transmissions to the Pandrogony project, a career of some fifty years of radical creativity and provocation, a ritual in change itself.
Musician Lisa Jayne will talk about Current 93 and David Tibet’s lyrical style. She will discuss how C93 influence her own creative processes and how they have been affected by paganism, menstrual blood and alchemy.
Ben Graham, Nick Hudson and percussionist Ash Babb (The Academy Of Sun) present a talk/ritual exploring the magical and transgressive influences that informed the post-industrial underground music scene of the 1980s and early nineties.
With a strong site-specific approach, they will tap into local myth, memory and folklore, invoking the spirits of Crowley, Spare, Burroughs and Balance to re-energise Brighton’s counter-cultural currents, reclaiming and reimagining the queer, occult lineage of Coil, PTV and Current 93 for the birthing of a new aeon.
THE GHOSTS OF WATLING STREET, WITH IAIN SINCLAIR, ALAN MOORE AND JOHN HIGGS Plus music from Oddfellow’s Casino and the Shoreham Sea Shanty Choir Wed 24th May 6.30pm-9pm Spiegeltent £16
Three visionary authors – Alan Moore, Iain Sinclair and John Higgs – gather under one roof to take an epic journey through Britain’s hidden history, geography, myth and culture, as they travel west along one of Britain’s oldest roads – Watling Street – from Dover to Wales, via London and Northampton. Along the way Moore, Higgs and Sinclair reveal a country haunted by John Crow, St Alban, William Blake, Rod Hull and Emu, James Bond and stranger ghosts of its past – as they unearth an identity of Britain that transcends our current Brexit divisions.
Adding music and visuals into the mix, David Bramwell’s eight-piece, Oddfellow’s Casino, provide songs themed around Watling Street and the Principality of Sealand. joining them will be The Shoreham Sea Shanty Choir, run by Sussex folklorist Chris Hare, who’ll also be performing the odd ditty.
And finally Moore, Sinclair, Bramwell and Higgs will be discussing the recently released 1974 BBC classic, Penda’s Fen – essential viewing if you’ve not seen it already.
It’s going to be flipping fantastic.
Please note this event is 150 minutes in length and will include a field trip to the bar and toilets in the middle.
THE ODDITORIUM: ADVENTURES ON THE OUTER LIMITS OF SEX, PAIN, ART AND POLITICS Thurs 25 May 7pm-9pm Bosco Tent £12
The Odditorium is a best-selling book that celebrates the tricksters, deviants and pioneers whose obsessions changed the world. Co-author David Bramwell is joined by three of the book’s writers for an evening of entertaining, illuminating and transgressive talks on the themes of sex, pain, art and politics.
Emma Kilbey examines the work and philosophy of Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged/Anthem), a Russian author who sold the American Dream to the Americans, as well as inspiring an epic themed album by Canadian prog rockers Rush. Rand’s brand of extreme selfishness still echo through American politics today, up to and including America’s first orange president, Trump.
John Higgs is the author of Stranger Than We Can Imagine, Making Sense of the 20th Century and KLF: The Band That burned A Million Pounds. He will be putting history straight by revealing how Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’, heralded by many as the 20th century’s most important work of art, was actually created by an avant-garde baroness.
Dr Diarmuid Hester uncovers the heroic life of Bob Flanagan, ‘supermasochist’, a performance artist who battled cystic fibrosis with hardcore BDSM and home carpentry to become the disease’s longest -living survivor.
David Bramwell celebrates the life of radical psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, who inspired Kate Bush, Patti Smith, Sean Connery and Kurt Cobain with his wild ideas and inventions that include the cloudbuster and orgone accumulator. It was thanks to Reich’s radical work in sexuality that the Sixties came to be defined by the phrase ‘Make Love Not War’.
DR BRAMWELL’S THE HAUNTED MOUSTACHE Wed 31st May 7-8pm Bosco Tent £10
‘Neurologically this will light you up like a Christmas Tree.’
“Bramwell clearly has an eye for the oddball and arcane.”
Author David Bramwell (No9 Bus to Utopia, Cheeky Guide to Brighton, The Odditorium) gives a fascinating talk that weaves in magic, memory, occultism, the history of spiritualism, shamanism, Britain’s weirdest museum (the Pitt Rivers) and psychedelics. Attempting to answer the question – what does magic mean to us in the 21st century? – Bramwell’s unique journey begins with a personal quest involving a hundred-year old moustache in a box, bequeathed to him by an eccentric aunt.
In a ten-year search to uncover the true identity of the moustache’s original owner, Bramwell’s quest drew him to Brighton – its séances, spiritual churches and a seedy basement club – where he unwittingly became the host of a modern-day freak show. Beginning to believe that his hairy heirloom was possessed, Bramwell joined a cult and dabbled with the mind-altering drug, ayahuasca, before meeting Drako Zarahar, a former Dali model who appeared to be mysteriously linked to his unique heirloom.
As well as an an exploration into the nature of reality, The Haunted Moustache is a supernatural coming-of-age story and an affectionate portrayal of some of Brighton’s greatest eccentrics. It started life as an award-winning one-man show (‘Outstanding Theatre’ Brighton Fringe Review 2009) and was dramatised for BBC Radio 3 in 2011and won a Sony Award for Best Feature.