The Exquisite Corpse Will Drink the Young Wine
Location: The Borough Welsh Congregational Chapel, 90 Southwark Bridge Road, London, SE1 0EX
FREE TICKET EVENT
One of the most exciting events in MERGE Festival 2012, Bankside, London, ‘The Exquisite Corpse Will Drink The Young Wine’ brought together a group of contemporary musicians and artists for a night of performance at the Welsh Congregational Chapel in Borough, London. There was live performances by Origamibiro, The Joy of Box, Fiona Banner, and Viv Albertine, with Steve Beresford, James McArthur and a male voice choir. .
The title of the evening was taken from a verbal parlour game appropriated by the Surrealists to celebrate the ‘mystique of accident,’ wherein participants blindly wrote words on a single piece of paper to form bizarre and unexpected sentences.
Banner and Albertine presented a new musical re-arrangement of the hit 1966 pop song, Snoopy Vs The Red Baron. The performance pursued the spirit of collaborative endeavour, furthering the narrative of the fictional cartoon beagle and his nemesis ace of aces Manfred Von Richthofen AKA The Red Baron. A German World War One fighter pilot, infamous for the number of soldiers he killed in combat and for the delight he supposedly took in doing so. Largely thanks to wartime propaganda, Richthofen was legendary in his own lifetime and mythologised posthumously.
Amidst a booming, paranoid post-war culture, Snoopy regularly fantasised about meeting the Red Baron in combat; he not only wanted to kill him – he wanted to become him. At a time when public consciousness was still grappling with the effects of that century’s second global war, Charles M. Schultz presented a series of characters in the Peanuts cartoon who anthropomorphised this internal struggle and the communal failure to understand it.
In 1966, shortly after The Red Baron first appeared in Schultz’s cartoon, The Royal Guardsmen rereleased the song ‘Snoopy Vs The Red Baron’. Widening the field of combat central to this tale to include that of copyright law, Snoopy’s owners sued the band over the use of his name. As a result sheet music was never published.
As with the Surrealists of the early twentieth century who sought to lay bare the underlying yet unconscious ‘reality’ that governs us, the interactions between the protagonists of this tale are similarly revelatory, illustrating a wider set of on-going existential conflicts as yet unresolved.
Award-winning, audiovisual collective Origamibiro originally started as a solo music project by Tom Hill in 2007 with the release of Cracked Mirrors and Stopped Clocks, Origamibiro has since become a live audio-visual collective comprised of Hill’s fellow musician Andy Tytherleigh and video artist, Jim Boxall, aka The Joy of Box. The trio employ multiple instruments, hi and lo-fi technologies and an array of unorthodox objects and mixed media, including guitars, typewriters, infra red cameras, double bass, ukulele and bowed electric guitar.