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EDITORIAL

EPIFANIO RECOMMENDS

SOUL FOR ONTIKA
Björn Kowalski

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF THE LITTLE WHITE BALL ON PLANET EART
Vilen of Viimsi

INTERVIEW WITH NATHANIEL KAHN
August Künnapu

MY VIDEO LIBRARY
Nathaniel Kahn

HARRY PYE'S POSTCARD FROM LONDON
Harry Pye

ARTIST AND AGE
Mehis Heinsaar

RICHARD GARY BRAUTIGAN. BOGUS AMERICA’S WARPED MIRROR
Lauri Sommer

TEAM

Harry Pye’s Postcard From London

Part 1

For the last 6 months I have lived in a shared house in Stoke Newington in North London. The house is on the high street above an Indian take-away.

When we first moved in we were sad to learn that we would also be sharing the house with a rather large number of cockroaches. At the beginning, you’d go to the toilet in the middle of the night, switch on the light and then see two or three horrible cockroaches scamper away behind the toilet.

However, after a few weeks, the cockroaches became less shy. Realising that we weren’t going to do anything, they stopped running away and started running towards us. Cockroaches are famous for being tough bastards. Even if you chop their heads off they can survive for 10 days. I bought a few “Cockroache Hotels”, which are basically little cardboard boxes with double sided sticky tape on the bottom. The slogan on the packet was, “They check in, but they won’t check out”. For the next few weeks, each day would begin with one of us disposing of a Cockroach Hotel before leaving for work.

Eventually, a neighbour said they were driving him mad and said his child kept picking them up. He said he had bought some poison and that we could have some. The poison was very similar to brown acrylic paint. A small amount was put on each door. Apparently the cockroach is attracted to the smell, he rubs himself in it and eats some, goes home, dies, his friends and family then eat him, then they die. Nice.

With the cockroaches now more or less gone I only have to share the house with Russell, Tom, Powla, Christian, Marcus, Stephanie and Gemma who are all a pleasure to be with. I belive you should live and let live and my motto is, “If you’ve got time for me, I’ve got time for you”. But the cockroaches just had to go because seeing one on the ceiling of the kitchen when you’re making a cup of tea,another running around while you’re taking a shower or exploring your bedroom while you’re trying to read a book - is somehow revolting. I fully understand that some people reading this will be disappointed with me. What right do I have to be the judge, jury and executioner of the cockroach race? If I was Tony Blair I would claim that, “history will prove me right,” but I’m not him so I’ll say, “I’m sorry to any cockroach fans reading this”.

Part 2

Last night I went to the Royal Court Theatre to see the new play by Terry Johnson. “Piano/Forte” is a play about unwelcome visitors. The owner of the house is a Conservative MP who wants to get married to a Page 3 girl, but one of his daughters from a previous marriage is about to ruin everything. In Britain, lots of politicians go to television and say how they are disgusted about all the sleaze that’s going on in British politics and how angry they are about politicians who lie about their affairs. Then, months later, they are back on television apologising for sleeping with their secretary or an out of work actress. A character in one of Terry Johnson’s previous plays suggested that the British don’t actually enjoy having sex all that much.

The character claims that, over here, our views are like those in saucy seaside postcards, Benny Hill sketches and Carry On films. British men like the idea of being naughty boys and they prefer pinching bottoms to actual intercourse. In France, if a politician didn’t have an affair he would appear strange, so the media don’t make a big deal if he is caught out. In Britain the topless model isn’t meant to be sexy, “it’s just a bit of fun”. In France, a sex symbol is someone like Bardot who you would actually want to have sex with, but in Britain, the sex symbols are women like Jordan who are more like cartoon versions of women.

I didn’t like Johnson’s new play that much. Everything seemed very signposted and the jokes all sounded very predictable but there was a lot of nudity. The MP character is shocked when his daughter decides to remove her clothes when introduced to his glamourous new wife. The daughter then spoils the wedding by having two silly Spanish acrobats that she met in a circus do lots of strip teases and provocative dances. Normally, if an actress takes her top off on stage you only see her breasts for a few seconds, but in this production you get a real eyefull for a good 10 minutes.

In a way it’s not so much the play I didn’t like as the experience of being in the theatre. The audience is always so middle class and they laugh like drains at the most mildly amusing things. I don’t know why the sound of middle class laughter makes me so unhappy, but it does. Once again, I know some people reading this will think I’m being unfair and overly critical. I am sorry, it’s just the way I am.

Harry Pye

Harry Pye is a writer, curator and artist who lives and works in London. See also his stories about the art scenery of East London, South London, “Night on Earth” show and different publications(Epifanio 1/2005, 2/2005, 3/2006, 4/2006).