I was awoken by a flash storm this evening, one which carried with it great thoughts and consequences. An epiphany was delivered to me - as an article, fully formed in my mind - and when I finally roused myself to put pen to paper (so to speak), the first drop of ink landed at 3:13am.
Decadent Romanticism: A Poetic Definition for Contemporary Society
My immediate peers, that is, members of what society currently defines as ‘the Decadent Romantics’, will not forgive me for what I’m about to do, for it will be essentially turning a tongue-in-cheek term into a definition for a school of thought (without said ‘school’ having existed, at least in an institutional sense). Unlike the Brothellian Movement, which brings together like-minded individuals to share in the common goal of igniting a new cultural renaissance, the ‘school’ of Decadent Romanticism has been born not from an ideal, but from revolutionary attitudes handed to us through global situation and circumstance.
It is not an institution and it does not have a manifesto; it is the unblessed spirit of verve and vice. The Romantic age was a glorious one indeed, one born through the struggle for liberty and retreating at the march of blood and discovery, but what vanishes from sight does not simply die; such inspiration has the power to return under the correct, revolutionary circumstances. The previously mentioned school of thought is a spring founded on these circumstances, a source from which we all drink and draw inspiration.
But we are not simply Romantics, for we have earned wisdom and philosophies from our predecessors, and we can see the vanity in championing naturalism to an already jaded civilisation as clearly as the necessity to endorse the need for aestheticism in contemporary artistic society. It seems that we are all damned to the global pandemic of sanctioned lust, celebrity culture and mass consumption, and in this way it is apparent that we have become the next ‘poetes maudits’: accursed by society, not the self.
And so my definition of Decadent Romanticism crawls, naked, into the night. We use this flawed, jaded society as the motor for our art, and revolutionary spirit as it’s fuel.
If you haven’t seen this video yet, why the hell not? Here’s me in various stages of the hustle - saving money for my US Tour!
“I believe a Name, not Art
is worth respect - you don’t agree?
Then keep your sad views to yourself;
such Names are God-like. Can’t you see -
Life’s measure of success cares not
for quality in what is made,
but whether one can make a sum
from joining in its masquerade.
So challenge not the words I speak,
they come endorsed with huge acclaim;
our budless tongues know more of taste
than honest crowds without a Name.”
Your Ignorant Opinion: A Graysonic Satire
Brothellian response to the Stuckist Painter Floyd Alsbach’s statement on Critics and Criticism.
“Criticism is good, the more harsh the better. It only makes the critics look like the fools they are as time goes by.”
Floyd, I’m not sure if I agree with this statement; it may be true in certain exceptional cases (Charles Dickens on the Pre-Raphaelites, for example), but honest critics are still lauded in posterity for their courage in being true to taste, regardless of fashion (John Ruskin, to use another example from a similar time). I personally hold post-modern culture in utter contempt, vehemently attacking conceptual ‘art’ (or ‘visual philosophy’, as I prefer to call it). I do not believe these thoughts will eventually be ridiculed; in fact, I envisage numerous History of Art essays on this period of nullity entitled ‘In Praise of Shit’. However, if taste remains dulled and sophistry endures, I may be considered a fool, but I’d rather be considered an honest fool than one dishonestly pandering to a bad fashion.
Brothellian arm/wristband (embroidered) - available in very limited numbers at Gomorrah 27.08.11 www.gomorrah.co.uk
- taken from the Brothellian Manifesto
“Brothellian individuals understand that our creative talents and imagination are sexually intriguing, and that this holds great mystery to others. There is no shame in ‘sexing up’ the arts establishment as the appeal is already there, it’s just rarely…
Here is a brief account of the history of the Poetry Brothel. It is liable for modification as more information exposes itself, but for now (as far as I’m aware) this is the most comprehensive history available on our Movement:
Jimmy Cairney and Chris Parkinson hold the world’s first Poetry Brothel in a converted house as part of the 2007 Brighton Fringe Festival, UK. This was largely a tongue-in-cheek, comedy-edged approach and won numerous awards including “Best Literary Event” - beating Gordon Brown (the UK Prime Minister) and his series of Economics Lectures into second place.
Stephanie Berger (The Madame) visits the Brighton Poetry Brothel, then returns to the US and writes to Cairney and Parkinson to ask if she could twist the original approach to a more seductive affair. Cairney and Parkinson accept this, and in early 2008 Berger and Nicholas Adamski (Tennessee Pink) set up the NYC Poetry Brothel in fin de siecle style.
Kiely Sweatt (Madame Eva) moves from being an NYC Poetry Whore to the Barcelona Madame, bringing NYC’s classy version of the Poetry Brothel to Europe in April 2009 (during Spain’s Poetry Week).
Timothy Grayson (Mr. Grayson) meets with Cairney in Brighton. Cairney tells him about the Poetry Brothel idea, how it’s spread to NYC and mentions it might make sense to bring it to Leicester. Grayson researches the NYC brothel and contacts them to see if Leicester could be associated with them, (to reinforce the feeling of the ‘movement’). Berger agrees to this, Grayson advises Daniel Lamoon (of From Dusk 2 Dawn Magazine) of his wish to host this internationally acclaimed show, who in turn enlists the expertise of local cultural oracle Carol Leeming (Madame Caramel). The Leicester Poetry Brothel is launched in 2009 with ties to NYC and Barcelona, bringing the Poetry Brothel back to the UK and incorporating a spectrum of Byronic influences.
Berger and her bordello partner Adamski take a travelling troupe of Poetry Whores to a number of cities within the US, including Washington DC and LA, hosting one-off shows with local poets from each city and spreading the word of the movement across the US. They eventually arrive in Chicago and employ a few local poets including Susan Yount (Black-eyed Susan). Berger later discusses the show with Yount, who is inspired to keep the show running in Chicago (with ties to NYC, Barcelona & Leicester). Yount moves from being a Poetry Whore to the ‘Madam’ (dropping the ‘e’) of the Chicago Poetry Brothel. An all Chicago cast is organized with a Victorian theme (inspired by the infamous Chicago Everleigh Club) and their first all Chicago show was Sept. 24, 2010.
In October 2011, Timothy Grayson travelled to the US to meet with the hosts of the New York & Chicago Poetry Brothels and spread the findings of the English Brothellian Movement from the pages of the Brothellian Manifesto. It is noted that there is apparent tension growing between the two, as it was learnt that a contract was sent from New York to Chicago to ask them to pay for the right to use the name ‘Poetry Brothel’. Chicago refused, and New York concedes, allowing them to continue to host the Poetry Brothel.
The Brothellian War begins in January 2012, when New York was awarded the US Trademark for the term ‘Poetry Brothel’, and a lawyer immediately contacts Chicago to cease and desist trading under that name. This outrages Chicago, the current UK Poetry Brothel as well as the founders in Brighton, dividing the UK & Chicago Poetry Brothels from NY & Barcelona. Grayson accuses the New York brothel of profiteering and Mark Smith, founder of Slam Poetry, offers his support to Chicago. Chicago changes name to the ‘Chicago Poetry Bordello’ to continue operating.
The Brothellian Manifesto is published mid January 2012.
New York, in an attempt to rewrite history and cut ties with the UK, claims on multiple websites that the Poetry Brothel was ‘birthed’ in NY.
This ‘Brothellian Movement’ of writers, artists and intellectuals is continuously spreading with the proliferation of Poetry Brothels (inc. one-off shows held in Northern Ireland, Hanoi, Greece, etc) and is aided by the recent definition of the Brothellian ideal in the manifesto. It may be divided, but we’re now in three continents: North America, Europe and Asia You can join the English Facebook Group here or search ‘Poetry Brothel’ on Google to find a collective near you!