Next up in our student flash backs is Michael Crowe, from the class of 2001 and Liverpool John Moores University where he studied creative writing. Now a days, Michael continues to find himself composing Mysterious Letters to everyone in the world with his art-partner (p-art-ner?) Lenka Clayton – they were resident in the Simultanhalle gallery in Cologne during August. Before and after these missives, he publishes his own excellent written works, and even more recently he contributed to a new zine by David Rule and Jamie Sutcliffe about Deputy Hawk from Twin Peaks.
The first image is 100 poems passed between work mates circa 2001: “I’ve lost most of these thank goodness.” Also, a number of letters written whilst in Cologne this year.
What advice, based on your own experience, would you offer those still studying?
I’m terrible at giving (good) advice but think it’s worth trying to really get into something outside of your course. You still put Herculean energy into your main subject, but with this other interest you might jut into your course from a weirder, more unique angle. So if you’re doing fine art, get into Ghanaian police uniforms or whatever, or, if you’re doing graphic design, you should subscribe to Modern Dog magazine. It’ll all slot together smoothly. (Also: don’t get hammered on wine and lager every night. Try Schloer, it tastes better.)
What other university experiences helped you on your way to what you’re doing now?
I met friends who I work with and have a laugh with today and I think they’re much more important than any lesson or teacher I had. I worked like an academic beast on the course but it was really just a sort of backdrop to meeting and chatting with good people.
I also made little photocopied short story publications. One was called Gingerbread Cockerel which I left stacks of here and there. Nobody was interested. It was a really shitty publication. Still, that got me started on making my own books and printed things which are now 0.1% better.
What are the inspirations and resources that you would share with your student self?
The British Library would’ve been really handy in Liverpool, I think every city should have one of those just as a basic requirement. I would’ve appreciated the artists’ bookshop Printed Matter (in New York) relocating to the Cavern Club too. My favourite book is probably Six Years: The dematerialization of the art object by Lucy Lippard, I wish someone had shown me that. It’s full of ideas. Every film by Cassavettes, Bergman and Fassbinder. If Kickstarter had been around I could’ve got funding for all kinds of long forgotten projects. Every In Our Time podcast. Leonard Bernstein’s music lectures from Harvard. All Cabinet magazines, maybe up to the year 2020. Warhol’s Diaries, Groucho Marx’s Letters, CF’s Powr Mastrs etc etc. etc.