Work / Writing

2009 Review: Michael Crowe

We’ve become big fans of Michael Crowe this year and long may it continue. The wordsmith has contributed to more than most, including the first evening of talks, the second publication and most recently a weekly discussion.

Michael’s image from 2009, "This is a screen grab of which I took many hundreds for my own enjoyment from YouTube. If you happen to like it many others are here. I find searching for these types of images a very satisfying way of completely wasting valuable writing time. "

Mark out of 9 for 2009?

I’ll say a twirling 6. Good out-punched bad, but bad kicked shins on occasion. Fascinating news: I bought a thick “page a day” diary. Realised mid-January that week-at-a-glance is the only way to go. Imagine my horror.

Best new discovery?

Probably the Dancing Plague of 1518. Which isn’t especially “new” but it was new to me: Frau Troffea started dancing wildly in a street in Strasbourg for 4 to 6 days. A week later 34 people had joined her, a month on, 400 were dancing. Eventually most died from heart attacks, strokes, exhaustion.

Best idea?

A joint idea with Lenka Clayton, to write a letter to everyone in the world. We’ve done 1087 this year, to a whole town in Ireland and a place in Pittsburgh. Some people loved the letters and spoke to their neighbours for the first time ever, others called the police.

What were you doing this time last year?

Probably writing stories, deleting stories. Also: Staring unblinking at the internet thanks to websites like this, and vvork, boston the big picture, nasty nets, tumblr, etc.

What broke? How did you fix it?

I sat on my 4 year old niece’s plastic tiara. I managed to fix it by asking here right now if anyone (you) has an unwanted tiara, please be so kind as to send it to me via Will and Alex. She is still crying.

What piece of work really stood out for you?

It’s an equal two way tie: Daniel Kitson’s show “The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church,” was wonderful. I only saw a preview of it and it was better than anything the New Yorker has put out for a long time. If he tours any show of his anywhere near you I recommend you go. The other jaw dropper was Peter Coffin’s projected animations on top of other people’s art at Altermodern at Tate Britain. It’s hard to explain, but he made it rain on old painted landscapes, had other work seem to crash to the floor, along with various other splashes of playful imagination. Also Urs Fischer’s floating (magnetic) sculpture at the New Museum, Paola Pivi’s 1000 people scream at Tate Modern, Hayward’s Warhol exhibition, the Baldessari retrospective, etc. etc.

Favourite Book/Album/Film?

These aren’t all new, but new to me this year: The Green Knight by Iris Murdoch. At times I had to re-read bits because I could hardly believe what had just happened.
Tickley Feather for best album. Especially good is: “Nothing 2B sad about”. Synecdoche, New York for best film.

Did you get Swine Flu?

No. My brother had it and I live with him but somehow (gutsy determination) didn’t catch it. Hopefully sometime in 2010 people will be able to sneeze without comments about swine flu. My brother is still alive btw. Clinging on.

What are you going to miss about 2009 and what are you looking forward to in 2010?

I’ll miss a cat called Tiny. I’m looking forward to writing much more, reading more Iris Murdoch, maybe watching an Arrested Development film if it‘s made. I look forward to sending more Mysterious Letters, perhaps sent to people in a remote jungle or to inside igloos. Hopefully a new Joanna Newsom album.