So said Jeffrey Bernard in 1985. Which was easy for him, considering he wrote for the Spectator.
Flitting in between high culture and low culture to such an extent that you blur the boundaries? Now that’s where it’s at. Something the late, great Simon Morris did with aplomb.
With his tragic death in 2019, his work has been positively reappraised in various circles. In regard to Morris’ band, Ceramic Hobs, the blogger Idwal Fisher once wrote that:
Sometimes they were a complete shambles and sometimes they reached levels of greatness that didn’t seem possible from the … loose collection of misfits who were stood on the stage. The ever-changing structure of the band meant that you were never quite sure who was going to turn up, and if they did turn up you were never quite certain as to what they were going to get up to. They were in a constant flux, mainly due to members either being sectioned, committing suicide or leaving due to circumstances that must seem … mundane by comparison.
I’ve already reviewed his excellent Consumer Guide and now, as October has landed early this year, feel compelled to give an airing to his 2017 book (and debut for Amphetamine Sulphate), Creepshots.
The best way to describe Creepshots is that it’s the equivalent of a deranged letter from that friend of yours who balances always finding himself in various situations where the façade of the evening can be ripped apart by one tiny remark. Imagine, if you will, a wine and cocktail party held at the Groucho Club to coincide with the opening of an art installation. Your friend, who has been invited because of his involvement in the installation, proceeds to drink the bar dry and insult each member of the party. But he remains charming and compelling company.
Probably the most stinging section involves the bloated corpse of the Manchester arts scene.
I try to bring the whole community together and I’m actually getting quite well known for that. Manchester’s creative, urban heart is home to countless independent fashion stores, record shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. The NQ’s most famous business, the shopping emporium Afflecks, provides affordable outlets for independent designers and traders across four floors. A man doused himself in petrol and threatened to set himself alight at Ashton Job Centre … Interview questions for an art gallery internship will vary depending on the size, focus and personality of the venue.
Indictment or acceptance? Good question.
It may only be 32 pages long, but it packs a hell of a punch with musings on The Fall, Peter Sotos, sex, Lana del Ray and pulling at funerals. Jeffrey Bernard wouldn’t have been able to keep up.
Simon Morris, 2017, Creepshots. Amphetamine Sulphate. ISBN-13: 9780999182505.
⏩ Christopher Owens was a reviewer for Metal Ireland and finds time to study the history and inherent contradictions of Ireland. He is currently the TPQ Friday columnist.