So it would appear the post I thought I’d written and saved is non-existent. So now I must write from memory.
Drawing R. Stevie Moore, and his support Dammit I’m Mad. It is one of the best intimate gigs I’ve ever been to, and the Stockholm audience are a much livelier bunch than I’ve experienced before, though the promoter ‘Mother’ or Gavin Maycroft is indeed his own powerhouse of promo, organiser, DJ, HR, artist liaison, tour guide, audience member and disco dancer and is definitely doing his damndest to rally the Stockholm crowd into a frenzy. Bearing in mind that R. Stevie Moore starts at midnight, with Dammit I’m Mad who started at 11pm, on a Thursday (school) night, this is probably the optimum time for the audience to be the most ebullient crowd R. Stevie Moore is going to experience in Sweden. It is however also going to mean everyone takes a swift sharp exit afterwards as everyone runs for the last T-bana/tram home. The club, Debaser Slussen, is open until 3am and there are some very fine tunes being played by both Munnen’s Martin Hagrot and also eclectic visual artist/animator/record label owner Peter Larsson. There’s a lot to stay for, but it’s quite an eye opener to see folks scarpering the potential hangovers they feel they might need to suffer in order to enjoy themselves a little beyond their own imposed watershed. Worlds away from Glasgow, I tell ya.
Tonight is the first night that it is officially advertised what I am doing. See picture below.
Therefore, I am much more vulnerable tonight. People know what I’m doing, they are aware that prints are to be made, so there is a lot of pressure I’m feeling right now. Everything needs to work like clockwork. I have 40 minutes until I draw Dammit I’m Mad, and having travelled 8km into the city 2 hours earlier with various necessary accoutrements, met the bands and the promoter, discussed the plans, spend another hour travelling another 4 km round trip to collect the printer and the rest of the stuff I need, travel back to the venue, set everything up including the posters advertising that there will indeed be prints for sale, at a special price, now I check that it prints okay. Only to find I’ve forgotten the special printer paper. F**k. I need to travel another 4km round trip back to my studio which includes a run, a train and another run, repeated on the return journey. (Thank F**k I didn’t wear high heels tonight!!!) I now only have 30 minutes after reality slaps my brain matter into action. Insanely I manage it, but not without a good deal of stress, heavy breathing, a boiled looking face and sweat, lots of sweat. Stuff making an effort to look good! As I leap back in to the venue with said collection of various special printer papers, I have two minutes before the support ‘Dammit I’m Mad’ start, and I have to say, I feel like I’m in the right place. I commence drawing. I’ve even miraculously managed to get a glass of very nice red wine. So it feel as if now all is as it should be.
Dammit I’m Mad’s 30 minute set are hilarious, inspiring, colourful, massively inspired by Steve Reich, some quality interaction with the projected visuals, and a good bunch of frenzied dancing by the posse of moshers in the front row.
However, after drawing I stay exactly where I am and try to email my drawing from my iPad to myself so I can pick it up on my laptop to print later. There are various issues but eventually I sort them out, just as RSM is about to take the stage. Glad I ironed them out before having to do the same in about an hour’s time.
I wonder how long RSM is going to play, but I figure an hour is going to be good enough for sure, which he previously suggests it would be at least. An hour passes quickly and it is quite moving. It really hits home that I am drawing a legend, this hulking gruff Southern white haired and bearded borderline petulant and tempestuous being who sings with a honey voice and dances in his acid trip pyjamas like a secret character from Dr. Seuss. Words and layers and textures in mad combinations, all the songs and band members work beautifully upon the reigns of Mr Moore. For it is all him.
After finishing the drawing – during the encore – I suddenly realise I don’t know the code to the door to get backstage to my print/operations desk, though thankfully the tour manager helps me out. Cue mad frantic finalising, emailing, downloading, printing, having to replace an ink cartridge, printing on different papers, mounting the first acceptable print to hang up at the Merch stall and to show RSM himself.
I’ll be honest, it is all completely chaotic and inefficient. There needs to be two of me – one as front of desk person selling the prints, and one in the back manning the printer and overseeing the quality of the prints. (Perhaps the printer I have is not going to be efficient costwise, perhaps I need a bigger one in the future, which will mean I need a better method of transport than being a sherpa…)
Suffice to say, I am fairly emotional when this experiment doesn’t work as planned, and everyone has gone home before there are sufficient prints to sell. But the concert does end at 01.20 and that is not normal concert hours. I also don’t think RSM likes my picture as he doesn’t say anything to me. However, everyone all has their own packing up to do, they have all been on tour for a month, RSM’s not exactly a teenager, (although by crikey he could contest the energy and zaniness of any musician performing at that time of night!) but I can’t be sensitive about it. I give a big print and some postcard prints for all the band members as they’re about to drive off, Gavin cuts in to get me a lovely RSM LP – CLACK! And they zoom off while I’m in the back packing up my things myself. I feel a bit low. There must be a way of making this work, that doesn’t cut out the quality of drawing or print, but can still be something folk can buy at the event. So it needs some tweaks for sure.
However, the promoter Gavin is very much into the idea, so expect some printage shenanigans in the future. Mr R. Stevie Moore also got back to me regards the drawings –
‘yer amazing!’ plus –