A First Contribution...'Rat Alley Presents - Quarantine: Artwork for the Apocalypse Exhibition'

The Peer Hat

Pandora's Box, John William Waterhouse

Good evening one and all, I do hope you've kept yourselves reasonably active this past 24 hours or so. I thought the days were passing with exceeding slowness, but now it seems, night falls whenever I'm not here I am, once again, the early morning scrivener. Speaking of which, we at The Peer Hat, don't cleave to the modern clock---as far as we're concerned, night belongs to the day which birthed it....there's something beautiful (and fucking truthful) about a day beginning only at the first ray of dawn. This 'one in the morning' business...maybe that's another artefact of a world that's slipped or is slipping away. I'm certainly in the game for defining our own rules. Why limit ourselves to the boring shit when we could be figuring out new ways of reckoning our position in time and space? It's almost a Situationist's wet dream. Almost.

At any rate, I've managed to make myself busy; the flow of art heading my way is currently a mere trickle, but as I've seen from a glance at my inbox, the stream is picking up pace. Let's start with the first thing to fall into my lap and wax a little, about Laney Xup...


Laney is something of a terrifying, apocalyptic figure in the legends of The Peer Hat (we're all writing them)...a whirlwind of energy, her work ethic as concerns her own music is, frankly, something many of us artists wallowing in pits of 'have they noticed', 'will they notice' and 'it's just not right', could do well to emulate. Dedicating oneself to the dubious altar of rock n roll, without expectation of reward, is like spitting in the face of Satan...but being able to threaten nothing but material disaster,the lord of Hell is rendered flaccidly impotent . That's where she stands, an archetype of the driven rock queen, shorn of the trappings of recognition and success and yet marching on regardless. Her back catalogue is formidable and, at some point amidst this chaos, should demand your attention.

Here's a sweet number of her's called Nothing.

What captures my imagination, is the 'rock star' (the term is insufficient) as community oracle. The reward is the telling of the story, the voice in the dark that echoes. Out music belongs to us and tells our story in ways that would seem unimaginable to those first elevated baby boomer blimps. The shaman leads the participants of the rite though the fantasy of their own infinitely deeper and more crucial role, than that of distantly admired object of desire and frustration. Best not to think too much about it; for some it's like explaining the joke.

And yet, I'm looking around me and seeing no dearth of exciting talent and warrior spirit. Our artists are pissed off...they sense what's happening (what's happening? Something weird). Quasi-fortunately, they've been drawn back to the source by the implosion of the world. It was happening already, it's only now being underlined.

Rat Alley fanzine, another product of Laney's inexhaustible font of creativity and enthusiasm, makes me happy whenever I catch sight of it. It keys in to other territories, other liminal weirdness happening in our city and centring (at times) in our humble establishment. "Living The Dream, Despite Life", the words of battered musician poet, Charlie Potatoes, emblazoned upon the cover, seeming to gain in resonance. That's another rabbit hole and a riddle I'll be revisiting repeatedly (just you watch and keep count). At any rate, under the Rat Alley banner, Laney is pushing the first project in our weird, new and temporary reality. Check it out (in her own words).

PS If you read this and think...'I haven't a fucking clue what he's talking about', I invite you to force me to write about you. This is ethnography, anthropology sitting with the tribe, lifting the lid on the ineffable. Pandora's Box awaits thee.

Rat Alley presents - Quarantine: Artwork for the Apocalypse exhibition

The idea for the ‘Quarantine: Artwork for the Apocalypse’ exhibition came about as a result of The Peer Hat having to temporarily close due to Covid-19. All of a sudden it hit me that all over the country (and indeed the world) spaces that were hubs and homes to artists, writers and musicians would remain shut for the next few months and I wanted to hold on to a sense of community.

As we’re having to self isolate, the exhibition will be a virtual one and digital images, photographs or scans of the artwork will be uploaded. The exhibition will launch on 19 April at 7pm and it will include a slide show to feature the artists involved, along with a short biography for each of the artists. To make it even more inclusive, we are also taking submissions from musicians, to be included in a Spotify playlist that will run alongside the exhibition. Writers and poets can also submit their work.

Those who would like their work featured should pop us a message via the Rat Alley facebook page for more information:

There will be more of these events over the coming months.


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