Notes from the feral edge

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  • Published 20090303
  • ISBN: 9780733323942
  • Extent: 256 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

SUNDAY NIGHT ENDED with a feast of dumpstered strawberries, eaten at banquet tables piled high with bark and leaves; music that might have once been ’80s pop lurched through the crowd of diners, jostling sweaty boys with handlebar moustaches and girls in low fedoras. An awkward waiter grated carrot into my lap while, metres from my head, a woman was doused in wine then showered with eiderdown – a contemporary tarring-and-feathering for some unspecified crime. Here at the ‘world’s worst theatre restaurant’, no one knew what was happening. Half the patrons had left in disgust, the other half were calling their mates and telling them to come down. Another waiter tramped along the tables, knocking meals out of the way, refilling people’s glasses with wine delivered from inside the fly of his trousers. The whole thing was horrible; fragmented; about to disintegrate into chaos, and perfect.

Day four of the 2008 This is Not Art (TiNA) Festival, and the mix of bug-eyed rapture and utter confusion on the faces around me suggested we were doing okay. It was a strange feeling to be surrounded by such improvised chaos, yet in some sense being ‘in charge’ of it all. To the external observer, this particular show looked like it could collapse in a second – or perhaps already had. But after two years working on the festival, I felt surprisingly unstressed.

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