1995. Coordinator for GRRR! Art V Sport, at The Leadmill, Sheffield.
A night of performance, music, athletics, football, installation and video.
This was an attempt (a pretty successful one it has to be said) to fuse art and sport into one event... The first in a sequence of projects that linked the two areas.
Athletics had been a huge part of my life up to this time - I was running for Sheffield Athletic Club in road races and cross country races to a pretty decent standard. Still very proud of my 2 hours 25 minutes and 11 seconds marathon PB and my Yorkshire medals.
Anyway, on the sporting front on the night, we had a very eclectic range of things happening... The high jump was really exciting. We collaborated with Don Valley stadium and brought all the high jump set up into The Leadmill. DJ's mixed and scratched to syncopate with the athlete.
Outside we had 100 metre sprints on Leadmill road and an 800 metre race. We had also borrowed Don Valleys lap counters, bell, starter gun...
Also inside we had an audience participation penalty shoot out... Some quite unorthodox technique!
GRRR! Also gave me an opportunity to personally work in a context away from the traditional 'white cube' space... The Leadmill dance floor to be precise!
My installation as part of GRRR! was called 'this is not a love song - hype or bollocks'.
It was a sort of mini football stadium / walled garden / dance floor. There was only one goal with a net... But there was a wall of boxes blocking it off from any possible scoring opportunity. Just to make sure you got the message, it had 'F*CK OFF carefully painted across. There was also a house, like a den / shed / cell... It had F*CK ME emblazoned all over it. And there was a bed / crib / cage sort of structure... it had JUST HOLD ME carefully painted around its four sides. Everything was black... Apart from the smaller artefacts - underwear and shirts mainly. There were embroidered images, ventilation grills and a white flag flying my own 'logo'. The floor was tiled sandpaper.
The soundtrack was my version of 'drink to me' by Johnny Cash, recorded at epic head studios with Nort and John Mills on guitar.
By the way, the black and white action shots are by Sheffield photographer, David Bocking.