Coales' Notes: Boxing clever: There's no escape from Gordon Coales

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The Independent Culture
TUESDAY: I have the distinct impression that I am being exploited.

This morning Rory said to me something like: 'Gordon, would you agree with me that, by moving beyond feminist critique, challenging the moral categories of political correctness, and re-thinking oppressive models of pornography, many women performers are now disrupting the borders of art and obscenity, so as to re-affirm sexuality, desire and deviance as a celebratory field of women's power?'

I said I had got wind of a movement in that direction. He then referred me to the current Dirty Works performance festival, highlighting in particular Slut] Pig] Suck] Die], 'former Brooklyn sex-worker Pussy Flower's outrageous cabaret / slide-show' and Puppydogs' Tales, 'the Barbara Wodehouse of the LA live art scene, with her team of highly trained performing terriers. Woof]'

He went on: 'Now the one we're handling is Vinyl Silk - Live in Captivity: former conjuror's assistant Vinyl explores issues of subjugation etc.' She'd done Europe, he said, but she was concerned about our London audiences. He thought I was the man to put her mind at rest .

WEDNESDAY: Returned from a working lunch with the Hypnos Ensemble. Rory told me: 'Vinyl's in the conference room - with her stuff.' I went up. I found her a surprisingly easy person. There was a large wooden box on the floor, the size of a coffin.

We rapidly ran through some parts of her act. 'Here I do my groupie monologue. I mention Dan Quayle, Pat Roberston, and the Pope. People will know who I mean?' I told her she could expect a pretty sophisticated audience.

'Now, ready for some audience participation, Gordon? I need a man.' She produced a length of flex and a tool-box. 'Now, bind me hand and foot, please - nice and tight.' I protested this was not in my normal line of work, but she insisted. Then she hopped over to the box and lay down in it. 'Lid on, please, Gordon.' I placed the lid over the box. 'And nail me down.' I lightly tacked in two nails. 'Bang 'em right down, Gordon. All the way round.' I did as requested. She said 'OK?' I said OK.

Suddenly there were horrible cries and sounds of furious struggle from inside the box. Then silence for a couple of minutes. I began to be worried. She said: 'You enjoying this, Gordon?' Then louder cries and drumming. Rory looked in and asked if I was handling everything. I explained that something had gone badly wrong with the act. We released her with some difficulty. She looked at us rather crossly.

'So, that's how it is in London.' She looked at her watch. 'Seven minutes. Not much of a show, huh? In Rotterdam they had me in there screaming for an hour and a half. Right. That's been helpful. Better work up some more material.' I insisted we call her a Ladycab, just to be on the safe side.

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