Tuesday, 20 December 2011


It’s a little late for Christmas shopping but it’s not too late to pick up a copy of this fine record of two events. Gavin Selerie’s Performance-Texts consists of two CDs, the first containing a seventy-six minute presentation of Strip Signals dating from July 1986; the second, dating from April 2010 has eighteen minutes of work from Music’s Duel and Le Fanu’s Ghost (there is only a short extract from Strip Signals in Music’s Duel: New and Selected Poems, Shearsman 2009, though the full text will be republished before too long (the original came out with Galloping Dog Press in 1986). This extant prose piece gives only a taste of the full sequence, nor does it hint on the page of what is made of it with several voices and the instruments at the London Musicians Collective venue, NW1 (this ad hoc group assembled by Selerie includes two members of British Summer Time Ends).  Fleshed out by these musicians the work becomes a virtual mini-opera. As well as being a primary voice (speaking and singing) Selerie plays guitar and percussion together with Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Bob Cobbing and Petra Goltz-Cofhani (voices), and Clive Bell, Stuart Jones, Sue Ferrar and Goltz-Cofhani (on flute, rattle, accordion, cello, violin and triangle). Strip Signals is a finely paced work in which the languages of memoir, case notes, computer and technical jargon, bureaucracy and politics are balanced against each other seamlessly. The second disc features Selerie and Vahni Capildeo (voices) and Trish Elphinstone, Bruno Guastalla and Chris Stubbs (soprano sax, cello and percussion). ‘De Luce’ comes from Selerie’s early book Azimuth (Binnacle Press, 1984) but is available in the Selected Poems. The other tracks, ‘Faded Novel’, ‘Ghost Workshop’, ‘Lyceum Double’ and ‘Riverrun’ come from Le Fanu’s Ghost, Selerie’s remarkable (and beautiful) book from Five Seasons Press (2006). The acoustics are well captured in both performances. No small part of this is due to the fact that Selerie is a superb reader and performer for whom clarity of presentation is always important. The CD set is limited to fifty copies. These are available for £10 plus £2 (UK postage) at 1a Astley Avenue, London NW2 4AD. Cheques can be made out to ‘Binnacle Press’.

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