michael clark and his cosmic dancers


in the 1970’s a load of us of around fifteen/sixteen left school and home early with no cultural building blocks in place…except maybe for one….pop music.
pop music was like this crack in the grey cement where maybe a dandelion could escape through towards some sort of light…
i don’t mean to go all soft on you,but it’s true…
someone like me…raw as hell,and still to this day without truly wider tastes,at least broadened out to an extent thanks to rock n roll.
for some it was just a nostalgic element of their long gone youth,while for others it’s one thing constantly leading to another.


there’s much more detail and branches to the tree,but in short …
through david bowie i stumbled on andy warhol,where i stumbled on lou reed,where i got a yearning for cities like london and new york,
where i met a man called danny, who’d managed the ramones and iggy pop,who took me to my first ever ballet,right there in manhattan,
where i said to him…
“i’ll be out of my depth..i’ve never been to a ballet..i know nothing of dance”
where he said to me,
“don’t worry…all you need to know is it’s all about movement”…
so i sat there in the lincoln centre watching two dancers on stage..
it was very slow and minimal,where one dancer ever so slowly made his way from the edge of the stage to the other at the centre,and that was more or less it.
it was spellbinding…danny gently and graciously gave the crucial information..
it’s all about movement..simple..nothing high brow…just movement.
i am grateful to him and i’ll never forget it.


my next visit to the ballet was around 12 years later in london.
a young conceptual artist called james richards used a text based video of mine called ‘am i normal?’ for one of his own pieces of work,
and one night he kindly took me to the ballet at the barbican to see michael clark,who much to my shame, i’d never heard of,
but at least through music,and one thing leading to another,i finally caught up.
then a few years later michael clark came back around again to the barbican,and i went four nights in a row…
i suppose what i’m saying is pop music can be a priming agent for other art forms.


the great thing about michael is he often uses punk ..or glam or rock n roll or whatever you wish to call it.
on that occasion he used iggy…bowie..the velvet underground…so it was easier than ever to be drawn in.
last saturday night i ventured into london for the first time since my return from the desert to see michael clark’s company yet again.
there were three of us..a big butch handsome builder from newcastle with ginger hair along with the sweetest doll from new york who’s got a deep passion for our european rock n roll.
with michael’s roots partly in glamrock and punk,the bourgeois element was lower that it might be at ballet in general.
the audience felt great.


dear reader…
i’ve scoured the internet looking to find you good video evidence,and what i’ve learned is ballet isn’t easily bottled for convenient on-screen viewing.
the essential magic vanishes…you simply have to be there..
however i did find this most excellent documentary made by bbc scotland about michael….
so i don’t need to say much more.. http://vimeo.com/31072390
this is recommended viewing….and i was thinking i love how the scots ALWAYS say’bowey’,while the english say’bowie’… 
but i regress..
the performance i saw michael’s company do on saturday night used among others,the music of scritti politti who i’ve always loved…
i will always feel indebted to pop culture..it gave me the compass i failed to grab hold of during those years at school…
instead i found it through sex..drugs,and rock n roll.
saturday night was pretty special …but then afterwards,where back in soho for hot chocolate, i walked with hurried gusto into a glass door,that left me mildly concussed!
kind of perfect really.


lots of winter love to you,and i do hope you enjoy that documentary i’ve linked.
….and for good measure,
here’s my own tribute to the glamrock of the nineteen seventies…
that’s me playing the ghost of glam in the long brown wig…
on the day of shooting, i realised how powerful wigs can be…they truly transform.
while we were doing the shoot,the boyfriends of myself and the skilled chap behind the camera popped by to check on us,and it unsettled my partner to witness me in that wig…he said it was like encountering a compete stranger..the power of a wig is so strong,it even changes the way you carry yourself…very strange.
blaze on brothers, sisters, and hermaphrodites ..
mary of the wilderness.
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6 Responses to michael clark and his cosmic dancers

  1. Marianne Bloomfield says:

    Hello dear Mary,

    I love good literature as much as I love good music and art. You should write a book! What I mean is this is almost as good as your music. It’s not just that your experiences and the wonderful people you know are the stuff of life, but that you express it so well in this form too. Every now and then I come across people and their ‘art’ that I feel should be seen long after we’re dead.

    I love dance, can’t tell you how many times I boogie cross the floor to your music with joy! It’s like this is so good it must be for generations to come.

    In the meantime, hope your head is ok, no serious concussions or anything. Sincerely hope you can and will carry on as usual!

    About wigs… well, so far, I’ve found them useful for demonstrations so the cops can’t easily know who this hell raiser is… but now that my hair is thinning I realize that the only way I’m going to have a mane like I used to have n was so proud of, is to get a wig… needless to say, got mixed feelings about wigs too lol.

    Won’t enter your wrestling matches, as even at my age, 62, due to years of gymnastics, was a killer at the uneven bars, and lots of yoga and living a life mostly on foot or on a bike, n love for dance which I still do… Heaven knows, I’d have an unfair advantage n you’re a fair judge!

    Love you like I love that Mustang you n yours road!! : ))


    • hi marianne…i smiled that you have a selection of wigs if the cops should call…i love that.
      the funny thing is i’ve never had a calling for writing a book…i think it might be because i maybe satisfy that need when i write songs,which i have an incurable calling for…and sometimes i write songs in such a way that they’re like little micro books in themselves….sometimes the songs are just a feeling/emotion,but often they’re definite little stories,and i love how a song only takes up three minutes of peoples time,where a book demands so much more of people…if i was known by millions of folk,which i’m not,then maybe i’d do it,but honestly i don’t think the world at large cares enough about little old me to write a book about my life.

      still…i’m so glad and happy that there are sweet folk like you for an audience..i cherish it loads and loads…you’ve been writing to me for such a long time now..i love my little audience.

      i really did bang my forehead hard when i walked into that glass door..it caused quite a stir with the customers inside ,but life’s full of banging into doors!….hahaha

      keep smiling and dancing marianne…
      mary through the unbroken glass.


  2. Richard malpas says:

    I think Marianne has pretty much covered the things that I would like to say, and probably better…I just love these episodes, fabulous reading…


  3. Ben House says:

    i always wanted to be a new york doll…! 🙂


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