JGJGJGJG – A Farewell Performance
Slowscan #37 is a re-issue on vinyl of a cassette originally released on Balsam Flex, a London-based label run by artist Erik Vonna-Michell in the late 1970s-early 1980s. In those days a number of British poets were producing works influenced by radical international currents in sound art, conceptual art, visual poetry and performance art. Bob Cobbing (1920-2002) was a central figure in this continuation of the ‘British Poetry Revival’, a rather loose poetry movement of the 1960s and 1970s which can be seen as an internationally oriented modernist reaction to the English traditionalist and nationalist approach of poetry of ’The Movement’ (Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin et al.)
Many of the Balsam Flex cassettes brought poets connected with ‘Writers Forum’, a small publisher, workshop and writers’ network founded in 1963 by Bob Cobbing, Jeff Nuttall and John Rowan. After Cobbing’s death in 2002 ‘Writers Forum’ has been directed by poet and artist Lawrence Upton (1949), who is one of the poets of the improvisational group JGJJGJG (‘as long as you can say it that’s the name of the band’). The other two members are Cris Cheek – originally from London but currently on the staff of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio – and Clive Fencott, who lectures at Teesside University. Slowscan #37 contains extracts from the Farewell performance of the group at King’s College, London 1978.