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In Review: Vivid Arts at Lancaster Library

John Freeman
It was very dark and very, very wet and miserable at 7pm last Saturday, 17th January 2009. A truly wretched evening. And I had no idea what to do.

Should I play chess with my computer? Go to the pub and listen to some bore droning on about football/ his play station/ how things were better in the past? Or converse freely and openly with my fish (except for the one that always turns its back on me when I make an appearance)?

Hang on! I remembered that there was a new event taking place at Lancaster Library: Vivid Arts.

Braving the elements, I made my way into town and with a large degree of scepticism, I entered the library to see whether this happening would be another cultural dump squib or another self-congratulatory affair. But what a pleasant surprise I got!

The first Vivid Arts happening, organised by Richard Davis (a Mancunian who was until recently involved with the arts’ scene of Manchester), was a striking event and much more sophisticated and professional than anything I have yet seen in and around Lancaster.

And also far less self-regarding.

The audience was a mixture of grown ups, children, teenagers and elderly people, as Vivid Arts – co-organised by Friends of the Library - is high quality and classy family entertainment. There was also ample room for people to mill about and mill about they did. When a particular act didn’t please one’s auditory or visual faculties, one was freely allowed to wander about and make conversation with other people freely milling about the library.

But what about the entertainment? Music was provided by Kris Foster with his unique songs and cartoons about Morecambe and transsexuals, and the band Dose with their rather idiosyncratic and very stylish electric folk sound.

Poetry and prose was supplied by the father and son duo Ping Pong (poetry set to incidental guitar music) and the Welsh writer Carys Davies (now resident in Lancaster) with a rather scary tale from her latest book Some New Ambush.

Dance (of which there was quite a lot and what can I say? It was highly professional, very entertaining and great fun) was provided by Turning Point Theatre Arts, who entertained the audience with, among other things, case studies of love, desire, being stranded on a desert island and a damning indictment of the current economic crisis (now that was fun!).

The Monopoly of Noise supplied the evening’s proceedings with experimental theatre.

Finally, I should mention that there was an all night photography exhibition entitled ‘Manchester 89 – 92 (Manchester is till alive- and London, New York and the rest are still dead)’ by Richard Davis. Portraits included Steve Coogan, the Stone Roses, New Order, Caroline Aherne, and the Happy Mondays.

Did I enjoy myself? Oh yes. All in all, I say hats off to Richard Davis! I truly am looking forward to the next Vivid Arts event. Thoroughly recommendable.

The next Vivid Arts event will take palce on Sat Mar 7 at Lancaster Library. More details on the organisation's Facebook events page.

Review © Humble Sam aka Jomar de Vrind, 2 Water Street, Lancaster, LA1 1HF
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