Performance Publishing

Ian McMillan’s ‘the Verb’ on BBC Radio 3 has accompanied my news blackout of the last few months. I quit listening to or reading about current affairs after I realised it was mostly bad news, not ‘bad’ in the gloomy sense but rather the ‘inaccurate’. So it was fun to realise while listening to the show that he was the man we would be workin with on the London Word Festival official poster for 2010. We’re very pleased with the result.


Here is a review of his work by Lauren Romano:

We all shuffle up and take a pew as the proceedings begin. First up, specially commissioned poet Ian McMillan takes to the stage to perform the festival’s official Chip Shop Poem. McMillan gets things off to a flying start as his thickly laden Yorkshire glottal stops spurt out from his mouth at break neck speed. By the time we actually get to the Chip Shop poem, The Epic Friday Night Travels of Norman McNorman I am in a mild state of hysterics and so unfortunately can’t recall the finer details, but it’s very funny, ingenious and has something to do with a man called Norman and a late night trip to the Chip Shop. Hats off to Ian who manages to get the words ‘pigeon’, ‘fusspot’, ‘crepuscular’, ‘incandescent’, ‘hopscotch’, and ‘jump’ along with other maverick mots into a well-rhymed jumble with a particularly good last line involving the word ‘spatula’.

Copies are on sale from the London Word Festival.

I was asked to add a sculpture to a brief exhibition held by our good friend Jim Hobbs, in his studio in Peckham. The reception last night was a great fun occassion. I loaned this:


It is about 170mm long. We were also asked to respond to a list of numbers found on one of the shelves that I took to be syllables and lines 5/6, 2/5, 2/5, 5/2 which gave the structure to this poem about storage:

One-hand piano piece
In the wake of Trench War.
The first Xerox machine,
It needs no fine tuning.
An assortment of nails.

(Lost book hound on the
Franco-Spanish line;

Thesis on Lost Time).
Art storage/haulage;

(1-2) The first couple of lines refer to Paul Wittgenstein, the concert pianist who lost an arm in the Great War. In this period pieces for one hand were written and stand for devices that make do with imperfect elements available at the time and go beyond themselves.
(3-4) One of the first Xerox machines, however, was constructed for the inventor by my Engineer Grandfather at Roneo Works. The machine worked first time despite its complication. This stands as one of those marvels where a rare moment of perfection occurs.
(5) There is always an assortment of nails on a decent shelf. My favourite is a jar lid screwed onto the underside of the shelf with the jar hanging from it to create more space above. This stands for the hope that homeless elements will become useful again.
(6-9) This refers to Walter Benjamin and his suitcase. This stands for great things that are lost and almost lost.
(10-14) Finally we have the life-trajectory of a work of art, most of which is made for storage and often as a heat-sink for surplus value/investment. This is why Jim’s exhibition in a store room is a very efficient proposal. It is also quite subversive, because all the work has been stored in full view and arranged without regard to how much money someone might pay for it.
In this context my little sculpture makes a bit more sense. Of course it wasn’t made following a narrative, but these general principles of prosthetics (making-do), perfection, and usefulness were kept in mind when trying to make the bits come together. But following its completion I have tried to interpret what it means.
It is made from a broken bone augmented with a kind of prosthetic wooden part. The wood is Lignum Aloes, a mythical wood that is not categorised by its species or attributes but by where it is found. Any wood can be lignum aloes if it is found in one of the four rivers that flow out of the Earthly Paradise. It stands for little moments of grace or shavings from perfection that come to meet us downstream. For that reason the word ‘Euphrates’, a name that refers to nourishment, can be glimpsed appearing in the acrylic block that supports the wooden part.
I do not know why it has a hole in the end like a wind instrument. It may refer to the breath that re-animates the dry bones. And after all, Ezekiel made a couple of sculptures in his time.
There is a catalogue of the show featuring all of the artists available through a publishing-on-demand website here

Thanks to all who came, it was totally sold out! We had a great time and hope you did too. It turned out to be a wonderful evening of printing mayhem!

Here are a few photos, more may follow later:

Last chance to see Chip Shop at the London Word Festival will be on Wednesday 31st March at ‘The Art of Storytelling‘ event, where we will be printing the official London Word Festival 2010 Poem, alongside Ian McMillan, the poet himself!

Just a quick note to encourage y’all to come early to Keep Printing and Carry on. Not only does the first set kick off at 7.20pm with Murray Macaulay introducing the art of Sister Corita, the fantastic Screenprinting Nun, but also we’ve just been told that the first 60 people through the door will be given a ration book, entitling them to a free cake from The Great Cake Escape! Not to mention the allotment (Dig for Printery with potato prints!) and the Universettee. As usual more details on the London Word Festival Blog.

Of course we would never stoop to bribing people with cake, but i’ve heard that these ones are going to be pretty spectacular. Doors 6pm.

Here’s some photos from Chip Shop’s second outing at the Red Art Cafe, in Dalston.

chipshopred-0451 chipshopred-0231


That was the last day for word submissions for the official London Word Festival 2010 Poem, which will be unleashed by Ian McMillan at the Art of Storytelling Event on 31st March. (More about that later)

Next up is Keep Printing and Carry On, at Stoke Newington International Airport, Saturday 20th March. We will be there with the Chip Shop, doing 3 print collaborations with Darren Hayman, Jo Neary & Murray Macaulay (by courtesy of the Universettee). Where else on a Saturday night will you find live music, cutting edge comedy and also a lecture/demo of screen printing via a mobile workshop in the form of a chip counter? Not to mention the potato printing in the village allotment….

Here’s the flyer! Hope to see you there!

Chip Shop 1 Photos up!

March 10th, 2010 | Posted by Ping Henningham in Chip Shop | Live Shows - (0 Comments)

Chip Shop’s appearance at Toynbee Studio Arts & Café Bar, our 1st official outing was a roaring success – from the minute we opened to the moment we ran out of chips to sell (by popular demand, closing time was delayed by half an hour) we were rushed off our feet!

Here’s some photos from our point of view:

chipshoptoynbee-029-web chipshoptoynbee-011-web chipshoptoynbee-025-web chipshoptoynbee-038-web1

And for some photos from the other side of the Chip Shop counter, see here.

If you missed it, or just want to come see it happen again, we’ll be at the Red Art Cafe (113 Kingsland Road, Dalston) this Sunday 14th March, 12-5pm. It’s also the last chance to submit words for the London Word Festival 2010 Official Festival Poem to be written by Ian McMillan.

Lauren Laverne has been championing the London Word Festival on BBC6 Music, one of our favourite stations, especially making mention of the Chip Shop. She also writes for Grazia magazine and here we are again:


your local family press mentioned between Sandra Bullock and Drew Barrymore? Apparently.

The Guide 6.3.10

March 6th, 2010 | Posted by David in Chip Shop | Live Shows | Press Cuttings - (0 Comments)

The Guide has featured the London Word Festival, particularly drawing attention to the Keep Printing Show at STK, describing our creative process in detail:


We now have TWO confirmed café dates for the Chip Shop. Both events are FREE, drop-in events where you can order individual words to be printed on chip board. No formal performance, just a cheerful chippy in a friendly cafe, so a great one to stop-by with kids and/or a sunday paper. All prints will be just £1!

Sunday 7th March Toynbee Arts Bar & Café (28 Commercial St, Aldgate E1 6AB), 12-5pm.

Sunday 14th March New Date Added! Red Art Café (113 Kingsland High St, Dalston, E8 2PB), FREE entry, 12-5pm.  This one is really on our home patch so we’d love to see you there, especially if you’re local!


Both these dates have been commissioned by London Word Festival, so if you’d like to see more details or descriptions of what to expect, hop along to their website here.

I was going to put up some pics from the Chip Shop‘s first outing at the London Word Festival Launch Party on Wednesday night, but the LWF team beat me to it!

So here’s a taster shot:

And if you want to see some more pics, click here.