Now would probably be a good time to mention that I’m obsessed with The Beatles. This is an obsession going back about 25 years and if anything grow stronger by the year as my collection of Beatles books CDs and DVDs , Russion Dolls, pepper mills and coasters will attest. I love everything about The Beatles. Basically, they make me feel good. I was born in the year they split up and share a birthday with Paul McCartney. My favourite, seeing as you ask, is George, whom I named my cat after. I never tire of listening to them/watching them/reading about them.
For a long time I had been hankering to indulge my Fabs anorak tendencies by organising some kind of Beatles related arts event. I finally got my wish, when Bradford Playhouse launched its new open arts programme in 2009, and so in April/May 2010 came P.S. I Love You – a week -long multi-disciplinary programme of events dedicated to The Beatles.
My ambition was for P.S. I Love you to be like The Beatles themselves: democratic, eclectic, provocative, avant-garde, inclusive and celebratory.
P.S. I Love You included a group exhibition, a fan social, an Indian music concert,a handmade zine, film screening of A Hard Day’s Night, cumulating at the end of the week in a performance extravaganza occupying the whole of the multi storey venue.
Altogether more than 50 artists took part, from the UK and overseas, presenting a wildly eclectic range of responses, from homage to pastiche to personal and even critical responses, exploring, deconstructing, dissecting and celebrating the
cultural, societal, emotional and mythic impact of The Beatles.
The P.S. I Love You exhibition brought together an eclectic range of creative responses to The Beatles from established and emerging artistsworking nationally and internationally, including : – artists films -painting – bespoke furniture – badges-infographics – video installation-photography – animation – multiples – participatory projects -illustration – performance video – digital drawings – from:
Sybil Aadelaja Gary Birnie Morgan Beringer Tam Dean Burn Maria Cobo Ursula Cheng Michael Deal Sarah Doyle Alan Dunn The East Dumbartonshire String Ensemble The East Morton and Riddlesden Sunday Painters Association Carla Easton EmilyFarncombe Laura-Jane Foley Sarah Fordham Claire Grant Alex Hetherington Seiko Kato Callum Kellie Louise McLennan Natalie Murray-Hurst Tamsyn Mystkowski Janie Nicoll Bill Parker Lindsay Perth Genevieve Ryan Sea of Monsters Fabio Sassi Robert Steven Katie Thomas Ryan Thompson Bella Wood James Wright
A limited edition P.S. I LOVE YOU zine was distributed at the P.S. I Love You events. The zine featured original artwork, Beatle fan fiction and memories from the 1963 Beatles concerts at The Gaumant in Bradford, from: Bruce Barnes Samantha
Beswick Maria Cobo Sam Hart Graham Hoyle Robert Hope Kath Gill Lucy Munro Catherine McEwan Jean McEwan Nicola Smith and James Wright
Classical Indian Concert
Kamaljeet Ajimal (santoor: Indian hammered dulcimer) accompanied by Kousic Sen on the tabla performed a very special evening of sublime traditional Indian classical ragas and melodies that inspired The Beatles
An evening of performance, art, happenings and high jinks dedicated to The Fab
Four. Audience members were invited to freely roam around the venue, from the main auditorium to the black box theatre to corridor and foyer areas to encounter unexpected art, performances, and happenings, including:
-Storytelling with Bruce Barnes
-Far out improvisations and poetry by Nightdiver and Christine Bousfield
-The chance to be Ringo for a night with The Karaoke Beatles
-Beatles covers from The Delvaux, St Deluxe and Idiot Box
– The chance to take part in the Bed Peace living installation
– Free Jazz Beatles improvisation with The Centre St Sound Project with
–Mysti Valentine’s Helter Skelter of Lurve: Bradford’s one and only drag
goddess covering a special selection of famous and infamous Beatles
numbers in her own unique diva style.
-Fab Four DJ sets from Justin Waterhouse
I curated the programme on a shoestring goodwill and time given freely by a range of great people, from Bradford Playhouse staff and volunteers and all the artists and performers who presented such fantastic work. It was both exhilirating and exhausting. My personal highlights were an angry spoken word rendition of Taxman, with free jazz accompaniement from the Centre St Project, a transcendent performance by Kamaljeet Ajimal on the santoor, and witnessing the amazing spectacle of Mysti Valentine performing the most raucous version of Helter Skelter I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.