Tuesday, December 19, 2006

No turn unstoned

I'm sorry but I just couldn't let this pass without comment. Loyalist murderer Michael Stone who last month attempted to storm the Stormont Assembly has defended his actions as a piece of 'performance art'. The self-described "freelance dissident loyalist" wrote to Peter Hain and the Northen Ireland Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde, alleging that his "unfinished work", entitled 'Never Say Never', was aimed at exposing the "futility of the politically-motivated violence created in a political vacuum". Perhaps 'Never Say No Surrender' might have made for a better title for the piece if that's his position. He signed off: "Political conflict is a crossroads for art, the art transcends politics." I always knew that no good would come of letting them Open University folks into the Kesh.

I can imagine the jokes that are already being made in the pubs and clubs of Belfast as I write so I'm not even going to try compete. Even scousers know when they're beaten in the dark humour stakes. But I think mad Mickey might be on to something.

Somebody once described performance art as dance for people who don't know how to dance but for the more open minded a visit to the Sniggle performance art page might prove worthwhile (Sniggle). The possibilities for a whole new genre of Northern Irish locality based pieces is endless.

Instead of painting kerbs stones in sectarian hues or knocking out one more muriel of King Billy crossing the Boyne, the creatively inclined members of the two communities could turn their hands to a whole range of politics-transcending performance pieces.

Actors disguised as Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley meeting for a pint in The Crown and refusing to talk about religion, politics or football. Rousing choruses of The Fields of Athrenry sung to the the tune of the Sash from behind the goal at Windsor Park, or a brick donated in the name of Bobby Sands on the Linfield FC homepage (if there isn't one already). I'm sure you get the drift.

The organisers of Féile an Phobail should be beating a path to Stone's jail cell to book him for next year's festival. I'm sure the NIO would oblige with a brief release under licence in the name of progressive performance art.

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