Started off like the rest of them, with the best of intentions. A few of us would meet around our place, we’d crack open a few bottles, eye up a few lines, hunt out the vinyl, call a few mates and fritter away our hours reminiscing where we were when we first heard Satellite of Love (under the bed covers, Radio Luxembourg) or Waiting for My Man (the Pantiles, Royal Tunbridge Wells). We would trace his life against ours and try to remember what we were doing when Metal Machine Music assaulted our unsuspecting souls.
Soon of course it got out of hand. A row broke out about the real meaning of Perfect Day and insults started to fly. Someone made a series of gags about pop stars addictions to various types of wild sea bird and it wasn’t too long before the LPs were propping up the kitchen table and the liquid pouring out of the bottles became more viscous, along with the insults. It was only a matter of time before someone barged in to tell us to keep the noise down.
The rest of the night was rapidly forgotten, along with a lot of Lou Reed’s music, it has to said. The morning after the night before saw a few sprightly dancers move in and start some aerobic classes amongst the debris and an aspirant Andy Warhol tried daubing his name on the walls of the living room in protest.
But the moment was gone, and with it Lou Reed’s spirit of the anarchic and mundane. We won’t be having another party like that probably ever again.
Like a cantakerous old Uncle, I’ll remember Lanternhouse in Cumbria as a somewhat distant relative – but whose influence over my professional growing up was always keenly felt: hovering over my shoulder, whispering exhortations, yelling out criticisms and the ocassionally deranged epiphet which caused the rest of us in the extended community arts family to look at each other in that modern, knowing way. Uncle John was clearly not on form we might mutter; he’s seen better days someone else would offer.
What we shouldn’t forget that without Uncle John, we would not be stood where we are now. Sometimes the shoulders of the giants we stand on start to tremble– and its at that point we’re obliged to stand up straight and take the load off them rather than castigate them for not being who they have been, and for what they’re not doing any longer.
Farewell Lanternhouse and everyone who was fortunate to benefit from your lights. They’ll continue to shine into the darkness of this recession long after the politicians who put you there have faded into miserable obscurity.
If you have a memory of Lanternhouse – or indeed any of the arts companies that are now fading away in the cultural freeze of this recession, please feel free to send them in and we’ll post them up here.
From Paul Kleiman:
Lanternhouse magical moment: a beautiful midsummer’s evening concert, with the band starting in the streets of the town, a tower of instruments and bells, and at the climax, a hot-air balloon flying right over the top of the tower. (the balloon was pure coincidence!!)
For an ongoing list of companies MIA click here.