Decadent Saturday afternoon

I tried to get a ticket for the Labour Party’s State of the Economy conference on Saturday 21st.  Labour has commissioned  leading economists to help build an economic model supporting a fairer society, as well as expert reviews on the workings and failings of the financial institutions.    It was sold out in under a day.  So I reverted to our original plan: my older son looked after the younger children and Jane and I went to the Old Joint Stock pub where Dr Sketchy’s anti art school had taken over the upper floor theatre as part of a Festival of Cabaret and where, by pleasing coincidence, they were also celebrating a Festival of Gin.

2016-05-21 Dr Sketchys Cabaret (8)

Compered by jazz singer Liberty Pink, it took the theme of burlesque cabaret, with music and appearance recalling the brittle cheer of a world on the edge of calamity (as in the film Cabaret).  Liberty Pink sang at least one Kurt Weill number, the heartfelt “je ne t’aime pas” in its English translation.

2016-05-21 Dr Sketchys Cabaret (1 1)  2016-05-21 Dr Sketchys Cabaret (1 2)

This music speaks to me.  Growing up in the 60s, we had a limited set of vinyl records and one I played repeatedly was Kurt Weill’s Die Dreigroschenoper (the Threepenny Opera) with Lotte Lenya’s voice switching between frantic despair and soaring fantasy as she dreams of liberation from … well, liberation from all men, through the agency of pirate slaughter.

2016-05-21 Dr Sketchys Cabaret (9)  2016-05-21 Dr Sketchys Cabaret (10)

Previously, I had used fountain pen and conte crayon with reasonable effect for 20 minute poses, but had really struggled to make decent drawings like this for the 5-10 minute sketches in the Star Wars themed Dr Sketchy’s.  This time I had pre-planned my approach: each sketch had brief pencil construction, mark making in permanent ink and a limited range of pre-mixed colour daubed with a water brush.

2016-05-21 Dr Sketchys Cabaret (11)  2016-05-21 Dr Sketchys Cabaret (4)

Burlesque in the 1930s had come to mix female striptease with bawdy and irreverent humour.  This Dr Sketchy’s session unashamedly celebrated humour and vibrant humanity through drawing (without striptease!).  Thank you to Liberty Pink, Miss Malone, Verity Grey and Kitten von Mew who modelled for us, and to Lisa who is the force that makes Dr Sketchy’s happen in Birmingham.

It was a great afternoon and for us a kind of married date day: a chance to get out together, sit in a pub with fun music and drink two different gins, surrounded by diverse people united in drawing.  My wife’s pictures in graphite and soluble colour pencil are mixed with mine in the gallery above.





17 responses to “Decadent Saturday afternoon

  1. Neil, I don’t think there was ever going to be a contest! I’m glad that you and your wife ‘took it on the chin’ and had a great time at Dr Sketchy. Oh for a festival of gin as well!

  2. These are much more confident and self assured than the previous ones, perhaps your preparation helped. If you hadn’t have said, i’d have thought it was the conference! I recognise verity and i love the green outfit with the extended leg and the gin festival sounds fab!

      • Driving around last night incidently, i found what would be my burlesque name if i ever catapulted off in that direction – Agnes Villas. Ever thought what yours would be KA?

      • What would my burlesque name be …?
        The burlesque name is a tease, disguising the identity but revealing something of the person. The only male cabaret star I know of is wonderfully named Benjamin Louche meaning decadent or loose morals.
        Burlesque seems to be a gendered entertainment, so perhaps a male burlesque name should pair up a firmly mannish name with actions central to male pride, like, say, Benedict Belch, Jack Slash or Donald Trump.
        Some great burlesque names couple values with colours like Liberty Pink or Verity Grey, so perhaps I could be Patriarchy Purple or Blether Blue.
        As we know, men are beings of action so a male burlesque name could be a noun rendered from a verb fashioned in the same way that Arnie IS The Terminator. In the same way, I could BE The Procrastinator.
        Some burlesque performers use animals as a metaphor for their stage persona, say Kitten von Mew. My legs are definitely my finest physical attribute so I want to select something leggy, and also mendaciously hint at speed and power, so how about Ostrich fitzOgg? I quite like the arch and refined Otter McFancy. Slothy McSlothface is already taken.
        Perhaps what is challenging me is that I cannot imagine what my burlesque performance might be.

      • Arch is definately the way to go. I’ve remembered another one from a cemetary – Lilly Towns – nostalgic and suggesting a party girl. How about Leggy Mambo? It’s a song title from a band called Cud. I also like ones that take an item that signifies the rest of the man – Elvis Belt? The exotic and the mundane combined. There’s one already taken by a competitive eater – Brian Big Sexy Beard. Right, we can stop now otherwise I’ll have a new obsession.

  3. Love the loose squiggly lines on Kitten von Mew. It looks like they’re just thrown down randomly, but they so clearly convey the folds and movement of her clothing – great sketch style………..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s