Blog of the AMM

Stuart Calton

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Stuart Calton was born in Summer 1977 in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, a town where the only bookshop was Woolworths and the only record-shop was also Woolworths. The same Woolworths. He was born into classically petit-bourgeois circumstances and moved through vague conservatism in the latency period, into tie-dyed born-again Christianity in adolescence and out into Revolutionary Marxism by his early 20s, where he still resides. He joined the SWP (UK) in 2002 and left it in December 2013, disgusted by rape cover-ups, bureaucratic bullying and a monumental democratic deficit.

An early school library encounter with the work of Max Ernst and another with Tristan Tzara’s manifestos put him in a mindset that he’s never felt inclined to shake off. In musical life he took a familiar route through the worst excesses of progressive rock via Zappa into free jazz and Messiaen, but now mostly listens to Joe Henderson, Shirley Scott and Freddie Hubbard.

He’s a poet, publishing mainly with Keston Sutherland and Andrea Brady’s Barque Press. His latest two books “Three Reveries” and “The Torn Instructions for no Trebuchet” are much better than the other ones he’s written, and show his current left-Kleinian Surrealist bent. He’s writing a new one now about leeches, anality, projective identification, phantasy throat cancer and St Lucy of Syracuse. See the full Barque bibliography.

As a musician he’s called THF Drenching, and has improvised on the dictaphone for 15 years now in various settings, most famously, but still not very famously, with Derek Bailey in his last band Limescale. He’s currently working with Greta Buitkut√© (“no pre-conceived structure to her speech”) in a vocal-dictaphone duo, and has recently summoned up the confidence to try his hand at improvised voice himself. Recently he set up the Plush Wattle Tumblr site, as the sister-organisation of Newcastle’s Felt Beak; a forum of freely-downloadable albums and practice sessions for the quick and continuous display of Manchester free improvisation.

THF Drenching is also a composer of musique concrete, compulsively driven to find ever-new ways of luring Gesang Der Jungliche into a Pound Shop so as to threaten it with a bright green plastic AK-47. In 2008 he set up his label Council Of Drent recordings. His last composed album was “Four Austerity Riddles” a Webernian affair in contrast to the more splattery pink preceding effort “Cup Penis Open Penis Cup” which he currently believes to be his MEISTERWERK. All his pre-2008 solo albums can be freely downloaded on the Free Music Archive, and a whole buncha other stuff is available on his Bandcamp.

He lives above a perpetually-closed takeaway in Levenshulme, Manchester, sometimes with his two children, Dunya and Farooq.

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