"Las Palabras Pintadas” is an academic project done for a design subject. It consists in the visual identity of a literature work of Italo Calvino in an independent cultural centre in the city of Buenos Aires.
Designs by Lucía Izco
Zutekh Afterlife - Midland b2b Ben UFO
Four of us were sitting round my slovenly living room at around 10:15. We’d just laid waste to Fallowfield’s finest culinary delights in the form of 3 pizzas, 2 duffel bags of fries and some very questionable complementary dessert pies that we still aren’t entirely sure about. Swilled down with Parklife-promo-priced bottles of lager, the food coma washed over the three of us attending the dance in the Ancoats, alongside an overwhelming feeling of disappointment in ourselves. Guilt, almost. We felt defeated. Deflated. We weren’t up for it in any sense of the phrase. There was a peculiar atmosphere in the room. The 4th member of our current party wouldn’t be joining us in the Ancoats, and was instead persistently um-ing and ah-ing over what concoction of substances he’d be addling his body with and where the fuck he would get them from with all of the traveling pharmacists currently away on business at the aforementioned festival. The prospect of harder stuff at this point was so far removed from our current situation, now finishing watching the 3rd consecutive episode of Friends, nursing our food babies and suckling at the dregs of our beers. 11:30 rolled around sure enough and we mustered the courage, stamina and free Über Taxi credit to haul ourselves to the dance.
The arrival into the club was strange. I had expected a Parklife afterparty to be side-to-side, front-to-back from the off, purely on the basis that leftover tickets would be flogged in the main arena to unsuspecting (fucked beyond rational thinking) victims of the Monopolists, that had now come down enough to realise that they didn’t want to waste the £15 they were conned into parting with. This, however, was not the case. Dribs and drabs of folk had come in, some welly-clad LADs and their girlfriends, others like us who couldn’t bare to spend an expensive day in a field full of welly-clad LADs and their girlfriends. The warm-up DJ was spinning a set that sounded good at the time, but in hindsight I can’t remember any stand-out moments or obvious Percys. But this soon changed.
Mr. UFO and Midland stepped up not long after we’d bought our second round and wasted no time in getting into the thick of it. Flitting between disco and techno, touching on grime and just about everything in the metaphoric Venn diagram of the three. The crowd, ourselves included, lapped it up, and had grown exponentially since the duo had taken to the decks. The memory of the Friends Omnibus and shitty pies was barely even a memory anymore. The moment was right, all-encompassing. I had only been in the venue once previously to see Dense & Pika and Jay Daniels, which was a treat for the ears, but this was something else. The pair worked a 3/4 track on and off rotation, allowing each to play their independent selections for spells. Blindfolded I might have been able to tell who was playing what based on selection, but the tracks flowed atmospherically and rhythmically despite weaving a tight-knit between genres. It doesn’t need saying, but seeing DJs of any professional level play more than solely deep and tech house is made even more satisfying by those that do.
Things were starting to go as I had expected. The wellies had begun their descent into cramped-knee shoulder movements, their girlfriends had accepted that the heels they had decided on wearing were, undoubtedly, a fucking terrible idea, and a dubiously dressed man had tried to sell me MDMA. Twice. That’s when things started to stray from the path. Amongst the crowd was the usual show-boater. Here on his own, out of his fucking tree, and desperately trying anything to acquire a circle of friends to go halves on a taxi with later. His friend-making party trick was to balance plastic cups of vodka and coke on the top of his apparently flat head and dance around enough to make a point the cup was in fact, still on his head. I’ll admit, I laughed my tits off the first time. An overweight man, balancing drinks on his head whilst dancing around was amusing. I must’ve been 8 beers deep at this point, anything would’ve been funny. Needless to say, after the 3rd screening of his talent, the novelty had waned somewhat, and the people around him were getting slightly irate at him rubbing his sweaty arms all over their faces/backs/girlfriends.
We took a break. We were long overdue a cigarette and it was starting to get light again, which created a much more pleasant atmosphere in the smoking area than I was used to. We were out there for all of 3 minutes before Flat-head showed up, gasping for air and piss wet through in fallen Vodka cokes and Ket-sweat. He looked our way, we shared eye contact, we braced for impact. One of us was going to get the bear hug, we just knew it. Alas, it was not to be. He came over with a certain look on his face that suggested that he wanted to share a secret with us. Some vital information that only he possessed and that he would bestow onto us as the keepers of his intellectual treasures. He joined the huddle, with his eyes fleeting from one of us to the next and back again for a good ten seconds before he uttered the secret. He took a deep breath, mentally preparing himself for this act of bravery. "Bamboleo!" - It was a question more than a statement. “Bambolea!” we returned. We had passed the test. The security guards in charge of the smoking area were at a loss for what they had just witnessed, which is an achievement in itself given that they must see arguably the most interesting sights.
We finished the cigarettes and headed back to polish off the remainder of the morning before bunging ourselves into another taxi back to the slovenly living room from whence we came. The cool morning air filling our lungs was a refreshing reprise from Flat-heads odour, but the leftover pizza and chips weren’t quite so.
A Wing Lancaster & Love Dose - Derrick Does Disco
I woke up having had the first decent nights sleep in a while, packed my bag slowly, forgetting most of the things I needed and headed to preston to meet up with Cheddar, R. Brooke and whoever else was willing to trek across the north to hit a prison in a castle in Lancaster to see Derrick Carter in what could be a once in a lifetime opportunity. The thing with once in a lifetime opportunities is that, while they are singular and unique, since I moved to manchester there tends to be a lot of them, and we’ve developed a kind of sixth sense for which ones are worth half of the money I have to live for a month. A broke man’s priorities are interesting, a private economy balancing between food and the excitement of being fucked up.
Previously I had promised R. Brooke I wouldn’t get too fucked until I had taken the photographs we’d set out to get. I learned from the last event I tried to document that operating a point and shoot camera (a skill that requires the pushing of only one button with no settings) might as well be heart surgery after half a gram of Hulme’s finest. That as fascinating as a red light seems at the time, 5 pictures of it doesn’t actually constitute coverage of the whole music event and “can I come behind the decks to get a good flick of the DJ” comes across roughly as “move me the fuck away before I do a Maj sick on your £1000 pioneers”.
Doors were early, locking us in at 10:30. We (naturally) caught our train with 30 seconds to spare where I immediately went for a piss, sadly I’m blessed with the bladder and alcohol tolerance of a 9 year old, only to return to find the crew had talked the ticket bloke round to only charging us half price for the journey. It was something to do with young people’s rail cards (that none of us actually had), but I was in Mother Strongbow’s grips and never really appreciated it at the time. I’m sure it had much more to do with him being presented with 8 drunk scally-looking youths asking for a discount than him being a decent guy.
We arrived in lancaster around 20 minutes before the doors closed with only the assurance from one of the boy’s dad that it was close enough for us to make it. Relying on very vague information when forming increasingly drunk route plans had served us well in the past and sure enough he was right.
The castle was huge. It looked like something your middle-age, half-dead parents would drag you round. “Who the fuck let them throw a rave in here?” I thought, but I suppose its hard to tarnish the reputation of a former prison. Then again, there were probably now enough people holding class A’s in the building to fill it up again, twice over maybe. We were subject to the usual less than half-arsed bag search (not that anybody we have ever met minds this) and stepped into a hallway that once must have held some nasty characters. Now, however, it was full of gurning late teens and an alarming population of older women bouncing off the walls. Everyone seemed to be buzzing, more so than usual, there was something exciting the atmosphere. From what I gathered I think this is the only decent night to happen in lancaster since the beginning of time, quite why anybody would attend university in a town made entirely of little stones, prisons and pensioners is beyond me anyway.
We got to work taking pictures, taking in the venue and moaning about the mere 6 Portaloos. I told Cheddar to wait until everyone was spangled and can’t piss but his alternative solution was to piss in a bin inside the venue (sorry to whoever had to clean that up). After shooting our rough target of 2/3 rolls by around 12:30 half the crowd were already chomping their faces off staring up into the white cavern of incarceration that surrounded us, idly bopping and jigging in a way only first-timers and girls with empty vodka bottles in their uni halls’ window can. I don’t mind it, there’s a bitter nostalgia in there somewhere, perhaps a more poetic man could pick it out. But that wasn’t my problem, and tonight I had something a little special that I had test ran the friday prior.
Things progressed, three out of eight of our party had gone home by around 2:00 AM, my only departure, the express train to Spangladesh, was very late and things were looking a little dull. I’m not really sure what happened for the rest of the night, my recollection of the final two hours inside the venue are hazey and fragmented with little linear structure. Almost like a Harmony Korine film about a that took too much MD inside a prison.
One of the departed was the one that had organized the journey and tickets for us, and its his blog we were taking the photos for but he’d gone home with his girlfriend and one of the other boys we were out with before I could ask why. In my state I felt like a child who’s dad had left him alone in ASDA with his friends and £50. We were home alone. We still had a lot of film with us as back up that we weren’t really supposed to use, but we were going to get all the photo’s tonight had to offer.
Before I had chance to think Cheddar had thrown a press pass around my neck. I’m not sure how he’d gotten one, or who was letting me, in the state I was in, have access all areas to take photos for a then none-existent blog, but my lord we were going to use them. We climbed the stairs to the prison style balcony above the rig and the crowd, we were observers from above, on the clouds, unable to intervene with what was happening below. Not unlike God but without the selfish urge to rule over what was happening. What a glorious place this is. A place so cruel, a church of punishment, now a temple of hedonism. The crowd danced to the drums of the catacombs hidden away from the world; the are the adventurers of our time. There are no more frontiers, no wars and for adventure, you cannot go outward in the 21st century, you have to go back inside and reclaim what is already here.
I can’t describe my thought processes to anyone in any way, apart from that its like a series of rooms with bad graphics straight from your PS1, or scenes in a film with little relevance to each other. The context of things are replaced with an odd emotional investment in something that isn’t actually there. This is, of course, a romantic view. Another would be you look like a village drunk, just in a polo cap and studying Graphic Design.
We eventually returned to the passes to who had given them to Cheddar, Andy and Joe, I’m sure I had met Andy before but we assumed we were too fucked when we thought we’d first met to say for sure and we were definitely too fucked now to remember. I thanked them and we danced to disco of the big don we had come to see. Mr. Derrick Carter of Chicago, a city now better known for gun-slinging, hook-singing 17-year-old gang bangers.
I vaguely remember being inside one of the cells and taking photos but I’m not sure when this was or how it came about so I’ll leave it out. Eventually the night ended and after Carter made a speech we left into the day light. Still horribly fucked we stumbled through the cobbled streets, half expecting to bump into robin hood or a Neanderthal in this town made of stones. We followed the crowd of what looked like local uni students, you can always tell by the abundance of Hype t-shirts and girls in little black dresses that think they’re nice, stomping around without a thought for whats outside the student bubble. The tribe lead us to a rammed McDonald’s, but we were in search of the most vital component for human survival - Cigs. After a conversation with a bloke hanging out of his window banging some bookie rap tunes, Cheddar broke the news that the town of Lancaster more or less entirely closes at about 11pm and the closest 24 hr ASDA was three miles away. We gave up hope and went inside McDonald’s with Joe and Andy, who shortly after that were forcibly removed by a boyish looking bouncer for taking photographs. After a brief goodbye chat we left for the station and a heinous 2 hour wait ahead of us.
We lay in the station looking homeless and lost, the cold marbled floor was a far cry from my warm bed in my flat that was waiting for me. The drugs and alcohol were wearing off, Cheddar and the rest of the guys that only stick to booze must have been sober long ago and my god I felt for them. Going out with people that only drink is useful, without sounding selfish, they are a fantastic kind of insurance policy against yourself, in case you go under. To quote the late Hunter S. Thompson I had a ‘clear head at a bad hour’. The horizon of comfort and experience were long gone, I was in no man’s land now.
The cigarette situation was becoming dire, we’d long smoked away any substance that remotely looked like tobacco and had even rolled pretend durries full of ripped up Rizzla to try and fill the agonizing void. It had become a joke, everything was becoming so funny in a bittersweet way, we felt like a gang of explorers lost in a land foreign to us. I remember telling the guys I’d smoke a human baby if we dried it out and could make a big enough L plate. 6 AM drew closer, me and the tall man in tweed made the pilgrimage to the mecca that was Morrison’s in desperate hope it was open. He was a good guy to be with on a night like this, he was the kind of guy to get wired at pre-drinks, somebody that no night was too much of a trek for and was crazy enough to keep up. Morrison’s gave us early bird tickets and let us in at 5.55 AM, they must have sensed the fear of going another moment without something being smoked. Maybe they knew about the all-Rizzla cigarette. In fact, I think if they’d seen that sad state of affairs they’d have delivered them to us. Then, the final punchline of the night was that upon actually going to buy them the woman behind the counter showed me that they only had menthol filters. Fucking menthol. That’s a joke if there ever was one. I want a cig to feel like I’m in a working mans club not the dentists! We bought what we could get, cut our losses and escaped back to the station, chonging the most glorious cigarettes of our lives. Not even the gory images on the front were a put off, the guy with a brain growing out of his throat looked like a satisfied customer.
The train came at 6.24 and we attempted and failed to jump it home. Trains in England are ludicrously expensive since the witch Margret Thatcher died for our sins, quite how the barbarians could charge so much for a journey I don’t know. It must take a Valium and a half for them to sleep at night, seeing as they probably don’t even see a fraction of the kings ransom they’re having to ask people for. I don’t want to know and haven’t even added up how much I spent on traveling around the north that night. However much it was it was worth it.
We walked back to one of the boys house outside of Lancaster where R. Brooke was safely sleeping. I felt like we had escaped Mordor alive and were in our very own shire safe and sound. I top-and-tailed with Cheddar in his bed, laughing reflectively as you do at the end of a night. The world still made little sense on a clear head and in the morning light. I felt as if its all coming to an end. I hate turning off the lights to go to bed at the end of the night when its already sunny. I think that’s why we all stay up so late.