A note on: performing for Club Alpbach at the Austrian Embassy

A more beautiful setting i have never performed within. The performance I was asked to present was in response to a set of carefully crafted questions that discussed the nature, and the future, of Europe, as a political project, and what it means to be European. This was an invitation from Club Alpbach http://www.clubalpbachlondon.eu/ who "want to create a space for a better Europe - Club Alpbach London hosts participatory events with leading changemakers from all sectors and awards scholarships to young people to attend the European Forum Alpbach, both in the spirit to address the most relevant social and political questions of our time." Hmmm a strange place for me to be, the fact that it was in a gorgeous victorian embassy was the least of it. Rather the feeling of it being political, professionally so, was fascinating. Either extraordinary fit and attractive young people, who looked like that had been engineered for a future europe, or elderly people scowling at me, or going on. There were canapes and dresses and I felt an imposter. The young all studied PPE or were art student friends of those studying PPE. It was all curiosly intense.

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The quite brilliant young curator Josef Huber had quite clearly invited me and my performance counterpart Daria Blum so that we would put the cat amongst the pigeons. Daria performed at eurobitch and so the freshness of any real shock was gone when I followed her. I did the second of what Im calling Powerpoint Performances, which are 70% improvised, so frightening, but also effective, if they go well. I poured through slides I had written on the day essentially satirising the philosophical fallacies beneath such open questions about europe and european identity, not being fair in a way, but perhaps too being quite satirical and cutting. Enough that people felt cut, at times. I got a few laughs, which Im not sure is good or bad, but clearly left an impression, even if it was one mediated by my britishness, though I did mention brexit relentlessly. This was followed by a Q&A which meandered and perhaps evidenced my initial response to the lofty ambitions of the event itself. But better it happened than did not, and once more my stupid performances allowed me entrance into a world that would've been forever closed to me.