Tuesday 28 March 2023

Strange Attractor Presents ‘At the Gates of Purgatory’ @ Iklectik April 5


On the evening of Wednesday April 5 at the fabulous Iklectik Lab I will be presenting an extended reading from my latest book Purgatory – The Trash Project Volume II. In the past I have always given short readings based on extracts from my work, but increasingly I have had members of the audience coming up to me afterwards saying that they would have liked to hear a little more. So, I thought I would give them a lot more. 


You can find more details and book tickers by clicking here.


At The Gates of Purgatory is a special ‘live audiobook’ adaptation featuring support from Lori E Allen, Martin McCarrick, Mark Pilkington and Howlround, incorporating voice, cello, electronics and tape loops. I have worked with each of these wonderful performers individually in the past; but this is the first time I’ve collaborated with all four of them at the same time. Expect a long deep dive into digitally looped cello, shimmering electronics and raw analogue tape effects. This is going to be a unique spoken-word experience.


The Trash Project is a three-part work modelled upon Dante’s Divine ComedyInferno, the first volume, deals with US underground and exploitation movies made during the 1960s, while Purgatory examines how nineteenth-century European attitudes towards Beauty and Sin, Art and Morality continue to influence the way we think about Trash today. The first nine essays of Purgatory correspond directly to Dante’s account of the journey made by the dead to reach the gate to Mount Purgatory, where they will eventually atone for their sins. This may be a long reading for me, but it’s going to get very weird very quickly.


In the second part of his Divine Comedy, Dante describes the souls of the dead arriving on the shore of Purgatory, a mountainous island in the middle of an empty sea. The dead must then journey upwards on a steady incline past many perils until they reach a gate set in a wall. Once beyond this gate they begin the long and painful climb up the terraces of Mount Purgatory, shedding their sins as they go, until they reach the Earthly Paradise at the summit.


Over the course of At the Gates of Purgatory, horror and violence, corruption and desire become inextricably entwined as we travel from the pleasures of the Palace of Art during the day to the terrors of the Wax Museum at night. Along the way we meet Anthony Hancock and Dorian Gray, Lola Montez and King Ludwig I of Bavaria, Daphne and Apollo, Aphrodite and Medusa. 


NOTE: At the Gates of Purgatory is a continuous performance without any breaks or intermissions. You are welcome to come and go as the mood takes you, listen to as much or as little as you wish, but please be mindful of the other audience members when entering or exiting the hall. 


My sincere thanks are due to Lori E Allen, Martin McCarrick, Mark Pilkington, Howlround, Lucie Štěpánková and Isa Ferri for their unstinting support of this project.


Strange Attractor Presents At the Gates of Purgatory

At Iklectik

Wednesday 5 April 2023

Doors: 7.30pm 

Start 8.00pm


Pictured above

KH (photo by Rachel Hollings)

Lori E Allen 

Martin McCarrick (photo by Nelle Strange)

Mark Pilkington (photo by Rachel Hollings)


Purgatory (cover by Tihana Sare)