I love making things. Art Attack, SMart, and even Finger Tips were some of my favourite after-school shows to go glassy-eyed in front of. Growing up I always had fun helping my mama prepare for Hallowe’en, and in more recent years making the backdrops, costumes and props for our school plays with her. There is magic in covering selective pieces of rubbish in paper and PVA and paint and molding the mush into something great. So when good ol’ Beth Mackin mentioned to Lydia (Fothergill) and I that North Bar (where she works) needed some coo-ool decor for their upcoming Magic Rock night.
She shoved this video of last year’s launch night in our eyes to give us some idea of the themes that could work well:
Plus the bar owner, Matt, who had given Beth the brief, had said to her that he wanted it to look creepy enough, but that we really shouldn’t exhaust ourselves or spend longer on it than was necessary. The budget was set at 30-50 pounds, and would cover any expenses that would present themselves as a direct result of the project (pva, paper, lights, taxis, etc), but after our first sit-down-and-chat-about-ideas, we soon began to realize there wouldn’t be much need for us to spend crazy amounts on materials, as most of our ideas were easily achieved using bits of old rubbish! Which was great, as the people at North are a good, eco-caring, responsible lot.
We wanted to make trees and spiders and forest spirits and a dummy-man to sit at the bar and giant eyeballs and many, many other things. There was plenty of discussion around papier-mâché, tights stuffed with newspaper, and milk-bottle forest spirits – we were being very optimistic, without realizing just how optimistic our plans were.
The plan was to begin the making on the Tuesday before Hallowe’en, spend a full day putting together our bits, and attach them to North Bar (by hook or by crook) on the morning before the launch night. This again proved to be telling of our naivety and inexperience in building a ‘set’… Nevertheless, when the afternoon of the 30th October rolled round, Beth’s kitchen was turned into the spookiest of sweat shops:
(above) Lydia on branch detail, me on eyeballs.
(above) Branch-drying line
(above) Milk bottle ghosties
It took us (with Beth’s housemate Deborah on ghost-face duty) close to seven hours to complete the production.