[Refine yourself in the Furnace of the Moment]

Disasto does NOT promote disorder.
Disasto PRESERVES disorder.

1998 Disastodrome Festival brochure • 2003 Disastodrome Festival
[The poster]
Disasto Poster
Design by Johnny Dromette

David Sefton of The South Bank Centre, London, invited David Thomas to curate a four day mini-meltdown in April 2-5, 1998.

Other curators have included Elvis Costello, John Peel, Laurie Anderson and Nick Cave. The commission included a theatrical experience, Mirror Man, to be written by David Thomas.

Disastodrome! continues a series of events conceived as an antidote to datapanik.

[In 1976 David Thomas and John Thompson note that in a state of data overload all "new" information will only serve as a sedative-like drug, a junkie culture becomes inevitable, dataflow can be the only social imperative, and that discrimination, or any other hinderance to dataflow, must become anathema.]

We call it disasto so nothing can go wrong.

Dataflow Junkies pursue a highly ritualized course. A break in routine can lead to disaster... to datapanik! The symptons of datapanik are easily recognized-- doubt and fear of the moment:
Is what I'm experiencing meaningful... enough?
What will my friends say?
Is everything okay?
Refine yourself in the furnace of the moment.
Disasto T-shirt
Design by Johnny Dromette
Disastodrome is a space in which the ordinary citizen can be freed from the burden of anticipation that haunts the data-junkie. Only Disastodrome can guarantee that nothing will go wrong.

"It's a mess!"

The cry goes up.

"It's a disaster!"

Oh no, my brothers, Disasto reassures. Everything is going absolutely, and without the slightest variation, according to plan. Enjoy.
Questions are a burden to others.
Answers a prison to oneself.

Disastodrome recognizes that culture only happens in secret. Outsiders see the cold ashes, never the sparks, never the flames. Disastodrome is a festival without a safety net. (Read Bob Holman's report, Part One & Part Two.)

[Eat Oranges & Live]
Sign hung from ceiling
Design by Johnny Dromette
The Plan:
  • Day One: Solo musical performances. Men stand in the moment testing themselves as men. You don't see this kind of stuff much. Irony you get. Irony is the refuge of the weak-willed & timid. This night we suffer no irony.
  • Day Two: Mirror Man is the focus of the festival.
  • Day Three: Spoken performance, featuring the performance/lecture: "The Geography of Sound In The Magnetic Age." Plain speaking with no tiresome obfuscation.
  • Day Four: features bands, groups of men, trapped by their geography.

The South Bank Programme Notes

Thursday, April 2nd, Caligari's Diner
Purcell Room
1830 Foyer events. Come hungry for Eddy's Steakburgers.
1915 Daved Hild
2000 Peter Blegvad Band
2045 Interval, Ghoulardi screening
2115 Jackie Leven
2200 Kidney Brothers

An evening at Caligari's Diner opens the Disastodrome! series. Daved Hild records with avant garde boss Kramer and Tom Waits alumni Ralph Carney. " Jackie Leven is one of the really great soul voices of our times." (VOX). The Kidney Brothers, the core of the legendary 15-60-75, keep the blues alive as a radical, visionary and living force. The night ends with Peter Blegvad, whose Andy Partridge produced Naked Shakespeare album was a critical smash. He is joined by Chris Cutler and John Greaves, former Henry Cow/Slapp Happy buddies.

Foyer Events: For three of the four days of the Disastodrome! experience the foyer will be customized by the unflappable Johnny Dromette (inspired by Bob's Barricades, Jacksonville FL) and will host Simon Lucas' talking computers as well as inter-cultural improvisers Tim Hodgkinson & Ken Hyder. For tonight only they'll be joined by neo-beat poet Bob Holman adding a voice of doom from the outer limits, and David Thomas cooking blackened burgers inside a haze of vaporized chili smoke.

Friday, April 3rd, Mirror Man
Queen Elizabeth Hall

1900 Foyer events
1945 Act One
2045 Interval, foyer ambience
2110 Act Two

Loosely based on Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology, this is a musical extravaganza turned over to poets, singers and musicians, and directed by Pere Ubu founder David Thomas, a performer "so alive to the possibilities of motion and chance in a word or phrase that any given song will be less a song than a road, a road out or a road back." (Greil Marcus) Linda Thompson, partner to Richard in masterpieces such as Shoot Out The Lights, joins a cast with neo-beat poet Bob Holman, Jackie Leven, Robert Kidney and Daved Hild (see 2 April). Peter Hammill (Van Der Graaf Generator) adds his own passionate fury to a pit orchestra worthy of the event: Andy Diagram (ex-James), Keith Molinè, Jack Kidney, and Chris Cutler (Henry Cow).

Characters: David Thomas, Linda Thompson, Bob Holman, Jackie Leven, Robert Kidney, Daved Hild & Jane Bom-Bane.
Orchestra: Andy Diagram, Keith Molinè, Peter Hammill, Chris Cutler, & Jack Kidney.

Foyer events as described above.

Saturday, April 4th, Datapanik In The Year Zero
National Film Theatre 2

2030 Jane Bom-Bane
2100 Bob Holman
2130 David Thomas

Sold out!

Feared for his iconoclastic vision, David Thomas dares to argue above the din of conformity. Catch the U.K. premiere of his performance "lecture," The Geography of Sound in The Magnetic Age, with the chance to ask the great man the big questions. Bob Holman, a star in "Poetry's Pantheon" (New York Times), reads the works that have put him up there with Ginsberg. Jane Bom-Bane brings her harmonium and fish bowl hat and aims to break your heart.

No foyer events tonight.

Sunday, April 5th, Custodians of the Avant-Garage
Queen Elizabeth Hall

1900 Foyer ambience
1945 Doll By Doll
2050 Interval
2110 Pere Ubu

Sold out!

A double-bill that brings together two of the most fiery bands of the last twenty years. Doll By Doll's R&B and Celtic tinged music is "some of the most passionate, violent and disturbing rock and roll ever." (VOX) Pere Ubu have become a benchmark for cult with critical hosannas at every turn. They have influenced a generation, and the story continues with their new album called PENNSYLVANIA, released by Cooking Vinyl in March. The good DON'T die young.

Foyer events as described above.

Festival Credits

David Thomas produced the event.
John Thompson designed it.

Nick Hobbs managed it.
Rhodri Marsden coordinated its details.

Dids mixed the sound.
Norvydas Birulis lit it.

David Sefton commissioned it.
Eddy Smith managed the South Bank production.
Jenny Noden & Liz McCudden solved its problems.