Anderson - The End of the Moon
The Lowry Centre, Salford Quays
24th May 2005
Best known for her early eighties hit ‘O Superman’ (no.2
in the British charts), Laurie Anderson, performance artist, poet, raconteur,
violinist, was here with her latest show ‘The End of the Moon’.
Beginning from a hallowed stage of low lighting and candles, she chatted
in calm ironic detachment from an armchair about life, the universe, and
everything before moving centre stage electric violin in hand to continue
her observations and prognostics.
In fact Laurie Anderson was NASA’s (yes that’s right the
space people) first and last ‘artist-in-residence’, she drolly
explains and this show according to the program was ‘part travelogue,
part personal theories, history and dreams’, looking at the relationship
between ‘war, aesthetics, the space race, spirituality and consumerism.
All of which makes it sound very interesting. Unfortunately it was quite
the opposite. In her turn of phrase and play of tone, Ms Anderson is far
too clever for her own good. I’m afraid to say it was mostly boring,
melancholy but without substance, self-conscious of its own subtlety.
Too many ‘first ideas’ which either should have been ditched
or moved on made it into the show, which for £15 is unacceptable.
This is art and culture for an elite, irrelevant to the vast majority.
The musical content itself was fragmented and not of a sufficient quality
to rest a show on, close up camera shots on a large screen of an upside-down
Anderson face neither do justify the entry price. Yes there were some
good moments, a very funny section actually had Ms. Anderson recanting
her hiking through the Californian countryside with her faithful Rat Terrier
‘Choola Bell’, whose consciousness was thrown into disarray
by the novel experience of becoming potential prey for circling turkey
vultures. But woolly liberal sentiments about the world having the right
not to like Americans really deserve to remain in the Manhattan studio
inhabited by the artist and her friends. There may be a hyper-link to
The Lowry Arts Centre dehabitated as it is but walk a mile down the road
to Manchester City Centre, or Liverpool City Centre for that matter and
it is of no importance.
All of which is a pity for someone who managed with ‘O Superman’
to marry the unconventional with popularity. For some reason PIL’s
highly imaginative use of sound and image come to mind of a way of successfully
marrying the two. I fought to keep myself awake in the show and instead
of waiting for the end of the moon wanted for the end of the show, with
the irony and meaningless of it all, I half considered that there was
no point in getting the tram back to Manchester City Centre but on second
thoughts it seemed like a good idea.