Laurie Anderson – Delusion

Laurie Anderson Live at the Barbican 14 – 17 April 2010

Laurie AndersonA voice, a really good voice, two violins and a saxaphone with media displays providing a subconscious and playing with space.  A stage full of electric candles, screens which housed the shadows of the virtuoso sax and violin players and stories and songs by one of the most original artists of the 1980s delivered over a 90 minute show called “Delusion”.

Laurie Anderson became well known for her take on “the new” – the impact of technology and the esoteric, playing with language, collaborating with William Burroughs and seeming well ahead of the rest of us.

Her pieces now expressed perhaps more immediate concerns of the artist, for example, why she was doing it at all.  How the carrots tempt her donkey and how time changes things.

Her voice pronounces every syllable with delightful precision.  Her violin rested upon her torso and she played and told stories in a spoken word performance to a full house fully immersed in delusion.

Conscious that the world had overtaken her need for the shock of the new, Laurie Anderson used a Burrough like voice to express commonly held fears about the Large Haldron Collidor – expressing how anyone may feel about such an extraordinary and risky sounding venture could be in a world that essentially does not need it or any of its cousins.  Again language.  The Adjective was parodied.  Was there a Small Haldron Collider.  A Fast One, a Quiet one, and so on.

The real story developed around a violin concerto which increased in sadnesss and intensity and then focused on that old foe,  death.  The death of her mother and turned this story into something profoundly personal.  Whereas that may be the common concern – the effects of emotion upon the self – the concern of most singers these days, coming from Laurie Anderson was an entirely different set of concerns about mortality and the last words we hear someone say.

Again Laurie Anderson is playing with language and emotion and the shock of the new.  The new being the coming of the end which creeps up upon us all, changing everything.   It was profound.

By accessing the common thread with her excellent enunciation she introduced us to the Delusion we live in.

The only criticism was the lighting being off cue, twice.

***** Originality
***** Artistic Rating
**** Production quality


The flip side of lamentable wet romantic gothic vampire teen films is this, kids wearing ill fitting costumes, that beat the thugs at their own game by acting as vigilantes.

The most evil baddies die at the hands of an eleven year old wonder who’s opening line is “okay you cunts, let’s see what you can do.” as she proceeds to execute with extraordinary prejudice eight or so thugs with remarkably little malice in an offhand killing style that is intensely comic.

Comic book fiction in the unbelievably violent genre, so much so it becomes humour.

The nerdy guys get the girl, the eleven years old heroine enjoys being brutal and the hero boasts at the start of the film about how much he masturbates!   The fetish gear in which he carries on as Kick Ass is a green wetsuit designed by a plumber.  Must get awful sweaty in there.

Kick Ass is a brilliant and certainly an unusual film in a new genre not quite used to goofy risk taking and bone breaking hilarity with a heart.

This film is both derivative and yet highly original.  The ridiculously caped superhero genre is so well established but this style of crime fighting not only comes from a completely different place (pure revenge, not so much law or honour) and fallibility is celebrated.  It is not strength that wins the day, but guile.  The antithesis of power wins over force.  The man who brought his child up with violence in her heart and the awkward teenaged dweeb slaughter the bullies.  It feels good and despite ultra violence it is hardly blood thirsty.  Despite routinely severed limbs and killing with extreme prejudice the gore stakes seem lower than expected in this genre.  Justice is seen to be done.   The gawky hero gets the girl, revenge is won, everyone cheers.

**** Originality

*** Artistic value

***** Sheer fun