HFEATURE LIST ’
CURIOSEB AND GUIOSER
Fruit. foothall and fenianism; Michael Clark whips up history into a ballet forthe Eighties. Alice Bain finds it to her taste. (next page) Mah quizzes Mark F Smithof The Fall about their curious collaboration with the punk prince ofdance.
The espresso machine went into sudden convulsions as Michael (‘lark threw a lightly charged grenade across the lunch tahle. ‘The Holland Festival commissioned me to do the piece hecause William w as meant to he gay. They wanted a little controversy.‘ We dug into a plateful of Italian spare rihs. red and juicy. He was referring. surprisingly . to William of()range. enduring symhol ofprotestantism in Britain Three hundred years ago the Dutchman William married Mary. a royal Stuart. and tried the crown of Britain on for si7e. lt suited nicely. he took it. and this year the Holland Festiy al felt the desire to celehrate his accession to the throne. .\'ot celehrate.corrects(‘lark That would he a misconception of his dance. .\'o. more a desire to chew it over. Michael was hungry and the shared rihs were going down a treat
Michael marvels that for the first time iii his choreographic career he is making history. ‘l was never interested. When you’re young you iust don’t want to know The “Us and 7lls- that‘s ahout as tnuch history as I wanted to know ahout .' And he is douhly surprised that the idea w as offered through commission. It is his first. On the whole he doesn't really approve of using other peoples ideas
(‘lark works on the basis of doing what other people don‘t But when the Dutch came up with the suggestion he looked up William of Orange and found it was a iuicy suhject. King Billy made him curious.
History was the trigger. hut inevitahly (‘lark hcgan to flirt with the present. In (ilasgow this spring. auditioning for his second summer school. he wandered into the Barras. the market land for every thing lrotn whispering net-curtains to hit singles of the fifties. To his atiia/ettient he found the King aliy e and prancing on T-shirts. cushions. teatimels hest-selling souvenirs according to the Barras sellers.
The protestant King Billy ﬂourishes in the hlue corner. along with the Rangers foothall team In the green corner. there is a rival (‘lark found the slogan "l'here's Only One King Billy ‘ emhIa/oned green on a (‘eltic foothall supporters t—shirt. The story goes that after (‘eltic won the league and cup last
ﬁ'l'hel ist l3- lts'August MRS
year. their manager and one-time star player Billy McNeill stood up and pronounced himselfthe King. (‘eltic and Rangers. traditional representatives of Catholicism and protestantism. still pour a measure of religion into sport. With a smile straight out of the Beano. Michael. pausedmid-cappucino '(‘eltic and and Rangers had to he the image of the programme.‘
More than that. Michael‘s dancers don their strips and play a fruithall match on stage. William of ( )range is there in triplicate all wig and top-coat dancing among the players and a man-size orange and lemon ()h. and don‘t forget the hanana
The foothall match sets the pace. hut ( 'lark plays connections and crossconnections in reserve. (lite scene teams the national anthems of Britain and Holland gratineg on top ofone another while the hlue red set melts to orange. Moving on to the finale there's a hig fat pop-art sculpture of a hamhurger at Westminster and hovering ahove. not an angel. hat a giant-sized poke of fast food French Fries. The William ot‘()range lucky hag. christened [Am curious". ()runge ( a reference to the arty se.‘:~-film M iii (‘uriousx Yellow) is full ofsweets and sours thrown together for consumption The audience are left to digest. 'ln recent years. mayhe in a tongue~in-check way. I have raised issues l haven‘t necessarily formed an opinion on myself. Part of the reason for doing it is to see what my feelings are ahout it.~ Open and unhiased. (‘lark plugs into his sixtiesstyle hallucination—sized imagination to 'entertain and provoke.
He has succ ‘eded in doing hoth since he dropped out of Ballet Ratnhert and into his own world of choreography only sex en years ago. leaving the security of a major company shocked some. (‘lark was only nineteen But though he may he exploring and testing grou. d in . many areas. he knows his talent well and feels its need for freedom. From the start. he wanted. control ofeverv minute ofhis dancing. ‘lfyou‘re working with someo. c else as a dancer their work becomes part of your vocabulary and you. can't help but look derivative. Now. people can't look at my worl; and say it looks
like so and so. I‘ve managed to devise something of my own.‘
In devising this ‘something'. (‘lark has grown up with artists who are equallyindependent distinctive pop groups like The Fall and l.aihach. the American film-maker and lighting designer (.‘harles Atlas. the groovy costume design team Bodytnap all names which which crop up regularly on the (‘lark lahel. ‘l’eople have asked me why I work with the same people all the time. It‘s one ofthose things which evolves gradually You can't put people together and expect miracles immediately ‘ Though outside the rehersal room they are friends. the image of the ‘cosy little teatn is far removed frotn the reality ofthe strength of each individual unit.
His collahorators and (‘lark himself are hirds of an urhan. hig-city feather. But surprisingly \ft‘ is looking for ways to get hack to Scotland on a more regular hasis. Rootsare strong and he admits that his nature is to side with the underdog Besides his nature and roots. (‘lark confesses to an ‘lhrox fixation' Only recently. the BBC almost had (‘lark's team on for a halftime dance during a genuine foothall match. Think ahout it? This time it fell through hut (‘lark hopes for another chance. In the meantime. he's got plans for Mayfest. his Third (ilasgov‘ Summer School and heyond. For the time heing. (‘lark is hooked on his. old home.
His last visit to ( ilasgow is evidence enough (lne night. Michael and his friends. a model and the lead singer from a group called (iod. dropped into one of the most notorious puhs iii (ilasgow. the Saracens Head. alleged hang-out of hardmen and prostitutes ‘We spent six hours there the first night and hy the end knew ey ery single person on first name terms they were all asking me to giye them a dance. My (‘eltic T-shirt went down very well there and I ended up swopping it with one ofthe ladies. ‘l‘ancing. sing-songs and whacking hack the Shammy's and'l‘ornadoer Shaved head and earrings. (‘lark must have looked like a sticklehack in a shoal of herring But ‘hy the end ofthe night I itist looked like any ofthe regulars. l w as starlet red I've never heen
pHOTO: DAVID LIDDLE
anywhere like it The people were so ?
warm'. (‘lark is not afraid ol’getting involved right up to the edge. The story continues (‘lark isarranginga hus to hring the friends he made that night in (ilasgow across to the Fdinhurgh Festival to whoop it up in a one-offcliih that he and a mate are setting up as an all-night puhlic party. There can he no hetter introduction to Michael ('lark and his work than that.
.l’llf/ttlt’l ( lurk is appearing at the King's (very appropriate) Theatre from IS - 3“ :l ugnst at 7. 30pm. Hts club will he held tn the I (’lllt
A ssemlilv Rooms on 20.414}: from llpm- < 7am. See page twofor/irrt/ier details.