The Reno Family's Family

Melba Finni: 'Just spent an amazing afternoon at the Whitworth gallery with Linda Brogan ? Seeing so many faces, so much history in one building was so emotional, in a good way. If you haven't been please take the time out to go! Thanks for a great afternoon Linda.' That's a picture Melba took of her mum and dad in our space.

No, thank you Melba. Loved it. Just had the most amazing day. The most amazing week. But let’s start with today. Melba Finni. Wow. I think we talked for 3 hours. Amazing for me as I am usually bogged under with admin and meetings and shit I have to do. But I didn’t give a fuck. The Finni family saga is so fabulous. So engrossing. So reminiscent of the Reno family as a whole. Of my own family. It’s so wonderful to share your heart with someone. Secrets that will go to the grave with you.

Then I walked straight from that into the Whitworth technician Paul Smith, my mate who is a sculptor, and whose progressive working class granddad paid to educate Paul's mum in the 50s. Amazing. I took him to our space to explain our temple concept. I’ve stopped seeing it as we walk to the left like we did when we entered the Reno and realised I need to turn around and use the architecture of the building, the glorious brick wall in our studio as our altar. Paul has the skills and the passion for our project to make that happen. We talked art and artists for 2 hours.  

Which takes me to the artistic meetings with the Reno. With Carmen Jones, and Suzy Mousah, and Suzy’s ward Ria. And how we started in one place, with the obvious and then Ria’s young artistic mind stretched us to speakers. We worshipped music. Our temple’s altar should be speakers. Huge disarrayed speakers. Then our cameraman John googled speaker installations that we could reference. Then me and Suzy Moush laughed and said you can’t call them speakers. And we took him to HQ the Rastafarian headquarters on Claremont Rd. Cos that’s where we gonna see speakers. 70 foot speakers. Like the old Moss Side speakers.

I used to have to reach up to place my empty glass on top of the Reno speakers. And the vibration would make me sick if I stood too close when I was stoned and drunk. Then there was the meeting with the Reno 12 and Anze a fashion art designer on Thursday, for our Reno catwalk in our Reno temple come November. I’ll be posting our Thursday night film on Monday. I want to capture the euphoria of my feelings tonight. The one’s where I don’t give a fuck.

It was so lovely to talk art with Suzy and Carmen. To not be shy. To say what if we had 70 foot speakers piled on top of each other. It’s very exposing to talk pure art. What if they say fuck off you twat. And you remember when we were teenagers you’d say fuck off you twat a lot because we were embarrassed about our inner feelings. I don’t know why.  I’ve always kept them 2 sides of my life separate. It has been so fab this week to allow them to integrate.

But then liberating today to waste, as my productive mind thinks, at least 6 whole fucking hours being involved with people. Deeply involved. Listening to their story. Telling my story. Understanding my journey, the project’s journey, through their interpretation of my story: in Paul Smith’s case. Or the necessity for our journey in the case of listening to Melba’s story. How we’ve had such microscopic lives. And we’ve strived. Such dysfunctional lives. Such gloriously dramatic lives. Each worthy of a saga of its own. Through one reason and another. Political, social, historical. As one of our funders, Matthew Youngson said after listening to our memoirs: they make Hamlet seem boring. Today felt cathartic. Like a boil has been lanced.

There comes a point for me in all the plays I’ve written, in all the funding applications, when I know I am inside and there is no more to worry about. It is always sudden, and it always comes when I no longer give a fuck. It always comes when I reach the bottom of the barrel. And time stands still. Today time stood still. There was hours and hours of pure pleasure in other peoples' company. Oh and Contact Young Company 16 year old Chiao came back, pictured in the last blog. My first wonderful connection today was with him. We spoke about how stars are made. How it is circling dust to begin with. And gravity clumps that dust together and compresses it till it makes light. Touching these peoples' hearts today and having my heart touched was the first glimmer of The Reno @ The Whitworth’s light. And all my marvellous meetings and interactions this week including Susan Cundall and her niece the Reno's beautiful Syd Reynold’s daughter artist Sheryl Louise are particles that caused that gravity.

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