25.5.2018 – The Hope and Ruin, Brighton UK – Personal Best; Screaming Females

Jarrett is determined to swim in the ocean at Brighton even though a bunch of people on the internet have told him not to. But by the time we arrive to a rest stop just outside of town, his resolve is wavering. It’s cold out and the sun is nowhere in sight. Maybe the good-for-nothin’ internet is right this time.

This morning he and I had gone for a walk around Richard’s neighborhood in Bristol while Mike and Marissa slept in and/or cuddled with Richard’s two cute dogs, Pickle (small, soft dark fur) and Kayla (also small, mop-like). We had wanted to check out the graffiti in Bristol, which is well-known for its street art.

Yes, Banksy is from here: I don’t know why Banksy has been a recurring theme on this tour, but I’ll take it.

Of course it was raining this morning and we got more-or-less drenched, but managed to see lots of street art, including the famous Banksy mural on the wall of a community center called Hamilton House, before we had to hop back in the van.

Now, as we approach Brighton, the sun is beginning to peek through the clouds. The van warms up and I take off some layers. Our first stop is a local radio station where the band does an interview, and then we have a little bit of free time before load-in. We decide to walk to the harbor.

“You gonna go in?”

“I would need my swim trunks,” Jarrett shrugs.

But once we make our way down the rocky shoreline to the ocean, we discover that the water is warm. Next thing we know, Jarrett is in the ocean in his underwear. The rest of us hang out on the beach, and Marissa draws faces on rocks with a paint marker.

Throughout the day I think about Bristol. I still really like it there. At the same time, it seems like the more-or-less accepting attitude towards all of the street art might be leading towards a familiar pattern of gentrification. It’s something that I always struggle with when it comes to my own role as an artist. How can artists support themselves and local communities without becoming pawns for city developers?

Maybe there is no other answer than to keep trying to resist. The DIY culture we came up in means a lot of things, but at its heart it’s about supporting and caring about one another. You never really know how things will turn out, just like when you jump in the ocean without knowing what you will do with your wet clothes after that. It’s one of the things I love about Screaming Females – they’re in it for the lifestyle and the community.

We have to hurry back to the venue after that to load in and grab some dinner before the show starts. The opening band today is Personal Best, and it’s nice to see them again. We have fun drawing over all of the nasty graffiti of male genitalia in the green room. I get to watch most of their set this time, and enjoy their earnest brand of rock. I bet they would find a lot of new fans if they toured the U.S.

Screaming Females jam out a lot in between songs this time, and play several that they haven’t so far on this tour, including Fantasy Lens and Rotten Apple. Tonight they save Glass House for the encore, and fans are yelling out every word. You better believe it’s another great set.

At the merch table, a friend of the band named Michael stops by. He lives in London and went to the show there as well. Jarrett is sad that he didn’t get to see him tonight.

Breaking news: We are fully equipped with modern technology at the merch table today. Our host at the venue is helping us out a bunch by taking credit card payments for us. We chat briefly about art collectives, including the gallery and print shop I’m part of back home called Space 1026. You probably could have guessed, but I’m feeling super lucky to be able to go out on this tour and encounter an international network of art spaces and communities.

Oh, and have I mentioned yet that Mike has been doing a great job of spreading the international brotherhood of Baloney?

After the show, we head to a TraveLodge so we can get an early start in the morning. Tomorrow, Paris!