Psychogeography #02 – East Angular


Derelicht is an Agency and Label based in East Anglia that put on one-off events in incredible spaces across the region. Bringing together the components of architecture, visuals and electronic music, Derelicht have developed production values that put many events in the more focussed-upon areas of this country to shame. On the cusp of launching a label to work alongside the agency and with a host of stunning events lined up for 2014, we caught up with Derelicht director Gav Mee to get an insight into the roots of a scene he's built from the ground up in a region previously almost completely devoid of this particular form of modern culture.

Over to Gavin….
"So, Im on a half-arsed local night out with the missus, you know the type of night, where you havent been out in a while but you think you should at least treat the girl, make the effort, play the game so to speak and hit your nearest neon branded Luminar outlet. Simply just to lubricate the vocal chords, see if youve still got the moves and check if the local jocks have moved on from knocking Sandy B in with Freddie Trumans cricket bat delivering the happy tones of loves make the world go round before rapidly switching to the inevitable let me clear my throat at the 2:45 point! I paint a good picture but youve all done it!
So there I am, crisp white shirt, looking sharp with Doris on one arm (names have been changed to protect the un-innocent!) and a desire to wet my whistle with something strong and exotic. So were queuing for the bar, its about 4 deep, theres 3 uninterested staff, its a Saturday night, 20:00 and its a cocktail bar. Now Im no Stephen Hawkins but a simple quadratic algorithm here tells me I aint getting served this side of 20:30, and Im starting to feel rather parched. Knowing its gonna take a wee while and my stealth mode isnt what it used to be, I start to check out whos in my immediate surroundings and eaves drop to pick up on any interesting convos.

I observe a group of guys who I would say are in their late teens, 
theyve obviously been in the place since 19:30 as they all have a drink in their hand and theyre chatting about the lack of a scene or any credible nights within the local vicinity of Ipswich and Suffolk in general. A few very clear opinions being voiced included nothing ever happens, no-one puts anything on decent and there is absolutely fuck all to do around here. Now without boring you with my back-story, this is like a red flag to a bull for me and Im sure it would be to any successful individual in the music industry who believes our children are our future (cheers Whitney) and that we should give them a sense of pride (cheers again Miss Houston, rest her soul). So what would be a cringe-worthy moment for Doris was an ideal opportunity for me to parachute in, pull up a sandbag and tell these young whipper-snappers a few veteran stories whilst I give the ego a good buffing!
I was probably chatting to these guys for about half an hour completely forgetting about getting my drink from the bar or the fact that I was actually meant to be tending to Doriss every whim, but in general I agreed with them wholly that nothing was happening in the vicinity but quizzed them on why they were waiting for others to start the motion when they themselves were equally capable of starting something and taking the lead on something they believed in, were passionate about and were willing to fight for. I obviously had to back up my inspirational commentary with instances whereby I had done similar in various hard-nosed towns across Yorkshire but I certainly left the conversation feeling that I had inspired these chaps. They were definitely nodding if thats anything to go by and I still to this day believe all 4 chaps will have spent the rest of the evening hatching a plan, feeling positive about themselves and willing to start the next day raising the next Berghain or Tresor from scratch.

Approximately about 5 years later, Im at an after-party having just put on my final event of the season and Im letting my hair down with one or two shandies when I find myself chatting with a group of lads in the kitchen (usual drill) who are basically just showing their appreciation for the night, winding down with a few beers and thanking me for bringing something worthwhile to the area. Then this one chap out of the blue goes didnt we chat to you about 5 years ago in some shitty bar in town and you gave us the mother of all speeches, some proper motivational shit so immediately the penny drops and Im like Fuck yeah! Yes mate, that was me, nice to see you again dude, howve you been? You can probably imagine how the ensuing conversation went but the upshot was he was blown away that someone had finally decided to run something of this stature within Suffolk and was now concerned that now we had something to be proud of in Ipswich, when and how soon was it going to move to London, Manchester or some other big city, and its that general point or trend of thought that got me thinking!
Looking at the area (and when I say the area I mean East Anglia and the East of England) its enormous and yet it doesnt appear to have been impacted by any form of underground culture just as yet. I mean there are a couple of things happening but nothing conjoined! Norwich appears to be the most forward thinking, theres a whole bunch of stuff going on over at Aldeburgh and youve got the Pacitti Company doing great things with the Spill Festival. Theres rumours that the East is dominated by the arts but Im yet to see any major evidence of this as yet, I think the major problem being is we simply dont have the venues or the spaces in which to house such events. If you factor in a catchment area including Norwich, Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket, Felixstowe, Ipswich, Colchester, and even some parts of Essex thats some 5.8 million people who have no access to a Fabric, Oval Space or Great Suffolk Street Warehouse unless they jump on a 1hr 20min train into London, hence the need for change and hence the reason old Luminar is sunning himself in Marbella!

Going back through history its not like we havent had the odd sporadic movement from time to time. Quite thecontrary there have been very inspiring creations originate from the area it just appears that over time they have migrated to more culturally mature cities. Take Bloc for instance, phenomenal institution! Artists like Eno (both of them), The Soft, Gerry Read, Kirk Degiorgio, Photek, Mira Calix, all rumoured to have started off in the depths of East Anglia but all have long since fled. It all begs the question what is it with the East of England, why does nothing stick, why isnt there a massive cultural uprising and why arent the people we live alongside supporting new ventures and exciting developments? Im not sure I have the answers, yes my organisation seems to have broken the mould momentarily but ask me the same question in 5 years time and I probably still wont be able to hand you the answer on a plate. 
So is there a point to all this? Yes I think we all have a moral obligation to improve life and improve our surroundings in the areas, towns and cities in which we all live, yes we could all run off to the hotspots of London, Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester but ask yourself are we actually adding anything culturally to these places or are we just a participant? Essentially what we are doing is providing less focus and less cultural investment into the town from which we just 

 Im not saying if we all devote time & attention right now
that Ipswich is going to be the next Dalston, far from it but for the likes of Dalston, Peckham and the Shoreditchs of this world, its true to say, that movement started somewhere, someone at some point believed passionately in those places enough to start the ball rolling and forge 
dramatic change. Think about it, those movements werent started by the banks or the McDonalds, the Subways or the Tescos, they were changed and developed by the vintage shops, the independent coffee shops, the galleries, and the pool halls, all with a common goal of providing with the areas best interest at heart, by the people, for the people and including the people, change begins at home folks, you heard it here first! So I think you get my point and in true Suffolk style Ill leave you with a few quotes from the first female high flier of Ipswich herself Reach for the Skies, Aim High and The Sky is the Limit. All of which are sayings I probably issued in my famous speech 5 years ago, but equally are well known sayings issued by Edith Cook, the first female pilot in the country. Or as Veronica Lake put it when she was politely questioned on her chosen location Why Ipswich to which she eloquently replied Why Not?
Now what was it you wanted again Doris?
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