Back in the last century we started a zine, we called it Organ, it eventually evolved and became many things, including Cultivate, here’s something we just posted on the Cultivate news pages to mark Organ’s birthday…..
“And so Kembra Pfahler’s opening night more than happened, it more than lived up to all the anticipation, to the word of mouth buzz, and once more art excited, art and artists alive in this under siege city of ours where it is mostly about surviving while creating now . This was lots and lots of fun, and all the time this was serious art, serious performance, serious art on the walls, this was serious subject, serious messages, creativity in the face of gentrification – survival, but mote than just mere existence – artists coming together, people coming together, getting doodled up and doing things rather than just crying over the spilled mil, people doing!. Rather like this philosophy of availabism and her showing ending mantra of “Artists help each other, artists help each other, artists help each other…”. so read the Organ review of Kembra Pfahler’s recent opening night..
ORGAN THING: Paint, mess, big hair, glam rock, New York performance artist Kembra Pfahler opens her London show in glorious style….
And that is what Organ is about now, sharing things like Kembra’s show, that is what Organ has always been about, covering the things that others seem to mostly ignore, getting out out there a digging in the undergrowth, covering the art, the bands, the people, the underculture, the events and sharing those events, posting the signposts, the information…
Organ has taken many forms since the early hand screen-printed handmade photocopied days of the late 80’s. These days Organ comes in this stripped-down back-to-basics blog-shaped form, a selected “Thing Of The Day”, an art event, a band, a book, a zine, a painting, a new album, a thing, a simple stripped-down thing…. The Organ pages are still very about digging around in the underculture, the creative underground, about sharing some of the music, art and more that excites us.
Create has always been the main word with Organ, “create” was often screenprinted across the handmade covers of early paper Organs. Organ is about sharing links, posting up the signposts that point you in direction of exciting artists, new bands, galleries, exhibitions, events, animation, a new painting, a new video from an old band, an art show opening, a new wall painted.
We started Organ because, well besides being slightly addicted to creativity and wanting to be doing things rather than just consuming things, we started Organ because the bands, the gigs that were exciting us at the time just weren’t being covered. On the whole they still aren’t really, neither are the many art events that excite us, the artists in the back street galleries. We’re encountering loads of exciting art and stimulating artists, great shows, alternative galleries and art spaces alive with things that really do deserve to be covered…
THE HISTORY – ORGAN zine, kissing big ugly sharks, in one form or another since 1986, explore some past things here…
Since Organ’s birth back in late 1986, it has enjoyed a life as, firstly a very hand made, hand screen-printed, hand painted underground zine, then as a full-on glossy magazine (there was about 100 print zine editions), a very busy website. There have been issues pasted on walls, released on cassette, one issue was screen printed on t-shirts, there’s been a record label called ORG (I think we put out something like 200 different albums, singles, slices of vinyl and such back there). There was a weekly TV show for a couple of years (way before the days of YouTube, this was on your proper TV), we’ve been regularly broadcasting on London-based arts radio station Resonance FM for a number of years now. Organ existed for many many years in many formats.
Back in the late 80’s Organ was a handmade labour of love, in the 90’s it was a full on time-eating glossy production, there was hundreds of Organ gigs and events all over London, there was a busy record label, at one point we were printing 20,000 magazines a month, way too big a monster). In the early part of this century Organ evolved in to a web-based animal. In 2011, after 25 years of grinding, we knocked almost all of it on the head (besides the radio shows), we closed down the big website and went off to catch up with some of the other things the time eating Organ monster had got in the way of. Organ ate up far too much of our lives for far too many years, it was brilliant, thankless, annoying, invigorating, messy, chaotic, good, bad, angry, happy – we could have compromised and got rich on the back of it but sucking up to the music industry was never our way, we did it all our way, we mostly had a blast and we’re still doing it…
December 2016 and you find Organ coming at you in a low key no thrills no messing kind of way, no big noise, no big fanfare, no plan – a no thrills simple blog just for the pure enjoyment of discovering, sharing and enjoying, a stripped down Organ just for the hell of it. The Organ pages are just here sharing a few things and enjoying exploring some art, music and whatever else without any commitment to anything. It may go on for ages, it may all (finally) stop tomorrow…
The word is still create and it is still about doing it yourself. The very first print edition of Organ came out on December 4th, 1986, which means that the first ever Organ zine went on sale outside a gig thirty years ago today. A hand-made hand-painted zine loaded up with artwork and mostly interviews with bands like Cardiacs and such. Actually, I can’t remember who else now, Twelfth Night maybe? There were five or six interviews, oh yes, the very first interview Zodiac Mindwarp ever did. There was a whole load of collage and photocopy art manipulation, there was primitive print paste and spray paint on those hand screen-printed covers, it was as much about the collage and the spray paint, the photocopy manipulation, about making each copy different. 50p a copy (wonder if anyone still has one?). We took fifty along to that first gig, a Hawkwind gig at Guildford Civic Hall, and sold all them almost as soon as we got there (sold them out the back of an old army ambulance, the blue light’s might have helped). We printed 100, took half of them to the gig, took the other half to another gig in London the next day and then went off to buy more spray paint (for the cover) and off to print some more the day after that. We eventually printed 300 of the first one, and a time-eating life-consuming monster was born. Never really thought past the one issue, people selling diy zines were very the thing back then, you couldn’t go far without someone trying to sell you a zine or a cassette album at a gig, that’s how news of bands and events spread, photocopiers were the way, it just seemed like it might be good to join in.
So we put out another edition of Organ a couple of months later, another print run of 300, by the time issue three came around we were printing in runs of 1000, still hand-printing and still spray painting all the covers though, compiling them by hand as well, frantically folding and painting before the next gig or event. I think it went on like that for the first thirty or so issues before we finally got them back from the printers all collated and put together “properly” with “proper” printed covers. No more screen printing but the spray painting of each one went on (and on) for quite a few issues after that. .
These days art is covered on a daily basis over on the Organ pages – show reviews, previews, artist features, news, things happening in back street galleries, artist-led events, news of things coming up.. Cultivate evolved out of Organ, Cultivate is one of the many things that have evolved out of Organ, as was that big art rair and the art shows in other spaces that pre-dated Organ, as was the TV show, the radio show, the record label, the gigs…. Keep up with your Organ over at www.organthing.com and of course if you think we should be covering something you’re doing then get in touch, contact and switch the other, create is still the word…. (sw)
THE ORGAN THEME TUNE…. This thing will not blow over, contact to switch the other….
Here’s an album full of fractured bits of Organ history, Organ art, flyers, covers, messy photocopies things… Click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show…..