1988. The Assault on Culture Utopian Currents from Lettrisme to Class War

I met Stewart Home at the 8th International Neoist Apartment Festival in London in May, 1984. This was the 7th APT Fest I'd participated in (I'd organized 2 of those). It was the 1st APT Fest that Stewart had been to & the last that he attended completely (he left early from the 9th one).

He had just started a zine called "SMILE" & he found the Neoist Network to very condusive to helping it be what he wanted it to be. Stewart was a young college student at the time. He & I became pretty good friends & had a lively correspondence. I shared with him my extensive knowledge of the history of Neoism from 1979 on.

"The Assault on Culture" was his 1st book. It has a chapter on Neoism that incorporated what I'd shared with Stewart. I was excited when the book came out because it was the 1st book to put Neoism in an historical context. I was in London around the time it was published & Stewart gave me something like 20 to 40 copies of it to distribute in the US.

When I got off the return flight in NYC I was about to go through a gruelling Customs interrogation that would've inevitably involved questions about why I was carrying so many books on The Assault on Culture when a Customs agent who must've somehow been sympathetic to my crazed appearance approached me personally & waved me on through without my having to be interrogated at all! Life is strange.

Stewart's history of Neoism, unfortunately from my POV, also marked the beginning of his gossipy style fueled by personal vendettas - a style that probably has a similar appeal to the writing & content of Kenneth Anger's "Hollywood Babylon".

I've already written about Stewart's personal vendettas elsewhere & have little interest in doing so again here. All in all, I think he does get a fair amount of interesting information across in a reasonably well-organized way. What mars the content for me is his obvious hatred of Monty Cantsin (Istvan Kantor). Monty can be a very overbearing person but he's also unusually energetic & creative & he's been consistently the most obsessive driving force in Neoism. I, too, have been irritated with him on many occasions (& he's been irritated by me) but I will always give him credit where credit's due.

Then there're the passages such as this: "This naturally included rivalry between tENTATIVELY, Pittore and Kantor. Kantor keft London before the APT had even finished, sulking because no one turned up to see his performance at the London Musician's Collective." - to people who weren't there, which is, obviously, the vast majority of Home's readership, this is likely to go as an unchallenged statement - as is Home's intention as a calculatingly false historian.

I'd say there was NO rivalry between the 3 above-mentioned people. Pittore was a Mail Artist, I had some correspondence with him before & after the APT Fest. As far as I know, he'd never participated in any Neoist activity before this festival. He DID contribute to the "Transparent SMILE" that I assembled after APT 8. As far as I recall, Pittore was there with a friend to take advantage of the free place to sleep & the free food. He didn't participate in the festival except by being present when there was free food. Check out the APT 8 movie to verify this. Or look at pages of Pete Horobin's book on the festival.

As such, I'd say there was no rivalry between either Monty (Istvan) or myself & Carlo because Carlo wasn't there to particpate. He was just passing through. At worst, he was a drain on the limited resources of this group of generally impoverished people. He was taking up room & eating the food but not contributing anything. Fortunately, he & his friend moved on after maybe 2 days of freeloading off the rest of us.

I wouldn't say that there was "rivalry" between Monty (Istvan) & myself either. Monty (Istvan) had done his usual thing & grabbed the one free bedroom for himself & his girlfriend while the rest of us were left to live barracks-style like lower-ranking soldiers. This was annoying but a minor worry for me. I was mainly concerned with the quality of the festival as a Cultural Conspiracy & there were enough highlights of that to satisfy me (somewhat - I had criticisms but I won't get into them here).

As for Kantor leaving "London before the APT had even finished, sulking because no one turned up to see his performance at the London Musician's Collective." I don't remember that at all. Monty (Istvan) is a very experienced performer & the APT Fests are traditionally mainly attended by co-conspirators so none of us have high expectations of large audiences. The LMC events were ill-attended but there were still SOME people there & we had a reasonably interesting time & there's video to quasi-document it that's now online so the audience will slowly increase over time. I think Monty (Istvan) probably just rolled with it.

Home's conclusion that the Berlin APT Fest in 1986 was "the final fling overtaken by dissension and apathy" was his wishful thinking insofar as there's still Neoist activity in 2017 & there've been many festivals since 1986 that've kept things interesting - such as the one in 1997 in Hungary. My own list of Neoist events post that date includes the following:

"Ultimatum II" - September, 1987 - Montreal, CacaNada

"The Festival of Non-Participation "- June 5, 1988 - August 20, 1988 - Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh, Tents Muir, etc, Scotland

"The 1988 Neoist Anathema Party Take-over (note that "Anathema Party Take-over" forms the A.P.T. acronymn) or the ONE-MILLIONTH Neoist Apartment Festival - October, 1988 - Rivington School / Multi Location, New York City, us@

"Zeroworks Jubilee" - August, 1992 - 50 Wabash - Toronto, CacaNada

"XXXPanzio A Neoizmus?! Anti-Esemény / XXXPanzio In the Name of Neoism?! Anti-Event"; In (Buda)Pest it was: "Neoista?! Puccs"; In Debrecen it was: "Neoista?! Zajpiknik és Monty Cantsin? Kiképzôtábor / Tolerance (?) Festival & Camp - Neoist?! Noise Picnic and Monty Cantsin? Training Camp" - July 2-6 : Vac; July 7-9: Pest; July 11-12: Debrecen, 1997 - Multi-location, Budapest/Vac/Deberecen, Hungary

"PoPo into the Wasteland", "7* 11*" Festival - August 22, 1998 - Toronto, CacaNada

"Archeologie du Neoisme - La Premiere Retrospective Filmique Mondiale du Neoisme" - January 29 & 30, 1999 - AntiTube, Quebec, CacaNada

"Neoist Festival" - November 25-29, 1999 - Windsor, Ontario, CacaNada.

"the 1st Non-Existent International Neoist Apartment Festival in the Year 000" - March 20-25, 2000; then again on April 5 & June 8 - Adelaide, Australia

"Department Festival" - fall, 2004 - Multi Location, Berlin, Germany

"Blasterthon" - June, 2013 - BalTimOre, us@

There will always be dissension, Neoists are a driven, opinionated, & argumentative lot. We also manage to cooperate at phenomenal levels to make things happen with very little money. There's considerably less apathy - but when it happens it just means that some people drop out while newer ones come in.






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