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Manifesto #2 + Beauty Power Act #1

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by Lake, Editor, London for outsideleft.com
originally published: February, 2005
The people are confused, what does it mean... 'beauty power'

Recording artist Anthony Reynolds (above) talks about the Beauty Power Movement

After a heated discussion over cold coffee, Anthony Reynolds and Neil Scott, the two founder members of The Beauty Power Movement came up with the following manifesto.

  1. The Beauty Power movement exists to intervene aesthetically.
  2. The locations chosen should be lost places, abandoned places, the spaces 'in between'.
  3. Rather than merely identifying a Lost place, The Beauty Powers will identify AND treat that place. Thus the placing of a 'beautiful' object in such a place.
  4. Beauty Power is about committing acts of faith and recording those acts, photographically.
  5. Membership to the Beauty Power movement comes with the performance of a Beauty Power act.

The first Beauty Power act was carried out by Anthony Reynolds and Neil Scott behind Euston Station, London, UK on Monday 17th January 2005. A 7" Vinyl record of Elvis Presley's 'In the Ghetto/Any Day now" was placed on some lost ground at the corner of Cardington St.

Below Anthony Reynolds talks up the genesis of The Beauty Power.

In early 2000 I had to get a train every day from Dalston to Twickenham.  I was making an Album at September Sound studios there.  Pretty quickly the novelty of playing at being a commuter wore off.  I found myself trying to concentrate on what was going on outside of the window.  I don't like looking at the public, generally.

The train stopped quite often for no apparent reason at odd locations.  I realised these were places not meant for human habitation.  They were nothing but...t best they were places to pass through.  I remember specifically, we'd stop a mile or whatever outside Twickenham and the ground was kind of dead.  Neither this nor that, here or there. Sometimes there'd be junk.  A discarded speaker from a Home Hi-fi, the obligatory single shoe and/or Shopping trolley.  Lonely places. I was getting to spend a lot of time looking at these places.

I realised with a sinking heart that if I had any kind of mission or duty  as a Songwriter/Artist or whatever, then it was inexplicably and inexorably connected to this type of place-both as a metaphor and an actual physical space.

Forcing myself to concentrate on an abandoned tennis court one day I came up with the lines;

Searching once again/For the beauty in the wire/the good in the bad shit/I know the Sun's on Fire/I just don't believe it

From then on I started to feel an attachment-not exclusively- to boarded up pubs, Cul de sacs and the like.  I'd walk around east London 'marking' these places with my presence.

One morning, after a heavy Binge, I found myself sat in an old abandoned Black Taxi cab down some dodgy alley off of Kingsland road, daring the wreck to remain lost and abandoned.

I'm pretty sure these geographical sites are mirroring places  and states inside me; unattended, nameless, lost corners of my heart and mind. Unable to pinpoint these parts of my psyche exactly, I figured I'd start from the outside in.

A helpful way toward exorcising a demon is to begin by naming it.

Also, through affirmative, basic, physical action-the placing of beautiful and meaningful objects within a lost, meaningless place- I want to convince myself and perhaps others of my own deep suspicions; That Death and loneliness are illusions.

visit: www.beautypower.co.uk

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Lake
Editor, London

the first journalism Lake ever had published was a history of Johnny Thunders for Record Collector magazine, since then he has written for publications including the Guardian, Dazed and Confused, the Idler and more recently, outsideleft.com as you have just seen.

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