Open-armed Embrace


L2R Marc, Christi, Anne, Dan, Penny

(CAN ANYONE WITH PHOTOS OF LARRY LET ME KNOW? He had to leave before we did pics. Thanks)

It’s been our busiest week yet for “real life” as it were. On Wednesday, Year Zero was Open-armed and Outcast at OVADA in Oxford, and on Thursday we had the privilege of Heikki’s company for the launch of Tulagi Hotel at Goldsboro Books in London. And then there was THAT cloud of ash, which resulted in a rather lovely lunch hour spent on Friday showing Heikki round some of Year Zero’s favourite haunts in Oxford. 


Marc as Karen Dash from A, B & E

The two events were about as different as you could get, but wonderful in their own way. 

The Big Chillout at OVADA

What was so great about the gig at OVADA was the air of utter relaxation, a feeling of genuine warmth coming from the crowd at every moment. And a huge amount of this was down to the fantastic people  who run OVADA, a project to bring the arts to Oxford. They had got 100% behind the event even though they didn’t know us from Adam – had got us an ad on the Arts Council website, and airspace on local radio. They sent info to their mailing list more than once – all of which meant that of the 40-50 people who pitched up at some point on the night, way over half were people who were new to us. 

The freeform graffiti upstairs was the perfect accompaniment for DJ & Daisy

We shared the space with a wonderful exhibition of work by young carers that couldn’t have been more appropriate to our theme. When I saw the tipi upstairs, lined like Tracey Emin’s tent with quotations from young carers like “I am not as happy as I fake myself to be” it felt as though the room could have been designed to contain Daisy and DJ’s audio piece. 

OVADA's Hidden Voice exhibition was a haunting backdrop

And, I think, we rose to the crowd – I’ve never seen Penny and Larry and Marc on such great form, certainly. And Christi just blew people away with her rhythmic, lyrical poetry. 

The launch, wonderfully organised by SJ and the DIIArts crew, for Tulagi Hotel and Greta van der Rol’s Die a dry Death was held in the absolute contrast of Cecil Court’s Goldsboro Books, but that made a perfect setting for the launch of such exquisite fiction. It was a chance to catch up with some old acquaintances, to meet some for the first time, but most of all it was about Heikki. We all know him as the master of short fiction, an incredibly talented novelist, and a tirelessly generous benign presence in our midst. For Daisy and I who actually got to meet him, all of this was confirmed and infinitely surpassed. From the enormous bear hug when we met to parting the follwoing day after the unexpected time in Oxford, the only impression I got of Heikki was of a thoughtful, intelligent, humble, talented, and lovely man whom I’m honoured to know.  And hearing him read from Tulagi Hotel, I can honestly say I had tears of pride rolling down my face. Photos of the event will follow when Heikki is safely back in Finland or I can twist Sandie Dent’s arm! 




~ by yearzerowriters on April 18, 2010.

12 Responses to “Open-armed Embrace”

  1. That veil on Marc is just gorgeous!

  2. Dan, you are always welcome to any of my photos – but sadly the only one I have of Heikki is a long-shot in the book shop, so he’s quite tiny in the distance. I do have a brief clip of him reading and will send you the link when I’ve turned it into a YouTube video. (p.s. it was lovely, as always, to see you and Daisy again).

    • Thanks, Sandie! I’m too nervous to ask Greta for some of her fab photos. Is it just me or are other people slightly scared of her too?

  3. Hey, you have a pink fishnet stocking on your arm. Interesting.

    The guy with the veil looks like one of the doctors on ER. I actually know his name, as I have worked with him before, but you guys probably don’t. But your man there is a dead ringer for him. Wow.

    This event looks fun. We have a few things like that here in NY. Maybe you guys should bring your act over.

    Good luck in future things.

  4. Awww… heck, Dan, that’s so kind of you! I had such a great time with you and Daisy at the launch, and the private guided tour of Oxford made my ash-faced extended visit so much more enjoyable. I will write Chance Encounters II when I make it home, so fingers crossed now – this post comes to you live from Hamburg Railway Station at 2230, Monday.

  5. […] create will go to OVADA, the organisation that runs the OVADA Gallery, where we held our fantastic Open-Armed and Outcast event last month. I was recently at a networking event for artistic collectives that OVADA ran, and […]

  6. […] standing on stage at Rough Trade to hearing Sarah, all the way from California, in Kilburn; from playing galleries in Oxford, to hunkering down in the basement of the Covent Garden Poetry Cafe. – Year Zero has opened doors […]

  7. […] event it deserves to be. DH: A couple of years ago I put on a show called Open-armed and Outcast ( that I wanted to look at and celebrate the concept of outsiderdom. The problem I came up against […]

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