“I'm assuming that parts of this will end up on the internet,” Alan Moore told a packed crowd at the Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery last night when asked his thoughts on the Watchmen prequel comics, BEFORE WATCHMEN, which have no involvement whatsoever from Moore or artist Dave Gibbons. “So, I'll give this to you. You can have this. What comes to mind is 'Who botches the Watchmen?'”
Moore and his wife and creative collaborator Melinda Gebbie were at the Contemporary to discuss the relationship between art and politics, and during two and a quarter hours of discussion also covered comics, sexuality, pornography, magic, gender, personal identity, writing, and much more. It was an absolutely fascinating evening, and both Moore and Gebbie held the attention throughout the duration of the talk.
Chaired by Professor Matt Green from Nottingham University, the discussion was another great free event held at the Nottingham Contemporary, a place which I really should visit more often. Moore and Gebbie were engaging throughout, and Moore's demeanour was a long way from the dour manner in which he is usually painted by people, even when faced with questions about Watchmen, which he must be so very tired of hearing by now.
There was a collective “Uh-oh...” when someone asked him about the aforementioned Before Watchmen project (which is, in my opinion, a misguided, needless cash-in which I will certainly not be flicking through, let alone buying). The discussions regarding their “Lost Girls” book were very interesting, as were the motivations behind the creation of the piece (“Reclaiming pornography from the likes of Nuts and Zoo”, redefining the term itself and dealing with the sense of shame people have about their bodies were interesting related topics), and the accompanying projected frames from the book and associated works were a fine addition to a wonderful evening.
Moore's dry self deprication (“Sorry, was I booming again? Was I using my Outdoor Voice?” - when Gebbie motioned for him to move back from the mic as his sonorous baritone was thundering from the speakers) and jovial manner with the audience, coupled with the insightful contributions from Gebbie made for a night which was at once entertaining, educational, rousing and informal. A fantastic way to spend an evening, and a very nice way to get into the minds of such talented and opinionated people.