The Clik Clik at Auto Italia


Written by Shorrn Suplex
03 Monday 03rd December 2007

With Britain’s housing crisis only getting worse and the recently announced threat of a US led recession hanging over everybody’s heads, it isn't the greatest time to be an artist in London. Building a career for yourself while simultaneously earning enough hard cash to cover astronomical living costs is becoming so hard that arts students and graduates are foregoing dreams of Hoxton studio-flats and are getting in on the squat scene.

Dark, depressing and raining all the time (Yay London!)

Far from the stereotyped perception of squatters as lazy good-for-nothings, regeneration has become as big a part of the scene as occupation. Old factories, cinemas and showrooms have become prime targets for a new generation of artists and curators in search of a space to exhibit their work. There is a freedom brought by regenerating decaying, previously unused buildings and the space itself often becomes a living, breathing piece of artwork.

We decided the best way to highlight this social phenomenon was to take Stefan and Maya from the Clik Clik to a Peckham squat/arts space in a disused car showroom called Auto Italia. We thought we’d hit these fresh-faced 19-year-olds with the harsh realities of survival in a hyper-capitalist modern-day Britain.

If the best host is a ghost then who better than the friendliest ghost there is?

The Clik Clik arrive a few minutes late after getting off at Peckham Rye instead of the Queens Road. But before long we are introducing ourselves and checking out the space. After a few minutes we start wondering where everything actually is. Apart from a couple of obvious pieces, the space looks almost empty.

Luckily Francis Frederick, the artist in question, is on hand to explain his work in detail. “There are six works in the show, despite the space appearing almost empty. At night the beam of light from the window on the left side of the gallery shines across into the street outside. A re-edit of the last scenes from Takeshi Kitano’s Hanna-Bi is displayed, subtitled to describe a completely different work on an 80’s style TV monitor on the floor. Blue hose-pipes create a continuous rain across the front of the space while Casper the friendly ghost, presents shorts from Rene’ Daumal’s Mount Analogue.” Like we said, the space becomes the artwork.

This sort of happy-go-lucky enthusiasm for life is exactly the sort of thing we’re attempting to snatch from the Clik Clk. So far it isn’t working (bah, humbug).

Having just completed A-levels in “exclusively arts related subjects,” the Clik Clik show an enthusiasm for Francis’s exhibition and smiles start to appear on their young faces. As this isn’t in the spirit of the article we decide to take them into the backstage area (the squat) to show them the sort of conditions they are likely to find themselves immersed in when their good looks and youthful exuberance fade, causing the hit singles and sell-out gigs to dry up, leaving them homeless and alone (inevitable).

Rachael, our ‘fixer’ in the murky world of London’s underground art world, takes us across the breach. “Since we’ve been here at Auto Italia we have done a lot of good for the area and the local community. We have really cleaned up the place The space would have otherwise been disused. We are situated between two major art colleges so we have no shortage of emerging talent. Hopefully the council will help us find a new space after we get evicted.”

“So you’re going to get kicked out?” questions Stefan.

“I spent most of this morning in court. We definitely have to be out by January so they can knock the place down and build a block of flats.”

“So that’s maybe not such a bad thing. People need somewhere to live,” Maya rationalises.

“Especially as we’ve established that they will be affordable flats,” points out Rachael. “The city really needs more affordable housing. What are you guys doing housing-wise?”

“I live with my parents.”

“Yeah I live with my parents as well. I will probably be taking a gap year next year.”

“Don’t mahg’ me orf mate or I’ll chin ya, yagetmi”.

The Clik Clik’s a.m.a.z.i.n.g new single My Dunks is about to be released and trust us, it rawks. AND it’s about Dunks (the best trainers ever), so you can’t lose! The Clik Clik are also doing loads of gigs all over the place to promote the single and stave off the horrors of modern day London life. You can help a London (almost) child by purchasing the single when it hits the stores on the 10th December. Damn!

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