Why Whiskey Why Meet Alice White


Written by David Cano
03 Monday 03rd December 2007

I am a nervous wreck. Anyone who knows me well will tell you that. Sometimes my anxious disposition manifests itself in truly pathetic ways. Like the time I had to stop watching Alice In Wonderland because I had a panic attack. I was 22 at the time.

I am also incredibly scared of lifts. When I was living in New York I had to go and apply for a social security number. The only problem was, the office was on the 7th floor of a high rise. The only way up was by lift. I was so petrified that I literally had a meltdown in the lobby of this building. In the end, this huge federal officer put his hand on my shoulder and asked: "If I go up with, you think you can make it?" And so there I was, a 22-year-old man cowering in a lift with a 7 foot armed guard as a chaperone.

I always thought my nervous affliction was somewhat bizarre. However, shortly after I met Why Whiskey Why at the Nolias gallery, I realised that there are other weirdoes out there just like me (maybe even weirder).

We met at the Power of Three exhibition in the Nolias Gallery - Suffolk street, Southwark. "Three women, three generations, three disciplines," explained Alice White, one of the artistic trio showcasing their work. "You see the significance of the number everywhere; it's something innate in all of us." Maybe it was no coincidence then that duo Why Whiskey Why, Josie and Sian, joined me shortly and together, we formed our own glorious triumvirate.

Why Whiskey Why describe themselves as "two 16 year old girls who can't play guitar, trying to make music." Guitar virtuosos they may not be, but they do make very sweet, sonorous and melancholy little songs. The exhibition seemed a great setting for them. We were surrounded by very personal work from Philippa Beale, Jane Humphrey and Alice White.

Jane and Philippa's works were explorations in vivid colour and texture, a response to a survey Philippa carried out in 1983 to see what kind of art people were interested in buying. Alice had contributed a series of monoprints that, like the girls' music, was sweet but with a real feeling of underlying darkness.

Perusing Alice's self confessed "very personal" and "macabre" monoprints, the conversation naturally turned to the darker side of the human experience. "She's scared of dogs," said Sian pointing at Josie. "I got bitten by a rabid dog once", confessed Josie, somewhat embarrassed. "I saw it in the street, put my hand out and it bit me on the finger. I thought I had rabies after that."

Cripes, we'd only been talking for five minutes and we had already broached the subject of frenzied animal attacks. "Did you at least get a tetanus jab?" I asked her. "Well, the thing is," she replied. "I have a phobia of needles."

Right, I thought, I can see I'm in good company here. Still, I wasn't comfortable enough to let them in one of my more absurd fears. The thing they didn't know was that the exhibition itself was only one digit away from sending me into a spiralling pit of despair - I don't like the number 23.

Yet somehow, Josie managed to inadvertently trump me. "I also have a phobia of wrists," she said visibly squirming. "I can't deal with wrists. I just don't like the way tendons stick out. Aw, I hate them." She wasn't lying either. While the pair were being photographed I stood behind our photographer and flashed her my wrist. She scrunched up her face in horror, covered her eyes and let out a little shriek. Pussy!

We've got the Why Whiskey Why track Rose available for download here.

Why Whiskey Why are playing the following dates:

8 Dec at the 1-2-3-4 Winter Offensive @ Richmix
18 Dec at the Oops! Xmas Party @ Nambucca

Find out more at www.myspace.com/whywhiskeywhy

You can see Alice White’s art at the Power of Three exhibition at Nolias Gallery, 60 Great Suffolk St Tuesdays through Sundays from 7 till 9 until 10 Dec, and see her work online at www.alicewhiteart.com

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