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Low Culture Podcast 17: Natalie Sharp On Fun House

This month for Low Culture and Sound & Vision subscribers, John Doran and Richard Foster talk to Natalie Sharp about her obsession with Pat Sharp and his Fun House

Twice in as many months, the "dynamic" duo of John Doran and Richard Foster have arrived in Utrecht in order to present this month’s Low Culture podcast.

Their interviewee is long standing friend of tQ, Natalie Sharp, the artist and musician who first came to our attention as part of large Mancunian ensemble, The Bottomfeeders and then, after a move to the capital, as Lone Taxidermist.

Natalie really hit her stride in 2017 with the ever-mutating live performance piece Trifle – a mind-frying mix of film, performance art, live band, electronic hoe-down, make-up, prosthetics, inflatables and audience/performer interaction (or mass food fight). The sheer tactile and sense-defying thrills of Trifle elevated her to Queen of the uncategorisable DIY underground status in the UK and as such as she was interviewed for BBC Radio 4’s New Weird Britain series.

Her next full-scale venture was Body Vice in 2019, another ground-breaking multi-media live show dealing with the themes of pain and disability (Natalie has back trouble due to problems with her spinal column and constant pain due to osteoarthritis). The piece, in a typically thoughtful, inventive and funny way, combined the rave adjacent noise of MRI machines, body suits that made the wearers look as if they’d been flayed alive and banging grime/footwork interludes about medication, with synths made from haptic spines.

After relocating to Todmorden in Lancashire, her creative thoughts have turned to her family roots (her Dad is from Cumbria, her Mam from the Seychelles and their family home is in Wigton near Carlisle). Her newest project Marra! is an interrogation of endangered Cumbrian dialects and customs, from gurning to greasy pole climbing, via the mad world of competitive pipe smoking and livestock auctioneering.

Natalie has chosen Fun House as her cultural artefact. Those who are slow on the uptake, like John, should be forewarned that this is Pat Sharp’s Fun House and not the Stooges album. From a very unique setting – Santa Claus’ very own tug boat in Utrecht – Natalie explains her lifelong interest in this maximal kids show and how it has, genuinely, influenced her artistic practice as an adult.

All of which warm-hearted disquisition leaves just enough time for Richard to discuss his mother’s corned beef hash recipe and John to wearily recall what happened last time he went out clubbing in London.

This responsibly produced and socially distanced podcast was recorded by Alannah Chance in accordance with the latest COVID-19 guidelines in the Netherlands.

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