Darren Allen has had what most external observers would call an exciting and varied life. He has worked in Russian cement factories, British refugee camps, Sudanese hotels, Qatari military bases and not so nice places in Saudi Arabia. He has groomed horses, plucked turkeys and sold shrunken heads.
As I discovered during our conversation was that under the surface these experiences weren’t as exciting as they sounded and turned out to be elaborate ways of avoiding what normally constitutes work as we’re trained to believe.
I discovered his writing at least four years ago via his previous website/ blog called Gentle Apocalypse, during a period of my working life where I was generally dissatisfied and unhappy. I was searching for a way of forging a new path and in his writing I found writing that described how I was feeling. Not just with work, but the way we perceive life and how it is presented to us through the media and news.
I found his website via the subversive comments he writes under news articles on the Guardian website. It was there recently that I was pleased to find his new website Expressive Egg a month ago and news of his new book Apocalypedia which launched this month and where I had the pleasure of finally meeting him.
As a result he ended up in the studio at Phoenix FM where we enjoyed a conversation covering many of the topics in the book, such as the nature of work, how the indoctrination process starts at school, the importance of music as an art form and what a valuable skill improvisation is.
We also talked about his new comedy project called Belly Up!, which he created with his friend William Barker and features illustrations by Ai, Robert Crumb, John O’Brian and Otto von Beach. It comes out in October and there is a launch party on the 20th September in Peckham.
Here’s the music we played – 12th September 2016
1. Johnny Nash – Hold Me Tight
2. Funkadelic – Can You Get To That
3. Mott the Hoople – All The Young Dudes
4. Beatles – Because (a cappella)
5. Can – Vitamin C (Ege Bamyasi)
6. Cumbia en Moog – Cumbia de Sal
7. Nina Simone – Who Knows Where The Time Goes? (Just Like A Woman)
8. 10,000 Maniacs – These Are Days (Our Time In Eden)
9. William Shatner – You’ll Have Time (Has Been)