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REVIEW: Boogaloo Stu’s Load Of Smut @ Brighton Arts Lab, 02/11/2018

The Verse’s Jake Francis tells us about Boogaloo Stu’s Load of Smut exhibition at the Brighton Arts Lab. 

Were you ever a Beaver or a Brownie? Or perhaps a member of some odd community club that, although you were only eight years old, already felt a tad kitsch and outdated? You know the type, the ones that require you to wear some kind of fetishised uniform or scarf. Obsessed with notions of nautical knots or finding pipe cleaners to be the most creatively versatile material ever conceived. Being from the countryside, I unsurprising was – and for two sporadic years attended the Stowupland sect of Anchor Boys; a club that, adorably, did not expect the gleeful nicknames our uniforms would subsequently attract when in the community.

Amongst the usual weekly warnings of stranger danger and learning ancient sailing terms, we were often plonked at tables with various odds and sods- tasked with the goal of creating within material austerity. Examples of these hells include building a snowman out of cotton wool (clearly liberated from our club leaders toiletry bag). Or making a valentines card for your nan out of, you guessed it, pipe cleaners. These memories, of course, bring back a lot of humorous and oddly endearing anecdotes; I half happy to never be a part of it again, half sad that it is an increasing rarity for new generations. And that is where Boogaloo Stu can lend a helping hand.

Yes, like Miss Stockley and her peculiar band of Anchor Boys, Stu is determined to bring these activities back into frame. Whether they sit within memory, or offer a cathartic second chance of inclusion. With a constant rotation of tables and situated detritus, Stu has got both your creative and libidinal juices, covered; much like a Rocky Horror W.I.

Amongst Stu’s merry band of sexual tidbits are workshops such as ‘pop-up penis greeting cards’ and ‘erotic vegetable collage’; two activities that may not need much explanation, but certainly received thorough elaboration. Slightly less straightforward activities include the likes of ‘Cuni-Linguistics’. With participants asked to edit ‘books’ such as Amy Childs’ autobiography into new and improved filth with a simple stroke of the biro. Who would have thought that one could refine the work of such visionaries? If verse is not your strong point, then perhaps a visit to the neighbouring table of plasticine modelling will be your niche? An endless barrage of sphincters and penises that, quite honestly, hurt my self-esteem; perhaps Aardman, like Anchor Boys, are too coming to realise their brand mistake.

There will naturally be some of you who may feel that making is not an ideal night out, and Stu has not ignored this possibility. Where one wants to keep their hands clean, there is always the opportunity to allow the host himself to create a portrait of you and your significant other; just don’t expect the exaggerated features to be of one’s teeth or forehead. If you are too bashful for visual adulation, then might I suggest a jaunt to the ‘Orgasm booth’?: A private curtained area that allows you an audible contribution to the events ongoing soundtrack of communal pleasures.

Alongside the odd moan and groan, the event is pumped to the gills with musical cheese and ‘jazz movie’ classics. The MC naturally clad in white attire only fit for professional stretching and similarly coloured fluids. Like all great events, there is, of course, the opportunity to snag a souvenir. Although, I fear fans of the commemorative spoon may be disappointed. A visit to Boogaloo Stu’s Vadgeateria will make you the proud owner of a personalised artwork that one can wear boldly on a lapel; a feature that will no doubt bring envy to friends, and fear to local vicars. (Depending on which church you frequent.)

Overall, a visit to Boogaloo Stu’s Load of Smut is one that always feels semi-familiar; a cadre of recognisable events twinned with that tipsy side of daring we Brits seldom get to express outside of ‘Never have I ever’. Stu and his randy disciples have managed to capture a real-life wake-up call of unmentioned raunch; an experience that is comparable only to watching an episode of Captain Pogwash at age 17. With fannies and willies blasted at you left right and centre, it’s hard to believe that no one came in to fix the boiler or deliver a pizza; perhaps that’ll be for next time.

Boogaloo Stu’s Load of Smut was hosted at Phoenix studios as part of Brighton Arts Lab – for more details on upcoming events, please visit: https://www.phoenixbrighton.org/phoenix-events/

The views expressed on The Verse online newspaper do not necessarily represent the views of Brighton Students’ Union, its management or employees.

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