Clayton Patterson  PREV  NEXT  INDEX



Main Texts Online History, May 31, 2005

What kind of artist is this large man, with his hipster beard and embroidered baseball cap who wanders the streets of the Lower East Side, magnetically drawn to every street situation? Although he draws, collages and assembles, curates and agitates, Clayton Patterson is known as a photographer. He relies on his skills of description, and follows that describing act wherever it leads, into the streets and down the corridors of power. Clayton’s documentary project is ethically driven, and he is fearless before the implications of description with a strain of conceptual art and performance that has trespassed on the realm of legality. And it is as photography that much if not most conceptual performance intermedia art is made into an art market commodity, that is, recuperated, remembered and understood by other artists and audiences. Cindy Sherman is a performance artist - or, rather and, she is a photographer.

Clayton’s project, his objectives, attitude and aesthetic, are not conceptual. As a self-described “documentarian of deviant behavior,” Clayton’s project is to document the criminal and creative margins. For Clayton, this necessarily includes the structures of power that police those margins, police and courts, lawyers and reporters. This has been then an ongoing work of committed public art, engaged photography. Clayton’s extensive involvement in the legal system, and his regular interventions into the systems of governance are outgrowths of his documentary work. These engagements were not initially chosen by him, although later he seems to have regularly stepped up to the plate to duel with the law. But, in picking him out as an exemplary case after the 1988 police riot in Tompkins Square Park, NYC prosecutors made of Clayton a kind of "jailhouse lawyer" and a very effective gadfly. Depositions skilled him in the art of sarcastic counter-interrogation.

In the last 30 years, conceptual art has become a well-plowed byway of the political in art. The strategies that this mode of work evolved lend themselves continuously to the expression of fractious contents, critique and intervention. This now seems self-evident, although it was not American artists whose art was most succinctly and pointedly political, but conceptual artists working in totalitarian states. Despite his engagements, Clayton rejects the label “political” for his work. He writes:

My art is not purely political. The politics are mostly from one period. Street video uses consumer products. It’s a simple process. Even children can do what I do. I did other art work during this time. I did approach television. I had a meeting with Dan Rather's agent. I had a television producer (who won Emmys, did Morton Downey) take my work to TV station heads. I was told nobody would watch a man on the street moving with a camera, or following the cops. People had to have processed studio material. This was before Real TV, Cops, and all the reality shows. Just like when Harry Smith met with the head of CBS and discussed his ideas, I believe I was robbed. My video had a style, a point of view, and a lot of practice. It was not the Rodney King tape. The man who shot that tape had never used the camera before. I did hard core music shows for over a year. I had practice in chaotic places and a point of view about what and how I was shooting. I was ready when the riot happened. During this period, Elsa and I did the caps. We were the first to put a label and a signature on personalized custom caps with embroidery all around the cap. GQ said that we were one of the two best baseball cap makers in America, but as small potatoes we got robbed of the whole concept. I was also president of the Tattoo Society then. I made some artists famous and got some good people into the business. I put together the talent for the Austrian show “Wildstyle” that changed the history of tattooing and piercing in parts of Europe.

So to say that my art is only political is missing all this. The court cases and such are important because I was consciously using the court as a vehicle to add to my art. Not only the paper work from the cases, but I used more tapes in court than anyone in the history of America. Most people do only one case. I had numerous cases using my material. I still have a case in court. I got five cops criminally indicted. This is a big score that came with a lot of real problems. The riot tape did a lot of damage. A chief retired, a captain was moved out of the precinct, numerous cops were up on disciplinary charges. I can tell you what the ACLU and the lawyers did. I was arrested a lot. I was the only recognized figure in the movement that got really beaten up by the cops. I can direct you to testimony from a person that thought I was dead after the cops beat me on the street. I had teeth knocked out, and more. I was not an important figure of the movement. Not at all. I was only a documentarian with a point of view.

Clayton speaks constantly of the totality of his engagements. For him, everything he does is somehow related. His body of work and his engagements have evolved through a particular interlocked set of possibilities on the Lower East Side, a historic seedbed of creative and political radicalism, and since the 1970s a neighborhood undergoing rapid change. Like many artists Clayton was swept up in his greatest albeit scandalous success -- his video documentation of the Tompkins Square Park riot. This experience was by no means celebratory. Instead he was inducted into a brutal maze of legal entanglements, and led on to many further struggles. His case was an early signal instance of the artist’s right to photograph crime - in this case, abuse by civil authorities - and retain rights to the document as “artistic property.”

Clayton’s experience is in the realm of relations between art and the law, and, given subsequent developments in matters of intellectual property, his case could be seen is a significant part of the culture wars. Then it was understood as a part of the muffled subducted class war then raging in NYC, the battles against the forces of law being used to soften up the working class neighborhood of the Lower East Side for gentrifying. The neighb was already degenerated by a post-Vietnam War influx of heroin, and this was a long tough and ugly struggle, during which the city bent and broke many laws and customs in the single minded pursuit of improving the tax base. Clayton was there to document one of the bigger breaks, a police riot which became a signature event in the gentrification process. A prime motive for editing this book - pushing it into being - has been that he wants the context behind his documentary work of the last few decades to be understood. This book and this article valorize Clayton’s archive.

Clayton is a big talker, and he spends many days sitting in his storefront window talking with visitors. For years he had his tiny gallery there; now his partner Elsa Rensaa does tattoos in a back part of that room. He might be a raconteur, but he is usually too impatient to move on to the point of the matter. In fact, Clayton is a polemicist. In conversation, he stakes out a position like jamming a pike into the sand, and then rotates around it.

His understanding of art is as an outsider. His aesthetic is founded in disdain for the artworld of the New York, the world of the elites. But of course even an anti-art position is an art position, and this may be dada - he claims kinship, after all, with the No! art movement of the 1950s and ‘60s, and that is a lineal outgrowth of Dada. But if Clayton is Dada, it is just as another outsider garment. He has no program of revolutionary or sensual derangement, nor does he delight in making confusion. He likes life in its rougher aspects - featuring crime and punishment. The aleatory mechanic is reportorial - “shit happens.”

Clayton formed his aesthetic, that is to say, his sense of what he feels he is up against, through his experiences in art education. He disparages what he calls the “A student mentality”

The art world has too much social tactical thinking. To make art world art is to be compromised by social niceties, rather than social issues. Everything in the art world has a subtext attached to it. It is like the A student mentality. I taught high school. The A student was organized, had all the proper social attributes necessary to be appealing to the teacher, and they were focused on their goal. The A students were not necessarily the brightest or the best. Even in a small country school, the A student personality would be very warm and cuddly when they had you as a teacher. Then like changing channels, when they got their A, when you see them in the hall no recognition of you. Your use had been accomplished. When I taught art college I found that the radical students were gone. The real seekers of truth, the questioners, were wiped out. The target hitting champions were there. But these kind of students just perfect and perpetuate the status quo. The same opinions, same way of thinking, same answers. The wild creatively had been failed out, could not handle the socialization process, or just lost interest.

Clayton believes contemporary art education fails artists by not teaching them basic skills. This is an outcome of the “curse of modernism.”

Modernism was a blight on society. They kept stripping it down and making it less and less and less, and that’s really just a corporate way of thinking. You eliminate the artist, you eliminate anything decorative in the environment, you make it totally sterile, and you take away from the common man. You keep on eliminating public aesthetic. And you have this whole conformity taught. In art school, you think you’re learning something, but you’re learning nothing. Maybe you’re learning how to see blocks of ideas, but whose ideas are they? The Museum of Modern Art is a corporation. And the only thing you can do is copy that aesthetic, get involved in it, and then you’re appreciated where you are within the university and the art school, because the outside public doesn’t get it at all. So send your kid to art school, they train him to do these drip paintings, he’s getting As, and nobody in the general society knows what he’s talking about whatsoever. It’s lunacy. Then they got into conceptual art where you didn’t have to do anything, you have to come up with an idea. For a small elitist group of people who have access to the privileged galleries it’s fine. For all those kids outside the city and in other places it just robs them of everything. If you take the Rivington School which was our Watts Tower, which had a real aesthetic and creativity attached to it, you couldn’t get the Whitney, the Modern or any art people - none of them would have anything to do with any of it. And they just bulldozed it under. You have only the documentation, and that becomes it. There’s something between the real thing and the picture. The pictures are great, they have their own unique aesthetic and individual importance, but they’re not the 3-D object. Somebody should have saved that sculpture park.

This rebellion against the postwar meritocratic elite is pure punk. Clayton seeks the revenge of life experience over the subtlety of book learning. This kind of trump was once routine in the world of culture, if largely unacknowledged. Its moment of enactment was modernist - during the 1920s and particularly the ‘30s, when proletarian culture held sway, and masculinist presuppositions about the cultural work being done by “men of art” prevailed.

As an on-site witness to the crash and burn of the 1980s East Village galleries, Clayton acquired a hearty contempt for the art scene and its workings. He scores the critics of that moment for abandoning the artists they had championed. One might could respond that the position of the art critic dwindled fast during that decade, and that venues for criticism for these among the poorest of writers dried up. But in his insistence that writers, journalists, and promoters of a scene should stick with it no matter what Clayton evinces his sense of responsibility. He is dogged.

The whole East Village scene of the early ‘80s that was a real estate movement. You had the magazines pumping up these people which brought in the galleries which brought up the real estate, and it was about selling real estate. All those magazines and the people writing for them, they’re hypesters. If it isn’t rock and roll it’s running shoes. All those articles in that period had nothing to do with art, because those people would still be writing about this art if it did, there would be something intrinsically important to them. They turned their eyes somewhere else. Because to make something happen you have to continue pushing it. These things are like shopping carts, and as soon as you stop pushing they don’t move anymore. They’re not self-propelled. And those writers and people who created that fervor dropped it as soon as the real estate moved. Where is the honesty in that?

Clayton is pretty crusty. He has cultivated a strong, flavorful street persona - he’s a guy who knows his way around a hassle. Clayton wears a cap with a skull motif front and center, a vestige of his trade in embroidered baseball caps.

You know, everybody goes crazy about the skull. If you go to Tibet, a main part of any of their art has skulls in it. In American tattoo iconography, tattoos always had skulls attached to them. Any famous artist in the Renaissance, there’s always a skull. It stands for a lot of things. And, in another way, you have to have a strong persona if you’re going to be doing this shit. Having them know you’re there is not a bad thing. Having them know that if they fuck with you, you will respond, that’s not a bad thing.

This is machismo, for sure, although it is vested in image and attitude

Yes, it is true that I have a strong presence, but a big ego and pushing my art around I have never done. We [Clayton and Elsa] have almost never shown our material, other than what we have gotten on the news

Clayton’s work as a documentarian has been criticized as disengaged, bloodless, ruthless, like a war photographer; in fact he has documented a fatal beating. But in his talk he expresses his moral indignation, his passion, that led him to look at and image so much of what he did. He has a sense of adventure, and the devil-may-care insouciance of a large man. He feels at home in his adopted neighborhood, another immigrant to bohemia, and he feels entitled to see what's going on and take it home with him.

His reason for making this book is the urgency of recording the history of a resistance movement which he sees as slipping away. His photographs of that time record a street theater with no script, whose participants mostly played no second acts. Like many longtime Lower East Side residents Clayton is haunted by the erasure of the scenes of the past in the meatgrinder of New York City development.

For Clayton, the long-running battles between police and street people that were a constant feature of the East Village during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s amounted to a movement.

This movement was not an art movement. If you look at most of the posters that come from this movement they’re like cut and paste. The xerox machine became the printing press of that period. This is pre-computer. The real artists are on the scene. Eric Drooker did some posters, so that was critical to getting the movement recognized. Peter Missing and his graffiti symbol was highly recognized. And then you had Seth Tobocman and parts of his school I’ll call it because his work would be cut and pasted and put on posters. Another one who did some of the posters, the drawing and the art was Fran Luck. A lot of those posters are pretty boring to look at. They are like manifestoes and speeches. David Peel was constantly there with his guitar, and at different moments the folksinger Roger Manning. They would have concerts in the park put together by Jerry the Peddler. They did an annual Squatters Mayday, and bands would come for that. But mostly rants. Jorge Brandon who lived in one of the squats would show up and give rants. The Shadow was critically important. They would get stories and ideas out from an anarchist point of view. Another big part of it was Bob Fass, who had the 1 a.m. WBAI radio program and would invite a lot of the activists there. So you would have these people. Once the cops were there then the show would start.

Many would have difficulty with the idea of leadership at that period of time, but there is no doubt that a number of people were key players: Jerry The Peddler, Fran Luck, Lorrie Rizzo, Kirk, John the Communist, Karl and Joel Myers, Eric Rossie, Seth Tobocman, Michael Shanker, Ron Casanova, Keith Thompson, Frank Morales. John Penley, Chris Flash and all the Shadow people, did a lot of media maneuvers.

It is easy to romanticize this period. This was kind of marginal radicalism. This 10 year period of protest had a very ragtag look to it. Yes, wingnuts and eccentrics were the order of the day. This was no academic paradise or Sunday picnic. Many of the protestors were people living desperate lives. There is not a library shelf full of books written by activist from the period. This group, it seems, did not have the makings of the Situationists amongst themselves. This movement was outside of the mainstream. The Village Voice did not support what was happening, nor did any faction of the left want to be seen joining hands with this ugly rank collective. There were numerous problems dealing with this group of protest people. Seth Tobocman, has issued the only objective history, or partial history, of what went on during this difficult era [the graphic novel War in the Neighborhood]. You may say Seth's written words and illustrations are not a real history, but the book is the only real look at the truth of that period in time. It was a really strong force for the cops to overcome. These people were great resisters. But try to get them to write a book about their own history which includes them, they can't do it.

This movement did not get support from the Democrats or the left who usually allied with the party.

[Lower East Side city councilwoman] Miriam Friedlander split off very early on, about 1987 over the squats. But what you had was a Democratic administration. Giuliani broke that mold. He plays a very important part in destroying the Democratic kingdom. Destroying the Democratic infrastructure was critically important to downtown. This whole neighborhood was totally wrapped into the Democratic party. It was kind of like communism a hundred years later. It was little pockets of people each fighting for their own little piece of the pie, and there was no idealism, no ethics, no morality, and they basically lost it all. And groups like Charas, Cooper Square, GOLES, ETC La Mama, Joint Planning Council, all of these groups opposed the people in the park.

I believe that the Left was totally wrong not to get involved in this ground floor protest movement. The protestors have been proved right in what they were saying. Crazies or not, even if they were only going on intuition and feelings, they were right. The Left is still not awake to that period of time; or even to this period in history. The Right is awake and they are now totally in charge. The Left is now in the losing position and they are not awake yet. In all their fake glory and stupidity the Left pulls out the old ‘60s political people and modes of protest. Dragging out all the accoutrements that go with that bygone period of time. This is a new decade, century, and millennium. Things have changed. We need new thinkers. I can imagine America using Israeli or even Iraqi means and tactics to suppress dissent and protest. These are different times and that we are living in a very dangerous period of social change.

Clayton’s political analysis is ultimately not broad-brush. It is always very particular. It comes from walking the streets.

I don’t understand how people lose their memory about what happened in the city. [Mayor Edward] Koch, whose administration was a complete failure, nice guy, going around saying “Hey, how’m I doing?” But as a leader he was awful. Cops were completely corrupt by the third term of Koch, drugs were rampant everywhere in the city. Heroin being sold right by where the police were. Around the park there was the laundromat, [five in a bag{??}] world famous drug spot where you could buy your heroin, and it was half a block from the park. The local priest Father [Keenan] used to take his parishioners through the neighborhood and the cops would accompany him, and he’d stop in his block and say this is the laundromat, JR is the person who sells heroin here. They sell heroin here from 6 at night until 6 in the morning, they’re here everyday. And people would move on. It was that obvious. When the cops were completely surrounding Tompkins Square Park, I used to rag them when I’d take their picture. They’d say, Why are you taking my picture? I’d say, I don’t know, why are these people going down this block? I see all these white kids from all over the world, England, Germany, wherever, and they’re walking down this block half a block and coming right back. There’s no theater down there, no pizza parlor, no store, there’s nothing down there. And this would go on past the cops all night long. “Golly, Mr. Dillon, why are these people going down there?” But there was no answer for it. You’d have these bodegas that would have a whole long shelf of toilet paper. Nobody shits that much in the East Village. They’d have no milk. It was obvious that these were all drug locations. Drugs were everywhere. That was the complete collapse of any sort of morality or ethics in the city.

Now, when I did that police riot, I had 3 hours and 33 minutes worth of tape. That tape exposed all kinds of things. In a lot of ways, the boring parts were equally as important as the violent parts. If you look at the riot tapes, the critical thing wasn’t people being beaten up, but it was the police being out of control. The captains, the white shirts, the chiefs could not stop the patrolman doing what it was that they were doing. One of the most critical shots in the tape is the white shirts, the deputy inspectors and inspectors and the chiefs there chasing down the street trying to get the men to come back. This is a police force, this is like a military organization. When the captain comes in the room you’re supposed to stand at attention. These guys got their hats on backwards, some of them don’t have badges, they have their numbers covered, and this is all under the watchful eye of the chief. The system was out of control.

This thing went on for five solid years, there were hundreds of arrests, thousands of police, they had a tank down there. Out of this long and arduous and difficult period, all the cops rose up the ladder. This was used as a forum for all of America. You started seeing this when you had the Columbine case, all the cops were dressed like the cops down here and following the same format. This was a learning pool.

Koch, prior to the police riots of August 6th & 7th, visited Amsterdam to learn about squat evictions and street protests. Our protests became an educational platform for many groups, but the group that was able to really learn from this struggle, was the cops. The cops became a razor sharp paramilitary force after about five years of fighting the protestors on the LES. This massive, now totally awake, giant of a police force, well trained, heavily armed, fully equipped with every modern and old technical equipment and devices, has reached maturity. They can now shut down NYC in a couple of hours. This ability to completely shut down NYC, including airports, bridges, tunnels, all cross streets and avenues, is a totally foreign concept to many New Yorkers. Other than some futuristic books and movies who would have believed NYC could be shut down at all? Very few people. The protestors witnessed this metamorphosis, the strengthening of the slack muscles. We watched the NYPD go through rebirth, passing through adolescence to become a fully grown giant. This reorganized force now rules the city.

In the 1980s, Clayton’s kind of provocative journalism was a pimple on the Spectacle. Today it seems like a precursor of the kind of independent radical “fifth estate” which has become a vital is part of the strategy of the anti-corporate global new Left (the best-known present example is Indymedia). TV in the U.S. first saw big changes, and was then radically reordered in the last few decades. As documentarians shadowed the newsreel opportunities within theatrical film exhibition in the modernist era, so the introduction of cable TV in the 1970s saw the rise of a nationwide creative resistant alternative in community media. The quick growth of camcorder technology through the 1980s vastly accelerated the democratization of the documentary image. Public access TV production was a nationwide, even international movement. In NYC, making TV was approached variously and idiosyncratically in a unique brand of urban artists’ television. A practiced community activist videographer, Clayton was a TV journalist since he made a television show for Manhattan Cable’s non-commercial public access channel. Unaccredited, to be sure, and relentlessly independent, he talked to print journalists and appeared on broadcast TV talk shows during the height of his involvement in the issues of police brutality. His work on cable TV anticipated the broadcast reality shows that have become such a staple of the ‘90s and ‘00s that he feels “robbed” of the concept.

Clayton defines his work in relation to - and in contrast with mainstream journalism.

It doesn’t matter, if you’re documenting a neighborhood, whether you have a press pass or not. One of the excuses cops always used is that they’re doing this for the cops’ safety. Well, across the street from 537 E. 13th St. between A and B, there was a raised entrance to a building, it was about eight feet tall, it was completely caged in, it was an excellent perspective, there was somebody there from channel 11, there was no way they would have impeded anyone’s action. But the police kicked in the caged gate and made the journalists get out and seal that area, there was no reason for that to happen. During the eviction of the 13th St. squat, I was able to stay in the building and get out, so I captured that.

What the journalists do is they go in and they take all the information from the police department. The police department tells them what happened. Well, that means you can be a lazy old dog and you don’t have to do anything.

We have been ruined by television. Television is a drug that has formed how we think. And they have given us a perfect image of police work on television and we have bought that. We have bought it through Kojak and Columbo, Mr. Dillon [Marshall Matt, of “Gunsmoke”], and all these people. We have bought that. When you get into the real world, as the OJ trial proved, then you realize that it’s just a myth. A lot of white people don’t get it.

We can’t live in a civilization, be civilized and be safe and have law and order if we don’t examine what really happened.

The relationship between journalists and government should be adversarial. It should be, I don’t go to your parties, I’m not your friend, and I’m here to investigate.” But it’s not. In order to get the inside scoop you got to be schmoozing, you gotta be writing the proper thing

[need a text bridge here]

I can go to any place in New York City and the cops know who I am. I’ve had five cops indicted on criminal behavior. That’s probably the most criminal charges that’s ever been brought in NYC. I’ve had two teeth knocked out, head cracked, arrested at least 11 times, phony warrants against me, I’ve been robbed, I’ve had a camera broken. And the last time I had an incident was Wednesday. There’s a certain amount of dedication that’s necessary. I’m considered obviously by many an enemy of the police department. Well, I’m not. I want to live in a civilized society that has an honest police force. And nobody wants to criticize the police department? Well, how civilized is that? Why don’t they, themselves, want to root out the criminals? Why isn’t it an honorable thing to do to be a critic of the police department? Hey it’s a great job being a movie critic. How come being a police critic is not a great job? How come we don’t have police critics?

I have to be clean to do what I do. They’ve set up a lot of people with, you know, criminal things. I mean, they [went in and ?] killed the Black Panthers [in the 1960s]. If I was a criminal, after eight years of doing this -- if I was involved in criminal activities, I would have been busted years ago. If I was really some Satanic leader somewhere, you don’t think that that would have been exposed? These guys don’t think of themselves as my friend.

What makes Clayton especially distinct as an engaged journalist of a radically different stripe is his willlingness to take busts through his work, for the principle that he has a right to film actions by public servants, and that the dramatic images he gathers are his. He documented the workings of the state on the street. But in so doing he undoubtedly provoked many of the cops he taped by the very act of making them his subjects. Clayton also has delighted in submitting artist’s briefs to judges.

Since everyone has the rights to hand in court papers, I would do my own and hand them in. I would have a written part, the body of the case. I would put in a photographic part, a visual, recognizable, easy to read, realistic flavor, visual content, of what was being explained. And I would do an art work cover- some times back cover and inside pages as well. The art was usually made as a copy from a collage. There would be three or four copies made: one for the judge, one for the prosecutor, one for the defendant lawyer, and one for me. The art would have an aesthetic visual representation of what the case was about. Some of these were highly charged art works. Art with content, and social impact. Art work not meant to be one of the niceties in galleries but as scream in the court house. Art for busting balls so to speak. All legal and within the rights of the person going to court, not always socially appreciated by the court, but legal.

You really have to kick ‘em to make ‘em move. The riot tape got me arrested. I got five cops indicted, which was a record at that point. I got arrested, I got put in jail. Those are other long topics, the ACLU, the Democratic party, a useless organization almost like CIA. Political lawyers. Kunstler, Maddox, Mason, Sharpton, [Vince] Stewart, Ron Kuby, Stanley Cohen, I had them all. I’m still involved in cases from that period. I’ve gone to court for over 12 years. I was arrested 13 times. I have more videotapes used in court than anybody else in the history of America. These are big things that nobody knows about, because I don’t show up on the art radar.

I had my teeth knocked out, beaten by the cops and left for dead in the street covered in blood. I did a collage with a judge who went totally nuts. It was after the Oklahoma bombing, a friend of mine Hassan was going into a federal building downtown, he was wrongfully arrested and thrown out, and he wanted me to help him with his case. So I made a written part and a collage, and the judge went totally nuts. He said all of my collages must be destroyed. I should not be allowed to hand in another paper. This was serious censorship. This was no hillbilly art show, this was a federal court case.

The judge had me escorted out of the building. This was about 1998. This was an open public courthouse, I was not allowed to be there. I wasn’t screaming obscenities, I was doing something that was on a piece of paper. The judge was destroying court documents. A lot of the things that I’ve done have created real havoc within the system. So I look at that as an artwork that’s important, made noise, and woke people up. But the artworld and these other places are not interested in it.

He thought my piece was a threat against the U.S. government. I have the transcripts. This wasn’t some bullshit art piece in a show somewhere… I had cops come to my house with a search warrant and say that I videotaped a murder. They told Newsday that I was a satanist, and had videotaped this murder. The cops used the newspapers.

The court papers are content/concept. The papers are highly eccentric and unusual because of the format, probably the one of the strangest court papers ever handed in. There are three parts to the papers. One is the art, which is one the cover and the art speaks to the subject at hand, the written part which is the main theme, and the photographs that give another kind of interpretation. three totally different ways of dealing with the same concept.

Clayton has had a difficult time assembling the texts for this book. People have moved on, can’t get it together, a myriad of reasons not to put something in. Maybe it is that those who can stand on the front lines, exhort the rabble, scream at the cops and “take a bust” again and again are special - it’s a skill, a talent. And for some, revolutionary provocation is a vocation with few opportunities for expression. These just may not be the kind of people who can years later endure the pangs of recollection and face the tombs of history.

Thanks to Michael Carter for editorial assistance; Richard Singer for transcription. Clayton Patterson’s words are from interviews by Alan Moore, an unidentified interviewer, and from emails sent to Alan Moore and Sarah Ferguson.

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