Artist Jeremy Deller, who won the Turner Prize in 2004, is getting ready for Procession, a parade he is organising for the Manchester International Festival in July.
Comprising over twenty elements from all the boroughs of Greater Manchester, Deller describes the event as a celebration of 'Northern social surrealism'. Surrealism was certainly the order of the day as TateShots accompanied Deller on a trip to Manchester one sunny afternoon in May.
We visited a Scout and Guide marching band that is providing a specially arranged soundtrack, and ended up in a supermarket car park at a clandestine meeting of motoring enthusiasts.
Deller: On July 5th this year I’m organizing a procession through the streets of Manchester, and so I’m up here all the time researching it and meeting people and so on, which is why I’m here today. [Meeting scoutmaster] Hallo again, how are you? Scoutmaster: Very good. Deller: Nice to see you in your uniform. Scoutmaster: We do our best for you. Deller: Oh, thank you. [Scout drumming] Deller: It’s a scout and guide marching band, but there’s adults in the band as well. Music is very important to any kind of procession. It’s essential, really. Scoutmaster: Right. For those who don’t know, this is Jeremy Deller. Deller: Hello. Scoutmaster: He is the main man whose concept is this thing we are going to do in Manchester, called ‘Procession.’ Deller: This Procession is in July. You’ll probably see me again, because I’ll come back nearer the time; but it’s a procession – it’s all about Manchester, and about the boroughs of Manchester, and what that means to me, but also to you. So there’s all different parts to it. I really like this song. It’s a kind of really celebratory song, and I hope we bring that out. [Band plays] [In a car] Deller: It’s seven-thirty in the evening, nearly. It’s not the end of the day by any means, because we’re now going to the back of the Toys ‘R’ Us car park in Stockport, where every Thursday night a lot of people meet and show their cars off to each other. Some of these cars are going to be used in the procession. They’re going to be playing a special track on their sound systems, and we’re just going to go and meet some of the people who we’re going to be working with. Teddy Hughes, car enthusiast: You meet up and speak up about your fancy car, the latest new things, the latest fashions, from alloy wheels to body kits, to spraying your car, and so on and so forth. This car’s mine. It’s a Citroen C-2 and as you can see, it looks pretty fun. It’s got big plans. It’s got the alloy wheels, and if you look round the back it’s got the VXR replica exhaust, wide tail pipes. Well, Jeremy has come to me asking to get six cars for him to help him with his parade, so he wants some outstanding looking cars, big systems, really good-looking. Deller: It makes me excited, because it’s such a scene, isn’t it, and it’s great to see it. And it’s spontaneous. It’s just fun. A lot of people don’t really like what they do, so if you put them on the pedestal, almost, of putting them in a procession is good, in that respect. I like that. I love processions and parades. I think they’re fantastic. I just can’t help myself to look at them or attend them. And I think they tell you a lot about the places where they happen, and what people are thinking about, what’s on their mind. So processions are actually a very good form of communication. They are a sort of fantasy version of a place where you are. It’s a kind of hyper-real version of where you are. [Scene with car drivers showing off] Unfortunately the procession won’t be that exciting, I’m afraid to say! It will be quite good, but not as good as that! That was amazing. Shit!