Mikey Georgeson (1967-) is an artist, working in various media. He is a painter and illustrator, who regularly exhibits his work at Sartorial Contemporary Art and other galleries. As ‘the Vessel’, he is songwriter and singer of the cult art-rock band, David Devant and his Spirit Wife. Side projects included Carfax, a collaboration with Jyoti Mishra, and , a Glam Rock band formed with Eddie Argos of Art Brut. Georgeson also performs on his own, as Mr Solo, and in This Happy Band.
David Devant and his Spirit Wife
In Brighton, in May 1992, Georgeson formed his first band with Foz Foster, the ex-guitarist of the Monochrome Set, Jem Egerton, a classically trained musician, who played bass, and the drummer Graham Carlow. Georgeson found the name for his band in a second-hand copy of My Magic Life, the autobiography of the great English stage magician, David Devant (1868–1941). One of Devant's stage illusions was to produce a floating apparition of his ‘spirit wife’. Georgeson told the Sunday Times, ‘I knew it was lazy just to nick the name, David Devant and His Spirit Wife, so I decided to research the man. I read the book and his nickname at school was the same as mine – Monkey Face… Our motto – like his – is All Done by Kindness.’.
Shiney on the Inside
On 11 December 1999, at the Falcon in Camden, Georgeson unveiled a new David Devant, stripped of the theatricality of the earlier version. The Spectral roadies and the Vessel's wig had gone, and Foz? had been replaced by John Pope on guitar. The accompanying album, Shiney on the Inside, had a harder-edged sound, with driving glam-inspired anthems, 'Radar' and 'Space Daddy'. Eddie Argos, of another art-rock band, Art Brut, would later describe Shiney on the Inside as 'one of the greatest albums ever made.'
Power Words for Better Living
In 2002, the original line-up of David Devant reunited, beginning with a concert at Komedia Brighton, on 8 April. A third album, Power Words for Better Living, in 2004, was filled with more catchy songs with witty lyrics from Georgeson: 'The older you are, the tighter you wear your jeans/ The longer you spend at the back of the queue waiting for cash machines' ('Contact')
The band continues to play two or three times a year. In recent years, there has been a return to theatricality, with audiences invited to take part in mass balloon twisting and Foz? wearing clown make-up or dressing in a gorilla costume. Georgeson now wears white pancake makeup with black eyeliner, and has found a replacement wig. There has even been magic with cardboard again, with Baron Gilvan in the role of a Spectral Roadie.
In 2001, while Devant were not performing, Georgeson began to work with Jyoti Mishra of White Town, whom he met at a Devant concert. As Carfax, they released two albums, ''Momento from a Digital Age'' and ''Minky Pauve". According to Georgeson, the band took its name from 'the centre of Horsham where the last public hanging took place'.
Mr Solo and Live Art
In 2005, Georgeson began to perform as a solo act. Using the stage name Mr Solo, he accompanied his new songs with backing tapes while playing ukulele, keyboards or acoustic guitar. As Mr Solo, he has released two albums, All Will Be Revealed (2006) and Wonders Never Cease (2009). Mr Solo often performs at live art events, as a member of The School of English Dada and Daniel Lehan's This Happy Band, a group of roving musicians, inspired by medieval troubadours. As part of Margate's 'Dead Season Live Art' festival of 2010, This Happy Band paraded 'around the seaside town, commemorating its past, and the themes of Winter Dormancy, and Glorious Resurrection'. In 2011, in honour of the Royal wedding, he performed with the English School of Dada, at Cabaret Voltaire, the home of Dada, in Zurich. In London, he has appeared at three other live art events: 'Mr Solo' Whitechapel Gallery (2009), 'Return of the Repressed' Portman Gallery (2009) and 'Artist As Scapegoat' Norn Projects (2010).
In 2008, Georgeson collaborated with Eddie Argos to create , inspired by the stomping rhythms of the The Glitter Band and the image of Sweet. The critic Simon Price described the new band: 'Think Evel Knievel jumpsuits, Red Indian head-dresses and star-shaped warpaint, think lyrics about Bowie vs. Gary rivalry, think parping saxes and stomping stack-heeled beats.' The band released a Glam cover of Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA, with a video showing Georgeson and Argos singing the song while driving down the M4. The version was a showcase for their different singing styles, with Argos speak-singing the verses, and Georgeson providing a soaring operatic refrain. There was also a Christmas single, Countdown to Christmas, released as a free download.
Georgeson lectures in art at the University of East London, and is a practising painter. He has exhibited his work in the following group exhibitions: 'Wapobaloobop', Transition Gallery London 2008, 'Legends of Circumstance' Whitecross Gallery London 2009, Bargate Gallery Southampton 2010 and the Liverpool Biennial 2010. In London, he has had three solo shows: 'My Magic Life' Sartorial Art 2008, 'Father, Son & Holy Smoke', Bear Gallery 2009, and 'Tragicosmic' at Sartorial Art in 2010
As David Devant
As David Devant
- Mr Solo
- Recent paintings from Sartorial Art
- My Magic Life exhibition, at Sartorial Art
- Georgeson's entry in the John Moore exhibition, at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
- David Devant and his Spirit Wife
- This Happy Band
- Glam Chops
- Carfax's MInky Pauve
- The School of English Dada
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