Oh Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby

Petri Ala-Maunus - Popular Music Postmortem 18
Petri Ala-Maunus - Popular Music Postmortem 18

Watling Street is probably the smelliest street in Dublin. I only walk down it if I really have to, which luckily is not as frequently as it has been in the past. Last night we had the pleasure of inhaling the most pungent air in this wonderful city of ours. At the northern end of the street, as it slopes down onto the quays and the smell becomes unbearable, you’ll find Mother’s Tankstation, an art gallery run by David Godbold. Everything about the gallery is odd – the name, the location, the owner, the bedroom in the middle of the gallery and most certainly the work in the exhibitions. One of the reasons I like going there is because the shows tend to have a nice playful humour about them and this was very clear last night at the opening of Petri Ala-Maunus’ exhibition ‘There is a place in heaven for me and my kind’.

I wasn’t familiar with his work before this but seemingly this show is a bit of a departure from his usual work, brought on by his love of metal music and long-held desire for rock stardom. Petri felt that at the age of 40, he’d missed his chance as it would take him too long to learn an instrument and write songs. But when he discovered an old C90 cassette tape of him trying out an out-of-tune guitar when he was 16 – which resulted in the impromptu composition of his one and only song, “Oh Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby” – he decided to fast track his way to stardom by asking some of his favourite bands to record their own versions of his song for a Petri Ala-Maunus tribute album. The album was playing at the opening last night and it mostly sounded quite good, even the original recording from 1986. The album is available to purchase in a rather spiffing limited edition vinyl from the gallery.

The gallery was also filled with his Popular Music Postmortem series, in which he takes a variety of record sleeves and doctors them by tearing holes in the covers and inserting his own paintings in behind them. You can see what he did to poor Francis Goya’s ’16 Dream Melodies’ above and there are a few other sample shots on the Tankstation website, but I’d really recommend dropping in to the gallery to see them. You kind of have to stand in front of his versions of Michael Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’, ‘With The Beatles’ and Manowar’s ‘Fighting The World’ to appreciate how brilliantly funny they are. The show runs from today until June 27th (Thu – Sat, 12 – 6pm).

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