I had been to the dentist that afternoon for two fillings. My mouth had only just lost its swollen, rubbery feel, and I could still sense raw cavity whenever I tried to eat. Perhaps not the best state of health for an interview with the creators of the Love Is My Velocity Cookbook II. Katie Lenanton, one half of the book’s brains, brought along pastries to the interview at the Bank building, where the Cookbook’s artworks were on display. When offered a baked treat I, regrettably, had to decline due to both dental health and post-filling guilt. Food is a passion for Lenanton; a cookbook was the perfect medium for the promotion of local art and music, an interest shared by both her and Matt Giles, the other half of the creative team.
First released in 2007, the LIMV Cookbook was a novel and eagerly anticipated concept for the exposure and collaboration of Perth’s artists and musicians. Considering our fair city’s relative size and isolation, separate camps within the creative scene seemed silly and unproductive. Giles and Lenanton saw scope for the artistic and musical fields to bleed into one another. Of course, Love Is My Velocity has pursued this kind of collaboration throughout the record label’s short yet productive life, acting as facilitator for artistic engagement and innovation. While in 2007 the idea of a cookbook as local music promotion was drastically different for Perth’s creative scene, both Giles and Lenanton believe it has ushered in a swathe of artist collectives, art-music collaborations, book launches and a general DIY attitude. Indeed, the multifaceted launch of Cookbook II charted this expansion of the local scene, as small businesses on William Street let their windows be overrun by band-artist installations, and the Inter Collective baked bread as a kind of social experiment at the launch gig.
The biannual LIMV Cookbook acts as a kind of zeitgeist for Perth arts and music; an almanac of those new or more accomplished local bands and a (slightly) younger generation of artists. One of the few rules governing the project was that no musician or artist featured in 2007 could contribute to this year’s cookbook. So, while perhaps not a true reflection of the current state of local culture, the Cookbook nevertheless displays the talents of people at various levels of practice and highlights a whole crop of new work.
Containing 52 recipes from local bands and the work of 60 artists, the Cookbook is truly a mixed (flour)bag of ideas and tastes. Sometimes the recipe, music and artwork compliment each other so perfectly its akin to the flawlessness of GM food. Minaxi May’s cookbook illustration-like rendering of Cinema Prague’s bizarre chromatically-altered bacon and egg recipe is remarkable in its precision, while a more ingenuous conflation of art and cooking takes place in Shannon Lyons work for The Voltaire Twins’ ‘Electric Dip’. A favourite for Giles is the remaking of Stina’s Green Tea Cupcakes into Luigi-like figures on a TV screen, both floating in the analogue electronic reality of SuperMario, in Sakura Motomura’s painting.
As opposed to the inaugural Cookbook, this year Giles and Lenanaton requested that the artists work in their preferred medium, which made for a more dynamic exhibition. The photographs of Jackson Eaton, Honni Mansell and David Egan were excellent, and a nice addition to the paintings and illustrations. Other standout works were SubGang’s monolithic bacon rasher, constructed entirely of felt, which had an equally pleasing and humourous representation in the Book itself (tip: look carefully at that bacon illustration, and the face of a famous actor will be revealed, snout and all).
Another work that underwent a pleasingly different transition from the gallery to the page was Ocea Seller’s revised Last Supper painting, in which our Lord’s head is replaced with a photo of Bermuda’s ‘Lord of Beef Stews’. The work on display threaded small red lights around the paintings’ figures, creating a halo effect, while in the book the lights were absent, replaced by their puncture marks which gave the work a crafty, sewing circle feel.
The variety and quality of artwork featured is matched only by the delicious recipes and the bands that created them. While you can buy the Cookbook to appreciate the art and food, think of it as a guide to your foray into the best new music on offer in Perth.
The LIMV Cookbook II retails for $39.95 (52 recipes, 60 works of art, and a guide to WA music) at the following places: Mt Lawley – Planet Books; Perth – 78 Records, Dada Records; Northbridge – William Topp, Harry Highpants, Lala Orange, Fi & Co; Leederville – Oxford St Books; Fremantle – New Edition, Mills Records. Plus more stockists on the LIMV website: loveismyvelocity.com.
This review was originally published in Pelican, the student newspaper of University of Western Australia, in June 2009.