a show-and-tell about consumerism and anxiety
Sunday 7th February, 5pmThe Hub, 67-71 Bath Road, Holbeck, LS11 9UA
Pay-What-You-Decide (reserve tickets)
Monday 8th February, 7.45pm
Lawrence Batley Theatre, Queen’s Square, Queen Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2SPPay-What-You-Decide (venue info)
Thursday 18th February, 6.15pm
Lecture Theatre 1, Appleton Tower, 11 Crichton St, Edinburgh, EH8 9LE
Pay-What-You-Decide (venue info)
Sunday 21st February, 7.30pm
Glad Café, 1006a Pollokshaws Road, Shawlands, Glasgow, G41 2HG
£6 (venue info)
Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd March, 7.45pm
Northern Stage, Barras Bridge, Newcastle, NE1 7RH
£10 / £8 (buy tickets)
Harry’s got a problem. Maybe you do too. He keeps buying things to feel better, but they just make him more miserable. So he started keeping a diary…
For a full year, Harry logged every transaction he made at everythingibought.tumblr.com. In painstaking detail, he wrote about how each purchase made him feel – his hopes, dreams, fears, and utter failure to come to a liveable compromise with consumerism. Now he’s sharing what he’s learned in a performance lecture that dissects shopping until it all falls apart. Framed as a presentation of pie charts and bell curves and statistics about consumption, it’s really about being miserable, being afraid, and trying to find a way out.
Everything I Bought And How It Made Me Feel is now a new stage show, asking: Why do we buy what we do? Is there any way to do it better? And how does consumerism really make us feel? First performed with the New Theatre Institute of Latvia in September 2014, it is now available for touring.
“As the administrative litter of capitalism accumulates around him on the stage – receipts upon receipts upon receipts – Giles gives voice to the inner dialogue that underscores so much of our buying activity. That woozy cocktail of guilt, denial, principle and compromise, all delivered with jittering, ever-mounting anxiety, is so familiar at times that it hurts. I think of all the times I’ve shopped at the supermarket chain I hate and all the takeaway coffees I’ve convinced myself I need despite the waste. Giles also sharply captures the dilemma of ethical consuming: it seems necessary, in a harmful system, to make the least harmful choices, but expressing your politics through consumption feels like both a contradiction and a cop-out. In the end, of course, every decision is a sort of defeat. But Giles also recognises the intense emotional attachments we can form for the things we choose to spend our money on.”
– Catherine Love
“Harry Giles’s performance maps out psycho-geography of its own – his long cycle ride to the ethical food shop, versus the short trip out to ScotMid to buy ready made pizzas. […] Performance can be a way of chipping away at their stain-resistance surfaces. Giles is bearing witness to the discomfort that comes with a constant pressure to make the right financial choices in a world that gives you too many wrong options.”
– Alice Saville, Exeunt
“Harry Giles has subjected himself to two interlocking systems: the first, the invasive suffocating world of consumerism which we duck and dive through every day of our lives, and the second, a system of his own making – the recording, archiving and analysing of everything he bought and how it made him feel, for a year.
“The result is sublime, hilarious, joyous, painful, sweaty and moving. With astute analysis, Giles has captured in a carrier bag of till receipts the current story of our lives: shopping and how the hell we survive it. Dodging between corporate supermarkets and organic eco-stores, Giles combines spoken word poetry and the activism of everyday life with the audacity and physical energy of a gymnast.
“Bar running out into the road without your shoes on shouting STOP at the consumer treadmill, I can’t recommend the show highly enough to citizens who seek sanity in a mad, mad world.”
– Lucy Neal, Curator, Arts-Activist, Co-Founder of the London International Festival of Theatre
Everything I Bought and How It Made Me Feel is a performance lecture lasting 70 minutes, adaptable for spaces of any capacity and stages of any variety. It is highly portable and technically straightfoward, requiring venues to provide only:
- Projector and screen (or white wall)
- Table and chair
- Vocal microphone
- Music stand
- Technical operator
- Minimum 45 minutes of preparation time in the venue