An Interview with Erkembode
ERKEMBODE’s A Year at Work is available HERE priced at £4 plus postage.
IPTQ: Was the piece written over a year?
Erkembode: Many Post-It® notes were scrawled on to bring us this information over the course of a year (minus annual leave and bank holidays). I caught the bullets of daily reception drive-bys and took a trip to the United States of America. That reminds me I must fill out an Accident at Work form. Here is a receipt to prove that I travelled to the United States of America.
IPTQ: How many years have you got left at work have you got left and do you dig it?
E: In the year 2054, according to gov[dot]co.uk, my state pension will kick in so I’ve got about 36 years left on the slog. I do not dig this at all but at least everything will be a gigantic spectacle of pure hallucinatory craziness like in Blade Runner 2049. Swings and roundabouts.
IPTQ: How did the collaboration with Davis work?
E: At first I thought Davis was one of my alter-egos but it turned out he was one of my ‘colleagues’. We met in a work training session in which we had to mutually strangle each other. It was traumatic but we had each other, kindred souls in the boardroom. I needed someone to bounce A Year at Work back and forth with, and I knew I wanted to exorcise it in a performance, so Davis became the singer of the songs and I choose to be the unsettled rhythm of the days of the week.
IPTQ: What is the meaning of a 2 for 1?
E: Accepting the lie. A cosy pair of slippers when you’ve only got one foot.
IPTQ: Why and how – the choice to select the images in the book?
E: Training course booklets are nearly always printed PowerPoint presentations with a few poorly placed images in them, sort of mandalas to drift us to the awkward coffee and biscuit break or deface. The images just sort of floated in from Google image search. Please don’t tell Google, or the people that made/own the images.
IPTQ: What’s the most pointless thing you’ve ever been paid to do?
E: Handing out maps, directing you to where you can buy a map of the building. Or something like that. Last night I watched Labyrinth. I wish work was like the end bit when Sarah is dancing and laughing about with Ludo, Hoggle and all the goblin puppets in her bedroom. That wouldn’t be pointless, it would be joyous and righteous.
IPTQ: How many crap sandwiches have you been through?
E: TOO MANY. It’s an addiction really. Work-guilt-overtime-payday-punishment. £1 cheese and onion flagellation. We’ve officially lost the plot. The meal deal seals the deal. Here’s a receipt of one of my egg and cress sandwiches. Actually it was a roll so they bumped it up to £2. Egg. Cress. Roll. Another day, another meal deal.