an experiment in DIY culture.
Chaos, Magick, Anarchy and bad jokes, curated by undertakers. Ways with Weirds is a fringe event combining the best of the occult, poetry, psychedelia, music, pagan socialism, fantasy, the illuminati, and God knows what weird else. Actually, it’s a tent at Port Eliot festival, Cornwall. For their inaugural year, they asked me to help out.
Ways with Weirds is hosted by Rupert and Claire Callendar, a pair of funeral directors, undertakers and radio show hosts from Totnes in the Southwest of England. Through luck, barter and their signature charm, they acquired a stage for two days at the Port Eliot festival, along with twelve weirdos to stand on it.
Since the stage was in its first year, and their marketing budget was slim, Ru and Claire relied heavily on a website and social media to attract potential audience members. The former of those was my responsibility, and the latter theirs.
To start with, I proposed a series of design styles for the site: a clean, simple page dotted with images, a messy, eclectic page covered with weird things, and a big, image-heavy page with not much text. Needless to say, we went with the mess. It was initially built using plain HTML, but quickly switched to tumblr’s own markup and run as a blog to save on hosting fees. Each guest became a post, a little like WordPress but with much, much less versatile content management.
For 2015, in time for the second edition of Weirds, I spent a few days bringing the site up to speed. It was rebuilt, not quite from scratch, but mostly, with cleaner markup and retina optimisation. Much like the couple’s own family shrine, little meaningful things were added: the shapeshifting crone, an antiquated fast food restaurant toy shuffling endlessly between old woman and youthful queen. A selection of pentacles and chaospheres, rendered in black and white lines. Ru’s book, and a creepy archway lie across the page. Perhaps unnecessary, but not unhelpful, and certainly weird.
Ways with Weirds’ site for 2015 is still live. If you fancy a more eclectic insight into their weird world, you can follow them on Twitter. After that, if you still crave more of the bizarre, you’ll find Ru, Claire and their entire extraordinary ensemble at Port Eliot festival.