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In May 1980

I formed a band called the White Colours. The band played thirteen gigs between November 1980 and May 1981. After this point we threw out the singer and changed our name to Four Trans Four. I played one gig in December 1981 with a new singer and then left. The band got a new bassist and did one more gig before the "new" singer left. In October 1982, I formed a new band which I called the "White Colours" although it had nothing to do with the previous band of the same name. I put out a series of leaflets calling on all bands to rename themselves White Colours, and we managed five gigs between October 1982 and February 1983 with a different line up at each gig. I put the first issue of SMILE together of the new year holiday of 1983/84 and got it printed in February 1984. The idea it contained about an art movement called the Generation Positive was something I'd been developing since 1982 as a part of the White Colours concept. In the second issue of SMILE printed in April 1984 I applied the White Colours to my magazine and suggested that all magazines should be called SMILE. Shortly after publishing the second issue of SMILE, I saw an article on the Neoist Network in Performance Magazine and wrote to the address it gave to contact the Neoists. I met Pete Horobin and Istvan Kantor of the Neoists at the end of April 1984, and as Neoism seemed very similar to my Generation Positive ideas, I decided to get involved. It was not until I'd spoke with Pete Horobin numerous times, well 3 or 4 meetings, that he told me about the Monty Cantsin concept, and I decided that I must be Monty Cantsin. At that time, Istvan Kantor was not pushing the idea of everyone being Monty Cantsin. However he was not the first person to use the name which was originally coined by David Zack. I took part in the London Apartment Festival in May 1984 and during and after that period did a lot to promote Neoism. SMILE 3 which was written during the period of the 8th Apartment Festival contained many elaborations of the Neoist idea which I equated with the Generation Positive. All SMILE issues up to and including SMILE 7 pushed Neoism heavily. SMILE 7 was written and typed between January and March 1985, but was not printed up until the night before I left for a trip to Ireland in April. This was because a friend offered to typeset the heading, but took very long time to do this. I delivered the artwork to my printer during the next day and took an overnight train from London to the Stranraer ferry that evening. In Ireland, I walked non-stop fifty miles from Belfast through to Newry and on across "bandit-country" to the Republic, and after already missing a night sleep in an uncomfortable chair on the overnight train, I walked right through the next night. Once into the Republic, I hitched down to Dublin, and when I arrived, I could hardly stand from exhaustion and was hallucinating. I spent the day in the city, then got a night ferry and overnight train back to London. During this time I reflected on a number of things and came to a series of decisions about change to be made in my life. Minor manifestations of this were that I stopped signing off letters with the phrase As above, so below, and that I was no longer a Neoist. However, I had already promised Pete Horobin that I'd take part in his Neoist Festival in Ponte Nossa in June 1985 and, not liking to break my word, I had decided that this would be the final manifestation of my envolvement with "Neoism". SMILE 7 was printed in May 1985 and by that time unfortunately no longer reflected my praxis. The events at Ponte Nossa, culminating in my leaving after a row with Horobin and Stiletto at 4 a.m., two days before things were due to official end, merely served to reinforce the resolve I had made. I think the reasons for this decision are made clear by SMILE 8. It was however certainly embittered by the events in Ponte Nossa and a subsequent exchange of letters with Istvan Kantor.

Incidentally, I called SMILE that name for a number of reasons, one being a play with/on General Idea's FILE. When I picked the name, I was not aware of VILE or BILE. If I had been more rigorous in thinking, I would have named it FILE, but it's too late now. SMILE 8 has been interesting, because my new approach has reached a lot more people, and alienated a lot of the dead wood I needed to get rid of. What I think is more interesting in it is the Artists' Strike for 1990 to 1993 which, although it will take place, also needs to be extended and developed, something I and others are working on. PRAXIS is not an "art movement" in the way that Neoism is. It is a joke, and I am not making serious attempts to propagate or organize it as an "art movement". It has no members, but everyone has their praxis.

Stewart Home, reprinted in SMILE vol. 63, Sept. 1986