Out in the Manor with Sharia Law

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As well as being the brains behind the web design for Not Television (and innumerable fantastic sites elsewhere), Adrian Kinloch is a stellar photographer.

British born, living in New York and often in London, he has an acute, intelligent, sensitive and witty eye for a range of situations, from political protests to derelict borderlands, always managing to locate a sensitivity and humanity few would notice. He’s also got a knack for bringing out the best in performers in unusual settings. (If you’d like him to capture your story when he’s in town, drop him a line.)

So it’s a great privilege to introduce Picture Box, a new semi-regular feature of Not Television in which Adrian turns his camera on some of the kinds of subjects covered on the blog.

Alp Haydar image by Paul Singer

Alp Haydar image by Paul Singer

To kick things off, Adrian spent a morning with Sharia Law in London’s Manor House. Alp Haydar’s audiences will be familiar with Sharia as our hero’s mother, and his long-running nemesis – a character whose strict, traditional outlook coloured Alp’s upbringing in north London following the family’s departure from Turkish Cyprus in his early childhood. Sharia’s outrage at Alp’s gay identity has manifested itself in various magical, monstrous and perverse ways, from Atlantean power trips to South American surgical misadventures.

The shows themselves are remarkable action-adventure romps, cartoonish yet meaty combinations of larky live performance and insanely detailed video projections in which Alp plays every part himself, from shrill BNP campaigners to hunky kebab-shop workers with the occasional Maya Angelou or time-travelling alterna-Alp in there too for good measure.

This week marks the return of Alp Haydar’s Dirty Demographic to the Royal Vauxhall Tavern – a dystopian escapade that sees Sharia ascending to the highest political office in the land with her own brand of demagoguery.

Adrian’s shots find Sharia at the inception of her political rise, scouting out the campaign trail on her home turf of Haringey. In anticipation of Thursday’s show, she gave us a few words on a subject dear to her heart: anal sex.

“Sex in the anus. Difficult words for me to pronounce. The anus is troublesome. In Turkish, the ‘u’ is making a different sound altogether. ‘A-nus’. It is most serendipitous then, that should I ever encounter a person who allows themselves to be violated rectally… I will have no problem calling for a noose to be tied around their neck!  

“It is this brand of earthy candour that rocketed me to the position of Madam Prime Minister, in your cheerier future. The year is 2064. The place is burka Britain. No more tube strikes. How can they drive when I’ve cut off their hands?  

“You will support my regime. And you start by attending my fudgepacker son’s show. With the greatest of affections, I will stone you rotten.”  

So, erm, yes. There’s that. Thanks to Sharia, Alp and Adrian.

‘Alp Haydar’s Dirty Demographic’ is at 8pm at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern on Thursday February 13. More info here. Get tickets here.