This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

> > > Decibel09: Jo Bannon pitches Claim to Fame

by Sarah Pickthall

Man holding photo of Kate Bush By Sarah Pickthall

Tom and Kate

Image: By Sarah Pickthall

Jo Bannon’s unique solo work, Claim to Fame, was another lovely decibel offer – this time not ‘work in progress’, but a ‘pitch’, a strand of decibel09 where an artist or company literally pitches a concept to likely bookers.

This strand of decibel is all about growing and developing ideas and projects.

However, this playful yet staggeringly poignant enquiry is already well underway it seems, with the delightful evidence on display in the foyer in the greenroom.

photo shows a letter with handwriting upon it. Photo by Sarah Pickthall/dao

Tom's letter to Kate Bush - click on it to see a larger version

Image: Photo by Sarah Pickthall/dao

Claim to Fame is Jo’s record of visual and literal conversations she has had with passers-by reminiscing over famous encounters.

It could be a shag from someone from C4’s hit ‘Skins’ TV series, or a letter that describes what it felt like to have Kate Bush say ‘You are beautiful’ to you (and Tom is still loving Kate Bush to this day...)

Photographs shown of those involved, with a picture of their ‘claim to fame’, and an accompanying letter that they are asked to write linked to the experience, were delightful.

And how to show the work? The show, Jo assured us, ‘would be perfect for bar areas and unused spaces, capturing the traffic that only wants to use the loo or come out of the rain: those who wouldn't be seen dead in a performance.’ She’s not wrong.

Bannon presented her pitch with such keen assurance and clarity - a disabled artist made good through the power of being deliciously unassuming and probably the most fantastic of listeners.

She completely convinced us of the project’s charm. Simple is often best.


Find out more about decibel09 pitches on the website