The The Identity Parade was designed as a work to be read, performed and displayed. Early on in its development, in May 1997, pages were shown at the Bath Fringe Festival Exhibition “Re-cycle, Re-create” and again in October that year in Nottingham at the Angel Row Gallery alongside the author’s installation Empire State Human. Nottingham was where Simon Miles lived until 1997 and provides a backdrop for The Identity Parade in the guise of the City of Ov.
With Empire State Human, Simon wanted to shine a spotlight on the slang words, idioms and euphemisms commonly used to refer, often disparagingly, to someone with mental illness or mental incapacity. For example:
- Lost his mind
- Off his chump
- One sandwich short of a full picnic
- Off his head
- Gone spare
- On another planet
- Nothing between north and south
- Nutty as a fruitcake
- One brick short of a load
- Gone bananas
- Kangaroos loose in the paddock
- Gone to lunch
- Off his trolley
The form of The Identity Parade evolved over the years as the original material was re-worked. Examples of of pages which pre-date Simon’s use of collage are shown in Chapter 28. Pages were used extensively for teaching purposes in mental health / education settings.
After Simon died, an exhibition of 80 pages from The Identity Parade was held in London at The SE1 Gallery on Crucifix Lane near London Bridge station in April 2008. The exhibition was co-curated by the artist Helen Elwes and Simon’s brother, John Miles.
If you are interested in arranging an exhibition of pages from The Identity Parade please contact John Miles.