Monday, 28 December 2009

After a delightful Christmas break during which time, I'm afraid, I ate and drank far more than was sensible, my companion emailed Mr Bown to confirm some dates for our visit. She recieved an informative and encouraging reply which I have partly quoted and partly paraphrased below. Firstly he was keen to correct a few assumptions I had made that he was "the caller" at the club. To be honest even from our brief meeting, my companion and I had felt he had a presence that suggested he was more than a mere employee at the Hall. On this subject His own words are more eloquent than mine, I hope he will not mind me quoting them below:
"Dear Miss Dover... I feel I need to clarify some details about myself.
I am not The Caller but do at times call bingo sessions and have a good relationship from the stage with the customers.
I sold Whitstable Bingo Club to Stewart Neame some 4 years ago. I have been asked by him to come back to the club
on a consultancy basis to try to improve the business which I have been doing for the past 8 months."
Quite correctly Mr Bown's main concern was that my cameras should not disturb the customers in any way. This has lead me to reassess my original idea of filming the call and response of the players. Now I am thinking of concentrating solely on the caller, and hope Mr Bown will be willing to fill this role (he intimated as much in his letter). Anyway, he has invited us to meet him to discuss the filming in the new year. I must make plans for the journey ahead.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Sideburn Update

Last night the lady in the attic had a visitor. There was a low rumble of conversation that lulled me to sleep. I did not hear the gentleman leave although as I heard no more this morning I assume he did so in the night. I am lying abed photographing my sideburns. It is not that I am an overly lazy man it is just that in my lodgings one is either in the kitchen, the bath or the bed. There being little room in between I conduct much of my business like an eighteenth century gentleman. Above me my neighbour is dragging something heavy along the floor. On examination of the photographs I note that one sideburn is still much bushier than the other.


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

The woman in the Attic

A woman lodges in the attic rooms above me. I have never met her, only knowing her name from the post that accumulates in the entrance hall. I know her by sound too: her footsteps, a penchant for moving furniture in the early hours, a loud cackling laugh and slightly flat singing voice. Her recent pleasure in listening to 1990s power ballads has lead me to take long evening walks around the more affluent streets of Ipswich. Tonight my companion joined me and we came across a strange sight.

-- posted abroad

Creeping Death

Last night my companion and I battled through slush and icy rain to a little gathering at Firstsite in Colchester. There were drinks and and nibbles. What neither of us realised and was that the drinks were a trick to engineer a round table feedback discussion about the Fifteen Artists Fifteen Days mini residencies. Luckily as I had not been involved I was allowed to sit on the sofa and watch as each artist was invited to introduce themselves and praise the format of the event. Comfortably excluded I was able to observe the phenomenon known as "creeping death".This title, previously unknown to me was explained eloquently afterwards by Lawrence Bradby. All started well with even a little enthusiasm and intelligent comment but at the baton was passed from speaker to speaker they seemed to lose heart, proceeded to repeat previous, safe, comments and rely on a sort of consensual blandness and jollity that can be seen in those suffering from drug induced stupor. I munched my mince pie and supped my wine sympathetically, very glad the I was not in the circle of creeping death.
The artists recovering with a little red wine and cheese straws.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

On reflection I fear I have become a bit of a blagueur a notion that my increasingly bushy sideburns do nothing to dispel.
The bulk of my time is currently taken up with drawing spaceships and making a haphazard edition of Alien Abductions for the London Art Fair. Actually the bulk of my time has been taken up trudging from one location to another, realising I have forgotten something and trudging back, only to realise that that thing was not to be found in that location but rather the former. This cycle of treading and re-treading has, due to the inclement weather lead (I imagine) to a worn track of my footprints zigzagging across Ipswich. While I trudge I am thinking more and more of Whitstable and my meeting with The Caller. He has not yet contacted my companion to confirm the dates of our visit nor, as far as I can tell, has he visited my website to check my credentials. Perhaps this is a good thing. I am also planning another performative work. A magic show to be carried out at a private location at an unspecified time. To avoid embarrassment it will probably also be performed without an audience.

The photographs are in turn of a badge given to me by my companion and a recent vampire victim spotted some time ago in London.

The Rain

BBC iplayer briefly streamed via 3G to my iPhone. This magical gateway only opened for a couple of hours this morning and I spent the time catching up with that Saatchi spectacular about six lost artists trying to survive at the whim of a mysterious outside force. I noted that it is always raining in Saatchiland and that the artists, though beautiful, have interesting character flaws. I was particularly involved by their visits to the stately home and the seaside as they bore considerable relation to my own adventures at The Foundling Museum and Whitstable. I felt their pain as they tried to shoehorn their work into the historic interior but was glad that the posh people were kept mostly at arms length. The seaside trip made me think of something I had put to the back of my mind. Where shall I show my film/films/objects/performances? (the last is very unlikely). The mysterious godhead wanted everything to be big, bold and accessible, Anthony Gormley was cited visually every ten minutes. Now my inclination is to become like the bat, hiding in the dark places, venturing out only in the dead of night. I didn't see who won the prestigious show in the Hermitage as the three golden gates closed before I could download the final episode. Perhaps it is better that way.

-- posted abroad

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

For the last three days I have been wrestling with a dark force. Tears have been shed, desperate phone calls made, and bowels have loosened. But at last my travails are finally over, my tax return is filed. However victory has a bitter taste as I now have a galling bill to pay.

Three days ago, to my palpable horror I opened the (dusty) ledger to discover no entries after February. This year I had vowed that my books would be up to date and calculations made well in advance of the January deadline and I really believed I had achieved this. Somehow I had deluded myself into believing that I had been a diligent citizen. How I had convinced myself I do not know but the fever has passed and I can look forward to better times.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

I see phantoms in the motes, everything I read seems pertinent to my current research. Recently, in fact while I was traveling back from Brighton, I was skimming through the pages of the latest 'Cabinet'. I was interested mainly in an article on the dust of the universe that is deposited daily in the Antarctic. My previous adventures have left with me a fascination for such subjects though they bare little relation to my life now. The magazine contained many other interesting snippets. There was a quote I liked by Bataille who writes about Dust in his Encyclopaedia Acephalica as follows:

" if it were a matter of making ready attics and old rooms for the imminent occupation of obsessions, phantoms and spectres that the decayed odour of old dust nourishes and intoxicates."

he also describes:

"injurious phantoms that cleanliness and logic abhor"

When Dracula is (temporarily) slain he is often rendered into dust. This dust (in subsequent films) is also often collected and revivified with blood. A bit like Angel Delight. Dracula's castle is full of dust and piles of rotting, decayed, unregarded, unloved things. I am reminded that dust is mostly human skin. My companion's lodgings are also full of dust and many many objects piled across every surface.

There is also an article on magic and dust which I don't remember well (and the magazine is lost to me now). I think of pixie dust, a sleeping spell and a Midsummer Night's Dream. My magical studies have not progressed one jot. I have a plan for the reproduction of the illusion of "Pepper's Ghost" but have got no further than repeatedly redrawing it in my sketchbook.

In Brighton I saw a show of three films by Mark Lewis. I enjoyed the strange battle between the camera and its mundane subject matter of broken down landscapes and young love. In one piece an epic crane shot zoomed slowly in on a group of boys playing in a warehouse and rested finally on a spinning top set off by one of them. But the boy seemed too old, in fact more of a young man, an actor creating a moment of delicious disappointment. Another film showed a couple skating in the snow in front of a back projection perhaps of central park or some-such place. I have to admit I did not spot this until I read about it in the accompanying text. On a second viewing it reminded me of the end of "The Big Sleep", Bogart and Bacall driving - falling in love in an alien way, a mismatched cinema presentation of the immediate past playing out behind them.

But now my thoughts fly to the future. My inestimable companion contacted the caller Jerry Bown today. When she first telephoned she was informed he was "calling out" and would not be free for another ten minutes. To my immense surprise she was not put off by this, a disappointment which would have set me back a week. But instead, she happily called back after the allotted time and proceeded to charm him into agreement. So now our plans are in motion. In January we shall return to Whitstable, to the Bingo hall, to film the charismatic man calling out again.

Friday, 11 December 2009

The Mumbles

I find myself mumbling incoherently on the train home. I am reliving the interview awkward phrase by phrase. Wishing that I had said less or more in answer to each question. To be fair my interviewers were very kind to me, perhaps they sensed my timidity. They did seem to enjoy the video I had presented though their laughter was polite rather than raucous. It is dark now, I am staring at my reflection, it is barely visible and the mumbles are subsiding.

On the walk to the train I saw this artifact of a bygone age

-- posted abroad

Brighton Bound

Email to my mother from the Brighton train.

Hi Mum, I will. I got my bag back today though it cost me £5 in "administrative charges". The Cd is easy, do you know what dad would like? How is his archival project going? I'm on the train to Brighton for my interview now. It's very grey and I'm starting to get nervous. Heigh ho it's a day out.
See you soon

-- posted abroad

Thursday, 10 December 2009

My Vision for the Future

A phone call to my father has confirmed that Haigh, the acid bath murderer, and alleged vampire was indeed a notorious old boy of his school. He also recalled one of the boys swimming the channel some years later and an archbishop or two. My mother, overhearing the conversation, was keen to point out that Joan Plowright was an alumnus of her school. My companion informed me that she was the second wife of Laurence Olivier after his split with the rather frisky Vivian Leigh. I wonder if she lived down the road from Bram Stoker’s house. My companion has become something of a passepartout of late and is fast becoming an indispensable asset. Yesterday she managed to contact the lost property office at Norwich station and arranged to have my bag returned on the five o’clock train to Ipswich. Today she managed to charm her way through several echelons of Bingo management and has all but arranged for me to film at the bingo hall in Whitstable. Not only has she done this but she also managed to track down the mysterious and charismatic bingo caller we met on our first visit many months ago. She has learned on good authority that he is “a bit of a ladies man” which makes me hope more than ever that he will be willing to be filmed. I am overjoyed!

The rest of my day was taken up with the painting of more boards and making of my interview video for Brighton. As I write my companion is watching the final edit, she is crying with laughter.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


I am, as usual, distracted. At work, the inspectors are about. It is easy to spot them as they float along the corridors in their anachronistic suits. However this conspicuousness does not make them any less terrifying. We are pale faced and tense shuffling our lesson plans and student profiles in the hope of achieving the perfect order. I am also guiltily preparing for an interview in Brighton. Actually preparing is a slight exageration, rather I am writing a list of things to say and making a slightly irreverent video explaining my vision for the future. My courage may fail and the video may remain unseen. Either way I plan to make it public here. Additionally I am of course continuing to make drawings of spaceships and ordering parts for sculpture. At the moment I am trying to find 20 circular polystyrene discs. They are proving elusive. Furthermore I have emailed the lost property office in Norwich but have had little satisfactory response. I missed my pens today and worried a little about the letter. My dear companion, a little despairingly I think, has made a number of attempts to telephone the Oxford Bingo club so far with little success.

-- posted abroad

Saturday, 5 December 2009


Alas the rest of the day was filled with such ups and downs that I am quite discomforted. On the much delayed train home my companion and I found a rail card belonging to a Chelsea pensioner. Filled with such excitement at the idea that we could perform a good deed we rushed off the train at Ipswich to hand it in to the authorities. But disaster had struck as I realised ,too late, I had left my bag on the train. It contained my gold pens given to me by my father, my notebooks (by themselves a disastrous loss), a letter to my solicitor and a DVD of work for a talk on Monday. I must admit I have sulked ever since and have only faint hope that they will be found when the train reaches Norwich. I consolled myself by drinking a cup of Russian Caravan tea and making a small drawing of "Eagle 1".

I still haven't phoned the Bingo hall.

-- posted abroad
I find myself in Colchester where my companion has a meeting with Laura Early about some work.
Imagine how delighted I was to find my old friends Townley and Bradby hard at work in Firstsite's temporary artspace. They are making a series of hourly walks to the relentlessly uninspiring Colvert Square to make observations of the goings on.

-- posted abroad

The Blender

Finally! I have a surface to draw on. All thanks to a fan shaped brush. Yesterday I took the phantom for a guided tour of the art suppliers of Ipswich in search of the mysterious blending brush a fabled sable item of rare power. It was raining the sort of fine mist that penetrates all clothing without seeming to make an effort. By the time I finally tracked the Grail down to it's hiding place in an emporium called "the Range" a persistent and constantly renewing drop of water had settled in on the tip of my nose. To make myself feel better I purchased two brushes, a cutting mat, scalpel and blades and DVD labels all for under thirteen pounds. As I write I have completed my first redrawn spaceship SID. Below is an image of it standing proudly in front of my season one "Blake's 7" VHS collection.

-- posted abroad

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The Devil's Coat Tails

Regarding the painting of my boards I have had many suggestions from so many interested parties, including the use of arcane brushes, mixing fairy liquid with gouache, spraying, rollering and scraping. Some have found fault with my preparation, which I cannot deny was a little slipshod and have suggested primers and base coats. My favourite suggestion from my dear friend Paul Becker is transcribed below:

"If you melted down your your Pilgrim hat and the single rogue sideburn, surely that would be a primer as smooth and black as the devil's own coat tails?"

I still haven't telephoned the Bingo hall

Sunday, 29 November 2009


I continue to struggle to paint four boards with black paint. The perfect surface still eludes me however. As of yesterday I had applied and sanded four layers of blackboard paint but still there remained imperfections on each board. Today, I employed a new softer, wider, wetter brush and stroked each surface repeatedly until it resembled a limpid pool (except black), Imagine my horror when on closer inspection that the ‘new’ brush had in fact been filthy with all manner of dust, particulates and hair and that the pools appeared infested with water boatmen, midges, caddis fly larvae and even frog spawn.

Tomorrow I sand.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

After much consideration and more than a little prevarication I have pruned back my sideburns using an electric hair trimmer. They appear much more controlled now and not at all what I want but time will help. I have prepared four boards with blackboard paint for Monika's spaceship drawings. After the first coat they were almost perfect. When I came to do the second the paint had congealed to a slimey paste which I stubbornly tried to trowel over the surface of the boards. This morning I have spent a good deal of time sanding (and swearing). Soon I shall venture out to Wilkinson for more paint as I am stubbornly convinced that this is the only way forward. I still have not phoned the Oxford Bingo Hall in Whitstable a failing that has caused my companion to make repeated offers of help. Telephonics escape me. I have managed to make a couple of tiny sculptures in my Alien Abduction series.

-- posted abroad

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Monika Bobinska

Monika Bobinska came to my sham of a studio yesterday. I had spent the previous hour unpacking the items I had previously packed and making a few stunt works in progress. I had made sure I had a packet of Leibnitz biscuits and some coffee and felt as ready as I could be. She turned the former down because she was on a “detox” (an alien concept to me) but did have a coffee. As usual both she and her intern Adam were fascinated by my studio’s history. It is sited on a US airbase in the military police headquarters. We have an interrogation chamber with two-way mirror, and my room is a cell with reinforced doors. After initial pleasantries we got down to business. She seemed to want to see lots of things and I tried to keep pulling new surprises from drawers and cardboard boxes. I showed her films of stars and spaceships, photographs, drawings and alien abductions. Cosmic mysteries all. By the time we had finished two hours had passed and I had agreed to show three films, to make a new series of sculptures, have some lightboxes made and to redraw a number of spaceships a little more carefully. And all this to be finished by the beginning of January, what a fool I am! How quickly have I been ensnared by the commercial gallery system!

Now I am exhausted at the very thought of all this toil. So tonight I will rest and watch an episode of “Blake’s 7” Its plot, stolen from “Star Trek”, involves alien forces pitting our hero against his arch enemy for entertainment. It also contains vampires of a sort.

In response to my worries about greying hair my companion found this quote by the Humanist writer Marsilio Ficino:

“To Stay Young:

Suck the blood of a youth… an ounce or two from a scarcely open vein on the left arm… when the moon is waxing”

Three Books on Life, 1489

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Hayley Lock

I have received a very helpful letter from Hayley Lock

May I suggest that you make a cardboard template with the desired 'perfect sideburn' shape cut out of the centre. This could then be taped to the side of your face measuring exactly the distance from say the top and side of the ear to top and side of sideburn on both the left and side of your face to achieve 'absolut'. If I have the time I will send a pic and perhaps a diagram. Maybe a hat with the two cardboard cutouts sewn in would work (given that the two sides of your head will be wonky anyway). Failing that I suggest you get them tattooed in as a permanent feature (maybe in little twinkling star form). Hx

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Performative Sideburns

I am having a little trouble with my sideburns. The left one has quite a different character to the right. It seems softer and less wiry the right is more aggressive lupine even. I am also concerned with the amount of grey hair that has appeared and am seriously considering applying gravy browning. I confess that I have little experience in the tending of facial hair. I am constantly engaged in trying to even them up but I swear they are as unruly as a pair of kittens! I am also unsure as to whether I should prune them back like rose bushes. Would this encourage healthier more luxuriant growth? The reader will, I hope, excuse my mixed metaphors they are merely a product of my confusion.

-- posted abroad

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Another studio visit looms. Monika Bobinska and her intern Adam are planning to come to Suffolk to see my work. Apparently I am to be in a show called 'Cosmic Mysteries' in Valencia and at the London Art Fair. This all seems to be happening rather soon. I was about to move studios because since my relocation in Ipswich I was finding the travelling too irksome. Because of this I have hardly set foot in mine for the last month except to pack a case or throw some rubbish or other onto the ever growing pile at its centre. So, when I arrived this morning to sort the place out and prepare it for visitors I was met with what felt like an insurmountable task. Luckily there was a skip parked outside, which I planned to take advantage of. It was one of those looming container types which either requires one to open its massive doors or to scale a ladder welded onto its side. Too afraid to do the former, lest the contents avalanche onto my frail body, I spent four hours to-ing and fro-ing with boxes of old art, potential art and hopeless mistakes until I had made a clearing large enough for one gallery owner, her assistant and one nervous artist. Next I surveyed some of the work I was hoping to show them. Finding some of it ruined by damp I decided to get some lunch at the local cafe. I have a busy week ahead.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A number of photographs have come into my possession recently. They seem pertinent to the unfolding of this narrative so I have published them here with brief explanatory texts.

I reported some time ago that my companion underwent blood tests to investigate her propensity for fainting fits. This is the dressing used to cover her wound.

This photograph of her preparing to scan a long eared bat illustrates her fascination with the collection of deceased animals.

These are the Crayola Girls mentioned in my post from Bath.

I have been watching a number of vampire films. This one, ‘Vampyr’ featured fascinating shadows cast by invisible creatures. In his book (residing in my lavatory) Basil Cropper praises the film but does note that, of course, vampires cast no shadow.

Finally this is the street in Chelsea that seems to appear in ‘Dracula AD 1972’. I stayed in the basement of one of these houses with my companion whose initials are AD.

Sunday, 15 November 2009


I have recently been struck by the power of coincidence. Last night my companion and I watched "Dracula AD 1972" with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing rerere-reprising their roles with
flared accomplices. Dracula's hip apprentice was cunningly named Jimmy Alucard an anagram that took Van Helsing several minutes with a pen and paper to figure out. This ne'er do well's dastardly plan was to raise his master in order to re-wreak revenge on the Helsing house. Their first target was Jessica, van Helsing's granddaughter played appallingly badly by Stephanie Beacham (although my companion pointed out her bosoms certainly earned their equity cards). She was so annoying that quite frankly I wanted to bite her by the end. Cushing did close the film by stating, quite pointedly I thought, that the whole thing was FINALLY over. This aside, the coincidence we noticed was that Alucard's lair was located in the very same street in Chelsea in which my companion and I lodged a few weeks ago. We recognised both the view from the front door and the layout of the interior.

While ln Amsterdam my companion (who, among other things, is fascinated by houses and their inhabitants) was browsing through a book on famous addresses in London. Initially she was looking for that very same sister's house in Chelsea but, failing to find it, she decided to look in the index for 'Dracula'. There she found Bram Stoker's house in St Leonard's Terrace. Laurence Olivier lived a few doors down. I decided to hunt out connections between the two actors and soon discovered on IMDb that Cushing played Osric to Olivier's Hamlet in 1948. A few weeks ago I was invited to put one of my films on the same site.
Anagrams of Peter Cunshing and Laurence Olivier's names are respectively:
Spectre hug-in
Lance our evil ire

Thursday, 12 November 2009


My dear companion has developed a fascination for carnivorous plants. While walking through the Bloemgarten she told me a Venus flytrap was on her Christmas list for five years but it never arrived. I had one of course and probably killed it with frequent ambitious feeding. The conversation reminded me also of the seventies dramatisation of 'The Day of the Triffids' with it's young flared John Duttine and face slapping plants. Later we visited the Butterfly house. I tried to show my bravery as the huge nectar sucking insects alighted on my scarf. My companion didn't notice though, she was too busy watching the giant chrysalides twitch.

-- posted abroad

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Arrived in Amsterdam last night. The crossing was calm and largely uneventful except for one point when one of our party slipped on deck. He contrived to land full on his face fetching himself such a knock that he split his eyebrow completely open. This morning he looks like a losing prize fighter, but was otherwise unaffected. Three hours into our voyage we sighted a grey band stretching across the horizon. Some swore it was land as it thickened and darkened. It soon became clear however, that it was heavy weather. We felt captain Holmes altering course and began to fear the worse until we realised he was steering towards a rainbow in the distance. I must admit it was a magical and disappointing moment when the bow entered the rainbow's end and it faded from sight.

-- posted abroad

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Sleep Talking

My dear companion has begun talking in her sleep. I have decided to take notes. Last night she mumbled about our trip to Bath. I have paraphrased the gist of it below hopefully making sense of parts that were not immediately clear to me.


With the lovely Pearly at the train station. He's gone stiff and nervous.

Trying to distract the lovely Pearly with pictures of mummified animals in National Geographic.

Flicker of recognition from JJ at the turnstile.

Roll onto JJ going round a roundabout in the back of the taxi.

Ask JJ about his bloodstone ring.

Pearly is quiet I am noisy.



Wet everywhere

The sound of Pearly stepping into deep puddles.

I relentlessly question JJ.

Dr Dan seems nervous of JJ.

JJ holds forth on the sofas.

He laughs when I say my arse is large (watch it JJ)

Get bus.

Students cocky and annoying. One girl who looks like a shitsu is talking relentlessly about how much men want her. I wonder if this is how Alex feels when I go on and on.

Bath so beautiful and looks like its rendered in halva.

Back to campus.

Lost although a milimetre away from Alex's show.

Alex has shut down and is in nervous concentration mode.

Dr Dan and Charles seem very awkward in the bar and I worry that I am pissing them off-but wonder if Dr Dan is just worried about the night ahead.

Gin and tonics through the men/women's loos-like Mr Ben

I like the records and the high up eau de nil ship

'in conversation'

JJ is riffing on a few themes and wangles some of Alex's work into them.

JJ thinks Alex is more of a cynic than I think he is.

I pipe up relentlessly.

Unfortunately the obvious brilliance of my argument is fluffed by the gin and I realise I can't remember what my point was as soon as I start talking.

JJ declares me the new Martin Parr as he peaks on red wine.

I'm in bed

Dreaming - I am holding a baby and I love it

Wake up Alex warm and soft in bed.

Alex tells me he loves me.

Put my ear plugs in and Alex says the prayer-I know he does because I feel his lips

Awake and have a bath with Alex

Take photos of JJ's room.

Egg and bacon bap with Alex.

Quest for the Bath bun.

The Circus was cold.

The Royal Crescent was colder.

Fell asleep on Alex on the train home-dreamt he was a giant furry squirrel.

Curve of the weir and the water-sad the rubber ducks weren't there.

The spa.

Seeing the town and rooftops while being in a giant communal bath.

Different steam rooms: Vicks, Chanel number 5 and lavender.

New friends James and Daniel at the baths find it hilarious I am in underwear.
Hayley Lock sent this image along with a suggestion that I model myself on John Gottowt during my visit to Amsterdam next week.

Friday, 6 November 2009

"No Mr Bond, I expect you to die!"

Joy, joy, joy but not all joy. It is all over. The show is hung, the conversation had, the drink drunk and the invoice almost ready to go. I say almost because I don't have a printer at the moment, an absence that causes me no end of slight logistical nonsense. The management at my place of work is currently striving towards a paperless office. An ideological standpoint that has only served to push my colleagues photocopying habit underground. Pale and shaking we huddle in corners printing and copying papers for our students. Some of us have taken to stockpiling handouts for future use. Now on top of this I find myself sneaking prints of personal documents snatching them away from sight as they appear.

Looking back, many things were discussed and said before during and after the opening at ICIA University of Bath. One thing I was asked (by Doctor Hinchcliffe) not to write about, so I won't. Another topic, this time during my conversation with Mr Charlesworth, is likely to be edited from the video recording. Later, in the student bar, drinking with my dear companion, JJ and the Crayola Girls a further conversation will remain unreported for other reasons.

I did tell JJ about my (so far secret) plans to apply for an Arts Council grant to cull a large number of Artists in the fashion of Ian Fleming's Goldfinger. I have always been taken by the efforts Auric went to gather the mob bosses to his home, explain his plans to them with elaborate model and audio visual presentation and then kill them whether they were in favour of his plan or not. Perhaps I should not have mentioned this.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

As a sort of performative work I have been trying to grow my sideburns similar to those sported by Peter Cushing in his roles as Van Helsing. They also hark back to my father's facial hairstyling in the seventies. Back then I wondered how they were produced and half believed that they would appear like the facial growths on a dominant male orangutan. My companion has become rather attached to them.

Some sort of shadowy pall seems to hang over my happiness. Tomorrow I travel to Bath to converse with JJ Charlesworth. I sent him a grovelling email communicating fear and excitement, mainly fear. He in turn replied graciously telling me not to worry. So I am endeavouring to follow his advice and act, at least, with coolness. Another communication came from Bath expressing concern that no one seems willing to look through my carefully placed telescopes. I am now considering a form of words to encourage the viewers' curiosity. I am considering bastardising a rather poetic section from Coline Milliard's essay on the Bedford incarnation of the show: "In Roussel's proto-surrealist book, the narrator (allegedly) first encounters the African coast through his telescope. This circular viewpoint provides a leitmotiv for Pearl's 'Goodbye to most of the daydreams' series, encapsulating distance and otherness, what is both feared and craved for..."

The above has all been via electronic communication. My relationship with real post has been a little more strained as my postman seems unwilling to knock on the door and merely pops his little pre-prepared red cards through the letter box. This invariably involves a rain soaked ride to the collecting office the next day to pick up my packet, letter etc. I have been playing with one such 'delivery' today a little circular brass mirror compact. I have been photographing my reflection to prove I am not a vampire.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Excerpt from diary found a few days later

28th October 2009

This morning I set off from Ipswich my whole show packed into large case on wheels. I in turned crammed this (and myself) into a packed train to London. There was only one scary moment when a, I have to say heavyset, man decided to lean on my case. I imagined my work breaking and bending within but could do little about it. My journey to Bath went surprisingly well. I caught early connections and chose polite and helpful taxi drivers. Happily I arrived just as the ICIA Bath staff was about to go to lunch and was able to join them for a convivial orange juice (the "all day breakfast bap I had eaten on he train put paid to any thoughts of food). I sat back and relaxed as conversation flowed from relative office sizes to the narrative merits of Ben Elton's "We will rock you".

After a busy afternoon setting up my show in Space 1 I paid a visit to Space 2 to see Lucy Harrison's new show "Remains". This exhibition is a work in progress displaying documents from Harrison's previous visits to East London and East Berlin and some new work from her ongoing residency investigating the pending demolition of Bath University's Arts Barn. The former are introduced in highly personal ways as Harrison subtitles her photographs with memories of her childhood and mother's death. The work on the Arts Barn includes photographs scans of documents and a highly involving set of interviews with some of the staff that work there. By the time I had finished watching I was feeling a definite attachment for what seemed to be an unloved building. Soon it will be knocked down and replaced by a new Arts Centre, which will host another show bringing together more memories and documents from Harrison's investigations. I hope she will find people with more tender feelings towards the place.

I Finished the evening by watching Terence Davies' "Of Time and The City" which was gripping and monumental although I have to say he does things with voice over and popular music that would make me blush.

Exhibition View - Lucy Harrison, Remains

Friday, 30 October 2009


There is a new film in my show at ICIA. It is a cut out of an old sailing ship it barely moves and appears "as idle as a painted ship on a painted sea". This is Stoker's description of the blighted vessel that transported Dracula to Whitby. The show is up now and all I have to fear is a visit from the university rowing club (a rambunctious lot) and my impending meeting with Mr Charlesworth. I am now travelling towards London. I spoke to my beloved before I left. She was intending to rise from her bed but I have just heard she is feeling languid and tired and slept on after.

-- posted abroad

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Hanging a show at ICIA University of Bath, Artspace 1 is an odd experience. Postgraduate students and lecturers are constantly passing through, avidly looking at half hung work and passing comment. One woman (jokingly?) accused me of cheating as I traced a large image of the Antarctic on one wall. I liked that. I also met another man who had not been to the South Pole. His department had done some work there looking for meteorites but like Moses (sort of) he had stayed home. The show is progressing satisfactorily mainly due to the inestimable qualities of my technician Charles.

-- posted abroad
Hi Sue
How's things? This month is very busy with shows and travelling. I am on the plague train to Bath at the moment to set up said show. The train is packed I'm praying no one will sit on my bag which contains the whole show. If they do all may be in pieces. Not looking forward to the underground. As I travel I am listening to Dracula, the ship has just crashed into the harbour at Whitby. I've been thinking about things for the biennale and I'd like to make some films in the bingo hall there, do you think that would be possible? (I should ring them). Anyway that's one of the ideas at the moment, the other is to do with shadows in the Whitstable streets and another to do with secret performances by a lovely assistant and another using magic tricks and others too numerous to mention. I will start tapering soon.

Glad you are enjoying the blog, me too

All the best


-- posted abroad

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

I am all packed for my journey to Bath tomorrow. Well to be truthful I have packed and repacked the work for my show no less than 3 times. My own bag, which will contain my essentials for a two-day journey as yet, remains untroubled. I have also, and inevitably I feel been struck down by a foul infection of the respiratory passages. I am sneezing so violently that I am more than a little concerned that much of my show may be spattered with snot. In an attempt to rid myself of this contagion I ventured out this morning to obtain orange juice and chicken soup. I am travelling everywhere on what my companion calls "The Phantom" a 'fixie' which, although common in the capital is a little anomalous in the provinces. Because the rear wheel is fixed it is necessary to keep pedalling at all costs otherwise the unfortunate rider can be flung out of the saddle by the still rotating pedals. This and the lack of brakes can make it a little like being aboard a runaway horse. I have found that riding it into a wall stops it. I have also been wrestling with another machine, an old cabinet gramophone and a rather eclectic selection of 78s. There is great pleasure to be found in the changing of needles and the winding of handles. One record has especially attracted my attention 'The Haunted Ballroom' seems ideal for some purpose or other. However, I have not quite settled on how to use it so I have made several recordings of it onto my iPhone.

My companion has gone to some sort of retreat in a farmhouse in Cambridgeshire. Last night I received a message from her complaining that it was haunted by the phantom of a butler. One of her greatest fears is ghosts but she cannot leave until Thursday as she is without transport.

That message arrived several hours ago I have heard nothing since

While waiting, I have been darning my threadbare pockets and writing invoices for my recent exploits though as yet I have been too shy to send them. I must get over my feelings of guilt in requesting money for my services.

It is three o'clock