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