Sunday, 31 January 2010


My companion lies listless amongst her books. One of them, Sontag's "Illness as a Metaphor" reads: 'TB is disintegration, febrilization, dematerialization; it is a disease of liquids - the body turning to phlegm and mucus and sputum and, finally, blood....'

At a local hostelry I had a photograph taken of my sideburns.

It is day six. My companion, who seemed to have made a good recovery is today quite drained. Her symptoms include a languid weakness and constantly running nose. I myself am no better and find the only activity I can find the strength for is writing this journal. The only part of me that has vigour is my left sideburn which grows in inversely proportionate vigour to my torpor. It has now reached out beyond my ears. I am not sure whether to let it go on, or like a treasured rose bush prune it hard to encourage vigour. Thankfully my reveries have just been interrupted by a cacophonous banging in the street, it sounds like my peccant neighbour has returned!

-- posted abroad

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Northern Landscape

The fifth day of my illness has been characterised by a feeling of agoraphobia. I sit alone in my flat eyes shifting nervously as I listen to the mumblings of my neighbours and cars passing outside. Earlier I attempted a visit to my studio but found the walk across town intolerable and exhausting. Symptoms included a shaking in my legs a bubbling feeling in my chest and sudden urge to cry. I could go no further. My companion was most concerned but I urged her to carry on as she had errands to perform. Now in closing silence I await her return.


Thursday, 28 January 2010


I am reading Christopher Frayling's "Vampyres" it has temporarily replaced the biography of Laurel and Hardy as I felt I was becoming sidetracked. Frayling's book, though far more erudite and reasoned, follows remarkably closely the work of Basil Copper, whose book now resides in a dark corner of my lavatory. I am particularly taken with the idea of the vampire as 'other' and the use of it's relationship with humanity as a political metaphor by Rousseau and Marx. I must admit to feeling a little foolish at not realising that Zizek's reference to vampires (in a post entitled "Kill Them All") was probably meant to recall this. It has made me even more excited about filming Mr Bown "calling" but also more worried about how I might shoot the film. Time marches forward and I must decide soon. We (my companion that is) have firmed up a date with Mr Bown and I have booked rooms for us at the Continental Hotel. We are to film on a quiet afternoon session in March.

Snot and Sideburns

It is the third day of my illness. Yesterday my companion also succumbed leaving us to spend the day abed watching DVDs and shuffling to the kitchen for healing poultices. Outside, life continued as normal in St Georges street. Women screamed and swore, men swore and shouted. My immediate neighbour, a young man fresh from a stay at Her Majesty's pleasure, keeps threatening to have people kidnapped. No doubt his lack of discretion is at least partly responsible for his recent incarceration. While listening to this base opera I have been trying to write a proposal for my forthcoming residency at Islington Mill. Messrs Bracey & Griffiths are writing an application for monies from the Henry Moore Foundation. The deadline approaches I must make haste. The following photographs also taken in my sickbed reveal another problem. My sideburns are completely different shapes. I believe they hark from different eras the 1970s and the 1870s.

-- posted abroad

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Last night was not a good one. I felt as if a crushing weight was hovering just above me. My breathing was short and sterterous, many times I had to resort to opening my mouth until it grew so dry I had to close it again. Now after counting down the early hours of the day I find myself lying weak limbed in bed. I have done very little constructive and must book my tickets to travel north to Manchester soon. There I am to meet up with messrs Griffiths and Bracey regarding a residency later in the year. In addition to this I have recieved a lovely letter from Anneka French inviting me to be in an exhibition called "Meleager's Garland" at Sir Joseph Banks Conservatory, Lincoln. The work she wants (a small collage) is either in amongst the packaging for my show in Bath (which is still in Bath) or at the bottom of any one of the piles of boxes that now constitutes my new studio.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Stephanie Beacham

Frustration and more frustration. The tape of the diminishing space man was blank. No amount of rewinding and fast forwarding could make the lost footage reappear. My dear companion put on a very brave face when I told her we would have to watch that particular episode of UFO ahead although she did profess an interest in seeing Stephanie Beacham again. Despite this, she spent the repeat screening on her phone emailing Mr Bown to get confirmation for dates for filming. I have been getting twitchy about getting the work done and juggling the time with another commitment in the north of which I shall write more later. While I was filming, more strange noises emanated from the rooms above including the sound of further heavy objects being dragged across the floor and a persistent hammering. These and other more obscure sounds are now recorded on my video tape. I may use them in the final film.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Controlled by Radio Waves

I have just completed a protracted move into a new studio. The upheaval has meant that I have produced little actual work in the preceding ten or so weeks (bar that which I could complete in my cramped lodgings). I celebrated by making some small collages of crashing aeroplanes which I photographed the wrong way round.

Because of these upheavals, many of my evenings are also currently taken up with work. I have been trawling through episodes of UFO a tv show from the early seventies. I must have watched reruns of it in my childhood and remember not fully understanding the plot. However I did remember the silver costumes, purple hair and fancy vehicles. Today I am impressed chiefly by the sideburns and the Aliens' Dracula-like use of radio waves to control their, mostly female, victims. I have been looking for a specific scene of a dead man floating into space intending to remake it as an animation. I found it tonight.

Friday, 22 January 2010

The Meaner Things

I am spending a little time in the museum drawing the meaner things: the rat, the bat, the wolf. Also the giraffe but I fear this is a distraction. Tonight I must write some invoices for the work sold at the London Art Fair.

-- posted abroad

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Flashing Bat

I discovered today that my previous post "kill them all" attracted a great deal of attention from internet users in Washington DC. Hopefully today's will be less interesting. Whilst visiting the local museum to look at some wobbling birds I came across a stuffed bat which appeared to be exposing itself to the public.

Cosmic Mysteries III

Upon our return, sweating and shaking we discovered Monika in an excited state. She had sold one of my drawings and another customer seemed very interested. I was pushed into her path by my enthusiastic companion (who was soon to be offered a job touting for the show). Thirty minutes later after I applied my not inconsiderable charm, two further works were sold. Unfortunately, before any more colletcors could pounce, a disembodied voice announced the fair was closing. My companion and I said our goodbyes and wandered arm in arm into the evening sleet.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Sideburn Update

I am finding that women are increasingly interested in my sideburns. As I have previously passed through life largely unremarked by the fairer sex I am unused to this new somewhat specific attention.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Cosmic Mysteries II - descent into hell

The lower levels of the London Art Fair were a bear pit of writhing bodies in bespoke suits. Tall and tanned, their faces stretched into grimaces of contentment it's denizens stalked each other calling out with braying voices. My companion and I, small and scruffy, felt a bit like early mammals scurrying around the feet of the great dinosaurs. In the hothouse atmosphere we scuttled from stall to stall looking for "B" the gallery of our dear friend. Eventually after asking for directions we found it but were horrified to discover they had not one drawing, painting or print of his on their wall! A tall man, tanned and aloof, assured my companion in honeyed tones that not two feet away were stored prints and drawings by my dear friend. He seemed bemused at our sudden lack of interest. Unimpressed and overheated we moved quickly upstairs in search of cooler climes and much needed refreshment.

It was there at the event's one and only watering hole that we spotted our first, and last, celebrity. We both recognised a woman standing at the bar talking animatedly to an older man. I recalled she was an actress from Holby City, my companion, more usefully, recalled her role as a vampire whore in the film adaptation of Anna Rice's "An Interview with a Vampire".

This was an exciting discovery and while I hid behind a pot plant my companion went over to get her autograph. What happened next though was even more exciting.

Cosmic Mysteries

My companion and I arrived at the London Art Fair after a brisk walk across London. The Tube at Monument had been at a standstill due to overcrowding on the platform. My companion's delicate sensibilities precluded crushing ourselves into the maul of disgruntled Londoners so a thirty minute walk seemed by far the best solution. Waving our complimentary tickets we were ushered through the crowds at the entrance and onto an escalator which took us almost directly to the projects area. "Cosmic Mysteries" was the first stand and upon our approach I must admit more than a little pride at seeing my name in Lettraset. The sympathetic hang of my work, and the rest of the projects area, contrasted with the village fair approach of the rest of the hall. We had two tasks to complete. To thank Monika and to photagraph the stand of a gallery "B" which represents a dear friend of mine, a painter of some repute. B's stand was to be found below in the more commercial part of the fair. We braced ourselves for a trial.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Kill them All!

Last night my companion and I watched a film of Zizek doing an election speech for the Liberal Democratic Party in Slovenia. He said he wanted to get crosses and garlic and stakes and kill all the vampires. Later in the same film he lay in bed, the covers up to his chest, talking about Lacan. He looked a bit like an excitable, hirsute version of the innocent bed ridden victim from any number of vampire films. My companion tried to explain the battles between the Lacanians and Derridians over the word "truth" but I could only think that the Derridians must be blue all over with antennae sprouting from their heads and the Lacanians completely furry and constantly frothing at the mouth.

Location:My lodgings

Saturday, 9 January 2010

My companion has just sold several paintings to a werewolf called Russell Tovey.
In fact I am beginning to think I am surrounded by supernatural beings. Not least of these is my upstairs neighbour whose nocturnal habits of singing along to unending powerballads late into the night are getting beyond a joke. Her midnight movements are always concluded early the next morning by some sort of ritual which involves dragging a heavy weight across the floor above my head. Tonight, while I listen to a chanteuse who I am reliably informed is called Mariah Carey I am reading segments from Professor Sir Christopher Frayling's "Vampyres". He begins by describing to role of indigestion in the creation of fantastical literature. This is something I have an affinity with as my stomach is habitually somewhat dyspeptic. My own affliction is, however, not caused by eating raw meat but more usually by: travel, irregular dining or Dutch lager. Having avoided all three tonight I am enjoying a bed time snack of peanut butter. My Companion and I have just returned from viewing yet another vampire film at the local picture house. The film did nothing to dispel my idea that vampires are essentially quite boring creatures. Perhaps werewolves are more interesting.

-- posted abroad

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

My Companion

Waiting for the snow I dipped into my Peter Cushing companion for the third time. Perversely I decided to read the foreword by Veronica Carlson, a fellow actor and friend. I have already expressed delight at the large number of photographs of Mr Cushing that are to be found in this volume, some of which are published below. However I was more than a little disappointed to note that the most impressive sideburns were reserved for his performances as Dr Frankenstein. Nevertheless it is a lovely present from my companion and Miss Carlson's foreword contains some very moving tales. (transcribed below)

"The filming of one scene in particular is extremely difficult for me to recount. Daphne asks a question to which Doctor Lawrence replies 'my wife is dead...' The tone of utter finality in his voice was absolute. At this point Doctor Lawrence picked up a photograph of his late wife - in actual fact Peter had insisted on using a picture of Helen. This scene was shot about seven times, and each time Peter uttered that awful sentence he became more broken. Finally tears streaking down his face, he swiftly walked off the set. Freddie Francis simply turned and looked at the floor amid the horrible silence."

-- posted abroad

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Listening to the countdown at the station made me feel uneasy about uncertainty. "we are sorry to announce the 1230 from Norwich is delayed by 15 minutes", "we are sorry to announce the 1230 from Norwich is delayed by 16 minutes", "we are sorry to announce the 1230 from Norwich is delayed by 17 minutes", "we are sorry to announce the 1230 from Norwich is delayed by 18 minutes", "we are sorry to announce the 1230 from Norwich is delayed by 19 minutes". On and on it went until I realised the collages voice had no idea how long the train was delayed, it was merely marking time.

-- posted abroad

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Lost in Space

BT Openzone has let me down again. I have been without internet for five days. It is true I have other options. Unfortunately however, the local café that has stood in for my office of late has also been closed and although their WiFi is still working I do not feel comfortable leaning against a wall clutching my laptop in the rain. Burger King was beginning to beckon.

The following post was written earlier in the week the cold has indeed materialised:

Again I have returned safely from another journey. This time I was visiting my parents in the north. Both were struck with a fearful cold, which I am sure they passed on to me. The Christmas season has been good to me, not least because of the large number of no doubt useful books I received as presents. “The Peter Cushing Companion” has given me insight into his ever-changing facial hair, more of which later. Christoper Frayling’s “Dracula” will I’m sure prove vital in the months ahead as will the biography of Christopher Lee. I’m not so sure about the “Ladybird Book of Magic” but we shall see. As I may have mentioned before, my reading is usually split into three parts with a book separately in toilet, bathroom and bedroom. Each progresses slowly and often the plot of one gets confused with another. A biography of Laurel and Hardy (my current toilet book) has lead me to think about double acts in general and Cushing and Lee in particular. I see Cushing as the straight man with Lee looning around in the background biting people. I was also pleased to spot a photograph in my “Companion” of Cushing performing in a Laurel and Hardy film called “A Chump At Oxford”, 1939 but perhaps this is a coincidence too far. Over the Christmas break Dr Bradshaw sent a message, a quote from a dramatisation of Agatha Christie’s “Appointment with Death”

“Nuns… vampires in drag who seek out misery and weakness and gorge on it”

Should this all be adding up to something? I am increasingly unsure.