Wednesday, 31 March 2010


Disappointingly there have been no news reports of strange weather nor shipwrecks at Whitstable. All seems strangely calm in Ipswich too. In truth strangely is perhaps the wrong word to use in a Town whose newspaper headline this morning reads "IPSWICH BIGAMIST FINALLY CAGED" If only we had a zoo my narrative would be complete. I am squinting at the screen to write this. Not a week ago I was told that I would require new glasses as my right eye is failing. This news was not unexpected as my companion has been deriding my poor eysight for a while. The cost of my new glasses will be enormous although I did manage to beat the over enthusiastic saleswoman down from £400 to nearly half that figure. The only fillip has been that I am now so myopic that I qualify for free eyetests and a 15% NHS discount. I suppose that as I can see nothing it seems only fair that the test should be waived but it does make me feel like a blind television owner.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

A message in the storm

I have received a message, there is a full moon over Whitstable tonight and an unusually high tide. Here the wind blows stronger by the hour forcing the trees to an uncomfortable crouch. Forecasts are such that we may soon expect gusts of such power that a strong man may not keep his feet in the beating rain, and snow! I shall check the newspaper reports in the morning for further information.

As I write my companion has written to me. While I am watching Johnny Cash audition dressed in black she also is watching a film. The excited message reads:

"Just seen Christopher Lee in a thriller!"

As he appeared the signal was lost, I know not the name of the film, his character nor the outcome.


Call is complete or more accurately I believe it to be so. My companion is about to review the left hand side, I nervously await her verdict. We are separated at the moment by a distance of some miles. She waits for me at my lodgings sending regular messages about madmen in the street and the unusual movements of Miss Brown in the flat above. Happily, below, the smokers seem to have been thrown on to the street and have been replaced by a much more continent individual who treads quietly. In my lodgings we experience everything through sound first, we could look but often choose not to. Call, I have decided, is as much about sound as vision so I have left the sound on the right hand film also. Here in the countryside I am watching television and burning a dvd of all my Whitstable films for Sue Jones, I pray she will like them too.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Lost Souls

Here follows another list of search engine misses that have washed up at the Pearlfisher

Schillsdorf, Schleswig-holstein, Germany, "Whitstable"

Sanfrancisco, California, "hetairoi definition"

New Orleans, Louisianna, unspecified image search

Rotherham, United Kingdom, "anneka french"

Good Hope, Illinois, United States "bond villain"

Bridgwater, Somerset, United Kingdom "bond villain"

Puteaux, Ile-de-france, "shrinking man"

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, "Rachel Goodyear interview"

Coventry, United Kingdom, "Whitstable"

Richmond, Virginia, "recurring 3 times in the pearl"

Uk, "count of monty cristo blog"

Uk, "bingo Whitstable Kent"

-- posted abroad

Sunday, 28 March 2010


Since a brief but debilitating illness I have been trying to catch up with my work for Whitstable. I have decided to title it Call though I did consider Caul, I have never been good with titles. It will be split between two screens one silent the other not so. One will depict the caller the other the players although there will be some crossover. This is, I believe, my first film with real people and a necessary narrative. This fact is making me somewhat agitated. My daughter is watching The Green Mile on television where Tom Hanks is taking an inordinate amount of time to execute a prisoner using electricity. I am afraid watching my film might prove similar.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

On the way up the conductor sang his messages in gregorian chant while I read Ludlum and imagined the easy destruction of the man with long legs and no manners. I believe my talk at Lincoln was received well enough by the students who filled the auditorium. Though perhaps they did not believe my wilder tales. Afterwards I was introduced to the world of higher education through a series of extremely entertaining tutorials. Ahh the joys of sitting in a studio surrounded by work talking about Inukshuk, sewing and drawing in Sumo suits. The train has arrived for the first leg of my journey home I must gather my things.

-- posted abroad


"One should always sit in train toilets for fear of spraying the walls with urine. Though as previous occupants have not sat, I am not inclined to either."

-- posted abroad


With pity in his voice the mustachioed guard informed me that it would take over four hours to get to Lincoln and that I would be blessed with an hour to cool my heels in Peterborough. At around 25 pence per minute I believe the train to be great value for money. At one I shall be presenting my work to students in Lincoln. Happily I am being distracted from my nervousness by a gentleman two seats away who is managing to stretch his legs under the table in front of him, under the facing seats and into my footwell. I have been kicked twice and fear that before long I must challenge him on his inconsiderate behaviour.

-- posted abroad

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Whitstable part 7

At 3 o'clock I received a text from Sue Jones. She had driven up from Ramsgate and arranged to meet us in a local café in thirty minutes. I packed my bags hurriedly bid farewell to Mr Bown (to whom I am extremely grateful). He thanked the crowd who graciously gave us a warm round of applause. Smiling we hurried out and into to the main part of town. Whitstable, like many seaside towns has a long main street with many cafés, and a strange mixture of smart arty shops and co-ops (or similar). It was not before we were ensconced in the correct one trying to explain to Sue that I had in fact made seven films. I went on to explain (with the help of some very useful diagrams made by my lovely companion) that the films were only loosely connected by the narrative of this diary and so disparate, unformed and slight that they would need to be shown in at least three different locations. Sue for her part took the news well, though she did explain that it was becoming increasingly hard to find venues for the Biennale. After taking tea Sue and I took in a whistle stop tour of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in Whitstable. At the end I nervously asked if she had ever not been able to find a suitable location. "oh no" she said.

The next day walking back to the station we spotted a Masonic lodge. My companion, having many occult connections, offered to write asking for a room within.

-- posted abroad

Whitstable part 6

It begins. Mr Bown steps up into the pulpit and calls. He has an RND in front of him, the numbers popping rapidly up onto a small tv screen. These numbers are also relayed onto a large scoreboard at the front of the hall where the cinema screen used to be. His job is to entice the players to play the smaller jackpot games that sit in between. This, he explained earlier, is how the hall makes it's profits, unless I have misunderstood. He starts by asking if anyone minds being filmed, no one does. In fact a couple of ladies offer to take their tops off (I hide behind my camera). My companion has already made herself a bit of a hit. She is invited by a formidable looking group to play with them. She wins four times (she has the luck we are told) but shouts too late the first time and is too scared to call out on two subsequent occassions. She has her wrist slapped for this.

The filming goes smoothly. I film The caller in close up, calling and waiting. I film the responses of the ladies. Sometimes rapidly responding to the calls at other times ignoring him, talking amongst themselves. I film their hands in close up, gold jewellery and novelty markers.

I had thought that my film would show the caller as powerful, controlling, but he needed his audience, they seemed at times wayward, independent, it was not as straightforward as I had imagined.

-- posted abroad

Whitstable part 5

As we entered the Bingo Hall we spotted Mr Bown imediately. Tall and tanned, smiling broadly to reveal even white teeth, he welcomed us warmly. "AHH I think I do remember you" he remarked to my companion. He proved to be an extremely amiable host, providing us with cups of hot tea and offering us complementary scampi and chips for our lunch. The hall was already beginning to fill with players (women mostly) sitting singly or in small groups. They were warming up by playing some sort of national game piped into the hall through loud speakers. Not wanting to disturb them, I think, Mr Bown quietly ushered us to a corner of the hall to discuss the filming. He gave us some background about the club which, he explained, like many of the smaller clubs had suffered from the introduction of the smoking ban and online gambling. He seemed sad, mainly for his clientele, who he said would miss the social aspect of bingo if it were to fail and close. I suspected that he was thinking back to more glorious days and thought them passed. We discussed further some of the technical aspects of the filming and my vague intentions. He seemed satisfied that all was well and said we could begin in a few minutes.

-- posted abroad

Whitstable part 4

Sealed in to the completely computerised high speed train that will transfer us from Faversham to Stratford International I am trying to recall, in order, the events of yesterday. I remember waking with a headache, the sort of headache that causes ones eyes to half close in an attempt to stop them popping out. I applied many of the traditional remedies for such a malady: a full English breakfast, multiple cups of coffee, and observing dogs defecate on the beach. All was to no avail. So we gathered my cameras and headed into Whitstable proper to find some medication and to finalise our preparations for our encounter with Mr Bown.

-- posted abroad

Saturday, 20 March 2010


-- posted abroad

Friday, 19 March 2010

Whitstable part 3

Arrived safely Hotel Continental, Whitstable. Room 14 is passably comfortable. I am hoping for a good night's sleep that I may awake refreshed for tomorrow's trials.

-- posted abroad


Stratford international is nowhere, it is near empty apart from a businessman trying to engage a reluctant young drama student in conversation. My companion keeps leaving on little errands and I know not when the next train is leaving.

-- posted abroad

Whitstable part 1

We are travelling! The six eleven train departed on time and I am hopeful we shall make our ongoing connections at Stratford, Stratford International and Rochester. My companion has rallied during the day. She sports a little more colour in her cheeks and is gaily showing me photographs of Manchester on the Guardian website. I must admit I am nervous of what lays ahead.

-- posted abroad

Thursday, 18 March 2010


My companion informs me the image above by Fox Talbot is a print made from the oldest surviving negative. It is not Carfax Abbey.

Helsing's preparations to take on the vampire involve detailed delegation and the sharing of tokens. Garlic flowers for the ladies, crucifixes for the men, and for himself a wafer in an envelope. I have also been preparing, preparing for my long anticipated filming in Whitstable. I have been meticulous. Three cameras are now fully charged, their heads cleaned (at a not inconsiderable cost of £16) lenses polished and fresh tapes inserted. My companion, however, has been absorbed with other things. The final organising of her phd confirmation has consumed her for some time. But now it nearly done. Today, as the day progressed, she took a growing interest in my preparations and I was rejoiced to see that the exigency of affairs was helping her to forget the terrible experience of the last few days.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Tonight we are watching "Gypsy". I am impatiently for the lead to grow up and get into a sparkly dress. At the moment she is the front end of cow.

Recent search engine misses are listed below:

Richmond, Virginia, "sleep-talking"

Uk, "hell as cosmic"

Dayton, Ohio, "making of incredible shrinking man"

Central District, Hong Kong, "I was continuing to shrink"

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, unknown image search.

Burlington, Vermont, "descent into hell paintings"

London, "Pearlfisher Christmas card"

-- posted abroad

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


My Companion emailed Mr Bown this morning to confirm our intended filming appointment on Saturday. She was nervous as she explained that it is often at this last minute when the event is upon them that her victims scream and run. Happily Mr Bown seemed delighted and even offered us a Scampi supper, a special at the bingo hall this week. I have only to clean my tape heads and collect an extra camera and I will be all set. I am writing from a cafe in Felixstowe where five other correspondents are taking my attention this morning. Andrew Bracey & Dave Griffiths, Anneka French, Rob Smith, and Dr Daniel Hinchcliffe. I enclose my replies below.

"Hi you two
Indeed I am emailing from sunny felixstowe today. I think the first two weeks in august would be perfect for me. I don't think i am back at work until around the 26th but it's all quite flexible at that time of year anyway. The show looks exciting and I'm really happy about showing on both sites. I'm currently in discussion with a friend about arranging a live online broadcast during the residency which may or may not work. We shall see. The longer run is fine too though I have a solo down this end which I think will overlap so I will have to make sure I have enough tvs etc to go round. But as you say I think we will be able to pick loads up for next to nothing from charity shops etc. I'm ready for Lincoln I think though I discovered yesterday half my images don't show up on a pc. Good job I checked. AJ's tatooing equipment sounds terrifying. Has he read Kafka's 'the penal colony'???? I hope not.
See you soon

Alex "

"Hi Anneka

I will certainly write something, when is the deadline?

I've attached the highest res image I have, hope it's ok, I haven't got the original back yet so I can't re photograph it in time. Please use it if you want.

I'll be perfectly happy to post it to you, the most it will need is a bit of re-bending when it arrives. I will write instructions for this eventuality.

All the best


"Hi Rob
I shall get out on my bike and find a field with 3g. In that sense Manchester might be easier depending how far you are willing to stretch the definition of 'a field'. But that is another thing. What I have been thinking about recently (entirely in the back of my mind and without any concrete planning) is making some work in the vein of the early rocket tests for space exploration. I thought about documenting my efforts to fire a camera into the air and get some short lived live footage from the rocket itself. It's all going to be entirely homemade so it probably won't work. Do think this would fit in? Is it a problem if your dongle explodes?
I'm busy this Thursday but after that I think I'm pretty free.

All the best


"Hi Dan
How are you and everyone? Time has flown by, I only realised last week that the show must be over. How did it go? Did the rowing team destroy it with a drunken conga? I was wondering what your thoughts were about me getting the work back? I have been asked to show one of the works (which I left in the packaging) in Lincoln in April. Do you think you could parcel it up and post it to me. I'm not at all worried about the sculptures getting broken. Or would you rather I came up on the train?
All the best

-- posted abroad

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Did Alexander the Great find it a difficult combination, discussing philosophy with Aristotle and charging at the head of the Hetairoi into a phalanx of spearmen? I certainly have found it problematic trying to edit a phd while watching the rugby. Although I do believe there are some connections between Lacanian structures and the makeup of the rugby team. While I consider this I am developing new methods for preventing the ingress of cigarette smoke. Soon my lodgings may resemble Andy Warhol's factory or Mel Gibson's house in a film the title of which I forget.

-- posted abroad

Thursday, 11 March 2010


"St George's Day is on the 24th April ('our May 6th'), and the night before is, by tradition, a Witches' Sabbat." (Quoted from Bram Stoker's working papers for 'Dracula')

Contentment is a fugacious state in Saint George's street. New lodgers have moved in to the ground floor apartments. This has proved a rude awakening for my companion and I. We have become acustomed to noise (as any regular reader on these journals will know) but these new neighbours are vociferous exponents of the art of smoking and we find ourselves in a fug.

-- posted abroad
The process of making images of the diminishing spaceman has thrown up an interesting distraction. Before I blow and brush the surplus gold dust away, the disapointing man is hidden behind a sort of cosmic cloud, a precious spillage far more beautiful than he. Once revealed he seems lost. The spaceman, removed from the context of his tumbling fall, is merely a dumb arrangement of golden motes.

To say that I was saddened to hear of the death of Actor Corey Haim would be a slight exaggeration. To be brutally honest I cannot recall which one of the "Lost Boys" he played. Discovering however that he died at an age which is irrefutably less than mine.

In the studio I am currently working on a series of drawings of an ever diminishing spaceman. By "studio" I mean on the floor of my flat. I am again preparing boards with black paint, a process which involves painting, smoothing, swearing and defending the pristine paintwork from a cat that instinctively knows that black surfaces are the warmest. The next stage will involve the delicate application of gold powder to a varnish painted drawing. I have no illusions that this will be in any way successful. A rather more likely result is that I will be left with a finely gilded feline ornament much like Des Esseintes' tortoise.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

My efforts today have centred on preparations for a trip to Lincoln where I will be delivering a talk to students of the university. I have one ready but can never leave it alone. I add and remove images constantly mainly in the hope of finding a good way to end it. In "Swimming to Cambodia" Spalding Gray describes a time when he could not leave home without hearing a positive word on the radio. Often these signals would be ridiculously out of context. He would hear something like: "the death rate is 'up'" and he could go out.

Here follows another list of searches that have washed up on my blog. Often it is easy to see what people seem to be looking for. Other searches however appear to be the vague pilgrimages of the bored. I myself (like many others I am sure) am guilty of typing in my own name hoping, I think, to find something new or unexpected.

San Antonio Texas, "slow shrink man"

New South Wales, Australia, "God's silver tapestry spread across the night. And in that moment, I knew the answer to the riddle of the"

Waterloo, Ontario, " recurring image have we seen at least 3 times in the pearl"

London, "Malcolm Quinn"

Windsor Board of Education, Ontario "Monte Cristo pearls"

Ever behind the times, I was sad to discover that Spalding Gray committed suicide in 2004.

Monday, 8 March 2010

More or less

My sideburns have been trimmed, the grey and brown cuttings held, like a Victorian keepsake, in an inlaid wooden box. I had not made a decision to cut them nor was I wholeheartedly set on the path of continuing to grow them until I reached Whitstable. I was, I admit, beginning to appear much like a Dickensian character, a look that was beginning to attract curious looks in the street. Not that this was worrying me overmuch in a town where many people are positively mediaeval in their demeanor. Nevertheless in an act of characteristic certainty my companion took matters into her own hands and I have been shorn. Now I am myself certain of my path. I intend to sculpt my sideburns into near perfect replicas of Mr Cushing's. I have only to decide which incarnation of Van Helsing to emulate.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Christopher Frayling suggests that the key to Bram Stoker's 'Dracula' may be the scene where Harker is beset by three vampire ladies. He thinks a similar traumatic event may have happened at the story's genesis when Stoker whiled away time with Byron, Pollidori and the Shelleys in Switzerland. I too was wasting time in London yesterday, waiting for my companion while she underwent a gruelling phd tutorial with Mark Fairnington, Nichola Foster and Malcolm Quinn, a fearsome threesome. I decided to visit Mark Aerial Waller's video installation at Cell Project Space. As I entered I saw the crouching Mr Waller being beset himself. This time the aggressors were three topless furies. Well, I assumed they were furies, so awful was their acting that there was not one jot of fury about them. Still, this seemed to be the point. I did enjoy Mr Waller's low crotched fencing suit and a simple trick with the mirror filter.

I am presently engaged in looking for new lodgings that will accept one neurotic, but well behaved cat. I have offered to shave her as illustrated.

Thursday, 4 March 2010


My neighbour seems to be in pain. Intermittent and weakening wails can be heard through the wall. I hope he will become quiet soon. While I wait I have begun making a list of people who visit my blog by accident. Information is inconsistent but I have been able to ascertain the location and search criteria of visitors using search engines. The following is a selected list from the last month of those that were not looking for me. They are listed by place, server name if available, and the search made in inverted commas

Little Rock, Arkansas, dept of veteran affairs. "flashing in public"

Royal Tunbridge Wells, "bingo hall whitstable"

Slough, "Monika Bobinska"

Jakarta, Pearl Gardens Apartments, "My Vision of the future"

The Art Institute International, Pittsburgh, "blender blogspot"

Vienna, "shrinking man drawn to toilette"

Pearlfisher, London, "pearlfisher moving card"

Hamilton, Ontario, "devils coat"

Hammondsport, NewYork, "vampire whore"

Sydney, Australia, "Rachel Goodyear biography"

Kompachy, Slovakia, "interview with a vampire"

Brooklyn, NewYork, "mummified girl looks like she is sleeping"

Apo, Armed Forces Europ, United States
(No record of google search)

Gravesend, Kent, "Monika Bobinska"

Wolverhampton City Council, "Anneka French"

Ho Chi Min City, "college new students"

Location:My Lodgings, Ipswich