Sunday, 30 May 2010

A warning

Upon my return from the north I found myself in a condition of extreme exhaustion. It was close to midnight when I finally crept into bed. I craved no more than easeful rest. Unfortunately in inverse proportion to my ennervation my companion seemed full of life. She talked and fidgetted, bounced and laughed until I was so desperate I held her still, her wrists shackled in one hand, her hair clutched in the other. This did not help. In quieter moments my companion sings to me at night. Although she often forgets the words they are beautiful stories of cowboys and lost love. One of my favourites is "Lydia the tatooed lady" a woman who, when the words come to mind, ends up marrying an Admiral who loves the ships afloat on her hips. This morning I read news of the world's most tatooed lady Julia Gnuse. According to reports she is 95% covered in ink and first decided to go under the needle in order to hide scars from porphyria cutanea tarda. I remembered from my reading that it had been suggested that Porphyria was a disease thought to be linked to vampirism. Vlad III the Impaler himself believed to be an antecedent of the Dracula character was also said to had suffered from Acute Porphyria a condition causing extreme sensitivity to sunlight.

My google erudition has also led me (after many years) to a rereading of Browning's poem "Porphyria's Lover" transcribed below. I feel it needs little comment.

The rain set early in tonight,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its worst to vex the lake:
I listened with heart fit to break.
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneeled and made the cheerless grate
Blaze up, and all the cottage warm;
Which done, she rose, and from her form
Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl,
And laid her soiled gloves by, untied
Her hat and let the damp hair fall,
And, last, she sat down by my side
And called me. When no voice replied,
She put my arm about her waist,
And made her smooth white shoulder bare,
And all her yellow hair displaced,
And, stooping, made my cheek lie there,
And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair,
Murmuring how she loved me — she
Too weak, for all her heart's endeavor,
To set its struggling passion free
From pride, and vainer ties dissever,
And give herself to me forever.
But passion sometimes would prevail,
Nor could tonight's gay feast restrain
A sudden thought of one so pale
For love of her, and all in vain:
So, she was come through wind and rain.
Be sure I looked up at her eyes
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshiped me: surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee,
I warily oped her lids: again
Laughed the blue eyes without a stain.
And I untightened next the tress
About her neck; her cheek once more
Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss:
I propped her head up as before,
Only, this time my shoulder bore
Her head, which droops upon it still:
The smiling rosy little head,
So glad it has its utmost will,
That all it scorned at once is fled,
And I, its love, am gained instead!
Porphyria's love: she guessed not how
Her darling one wish would be heard.
And thus we sit together now,
And all night long we have not stirred,

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Return from the north

From Stoke by train the speedy pan of slate grey and rich blue green reminds me of an El Greco painting of an approaching storm. I am writing the thoughts of an inebriate fearing what realisation the cold morning light will bring. Mr Bethell and friends rounded my presentation with a visit to another local hostelry (actually the same hostelry as we visited on Thursday). The drinks taken there have only served to revivify those imbibed at yesterday's impromtu beer festival and Thursday's consolatory meal. Still, the train travels swiftly and smoothly south. Earlier at Airspace I showed part of "Call" to the assembly hoping to allay my fears. It seemed to go down reasonably well though it did seem markedly different to the other works. Mr Bown's dauntless struggle to engage the ladies of the bingo club came to the fore. To me he again appeared more like a flawed hero than my original conception as vampiric villain. This pleased me and reminded me of something Christopher Lee said about the character of Dracula something to do with his vulnerability and pathos. The exact words have slipped away.

My loss of memory described above is not wholly due to my intoxicated state. Nor an attempt at a sort of romantic narrative fade. But rather the result of constant interruption. My dear companion is sending such frequent messages that she is causing my phone to crash repeatedly and my temple to throb with an embollistic intensity. Even now I am typing through clenched teeth. I believe she was a Bengal cat in another life, but I do love her dearly.

-- posted abroad

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Part 2

Despite my repeated assertions Mr Bethell was not kidding, nor was he joking. Somehow I had got the wrong day. Suddenly my "best practice" badge seemed somewhat tarnished. Both Mr Brascombe (who had by now joined us) and Mr Bethell were extremely sorry for my mistake plying me first with tea and then alcohol.

I was given this delightful catalogue of work by Shaun Doyle and Mally Mallinson, a product of their show entitled "Ecce Homo Tesco". So kind were they, that, despite my rapidly weakening protestations, they even reimbursed my train fare. While I recovered my wits we discussed the fortunes of the gallery which seem to have ebbed and flowed with the phases of the moon. Generably though they seemed to be doing tolerably well though it was typical they told me they had received a sizeable Arts Council grant to go to this year's Zoo only to have the organisers cancel the fair.

After a largely liquid lunch we parted in good heart promising to meet again in two days. I had decided to make the most of my error by making a visit to my elderly parents who I had not seen in a fair while. My mother's first words as I crossed the threshold were "Oh you've got a bit of a tummy".

I have become obsessed with a hair on my nose. I can't see it but I know it's there.

-- posted abroad

The man next to me has preternaturally long feet, or at least shoes. I am seated in the genteel and unattended village station of Prestbury waiting for a slow carriage to Stoke on Trent. The Virgin Pendelino has just sped through dragging my stomach with it and I am tired, so tired. The day started well with a brisk ride (on the Phantom) from my lodgings to the station in Ipswich where I was to catch an early train to London and thence onward to Airspace. I had my talk ready and was prepared to give of my wisdom to the no doubt eager audience that awaited me. The journey to London was uneventful and the rush hour crush neither too uncomfortable nor overly erotic. Soon I was seated on the express train to Manchester going over PowerPoint and practising seamless shifting between applications. The high speed journey was over before ennui set in. Upon my arrival, the walk from station was blessed with a pale sunshine which removed the worse of the chill from the air. Admittedly the walk seemed longer than it had last year but I am older (and heavier) than I was then. As I arrived Mr Bethell greeted me on the gallery steps and said. "the talk is on Saturday".

To be continued.

(drawing made on the train)

-- posted abroad

Wednesday, 26 May 2010


My phone has just jolted me awake. It says "talk". At first I thought it was a message from my companion suggesting I rise from my post-work grave. But no! it was a timely reminder that tomorrow I must once again set forth to talk about my work and career. This time I am returning to Stoke-on-Trent where Messrs
Bethell and Branscombe, proprietors of Airspace, have invited me to talk about my work and how I have built relationships with galleries and comissioners. I am speaking at one but hope to arrive earlier. Unfortunately this will entail catching a seven o'clock train which fortunately will give me plenty of time to decide what to say. The press release for the event described me (optimistically I thought) as an example of best practice in this field. I shall endeavor to be as interesting as possible but, failing that, I have put together a DVD of such length that if I leave it playing there will be no time for talk.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


I received a press release in this morning's email. It detailed the work commissioned for Whitstable. "Damnation" I exclaimed (or something similar) "Adam Chodzko's work has the same title as mine!" (bar the addition of an 's' this is true - and although of little importance I still wish I had called mine something more original). This aside, yet again I must admit to feeling like the poor cousin in the lineup. I think I will always suffer this way, it is inescapable. Not long ago, in a group show in King's Lynn, I was the only 'local' amongst a coven of sharply and darkly dressed, pale and youthful London Arts graduates. I was mesmerised by the influence of their collective self assurance and instantly assumed the role of their brown coated minion. Within minutes I was, at least metaphorically, tugging my forelock and gladly performing any number of obeisant tasks. At one stage I believe I even began to drag a limb. To this day I have failed to discover a suitable phylactery against such power.

My responses in such matter are disorderly to the point of insanity. I must discipline my emotions.

The press release is delightful and I was planning to instantly forward it's flatteries to all and sundry. Unfortunately my email programme scrambled image and text to such an extent that I will have to spend a little time reconstructing it for general release.

For information I have reproduced the text below.



The 5th Whitstable Biennale will open on Saturday 19 June - Sunday 4 July 2010.

The Biennale has commissioned major new works for this year's Festival, all of which explore different aspects of performance and film. For two weeks the seaside town of Whitstable will be transformed into a centre for contemporary art.

NEW website

Curated by Sue Jones
Assistant Curator Kate Phillimore

Phil Coy
Sea Container, Whitstable Harbour South Quay Tue-Sun 10:-00-18:00

A mesmerising and subtle film, looking at the transparency of glass and the opaqueness of regeneration. Narrated by famous TV anchor Julia Somerville, Façade takes audiences on a journey through contemporary glass architecture, conflating architectural 'walkthroughs' of nonexistent buildings with tracking shots over the facades of existing buildings.

This is the world premiere of Façade, which was produced with a major Film London FLAMIN Award. The Awards are for "work that is ambitious and represents a significant leap in artists' careers. For the capital's most innovative moving image artists".

Phil Coy is one of the most respected artists in the UK, well known for his subtle, underplayed works. Recent works have shown at the ICA, South London Gallery and Cornerhouse, Manchester.

Adam Chodzko
Ghost, together with films Echo and The Pickers
Old Nelson Inn, Harbour Street Tue, and Thur-Sun 10:00-18:00

Ghost is a custom-built kayak. It will be exhibited at the Whitstable Biennale - but some days it will be paddled from Whitstable to the Isle of Sheppey, where it will take members of the public to Deadman's Island, a small island off Queenborough, Isle of Sheppey. Deadman's Island is so called because it was used as a burial site for bodies of people who had died on the prison hulks moored in the Swale in the 19th Century. So Ghost is a vessel for visiting the dead.

A rower sits in the back of the two-man kayak, and a member of the public in the front. The passenger can paddle but when approaching Deadman's Island can lie down low and flat, like a body in a coffin with their head slightly raised. A video camera in the bow will record each journey of the kayak from just above the waterline looking in the direction of its destination.

Chodzko is one of the UK's most important artists. He has exhibited extensively in international solo and group exhibitions including: Tate, St Ives; Museo d'Arte Moderna, Istanbul Biennale, Venice Biennale; Royal Academy, London; PS1, NY; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham. Recent projects include commissions by Creative Time, New York, The Contemporary Art Society, Frieze Art Fair, and Hayward Gallery. His work is in many major collections.

Anna Lucas
Things that had stories rubbed out
Garden of 28 Clifton Road Thur-Sun 10:00-18:00

Experimenting with a new studio-based process, artist Anna Lucas's 16mm film - Things that had stories rubbed out, extends her recent investigations into perception and vision. A collection of photos, depicting things that could be screens, were used as a starting point for filming torch-lit visual dialogues with a group of artists and friends. The film uses raw and tentative footage from these shared moments of looking, in which glimpses and fragments of connection may be all that is discernable.

Anna Lucas is an artist/filmmaker who is increasingly being recognised for her film and video installations that transform daily experience into epic drama or sensual intimacy. She has previously had solo shows at Spike Island, Bristol, Chisenhale Gallery London, and FACT Liverpool. In 2008 she was artist in residence at Oxford University.

Karen Mirza & Ruth Beale
The Voyage of Nonsuch
Whitstable Museum & Gallery Mon-Sat 10:00-16:00, Sun 13:00-16:00

Mirza & Beal are making a new film investigating the hidden world of English maritime film archives. The film blends nationally important footage that is mostly hidden in archives in places like the BFI and National Maritime Museum, strange local amateur footage, and sections written and shot by the artists, often from found texts:

The sea level is rising at the rate of a sixteenth of an inch a year. In the year 160000 it will reach halfway up Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, and the site of the Battle of Trafalgar will be eight fathoms under the sea. The British spend four million pounds a year on bird-watching, more than anyone else in Europe. It is no doubt a compensation for living on an island and not being able to fly. No British citizen lives more than sixty miles from salt water, and most live considerably closer. Two million in fact can see it from an upstairs window...

Mirza runs the lab in London with Brad Butler, which plays an extensive part in curating new film work in the UK, expanding technical support for artists and hosting regular critical debates. Her recent projects include a major Artangel project, The Museum of Non Participation, Sep-Oct 2009. Beale often works participatively, and recent projects include Sisterly Bingo for GSK Contemporary at the Royal Academy of Arts, and Miss B's Salons, regular salons that bring together invited groups of artists and curators together.

Katie Paterson
Every Night About This Time
Various dates and times

For the Whitstable Biennale, Katie Paterson is making a series of thirteen works. She describes the work as a bit like a disparate orchestra; a fragmented composition, a concert of ideas taking place over 16 days that is elusive, fluid and fluttering, creating movement in space. The works include Black Firework for Dark Skies, a single black firework that will be unseen, happening in an unannounced location; All the Dead Stars, a lecture by cosmologist Ofer Lahav on stars that no longer exist; Streetlight Storm, a single streetlight in a back street of Whitstable that flickers in time with lightning storms happening across the world; Dying Star (doorbell), the sound of a dying star (a tiny hum close to a middle C, for a split second) plays every time a visitor opens a newsagents door for a few days.

Katie Paterson graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2007. Over the last two years she has had solo shows at the Matthew Bown Gallery, Albion, and Modern Art Oxford, group shows include Altermodern: Tate Triennial 2009.

Alex Pearl
Ghosts and Call
Horsebridge Arts & Community Centre Mon-Sat (see website for times)
Royal British Legion (see website for times)

Alex Pearl investigates failure and disappointment as important features of the human condition, and has the best self-deprecating humour on the UK art scene. He recently applied to a British Antarctic Survey competition to send an artist to Antarctica with an application outlining the reasons why he didn't actually want to travel to Antarctica. He spent the next year documenting his non-journey, detailing his weekly commuting between Ipswich and Bedford, his short trips to London, and all the ups and downs of his daily life. He also recently made a book, Feedback, of all the insults he's received on You Tube.

His new work for Whitstable arises out of a misunderstanding between Whitby (where Dracula landed) and Whitstable (where Peter Cushing star of Hammer Horror films lived). The artist calls his year of research, all documented on his Pearl Fisher blog, "an aimless ramble through forests of coincidence and disappointment. The narrative of the blog is the only thing loosely connecting the films presented in Whitstable'.

The films are - Ghosts, a set of three ghostly apparitions born of obsessive watching of Hammer horror films and an interest in Victorian theatrical magic, and Call, two films showing a male bingo caller calling plaintively to the ladies of Whitstable's Oxford Bingo Club.

Olivia Plender & Unnar Örn
Table Read
Whitstable Library Mon-Fri 09:00-18:00, Saturday 09:00-17:00,
Sunday 10:00-16:00

The project is a collaboration between artists Olivia Plender (UK) and Unnar Örn (Iceland). Over the summer of 2009 they spent two months exchanging their dreams as a kind of absurd historical record of that period. The stories that resulted from the artists' dream exchange were filmed in workshops in Whitstable in April 2010. The workshops are performances in themselves, fragmentary sketches for a play that may never be written. The film is being edited in May 2010.

Plender is fast becoming one of the UK's most important up and coming artists. Best known for her hand drawn comic book works, and performances which include the artist in period dress leading a group round key sites connected with Britain's Spiritualist movement. Solo shows/projects include Art in General, New York, 2008; Information; Frankfurter Kunstverein 2006 and The Medium and Daybreak Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, 2005. Group exhibitions include the 2009 Tate Triennial. She will exhibit in the 2010 British Art Show.

Kieren Reed
Whitstable Biennale Headquarters
Main Beach, Tuesday-Saturday 10:00-18:00

This year the Biennale HQ (visitor information centre) is both a sculpture and a functioning architectural object, specially built by artist Kieren Reed.

Aesthetically influenced by 1950's post war British architecture and its low cost design, functionality and durability of construction, a small kiosk will become the Whitstable Biennale Headquarters for the duration of the 2010 festival. Placed on the shingle beach, next to the Royal Native Oyster Stores, and referencing seaside architecture and tourist functionality, the HW will house artists' books and information.

Mikhail Karikis
Umbrella Hall Sun 27 June Times 16:30 and repeated at 19:00
Main Beach Sun 4 July Times 16:00 - 17:00

As a consequence of international economic calamities, a geographically expanding European Union, and continuing oppressive political regimes across the globe, there is an increasing mobility of populations. Moving away from home, people become strangers in their own country or abroad searching for financial stability or safety.

XENON, a collaborative project by artist Mikhail Karikis, orchestrates a series of unexpected encounters on stage and in the streets of Whitstable, between strangers engaged in unlikely acts. Soldiers, an acrobat, a woman reciting the entire Declaration of Human Rights from memory (Monica Ross), three sopranos (Juice Ensemble) and 'Death's Ferryman' stumble into each other evoking questions on belonging, memory, independence, territory and impossibility.

Performing artists include Monica Ross, Juice Ensemble, Conall Gleeson, E.laine, Amy Cunningham and Ben Crawley. XENON is part of a major six-part commission by the East Kent Festival Cluster.

Greek-born, London-based Mikhail Karikis studied music in his native country before moving to London to train in architecture with Archigram and art at The Slade. Coined by critics a 'sound alchemist' (Le Monde), Mikhail's practice is embraced by the concert hall, the art gallery and the world of design. The first international release of his music was by Björk (One Little Indian), followed by his album Orphica (Sub Rosa, 2007) to critical recognition. Orphica fuses glitch electronica with environmental recordings, Greek folk and a neo-baroque aesthetic marked by a distinctive part-avant-garde and part-Middle-Eastern vocal style. Mikhail investigates the voice as a sculptural material and a tool to explore politics of difference, harmony and conflict. Collaborators include members of the Hilliard Ensemble, Cantamus Choir, Juice Ensemble, visual artists Sonia Boyce, Zineb Sedira, fashion house Rozalb de Mura and Prada. His work has been released on compilations including DJ Spooky's Sound Unbound (MIT Press/Sub Rosa, 2008), and shown at Tate Modern, Queen Elizabeth Hall, BFI, Musée des Beaux Arts de Nîmes, the Nederlands Dans Theater and elsewhere.

Uddin & Elsey
Sunday 4 July Time and Venue TBC

Sonia Uddin & Leah Elsey are two of the brightest young artists on the London scene. Fresh back from an international residency in Sydney, they're launching a two year project with the Whitstable Biennale at this year's festival.

The Festival also features an extensive performance and events programme curated by Emma Leach & Gemma Sharpe, and a screening programme curated by Brian Dillon.

There is also a satellite programme of works by over 100 artists in addition to the main programmes.

More information to follow.


-- posted abroad

Monday, 24 May 2010

The Fall Before the Miracle

I know what it is to feel the blood drain from one's face. Today I felt real fear. A quiet moment at work had resulted in a few moments of online dalliance. I had decided to investigate my bolus of Internet links, checking they still functioned appropriately and led to no dead ends. Whilst performing this idle act of distraction I came across, unsurprisingly, the website of the Whitstable Biennale. At first I was very excited as the site had been renewed, reborn in it's 2010 plummage. But then fear overcame me, an irrational primal fear. I feared firstly that I had been excised from the whole event, lanced, expunged. Then upon discovering that was not the case another fear quickly overtook me, fear of inadequacy, fear that my offerings would not stand up to scrutiny. Perhaps I should gave sone more, perhaps I could have done it better. I felt cold, dizzy, sick to my stomach as I abruptly turned off the computer and went in search of consolation. The reader might assume at this point that I am looking for reassurance, fishing for compliments but in point of fact all I am hoping to express is that utter terror of being found wanting. In my current reading "False Testimonies" Paul Becker presents a series of "Miracles" micro-stories in which things are brought back to life. In one tale (of the redemption of a tortured man) he uses a device of narrative reversal which brings the protagonist (and reader) from terror to a state of happiness. We first encounter the man shackled in a cell in agonising pain but soon his saviours enter, take him down and place him on a machine which relocates his shoulders and ankles. Then they remove his bruises and unbreak his limbs with magical batons. Finally he is driven back to his home where his family welcome his return. For a while this morning I too craved this miracle, to be returned to that toiletless café in London's East End. But now I am in my cups and little matters so much as stroking Mr Pig and drinking a companionly cup of tea.

Saturday, 22 May 2010


My companion and I dined at The Museum Street Café a delightful little eaterie serving fine vegetarian fayre to the Guardian reading Buddhists of Ipswich. We have never been disappointed by the welcome or the lavish dishes served up by it proprietors Mark and Nell. We were especially looking forward to a bloodless meal as my companion has, of late, experienced a number of rather hematic dreams. The latest involved a colony of large blood sucking toads which sank their fangs into her décolletage. Perversely we opted for the richly Catholic mushroom and red wine cobbler and chatted to Mark about the reopening of the local cinema. He seemed in very good humour although he had apparently cut himself shaving and was sporting a small plaster on his neck.

My companion recently sent me this painting by Boucher, it has always been a favourite.


My new lodgings are much the nicest place I have lived for many years. However we do suffer somewhat from the noise of passing buses. There is some sort of acoustical concatenation at work here that serves to magnify the sound to a roar equivalent to a taxiing jumbo. Last night my companion and I watched A young John Lennon's bus riding antics with amazement whilst enjoying a fully immersive surround sound experience provided by the number 47. Many of the films we have watched recently have been punctuated by compananion's question "what did he say" leasing me to think that I must acquire a timetable as soon as possible. Thus armed I will be able to perfectly time the beginning of our viewing and factor in tea breaks at appropriate intervals. I am fiercely determined that this aphotic force will not impinge on our new lives.

Yesterday the flies returned. They seem to love the bedroom and whenever the window has been left open I invariably return to find as many as ten gambolling around the stars. It has been seasonably warm at last, my need for fresh air has outweighed my dislike for these meanest of creatures. This said they are small, reasonably inoffensive and soon slain.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

I Alex Pearl hereby avow and attest that I shall never drive through the towns of Southend or Chelmsford again.

Today's itinerary involves a trip to Southend via Chelmsford. My companion and I are picking up a table purchased on eBay and then going on to finally view the Tap gallery where we are both to have solo shows in the near future. Before we can do this we must divest my companion's car of it's current load; a Heal's chest of drawers with considerably more wood in it than is healthy for sinew or back.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

I am constantly amazed at both the lack of urgency and lack of remorse displayed by young people today. Yet again we were forced to make the coaches wait for late students who, when they finally shambled up, did not even offer an apology. I firmly believe there is no excuse for such carelessness.
Apart from this, the day went tolerably well and whilst I did not manage to see a single exhibition on my itinerary, I did take in some interesting work at the Jerwood Space and Whitechapel Galleries. However, I can write no more. The driver in an effort to make up time has given his coach wings. Unfortunately we are flying much as one would expect a coach to fly.

-- posted abroad

Apparently in his introduction to "Einstein's Mistakes, The Human Failings of Genius" the author blames Einstein for Donald Crowhurst's descent into madness. The blackness awaits us all, it needs only the slightest excuse. Our conveyance is swooping drunkenly around the roundabouts and sliproads that mark the beginning of the journey to London. It's driver, a tall man with a long brown beard, bald head and beetling brows, says little but handles the coach with preternatural skill. For the first tome in weeks it is a most perfect warm spring morning the green is shining and I am texting sweet blandishments to my beloved. I am travelling on what is to be the last student trip of the year. It is likely that, upon our arrival the young scholars will soon melt into backstreets and we, the staff, will be left to our own devices.

-- posted abroad

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Where to begin? Last night my companion and I watched a strange film. "The Informant" had somehow passed me by when on general release but we liked the cover on the DVD and had seen good Steven Soderbergh films in the past. The film seemed listless and unbelievable at first, lacking in dramatic tension. We enjoyed Matt Damon's endless internal ramblings (my companion especially failing to spot that they were a little unusual). As the awkward unhomely atmosphere continued however, the plot, the truth and Mr Damon's character began to unravel. Nothing seemed to be true. Lie was piled upon lie. As I have mentioned before I am also reading the purported diaries of Abraham Lincoln (vampire slayer) a happy nonsense of a book although a little research has revealed a mote of truth in the characterisation of confederate troops as unearthly creatures. A contemporary account describes them as follows:

“Then arose that do-or-die expression, that maniacal maelstrom of sound; that penetrating, rasping, shrieking, blood-curdling noise that could be heard for miles and whose volume reached the heavens–such an expression as never yet came from the throats of sane men, but from men whom the seething blast of an imaginary hell would not check while the sound lasted.” -Colonel Keller Anderson of Kentucky's Orphan Brigade.

Paul Becker's thinly veiled "False Testimonies", the persona of the Gimp, my own 'live' rocket launches, the cat called pig, this internal monologue, my 'real' life, where lies the truth? I know not.

Monday, 17 May 2010

The Gimp & Olga

Herewith an image of Mistress Lock's creations 'The Gimp & Olga'

Sunday, 16 May 2010

The Gimp

Yesterday, made up in my sailor suit and wig, a sort of grey mist overcame me as I assumed the persona of The Gimp. Admittedly this was partly because I had decided not to wear my glasses. This removal of the visual dislocated me, I could not fully connect with the 'real'. People's reactions either did not register or were blurred to a point that they did not affect me. I became undead, a sort of phantom. It was all a little disturbing. As the Gimp I'm not sure all of what I did and I fervently hope I will not be brought to book for my actions. Weirdly I am also simultaneously nagged with fear that I failed to do my job well, that I was unbearably hammy.

Later, after these surreal shennanigans, several of us retired to a nearby field to play with fireworks My final Launch, a day after the Americans sent their final shuttle into space, went off with only partial success. So far either the broadcast has gone out and the rocket has failed or the rocket has launched and the broadcast failed. However this and the ridiculous scale of my rockets both seem to have become the leitmotif of the project. Both of my attempts on this last day flew but failed to broadcast.

My companion has just sent me this photograph of Donald Crowhurst. It arrived without comment. There are no flies left now. Mr Pig sleeps soundly between us.


On returning from breakfast, a birthday celebration at The Greyhound, I returned to my rooms to discover only one fly extant. Mistress Lock was also at breakfast. She informed us that she had many interesting photographs of "Gimp" and some video which I look forward to seeing soon. Post prandial exhaustion has put me in my bed again.

Three mice and a periwig

My dear companion has just recalled a time when The Pig caught a mouse and laid it neatly under her bedside table next to two toy mice. Each (apparently) faced the same direction and was evenly spaced.

I am just about ready to face the events of yesterday, my acting debut as "the Gimp". But there are so many memories I feel the need to allow them to settle before committing them to writing. The photgraph below shows my hairpiece but not the full effect of my transformation.

-- posted abroad

Flies and Spiders

Mr Pig (my companion's cat) has begun a slow genocide. There are two less flies than a few minutes ago. The survivors seem unperturbed at the lessening in their numbers continuing to gambol while the stealthy executioner looks on.

Pig is a skillful killer of the tiny. At the studio she slays spiders laying their curled corpses out in a neat rows.


Eight small flies have taken up residence in my bedroom. They doodle lazy triangles above my bed and then quite suddenly explode into frenzied dogfights which end as quickly as they start. They rest in pairs, two to a star on old Christmas decorations that still hang from the ceiling.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Launch 6

My companion is returned from Paris much scarred by her experience. She spent most of the day in bed refusing to be stirred. For my part I am even now still suffering with an intense headache which has not abated all day. Tomorrow we will travel to Wysing where I have been asked to play the role of "Gimp" a creation of artist Hayley Lock. Not acustomed to acting I am unsure how it will be received. If I am booed the trip will not be for ought as I also intend to fire a final rocket into the heavens it will carry a small camera broadcasting it's rise and inevitable fall. Today's test went well I was delighted not to have destroyed a £40 camera. Though I was a somewhat concerned when my companion mentioned she thought I had just fired a rocket into a nesting area of the rare little ringed plover. This aside, anyone watching would or should have seen the spiralling descent of Launch 6

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Launch 5: a thin trail of smoke

This afternoon's rather unspectacular broadcast from a field somewhere along the coast may have not seemed very interesting but it marks an important step forward. Today I have proved I can build a rocket powerful enough to carry a small camera some way into the sky. By "build" I mean modify as my new collection of rockets are in fact merely customised fireworks. Once removed of it's explosive payload and despite carrying a camera module and a new jacket the rocket flew tolerably well. The broadcast also went well I think though I yet again forgot my phone and was unable to warn Rob or Rebecca of my impending launch. I can only blame my Forgetfulness on the terrible headache (brought on, I think, by my stiff neck) that has beset me all day.

Tonight at long last my dearly missed companion returns from her trip to Paris I fervently hope she has about her person (as she so often does) some form of remedy, a compress or other medicaments that may ease my suffering.

Black thoughts

I am still abed. My neck aches and I cannot be fussed with getting dressed. But I must. There are rockets awaiting assembly at my studio for a launch this afternoon and the following two days. I need the mental emetic coffee to exorcise this lethargic mood but I cannot bear it without milk and I am without milk.


Wednesday, 12 May 2010


Received Today at 1305

"Hellish morning trying to find dog cemetery horrible man grabbing me by the waist and holding onto me got my knitting needle out and said allez vous en loudly then another man came to the rescue and then persistantly asked me to go with him for a drink i am on the shitty outskirts going to get back to the centre now and never return
lots and lots of love A xxxxx"

My companion sends me messages typed on French keyboards which have no punctuation marks. This lack of grammar makes them more worrying as if blurted out in a hurry while some dark force scratches at the window. As darkness falls I am yet again reading A dear friend has given me a book which claims to be based upon Abraham Lincoln's lost diaries. It wildly suggests that whilst he was a politician he was also hiding a secret life as a vampire hunter. Really this is too much to believe.

However, am I alone when looking at our current politcal leaders in feeling a compulsion to reach for the garlic?

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Peril in Paris

Another message from my companion I now truly fear for her safety! Her hotel is perilously close to the Quartier Pigalle a district of Paris with little to recommend it except that Picasso and Lautrec had studios there. This is in itself perhaps not a recommendation. Since her arrival she has been beset by men and their lascivious intentions. At the hotel she was told by a helpful concierge that no woman in Paris has breasts because all they eat is black coffee and cigarette smoke and she should take such attention as a compliment. Running from rather than following this excellent advice she went to a pawnbrokers near the hotel and bought a wedding band which she wears like a talisman.
Earlier I stumbled upon this engraving from "Varney the Vampire"

Monday, 10 May 2010

Launch. Day 2

Oh misery piled upon misery. My companion has sent a long distressed message from Paris. She has run away even before she could meet the notable artist for reasons I cannot repeat here. Apparently she may see him tomorrow for a short time. I am sick with worry and short of getting on a horse tonight I have little recourse but to wait and hope for happier tidings. Her cat seems settled in my company which is somewhat of a blessing although I have to admit to leaving a window open and having to make a desperate dive to pull her back in (my lodgings are on the second storey and I fear even for a cat the fall would have been fatal). Even as I write, however, she mewls relentessly into my face and the 'naughty cupboard' awaits her.
Earlier today, at five to be precise, I made my second rocket launch. This time the gantry was placed on the fire escape to the rear of my flat. The broadcast went well although I felt that Mr Smith seemed a bit disappointed at the location's lack of "fieldness". I will make a third launch tomorrow, hopefully the rocket will go upwards instead of down.

Should anyone wish to see tomorrows broadcast they will find the means here

-- posted abroad

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Launch. day one

Last night I dreamt of my companion but as she might have been years ago. It was a time before I knew her, she was living in the sort of bedsit squalor that many of us experienced as students. Several of us were squeezed into her basement room sitting upon a deep litter of paper, books and small dead animals. A large grey (alive) badger was reclining on her bed snuffling at some dark matter. At some stage my glasses became separated from me and were broken, trampled into the ground. Once recovered I discovered that the right hand lens had been cracked. I was aware that they were new and expensive but was not overly perturbed.

I have been looking at the Whitstable Biennale website (delighted with my own page) and was daydreaming that with all the tap dancing and invisible fireworks that perhaps artists must all be mad and that we shall wake to sanity in strait waistcoats.

Dreams and reverie aside, today with my companion's assistance I made my first rocket launch for 'Field Broadcast'
Here follow some rather farcical images of my makeshift field broadcast tent and rocket gantry.

The rockets sputtered and flamed reaching a maximum height of a third of an inch. Unfortunately the broadcast itself did not work quite as well as expected producing only a short image of a stationary rocket.

-- posted abroad

Friday, 7 May 2010

A delightful young lady, Miss Emma Leach telephoned today. I was hanging upside down modelling for some drawing students at the time so I may have sounded strained. It soon transpired that Miss Leach is working for the Whitstable Biennale and was trying to arrange a tap dancing show at the bingo hall where I made my film. My contact there, Mr Bown has moved on so I fear I was of little use. This evening seated on my new sofa I have been perusing the biennale website which has suddenly sprung to life. Events are listed, much excitement promised. The sofa was constructed in a largely good humoured team effort by my companion and I. Putting together an Ikea sofa is much like discovering the workings of a magic trick, all cardboard, staples and string.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

"She has a lovely neck"

I have just had a discussion with my companion. It seems her invitation to Paris came about because the esteemed artist mentioned in my previous post had seen a photograph exclaiming "you must bring her, she will be perfect". While she is dreaming of Paris I have been booking tickets and rooms for my own journeying. Firstly rooms at the Continental in Whitstable and secondly train tickets for a lecture I have been asked to deliver in Newcastle (under lyme). Thankfully my expenses are to be covered for this journey.

Home and Away

I am waiting for a sofa. It is to be delivered by pantechnicon between two and six this afternoon. I have started early. My companion is in a state of excitement, a condition which has manifest in lighthearted cleaning of kitchen and bathroom. It may be that the prospect of something to sit on has driven her to these extremes or it may be her recent invitation to Paris. An eminent painter has offered an all expenses paid trip with accomodation at a hotel in Montmartre. He seems gentlemanly in demeanor but I have natural fears that her virtue may be under threat. The trip has been organised to celebrate a retrospective of this gentleman's work at The Pompidou Centre. This morning, as is our habit now, we completed the Guardian quick crossword over coffee at a local café. We were surprised to find that this gentleman and his family provided answers to several of the clues.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

At work, avoiding work, I am staring out of an upper storey window at the small decorative spire of St Henrietta's which lies opposite the college. The sky is cinereal, there is a light drizzle and the coffee is sour. I am glancing boredly at stories of new ash clouds which could threaten the return of my colleagues from New York. But it is unlikely. To my left is a copy of Paul Becker's False Testimony. I have read, or at least scanned (my concentration level allows no more at present), the first two pieces. The second purports to be a witness statement against an immolated witch who shares a name with my companion. Still disquieted by the power of 'Verbal', I find it uncannily affecting and worry about the pain of a death by burning.

Are witches, I wonder, usually dispatched similarly to vampires?

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Keyser Söze

My companion and I are on a train bound for London. We are heading to the book launch of our dear friend Paul Becker. My companion describes him as a "black bear" and has warned me that much of his output is rather pornographic. The launch tonight is for a collection called "False Testimony". In reference to last night's viewing I came across this note in an august online journal:

'In his 1999 review of Fight Club, film critic Roger Ebert commented, "A lot of recent films seem unsatisfied unless they can add final scenes that redefine the reality of everything that has gone before; call it the Keyser Söze syndrome." '

My companion has a similar syndrome in her name. She always spots the final twist within the first few minutes' viewing, tells me and then loses confidence. It is a little like watching a film in reverse.

-- posted abroad

Darkness surrounds me. I am beset on all sides by demons. Apart from this, work is going well. "Meleager's Garland" opens soon in Lincoln, though I feel due largely to a feeling of lethargic ennui I may not make the opening. Today's business has been the testing of the live broadcast software for
Hopefully next week will see my attempts to launch rockets broadcast live onto desktops around the world. I am sincerely hoping I won't blow my fingers off whilst craving a bit of innocent drama. My test broadcast was much more pedestrian as I chose to film a surveillance camera that swivels menacingly in the street outside my new lodgings. So far settling into the flat is progressing at a languid pace. The purchase of a lurid rug has allowed my companion and I to 'picnic' in the living room. We still do most of our 'living' in the bedroom which is in itself larger than my old appartments at St George's street. Last night, huddled in bed, we watched a film in which a character called Verbal constructed it's entire narrative from the words on papers pinned to the wall behind his interrogator.

-- posted abroad