Wednesday, 30 December 2009

continued from Monday's post:

...At first, she dismissed them as coincidences, the kind you notice, think of as a little weird, and then shrug off. Like the day she finally accepted that her favourite pair of shoes - an old pair of combat boots she picked up in a flea market and wore into the ground - were beyond repair and threw them out, and the next day, on the riverbank, there were fourteen shoe soles washed up. Fourteen. She counted them.

Later, the connections - that’s the word she uses for them - moved out of the realm of coincidence and into that of just plain creepy. It was the week after her Aunty Doris died, the old man’s last surviving sister, and she was feeling pretty shook up. She hadn’t spoken with that side of her family in years - still hasn’t - but she’d always liked the old lady. Most of the few memories she can bear to hang on to from her childhood have to do with Aunty Doris, a floral-patterned and talcum-powdered counterpoint to the old man’s tobacco-bitter darkness. So she goes to the river, because thoughts have been stirred up that she figured were burned fast to the bottom of the pan years ago. She doesn’t have her camera with her - she still regrets that now - because she’d jumped on her bike on a whim straight from work. But she can recall the image like it’s a photo of the objects she found on the shore: waiting for her, that’s how she puts it. There was a tea cosy, sodden and mud-stained, sure, but otherwise the exact likeness of the one her Aunty Doris gave her for Christmas the year before she moved away for good. There was an old lady’s cardigan, the loose-knitted kind, short in the waist, like what some old folks wear to bed. She’d never seen her Aunty wear one herself, but when she saw it she got a picture in her head, clear as day, of the old lady propped up in bed with the cardigan round her shoulders. And there was a pair of spectacles, one lens missing, and these she’s willing to swear could have been the very same ones she saw Aunty Doris wear every day that she knew her to read the classifieds in the local paper. She would have taken a photo of each item if she’d been able. She couldn’t actually bring herself to touch them, though she stood there staring at them for twenty, maybe twenty-five minutes solid. The whole incident creeped her out, and for a while she avoided going back to the river bank.

She did return though, eventually, and does still. She carries her camera without fail. She’s become methodical - near scientific - in her documenting of the objects she finds. She’s got a wall in her flat devoted to the images she’s taken, but it’s almost full now and they’re going to spill over onto the next wall, which isn’t as good because it’s got the door to the kitchen right in the middle. But she likes to see them all spread out in front of her - it makes the connections easier to spot. There’s not yet been anything as major as what she calls the Aunty Doris situation, but even the tiny patterns she notices give her some satisfaction. There’s a message in them. Maybe over time the message will become easier to see, and maybe even whoever or whatever’s sending it will turn up. Not a ghost, of course. Something bigger, something cosmic perhaps. She’ll just keep taking her pictures and see.

Monday, 28 December 2009

what happens to the sole after the shoe dies?

She has a theory that she has not shared with anyone. She thinks that someone might be trying to send her a message. She doesn’t believe in ghosts or anything like that -- only crazies believe in ghosts and she’s not crazy -- but she’s always been good at spotting patterns, and lately she’s been seeing a lot of them.

There’s a place where she goes, see, when she needs to be alone. A spot on the river, where it bends, right before the weir. It’s wide and gentle, and it reminds her of a place where she used to go canoeing. There’s a beach, of sorts. Most folk would say that calling it a beach is an optimistic description; it’s more of a pebbly midden of shoreline that juts out from a muddy bank into the shallow rapids, before tapering off into the trees and shrubbery. She cycles there, and clambers down from the path with her bike. Twenty-five minutes from town, but it feels like a whole life time away.

Every river bank is littered with junk, and for a while she didn’t think this place was any different. She’s got an eye for washed-up garbage, an interest in detritus and other folks’ discards. Sometimes she takes photos of the stuff she finds, grainy saturated images on the cheap camera she carries. That’s how she started to notice the connections...

(tbc. maybe.)

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Always Be Prepared

The show's going well: it's good to have it on its feet again, and in front of an audience.

And the following is based on a true conversation...


(in a car)

me: after that I lay in bed figuring out where the best hiding place would be in the house, you know, just in case zombies did attack in the middle of the night.

H: The attic!

me: Yeah, yeah, the attic.

H: With the ladder pulled up

me: Yup. But then I couldn't get this image out of my head... Imagine opening the trap to check if the zombies are gone and just seeing the whole house filled with them staring back at you!


H: (thoughtfully) Maybe we should stash some food up there...


Also, if you're wondering where the zombies came from (in my head that is, not where they come from generally), I think I've figured it out. It's because a friend of mine searched for "ugliest dog" in google the other night, and showed me the picture that came up.

Go on, you know you want to.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Zombies ate my creativity!

Anxiety? I laugh in the face of anxiety!
...(and then have zombie nightmares the night before a new show...)

Monday, 14 December 2009

Such stuff...

I'm in rehearsals for a show right now, so my days are filled mostly with, well, rehearsals (or food preparation, it seems).

Here's a list of images found in my dreams last night (two separate dreams, I believe):

at least four people I know personally: Joel, Jer, the Little One, Dempsey.
Willem Dafoe
William Burroughs
a cocaine factory
my mobile phone
a police raid
picnic benches
an orchard
my old flat in London

I don't pretend that any of it makes sense to me.

Monday, 7 December 2009

I am.

Apologies for the long silence, if anyone is actually following this on a regular basis. I've started a few posts of late but have found them too concerned with gazing at my own navel - and if I find that tedious, I'm certainly not going to inflict it on anyone else.

But I've just had a lovely weekend of lazing about, doing little of note, but all of it in the sort of company that makes my heart smile.

A rest is sometimes as good as a cure...

At the end of last week I made a flying visit to London; I had a rehearsal, a meeting, a ticket to a play, and 30 hours in which to fulfill these things. Two of those hours I passed at the Wellcome Collection, exploring the new exhibition on identity. If you live in London and you've never been to the Wellcome Collection, stop reading this and go now: it's a beacon of rationality on Euston Road. The Collection broadly describes itself as a place where "you can consider what it means to be human". The current exhibition is more specific in its exploration of identity: how we formulate an answer to the question of "who am I?". I left it with a new interest - Claude Cahun - a French photographer and writer born at the end of the nineteenth century, and dissatisfied with the sexual identity presented to her by society at the time. I have to look up more of her writings. Here is a very cool photo of her pulled off the net - presumably a self-portrait as that is primarily what she produced.

In general, it was refreshing to see the vast grey areas of sexual identity acknowledged and presented rationally, which rarely occurs in the media (remember the furor this past summer about the South African runner Caster Semenya?). It's even more rare to be presented publicly with role models, individuals whose choices in their lives reflect the fact that while human sex may have biological determinants, it is more importantly a matter of what you feel you are - where you think you fall on the spectrum of female to male. It's a topic about which I feel quite strongly. At the end of the exhibition, you're invited to fill out a "monitoring form" unlike any I have encountered before. The very first page, in place of the binary identity question of "male/female", instead offers this (apologies for the poor quality picture, but you may just be able to make it out):

Where do you place yourself? Now imagine if we lived in a world where that was the standard...

Thursday, 3 December 2009

navel-gazing what I've been doing too much of lately, so no new post as yet.

In the meantime, I highly recommend my friend Greg's new project and blog here: he's writing a twitter play a day for one hundred days, aiming to be a better person by the end of it. Ninety-seven plays to go, but I think he's not far off his goal already...