Thursday, 30 December 2010

Escort Agency?

Less than six months after the picture was taken I crashed the car – wrote it off; my mum’s Escort. The impact (see the driver’s door) shattered my right femur.
Funny thing: the car I crashed into, it was almost identical - in make, type and colour - to the car I was driving: I could have ran an Escort Agency. According to the police, a lot of car-crashes are caused by blowjobs (not blow-outs). But I’ve no such excuse; I was driving my Escort alone: 'escorted', but on my own.
I spent six weeks in hospital – in traction (where, look, you could still smoke in bed). The woman smoker, Paula, she’d been traveling - pillion - on the back of her boyfriend’s motorbike. Her leg was so badly smashed that they (at the time of the photo) were struggling to save it. Paula had been found in a hedge - like a rag-doll - with multiple fractures: gangrene had already infected the open-wound of her fractured tibia.
Her boyfriend lost control of the motorbike in a country lane as they were on their way to a Kate Bush concert; no other vehicles involved. A passing motorist found the boyfriend lying unconscious in the road: the paramedics, when they arrived, assumed the victim was a lone-rider. The force of the crash had thrown Paula, deep into the thick hedgerow bordering the lane, where she eventually regained consciousness, and remained - in agony - all night, and for the best part of the following day. The boyfriend didn’t regain consciousness for three days - Paula's parents were on away on holiday - and with it being a weekend, her disappearance went unnoticed. Paula might have died in that hedge - died in a hedge on the way to see Kate Bush – if it weren't for a farmer stopping his tractor, for a piss.
We used to share a smoke and a joke: she was going to see a Bush but ended-up in a hedge; and me, I’d escorted an Escort into another Escort. I was discharged before Paula; never did find out if they saved her leg. 

Monday, 27 December 2010

Sex Mechanic

A rare photograph of something we did a lot of in the front drive, for the benefit of complete strangers – passersby - or, quite often, just to shock the neighbours. I was learning photography, my brother was learning to be a mechanic - so it was natural. We called it ‘Car Job’ and I think it was the last ever game we played together (he was 16, I was 20). The rules were simple: whenever my brother had to work on the car (parked in the drive outside the house) we’d keep an eye open for an old person – or better still, an old Army-Colonel type (not Navy, though) to come doddering up the road, and, just as they were passing we’d adopt the pose of ‘the embrace’, and I’d scream, ‘get off me, leave me alone; you’re nothing but a sex mechanic, you’. If they’d ever said anything, (they were all very English; the most we ever got was the odd, ‘tut’), we’d have said that we were brothers, but we weren’t really that close.
The picture was taken in 1984, and it almost didn’t turn out: I failed to load the film-spiral correctly and several of the negatives were ruined. The white stain conceals a box of man-sized tissues, and a couple of boys; one, hugging himself but looking to the world like he’s being embraced by his brother, whose legs are spread open, like the toolbox: all in all an X-rated picture.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Liz And Burton Back Together

He dressed his first (real) girlfriend up as his grandmother, and proposed to her in a derelict house, where her dressing gown married the wallpaper (both wore a flower).
In the absence of a wedding photographer, he took a photograph of her reading the newspaper: the front page celebrated yet another getting-back-together: Richard Burton and Liz Taylor.
What was he thinking, taking a picture predicting what? Everlasting coupledoom? His grandmother was only 16. She turned him down.  
I’m going to his fiftieth birthday tomorrow; says his life’s sorted. ‘No wife and kids in tow’. Two – to my knowledge – aborted. But in that old ‘Grandgirlmother’ photo, it’s as if he took ‘the view’ he was waiting to grow into; like, it was something he already knew, but didn’t know he knew; saw it in embryo.
He became a successful interior designer, and set up home with a woman old enough to be his grandmother’s daughter: but never say, 'old enough to be his mother'.  

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

It Was Curtains For The Bride: The Udder Woman

A friend once told me, ‘the best thing about sex in hotels is you can wipe your dick on the curtains’. But I’m not in a hotel, I’m alone in a tiny caravan, in a field - surrounded by cows: I spend an evening of undulation contemplation.
Let me explain. The two pictures on the wall – local landscapes of the Black Forest -, they appear to be married to the curtains - drawn together - somehow, yet, the ripples in the curtains didn’t in any way cause the landscapes to undulate. The only explanation: undulation radiation. Whatever it is, it’s spread to my sleeping bag. With ruched bags under my eyes, I fall asleep; I dream.
In my dream, I’m the groom at an arranged wedding – an orange wedding – we are both wearing orange. And we not entirely human, we are part-curtain; matching curtains. By this I mean, I was a curtain, and she a curtainess (an much the same way as a seam requires a seamstress). On the first night of our honeymoon, my bride has to carry me over a cattle grid at the entrance to our hotel. When we get up to our room – on the twenty-second floor – she attempts to carry me over a second cattle grid, guarding our bedroom door; but for some reason she fails to lift me, so she throws her curtain – in other words herself - over the cattle grid – Sir Walter Raleigh style. Once in the room, she looks perfectly normal – more female than fabric - as far as dream-wives go. But it didn’t take long for me to mistake her for a man (a curtain). She had a very pronounced ribcage (another cattle grid?), but it wasn’t that, that made me suspect: my hand wanders down a bit lower and I find myself gripping this dripping-dangling thing. It doesn’t turn me on, so I turn on my head-torch (yes, I was married in a head-torch. She wore a veil) to see that my palm’s wet, with white stuff. I whip back the quilt: she has an udder. The only other item of furniture in the room: an upturned milking-stool (in the half-light it looked like an abandoned udder; an organ-donor udder?). I go and sit on it (drape myself over it without bothering to right it). I wake up, pull back the curtains; it’s dawn. I’m no longer certain I’m a curtain, but I’m still vegan; all the cows have gone to be milked. 

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Spied But Untried (No.3)

Bottle-space – roof-space correspondence. The amount empty-bottle-space in each bottle is relative to the amount of empty-roof-space beneath each bottle. The relationship between the volume of empty-bottle-space and the volume of empty-roof-space is the same, even though the bottle on the left is less full than the bottle on the right and both of roofs are of the same size.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Lady In Red

The lady in red is as far from the lamppost on the left as she is from the red covered bike seat, also on the left. The red covered bike seat on the right – in the foreground – is the same distance from the lady in red as she is from the far-right lamppost. The distance between the back of the bike seat at the front and the front of the bike seat at the back is equal not only to the distance between the two lampposts in the background, but also equal to the distance between the lamppost on the left and the lamppost in the middle-ground. The distance between the front of the red car on the left and the back of the red car on the right is relative to the distance between the front of the red bike seat on the left and the back of the red bike seat on the right.
On the far right of the picture – on the rocks beside the river – we can see a bit of leg, the leg of a sunbather (turning red, waiting to turn red, ripening, reddening?). The cutting-edge of the frame makes her topless - and topless she was - but it’s beyond this picture’s remit (scope, frame) to describe any further. But it’s interesting to speculate: her vital statistics might have found further correspondence? The distance between her breasts – the bridge spanning her cleavage - might have been relative to the gaps between the parked cars (parked an equal distance from one another).

Monday, 13 December 2010

More Chair Than Child

She shows me a photograph of her mother – taken before her mother was her mother- taken when her mum was a child. She says, 'that's my mum in the chair, but it's as if she's not there; so I want you to do a couple of things for me: tell me why I don’t like it’, and take a photograph – a portrait of me, just like it – as vacant...just as bad’.
Why she didn’t like it.
Not about the sitter - more about the chair than the child: less about the chair, than about the hair obscuring her eye. No: it’s a picture mostly made up of grass and sky. But more than any of these events, what the photograph does best is, portray two tents.
Her portrait.
Not about the kneeler (the opposite of that infamous chair photograph of Christine Keeler), it's more about the feet - more about the seat. Planned it (in my minds-eye) to be a portrait, titled: Lady in red, sitting on a red chair, with red-eye: but she looked to pretty – even with red-eye – that I asked her to kneel. She blushed, making for an even redder (better?) picture. But she wanted ‘bad’, not red. So I said, ‘all right, no head’. So here’s a photograph about red shoes… and socks... and soles; and socks in reality are no more than sleeping bags for feet; and where do sleeping bags sleep? In tents... and tents have poles. With this photograph, I've pole-vaulted - clean over - 'Portraiture's Achilles heel': how do you capture the 'soul of the sitter? I had her kneel. 

Friday, 10 December 2010

Nite Flite: The Icing On The Cake

Two of the artists on Nite Flite, Michael Jackson and Minnie Ripperton, revolve and dissolve into one another. There was something ‘unearthly’ (unhealthy?) about the way Michael Jackson kept re-mapping himself, whiter than winter. Jackson and Ripperton are no longer of this earth: both died young – Ripperton, in 1979 at 31.
There was a rumour - an urban legend - that Paul McCartney died in a car crash 1966 and was secretly replaced by a lookalike. Hundreds of supposed clues pointing to McCartney’s death were reported by fans whose research methods included: playing songs backwards and claiming to hear hidden, coded-messages: like Lennon saying, ‘I buried Paul’ (on Strawberry Fields); scrutinising Beatles’ album cover-art for visual clues and giving them a symbolic interpretation: the cover of Abbey Road was widely perceived to symbolise a funeral procession, with Lennon (dressed all in white) as an heavenly body, Ringo (all in black) as a mourner, Harrison (in scruffy jeans), a gravedigger, and a barefoot Sir Paul as a corpse.
I wonder if the tare that is Great Britain - on the cover of Nite Flite - wasn't accidental, but was the work of the NF (The National Front, a British right-wing whites-only political party, who were at their most active when Nite Flite was released, in 1988). NF - an all-white GB? Not as farfetched as it seems. Semen, that’s how the map of GB was formed: by the NF on the cover of NF. Hundreds of NF members, up and down the land, were ordered to go out and buy NF (Nite Flite), and masturbate over it during a full moon, whilst thinking of England - thinking hard, of England. And the ability to ejaculate a perfect map of Great Britain comes as naturally to, and out of, National Front members, as piping a cream cake does to Nigella Lawson (NL)?
The icing on the cake - as soon as NF semen map of GB was dry, each member was ordered to deposit (disguise?) the record in a charity shop, amongst other second-hand records: a subversive method by which the records - complete with a secret, secreted map of Britain - are redistributed back into society. Remember, at this stage the all-white map would have been invisible on the record cover; it would have appeared nothing more than a crinkled patch of over-dry sky. This is where the sandpaper comes in. As the record is being slotted into place (between the other record-stock) a sheet of sandpaper is inserted between the back-cover of Nite Flite and the record immediately facing it. Time and motion does the rest: the constant thumbing (of the records, by the British public) – over time, bit by bit, county by county - reveals a vision of an all-white Britain: the pipedream-of an Arian cream-team; a land jerked and chafed into existence – the product of NF semen and sand. My copy of Nite Flite was an NF wet dream: now I know how Great Britain was made.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

An Unreliable Record

Found Nite Flite in a second-hand shop in Brighton. I was looking for Night Flight (Vol de Nuit), Saint Exupery’s novel of 1931 based on his experiences as an airmail pilot in Argentina. Nite Flite cost 50p (Ryan Air prices, on account of the cover being damaged: ‘Bargain - it should have been a pound’, the owner said). But I didn’t mind - I always judge an album by its cover; I wanted Exupery’s literature, but came away with Exupery’s – a pilot’s – point of view of the UK, completely covered in snow (topical or what? And Ireland relocating to the right could have something to do with Ryan Air, too). Antoine Saint Exupery was a flyer – spent most of his life airborne -, his most famous book, The Little Prince, was written and illustrated in the cockpit of his plane. Exupery’s best ideas came when he was looking down on the world from above; the author of The Little Prince was aviator first, and a writer, second.
I could never navigate by the stars (as Exupery did), because I’m too spaced-out, too taken in by ‘found’ tares on unreliable records. I spent most of the train journey back to London scrutinizing what - with the ‘other-worldliness of the ‘find’ – I’d got into my head was Planet Earth (floating in the sky – moored, montaged - above Scotland). Where off earth - yes, 'off' - what planet did I think the picture had been taken from? But I didn't think and by the time the train was passing through East Croydon I was convinced I could make-out America (on the left), Africa, and Russia (over on the right), yet, yet, yet, the UK was missing…there’s no us attached to Europe! Look.
The whole experience (find) was so ‘other worldly’ that - for the entire Brighton to London train journey – I mistook the moon for the earth. And the irony of it: of finding a record – an album I wasn’t even looking for and had no intention of ever listening to, a record of ‘our shore’, defined by a tare, dominated by a world (our world) without us there: we had been torn off the face of the Earth. An unreliable record matched only by my unreliable knowledge of the moon and the stars.    

Saturday, 4 December 2010


I started early: when I was younger, I holed my little brother (that’s me behind him - heartless - about to club him with a stone). Then I holed a ship, the QE2.
Private targets: Take a shower wearing nothing except two monocles: Rich Tea biscuits, one in each eye. But they must be McVitie’s Rich Tea, one of the only biscuits through which you can see: try it – they are perforated like a showerhead. Blinkered by biscuits, look into the eye of the shower - let the jets of water dissolve the Rich Teas before your eyes; like Saul on the road to Damascus. A Rich Tea Epiphany: don’t dunk them in tea - wear biscuits in the shower.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Outsider Inside Her

Through, and at, that’s how I like to look at art. The painting hung on the wall by the window: this is important, as it’s positioning meant I could never observe the canvas from the right-hand-side – in profile (but who’d want to look at a painting in profile, anyway?).
My mistake? Taking the canvas off the wall to clean it (don’t forget, the outlaw Jessie James was hanging a picture, when he was shot in the back). That’s how it happened. Seen from the side, that hole in the head that’d once given me so much space (to dream), turned into the cameo of a face – like Munch’s Scream. I now look ‘at’ where I once looked ‘through,’ and forward, ‘to’: somethingness where there was nothingness - a Fontana stare - sometimes it’s a curse to be so visually aware.
And it gets worse. This ready-made cameo has gone and cursed my Camus. There’s a painting on the cover of paperback copy Albert Camus’ The Outsider: read it years ago, but never paid much attention to the cover. Only now I discover it’s a painting by Marcel Duchamp’s brother; it’s a portrait of Raymond Duchamp, by Jacques Villon: both - despite the name, Villon - the brothers of Marcel Duchamp. 
I can no longer look at this slashed canvas without thinking of Camus (whose hero, was in prison, for stabbing an Arab, in The Outsider). The irony of a ready-made face - in place of the real thing - wouldn’t have been lost on Marcel Duchamp, whose first marriage was a sham. 

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Love At First Sight

This is the only painting I own, and was until yesterday, the only picture - of any kind – that hung on my wall. It was a present from an auctioneer (who for obvious reasons, couldn’t sell it). Of its providence I know nothing, but it was Love at first sight.
I had to have her. I’d got it into my head that her face had escaped – burst out of the canvas and was out there somewhere masking the face of another woman – a real woman, but a false one at the same time – and all I had to do was find her. And I’d know her when I saw her, the hole in my life… she was my wife before I met her.
To be continued...

Friday, 26 November 2010

Connecting Pipes (Facing Pipes)

Puffy, puffing, knitting pattern’s crotch: watch. I went back and traced Mr Time (see ‘Clockwork’ blog, 11/11/2010). The profile of his pipe-smoking face has a very similar pattern to the knitting pattern’s crotch; and as we have already seen (see last blog), the pattern made by the knitting pattern’s puffy crotch – when his crotch is transposed onto his nose - matches the pattern of his face. Look.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Puffy, Puffing Crotch: Perfect Match

I traced the pipe and I traced the crotch, separately, - again and again - slightly moving the pipe each time until the puffy crotch faced the pipe, and sucked on it.
The type of pipe: a Half-Bent Dublin. Magritte’s painting, ‘The Treachery Of Dreams’ (“This is not a pipe”) features the same type of pipe, and that other famous Belgian, Simenon’s Chief Inspector Maigaret, smoked a large, slightly curved briar, “ a large pipe which harmonised with his heavy face… this pipe was on the same scale as his broad face… the heavy silhouette of Maigaret, whose pipe, at times, at a certain angle, seemed immense, almost as large as his head.”
When I reversed my puffy crotch smoking pipe tracings and transposed them onto the face of the knitting pattern model – with no adjustment to the scale – the pattern of his crotch matched the pattern of his face: a puffy crotch, but a perfect match.     

Sunday, 21 November 2010

A Pattern Emerges

Tracing the knitting pattern, a pattern emerges. The curling, smoke-like rings of the wrought iron furniture and their correspondence with the A and g of Angora; the correlation between the shape of the pipe the A and g of Angora and whirling F of Furwul. 
Three creases were also traced, one in the photograph itself, the other, on the surface of the image. You always have to look, both, into and at a photograph, at the one and the same time: into model’s inexplicable crotch; at, the central cross – where the advert has been folded into four – like the sights of a gun aimed at his heart. The more I retraced the pattern, the more the crotch and the pipe knitted together. 

Friday, 19 November 2010

Pipe-Piece: Codpiece?

As what I can only take to be a response to the pipes I’ve been working on recently – my plumbing of pipe-imagery - the ex-wife of man I don’t see that often, sent me – without a word of explanation - this knitting pattern, through the post. I’ve hardly ever spoken to the said ex-wife, and she’s never before communicated with me in this way. Furthermore, we’ve never once discussed furry mohair. I’ve never knitted: do you cast on? Or is it casting off?