2006 - 2010
I could imagine doing the Borough waters in a pedalo shaped like a swan (they have them down at the Rockanor!) Friday 24th would be a delight? Until soon Farewell
Tell you about this when I see you. The Wagnerian circumnavigation of Hackney by pedalled swan should be a Herzog-type film (hauled out & dragged overland, then back from canal to New River). The perfect antidote to Olympic hubris. Ahhhhhh,
I heard today that all's well with Film London and the Off Shore Gallivant - so there will be a small fee for the shenanigans and a proper excuse to collaborate - I'm very happy.
Meanwhile the swan is moving on a pace - I'm hoping to meat with Michael Morris sooner rather than later. Do you know the music of Michael Gira from the band the SWANS?
Let me know - as and when you might have plans to get down to the Herbert Read
Wagner, Yeats, Tchaikovsky, Stan 'Swan Upping' Spencer, Balkan fishermen (by
urban myth): Swan fetishism runs riot. Did you see news footage of bird-flu suspect, the first dead English swan, out in the fens, alongside one of the canals featured in 'Edge of the Orison'? I don't have any time/place information - beyond our chat - on the DeadDad manifestations. I'm making trips to Cambridge, Cardiff, Oxford in the next couple of weeks... I would love to see the show & will sneak a day at some point. Let me know how long I've got. Nice to see things moving,
I hope you've got your copy of the book by now and if you felt there was anyone else that might be interested in it then please let me know and I'll get some in the Post. Also how about Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria and his grotto with the mechanical swan and concrete stalactites in his castle at Linderhof, down by the Austrian border- do you think we'd manage to peddle that far? If you manage to get down to the Herbert Read, I'd be keen to have your thoughts. Met Pinky on Friday to discuss the OFF SHORE project but more on that next time you're coastal.
The mossy tombstone wake of the book has arrived, slightly chewed by its
passage through Hackney, but none the worse for that. I've been dipping &
diving with considerable pleasure. The mix works. The voices. It was a nice
surprise to encounter Anna & the Elephant. (Elephants are a part of a small
book of my own. Tracking objects in this room out across the city, as they
take on other disguises.) I've no idea when/if I can make it to Canterbury. But such a pilgrimage
remains in my mind. As all the other lesser stuff hammers in. We hope v.
much to be coastal next weekend (not this one). 31st?
PS Did the Hackney circumnavigation on foot, looking with interest, all the time, at the water.
A kind thing - I'll keep my eyes at their pages in case anything comes of it. Indeed the journey would prove DIFFICULT by swan - but in a strange way that's what makes it all the more compelling, from 'Home to (old) Home' (Pepys Estate) and then onwards to Hackney and the masterpyschogeographers?! I'd imagined doing it by hugging the coastline and putting 'in' for the night - beachside - six weeks might suffice. Probably an open invitation to 'swannit' sent out to a list of sundries and interessants for company - who might then come and join me/us in the peddle - o. However subterranean streams and traversing roads in a Burdenofdreams fashion now casting a spell - maybe my old home (Pepys Estate) to your manor for a well deserved supper of 9 month old cygnet borrowed from a Swan Upper? The sacrificial stone waits patiently in its forest and all remains well with the Pyrenean landscape.
I've shipped out a 3,000 word Deadad tribute to the LRB. It could hang around the office for months, or freak them out completely. And then, during a recent circumnavigation of Hackney, I found this marking the southern border: the Swan. I'm sending 2 snaps as attachments. Confirming your instinct. We must take to water. The Summer Solstice is probably too soon? (I think you should forget the trip, by sea, from Hastings. It would take months, if it were done at all; but in reality you'd never make it round the bay.) Hackney would be challenge enough. I'm checking now on subterranean streams, such as the vanished Hackney Brook. Canal, New River, tunnel, overland porterage. Enjoy the mountains & forests. Say hello to the burial stone.
Good to see you both too and looking suitably sea-aired and ruddywell - always glad of a break whilst things 'render'. The full Wagner still a dreamchallenge but we'll sort that out in time. Thinking of taking the 'germ' of an idea to Art Angel for next year and at present concentrating on OFFSHORE - digging out old tapes and super 8's - there's this feature I mentioned (follow up to This Filthy Earth) Alexander Ivul that keeps stuttering into life - so things all a little in flux for the timebeing. End of June emptier than usual at the moment - if you were down and fancied a walk to Battle or somesuch, then we could chattleup the fields and crops...
OK then. Word can go out to the (mythical) Albanian swan-rustlers of the
Lea. I'm just off, sun breaking through clouds, to trace the buried Hackney
Brook. A salute to the madness.
Swan omens & icons & sightings improve all the time. Just this
morning on our early Hackney circuit noticed a family tucked away under the
bridge over Cambridge Heath Road. Down the canal, I found a swan-model in
the garden that marks the boundary. And the first photo in Stephen Gill's
book on Hackney Wick is of a swan floating under the motorway bridge.
The LRB sent me proofs yesterday & said that they'll publish 'soon'. I'll
send you a copy. They didn't change or revise anything - apart from chopping
out my account of the visit to Canterbury. They didn't want to confuse this
'diary' piece with their gallery report. Too bad. The only loss is a
reference, from 'Finnegans Wake', to 'Bygmester Finnegan, of the Stuttering
Hand', which I felt played nicely on Eden's name for the inflatable & to the
practices inspired by your father's collection. Ah well. Keep swimming & swanning.
From 'London Evening Standard'. 31.05.06
'Swan-shaped paddle-boats on a pond in Germany are so realistic that a real swan has fallen in love with one of them. Since flying into the town of Münster this month, the black swan has not left the white swan-boat's side. Local officials say the bird believes that the boat is a strong and attractive mate. It apparently protects the paddle-boat, sits next to it all the time and chases away any other boats that come to close.' Let's hear it for the strong, silent ones. Off on Friday to the White. Mountains. Salutations
Given the right weather conditions I would have imagined it fairly easy to fall in love with a swan - latest idea might be to take one with us - a real one? Hope the white mountains worked their special magic. The seas undulate calm of late. And today I was nominated to apply for a Paul Hamlyn Foundation - the monies might well make the Swanning up stream a happening, I need a couple of referees - ( I worry that you might have contributed already/ the professorship? Maybe they didn't ask?) Anyhow I'd like to be able to suggest you as one of them - I hope this sits well. When next?
Don't know if you got my last email? About the Jerwood Drawing Prize-winner last year who based her work on the River Lea & studded it with quotes from 'Lights Out for the Territory'. I agree that the beast should make the journey, Hastings to Hackney. But I'm not convinced that it's possible by sea. You could try, start off that way... Then perhaps rivers. After Sevenoaks you get on the Darent which takes you to Dartford & into the Estuary. The swan should connect with Ballardian drought, dried-up river systems, parched earth, Kentish fruit left to rot on ground, asylum seekers picking strawberries, Russian fortress estates, golf courses... Drag the beast across land, set it in rivers. The sea is too fierce - with too absolute a narrative. The Guardian commissioner is away, so I won't hear anything for a few days yet.
You've probabl;y had my Artangel package by now - it seems to me that the bigger the swanning the better? I spoke with my friend Jem Finer yesterday (who was responsible for their LONGPLAYER) and he thinks that the sky should be the limit in terms of any swanoutcome. The fact that they have been involved with you before and that there might be deemed parallels with the Francis Alys commission errs me away from the walking and even more into the pedalling-dragging-towing and pushing. There is something superbly perverse about attempting the journey - swanning from 'home to home' Gensing Rd overland to Marine Court then into the sea and along the coast, upriver to the Pepys Estate and then on to Hackney - overland wherever necessary - perhaps on the back of a low loader for a while??? Eden is keen to join in, as are numerous other associates. I'd probably sleep with it every night on the beach or foreshore......I think we could tick the live art and happening box and with a bookwork, installation and website also those boxes. I'd also envisage a feature length documentary that might then be installed in say one of the net drying huts at the rock-a-nore for monthly screenings - or even the sea forts off the coast of Whitstable?? A purpose built swan shaped viewing chamber anchored out at sea with access from the De La Warr? The juices flow - but for now to Cornwall for the Port Eliot Literature festival - I'll be signing copies of the Deadad book! Farewell and thoughts on a back
I suggested a day's walk around the Hackney part of the swanning, just to show you the ground - and also as an element I could slip into my Hackney book. As the book will be done before the swan's journey begins. (Which sounds like it will be a book in itself.) Have a good time in Cornwall. Say hello to Simon Prosser (my editor) who is part of the festival. if you see him. You could even punt the book.
Brilliant brilliant and brilliant - indeed too absolute a narrative - but what you propose has really got me going - really got me! The artangel is one thing but there are others - perhaps a straightforward Channel 4 commission - much to think on. I'll dwell upon these matters whilst Pyrenean pleasures rain down upon us for the next four weeks. Jerwood connection had been logged and the signifiers continue to burn bright. A Hackney perambulatory recce upon the return would be great - Friday 8th September? - I can also divulge more upon the offshore ambition and words (possibly) from my mother's mouth (the daughter of Gladys) (Big Granny) - do you know of a book called London's Coast and Countryside by Leonard Taylor? No1 Where shall we go? - to be used with Ordnance Survey Map 1/4 inch sheet 12? - Stuff of nonsense. I leave these shores with happy heart.
We made it to St Leonard's for 2 days. I got in 4 wallowing swims. Every one different. Very fresh after that sheet lightning. Mackerel dancing in feverish vortices & fishermen wading out to get at them.
There is something superbly perverse about attempting the journey - Swanning from 'home to home' Gensing Rd overland to Marine Court then into the sea and along the coast, upriver to the Pepys Estate and then on to Hackney ->overland wherever necessary - perhaps on the back of a low loader for a while??? Or wheels? Eden is keen to join in, as are numerous other associates. I'd probably sleep with it every night on the beach or foreshore......Faretheewell
- salut - this is my ontheroad dress! - elsewise leila forwards stuff from home - i am now settled in at le fresnoy just outside lille - on and off until june 2009 - next week is blather and academia the week after the alexander ivul edit starts proper - and yes indeed if only all practice was as effective and immediate as marine court rendez vous - what a delight to have caught up and nattered whilst immersed in that now familiar seaside manor - rebecca's presence a delight - and the sonic strata beguiling - leila and i really enjoyed it - the silver service, the tea and the cakes in particular! london can really show off when she wants to - the audience with john berger was a little disappointing - his reluctance to engage in conversation with gareth quite irritating - everything led nowhere despite gareth's tireless and intelligent catalysting - oh for sinclair in that chair - so talking of which, gareth has been pressing for a few more words or formulations around the SWANDOWN project - i sent him the pdf files as altered (slightly) in the wake of the Artangel application (attached incase of miskeeping) - i don't quite know exactly what might 'become' of/for it at this stage but i see it as something between the gallivant-offshore experience - an installation - publication and single screen extravaganza - cameras in the eyes of the fibreglass beast (s) might even be streamed to a live web (cam) site - i see it primarily as an endurance (test) and would propose to make the journey in one 'sitting' - the older fella coming and going at his (mis)pleasure with selective steely bottomed aesthetes/athletes occasionally accompanying 'him' (you) with the endeavour - i think the editing and presentation would take the time but i also see the publication working almost as a manual for the under taking - ebbing and flowing - connecting and misfiring - enchanting - re enchanting - let me know your thoughts and perhaps a SportArts manifesto to run in parallel ......? Farewell from a rainsoaked european northcoast.
Hi Andrew - yes it was warming to see yourself and Leila in the Sketch art-box, and that whole thing was a useful experience, in demonstrating how material (long meditated, but very rapidly shot and assembled) can be brought together: one form out of many possible...
I'm on the road all this week, like a wandering hedge-preacher-ranter, after the civil war, peddling outmoded doctrine; Guildford, streets of London, Thames bank and Cambridge... once this is done, I'll return to SWANDOWN (I have already seen so much out there on the back rivers, with Cookham & Spencer lying in wait)... I feel, just now, that I might stalk the swan, on land, certainly walking all the way, coming aboard now and again, having the occasional dip in the water... one of the aspects is a fullblown topographic recording, quite formally shot... and maybe - as with 'London Orbital' - we come to a 2-panel argument, in places, between the 2 voices & the 2 journeys... but I'll give it proper consideration when I get a clear day...
The great thing is the feeling that it will certainly happen. I have nothing but admiration for the way Gareth supports and promotes his enthusiasms...William and his new wife Sarah have taken over Marine Ct for the moment, while they plot future projects. The building is a good generator. Proofs of 'Hackney, That Rose-red Empire' completed today.
Andrew - down from the trees? and back to the waves. The door blew off my room last weekend, hinges dissolved by gull shit. I have a package to deliver (from Gareth), but I think you return to France on Jan 6? We won't be in St Leonards until the weekend of Jan 3/4. We could meet up for a meal, if you are around and with the time. Otherwise, I'll play postman. Gareth made it sound as if the film was proving tricky to resolve, the extraction of apparent narrative from the spring of chaotic life. I'd love to see how it's going.
I've been swallowed up in niggling bits and pieces around my Hackney book (the writers do it all these days) - and too much publicity over the ban imposed on me by Hackney Council: forbidden to give a reading in a local library for the crime of writing an off-message Olympic pieces. (While that whole invasion comes apart in an orgy of destruction, toxic mud, slashed budgets, virtual realities.)
Be good to catch up. Seasonal salutes and shivers
Iain - great to hear from you - indeed i'm down from the trees and into a deep fissure of my own digging. Still in France trying to make sense of a film which sometimes i wish i'd never started - tutorials with the students here one day a week was a breath of clean air but the place is now deserted and i try and lock a rough cut in time to 'mull' over the christmas - computers crashing and the nuance of the french language eluding - hands a little tied and the pining for Leila and Eden and all things coastal quite painful at times - Hackney Council banning Mr Sinclair sounds f arseickle - we will indeed be around that weekend - sunday is best - maybe a stroll through the elements in your company would help clear the mind - and a nice cup of cha afterwards ..... this is my travel dress to which Leila forwards all important male - noel noel
ps i heard great things about the sketch 'performance' and of course Rebecca is a moon about the Film School ..........
A Sunday stroll would be good for swampy London spirit too... Let's float with that and think of swans hooded for winter. Swimming that fierce grey ditch seems to have fated you to this Francophile project: everything I attempt, over there, takes 20x as long as anything worked on here, and is usually abandoned. But at least a jaunt to a wind-swept & frozen St Malo (in summer, festival) provided some useful Conrad tidbits.
See you soon, I hope
Shall we aim for about 3pm and then we might get the benefit of a beautiful 'crepiscule' - will phone nearer the time.
Iain - home briefly this weekend and just to say what a superb looking specimen Hackney That rOSE - rED eMPIRE is - (french keyboard tourettes) - The book jacket is BRILLIANT - i love it - looking forward to reading it very much.
ps Leil;a was sad to have missed it on Radio 4 - she has the transistor tuned to the station for most of the day ....
Andrew - it hasn't happened on Radio 4 yet (starts on Feb 16)... you can still get Radio 3's The Verb (from last Friday) which has some Hackney chat... or frighten yourself with a slab in today's Observer (the London one). Will you be going along to Soho Curzon for your favourite backswoodsman movie, moons & sledgehammers? Gareth sent me a memo. I certainly want to see it on a screen (after Brian's TV at the end of a long session).
Iain - Hello from a very warm Barcelona
I dont know whether you've received a missive recently from the french pyrenees - if you have then some of the hereunder verbage might make more sense! I have been commissioned by Animate to make a small video piece for them - the brief is quite simple:
Artists are invited to make short films (1’ - 4’) that evoke a sense of place around one of the towns/places supported by Sea Change. Each artist would have a scene-setting meeting with a Sea Change local project manager.
We’d like the films to:
The Postcards would be ‘premiered’ at the SEAS conference in Skegness 1-2 October, shown at animateprojects.org, and downloadable through iTunes.
My working title is EDGELAND MUTTER and i'm looking at trawling through old super 8 and video footage of Hasting and St Leonards - also sound recordings that i have been making since moving - if you had time i would love for you to send ME an imaginary 'postcard' - text or sound piece (as with Will's superb OFFSHORE recording) - from Hastings - that i might include.
There are some wonderful passages in 'Dining on Stones' and also some of your poems but something short sharp sinclair might meander throughout wonderfully. I dont get back to the uk until last weekend of august and they want it done by 10th September so all is a little tight.
Let me know - farewell for now and until the soon time.
ps Ivul has now had its world premiere and will play London in October
Andrew - just back from St Leonard's to discover your card(s) on the mat. Lucky to get them, with strikes most days and random delivery patterns which involve re-collection from all the other No.28s in the area. I'd heard the news of the swan cull from Gareth. Better, in truth, to be outside the sponsorship umbrella. A full exorcism of the land pirates. Last week we had a day, upstream on the Thames, in a kyak. I'm thinking hard about getting one (reduced prices on the Marina). And a rehearsal of the swan voyage, or part of it, could be attempted? Round from Hastings to Rye and up the canals and rivers... It was taking time to unravel your script, so the email helps to clarify the situation. I've been in Berlin - in the run up to the World Games - doing a few walks. And now I have to write all that up, by next weekend... when I'm off to talk at the Greenbelt Festival in Cheltenham. So it's constant movement. If I do the sound-card when I'm back from Cheltenham on Sept 1 (or thereabouts), I'd be happy to give it a try. Probably a few random observations/improvisations, in the style of Off-shore Gallivant. (I'm doing a little book of 'Postcards from the 7th Floor' for a Brighton press - but I'd rather this was a ramble you could slice and slash than a formal reading.) Until we paddle out, then. (I'm looking forward very much to seeing the tree film.) With a salute from scorched-earth Hackney,
Iain - blimey o riley - you as busy as ever.
SWANDOWN very much back in my/our hands - Gareth very keen as is a curator called Rob Le Frenais (a bit slippery and 'inattentive') but seems to get a lot done through Arts Catalyst - will keep you a breast - kyak sounds good - there are friends living on the sea front with a canoe that keep trying to get me out onto the ocean with Eden - just havent had the time but will look into it. A soundcard would be a delight which i'll send through the kotting mix - a three course meal and seafront digestive might have to suffice as payment - unless you'd rather i paid you in mackerel?! I have a show at F-ISH in Hastings - a remix of the IVUL installation from France in collaboration with Eden which opens on 4th September for 6 weeks and we are hoping to have a friends and family screening of the film at the Electric at some point in October elsewise it plays as part of the London Film Festival. Farewell
Would you be in Hastings to record whatever ramblings I can offer? We are planning to be in Marine Court from Saturday 5th Sept to 14th. It would be nice to sit on the balcony and see what emerges. I'd rather perform in situ, than in distant Hackney. Payment not required. Mackerel meals, or others, always good. (Have you tried crayfish? Now apparently a plague on the Thames. A Deptford geezer, parked up next to our friends, dropped his net and fished solidly through a week's holiday. An enthusiast. A speedy talker. He reminded me of somebody.
Sunday 6th would be perfect - lunchtime? i can do all recording and a live performance would be outstanding - i leave for 'london' on the monday to start practicing for a performance of Jem Finers Longplayer at the roundhouse - barcelona is hot hot hot - saw them play football last night - best bit being the 'security' guards chasing a cat all over the pitch before play could resume - so much for spanish football - back into the french mountains and things analogue in the morning - hastings again 30th september
Sunday 6th, lunchtime, would be good. Barcelona is one Olympic city I haven't visited on this tour, maybe because it's supposed to be the one that worked...
Iain - can i come round just after lunch - say 3pm - we have 'people' down from London for the show - i'll be with recording apparatus!
See you at 3pm,Sunday. In my post-prandial daze. I hope I can string a few words together for you. I can't get out of my head an episode I witnessed on a doorstep, last time I was in St Leonards. A scrawny barechested youth, in spittle-flecked rage, was shouting at his trembling attack dog. 'If I had the money, I'd buy a shotgun and blow your fucking head off.'
Our veins, lungs, eyes are thirsty for the seascape.
Iain - attached is the proposal and budget for the 'map' - apologies for the word 'psychogeographer' but it seems to have wet a whistle. farewell
Andrew - You have a gift for these fictions known as proposals. The true art of our time. Like the old Hollywood hands who lived for years, talking projects up, never shooting a frame of film. There's a nice pension in first draft scripts and kill fees. I look forward to a few days, walking across country, bringing the swans to life. We'll be down in Hastings, before and after Christmas, so let's get together. A sneeze and a groan from Anna. I told her she shouldn't have gone in for those free 'flu jabs.
Iain - it was good to bump into you both - grandparents grandparents - Noah is a gorgeous name to boot - it took Eden and myself a good while to get to the studio - having to push through folkmeat and natterup - but Eden had a good time - always sad our last few days together before she goes back to college - still-life drawings soup and chocolate brownie made it special for her and then the next morning i breached the surf and swam for my life - it was cold cold cold but then i returned to a standing ovation and thus the showoff was worthwhile (and desperately needed~) - now in london editing a short film called sea swallow'd and still waiting for the toes to defrost. The designer that i worked with on the Deadad book is on board for the swan 'map' and he was asking if i might send him some text - notes etc on the project. He's really keen to meet up at some point at the end of the month in Hastings and would like to bring along a few 'mock ups' of ideas and has asked for some materials - i have a few of our old email correspondence from way back as well as photographs of the canal walk, pedallos, maps and my own notes but if there was any other text that you felt might be connected then it would be good to have it. Elsewise the new year seems to have brought with it a never ending migraine rickety knees and a slippery memory - for now farewell until the anon
Andrew - getting the spade out, rug and thermos, for an attempt on Dorchester-on-Thames, for a reading at the Abbey, with Brian, Kirsten Norrie and others, tomorrow. In the clamp of ice, we could push the Swan down the rivers and canals to London. Paul Smith seems to have failed to get funding for the proposed filming (of Straw Bears & such) for Aldeburgh - but he didn't confirm or keep me informed of developments. And is now in America. But I'm sure you have plenty on. Jon Fawcett at the British Lib emailed to ask about an event, for their mapping programme, on 'Gallivant'. I guess he was put up to it by Gareth. I said I was happy to take part, whatever the format. May or June? I have a mound of photographs and probably a few texts, when we get together in Hastings. January looks difficult: apart from the usual stuff, I'm off to Athens to investigate the abandoned Olympic follies. Let's collide again on the prom, as soon as possible.
Iain - do you still beat the bounds of Athens? Do they embrace you with open arms?
Swandown Ordnance and Survey splutters into action - i've made a frosty coastal jaunt last week and in the morrow i revisit a stretch of marshbound military canal. Mental health problems ebb and flow - probably these now 50 years have put me on a cerebral go slow but the corporeal endeavours keep the body a glow. Anyhow the designer that worked on the Deadad book with me is wanting to meet up on Saturday 6th March in London to present a few mock ups - if you were to hand then i would love your input - also to maybe schedule a couple of walks in March - good days for me Tuesday 16th Wednesday 17th Wednesday 24th Thursday 25th and hereunder some coordinated musings upon a walks return
Take care and farewell with the grandparenting
ps - FOR SWANDOWN - AN ACTION AND HAPPENING
DEPENDENT ON HAPPENSTANCE
which is, in short, a social history for the journey maker, which sets out to give enjoyment and misunderstanding from the looking and listening of confabulators.
The pedalo as Beuysian sledge – pedalled instead of pulled.
And as with Beuys perhaps a two handled spade might be packed away to be taken with us – signifying a special kind of compound action for people working the earth together. Without the spirit of cooperation, harmony and humour it is going to prove impossible to work with such a tool.
Take maps for instance – Facts are built on fictions
Metaphor as incontrovertible truths
Inaccurate representations of truths and hasbeen truths
A truthful description = 1-1 scale = real life = makebelieve
Fictions created by agreed historical contingencies in need of interpretation and explanation
Use me to lose direction rather than find it – take me to the whoknowswhere
NO AUTHORITY – SIMPLY A PROPOSAL FOR ENGAGED THOUGHT
WITH KOTTING AT THE PEDALS AND SINCLAIR IN THE ENGINE ROOM
BEMOANING THE PLIGHT OF EDGELAND CULTURE
The fermenting of canal waters and bloated carcasses
I also have something to say and I’ll be sure to say it
He has something to say and he’ll say it
We’ll both be saying it
Sometimes you won’t want to be hearing it and sometimes I’ll wish that it had never been said in the first place
Misfiring superficial rationale and route planning as annihilation
What is the real?
Where might the real be?
Maneuverability on the readers part
On the pedallees part, a - Where are we going? Can I come with you?
Ripe mulch of ambiguity with enough room to garner some tittle tattle
Herky jerky portrait of a proposed journey
Hopefulness in the face of forlorness and a realistic look at the ramifications and usefulness of an unbridled opti mystick – ME?
Unstable of representation
Unreliable witness and journey planner
Like giving the map to a three year old
Refusal to deal in pat enlightenment
Map as misleader
It will not have too much inbuilt aboutness about it
Not a roadmap for the cant that is oldnewlabour
A falling short and sense of being let down
Plan for a pedal
Endow something with meaning that is by all accounts
Andrew - I had a well-meaning but uninformed (and uninspired) group around here, trying to make a film about the riverscape of the Olympic Park. They had been given one of those awards/grants we didn't get. They said most of the successful bids were hopeless. The only sure way to get the money was to plead special needs, or play the ethnic minority card. I think our bid should have been fronted by Eden: who would be brilliant anyway, a frieze of her drawings, coast to Thames? We had many adventures in Athens - arrested on an abandoned airfield, robed - but the economic collapse is not all down to us. (I have to write up this story soon.) The vast Olympic venues were empty, surrounded by wastelands, where immigrants peddled suitcases of strange toys. We've managed 2 days in Hastings this year: a nightmare.
March 6, I will be in London. I'm helping with a stall doing the 'Hackney' paperback in Broadway Market, so there should be time to meet up. 24/25 might be good for a walk. 16/17 tricky: I have a Cable Street reading in London, then away to Newcastle. But it would be very good to be out there, again, on the move. Brian Catling & I have been looking at casts of Swedenborg's skull today, & fragments of ear-bone, and many weird objects: for a performance on March 1.
Let's get together soon. And lift the winter pall.
Iain - good to hear from you - Broadway Market to promote some Rose Red? This in from Julien the designer - what time on the 6th? I'm flexible so could work around you. I'll keep 24/25 March free. Anon
Andrew - I don't know when I'll be expected at the stall (but it will be for an hour at the most). If you have a time you'd like to meet Julian, I'll try and get them to work around that. Off to Leeds, another think-what-to-do-on-the-train event (and I'll be missing the rugby).
Iain - The rugby a 'must' (now fully appropriated into the french language) round these parts - the fusty upstairs parlour of the Doom and Gloom - (small screen) - quite an insight into coastal hasbeen bloke culture. I'll suggest midday to Julien and prepare a thermos for either the 24th or 25th - i have now done a fair bit of the Fairlight - Dymchurch - Hythe - Rye - Romney Marsh stretch - where wouldst thou wander? Much ado
I got back from Leeds to a fuzzy recording of the rugby, which looked like a phantom from the Gareth Edwards era - and then the tape ran out as the final try was happening (or not). This being Wales/Scotland of course. My heart survived, in shreds. I'll fix my appearance at the stall that day around our meeting. So I'm happy for it to be any time (it's the same area). We could discuss our wanderings when we meet? Or have I got the wrong month? Did we reckon 24th or 25th of Feb? (The diary is going crazy.) I have to be in Liverpool for a talk on the 25th. So it would be unwise to do the 24th (as I'll have to prepare things). But we are in Hastings at the weekend. And I could easily stay over and walk on the 22nd. Is that any good? Sorry about the confusion. (Or Saturday 20th.) The murky river was looking good today, apart from the banker-boys in their high-speed idiot craft. When we can't afford Marine Ct., we'll retreat to your old territory. Keep paddling.
Iain - knowing from experience that things within the hollowed walls of academia can take forever if you could invoice towards the SWANDOWN - ORDNANCE AND SURVEY PROJECT Andrew Kotting - CCI - Swandown - Then there is the outside chance THAT BOB'S YOUR UNCLE and we get paid before the Olympics starts proper! Still waiting to hear from Julien about confirmation of a time to meet next saturday. Kick off at 8 tonight - the French will be in fine fettle i suggest.
Andrew - Anna will produce a proper looking invoice - and then it can go with the other pile of academic duplicates and passport photos (presumably for conversion by Mossad). I gave the Swans a plug or two in a conference in Liverpool yesterday - another 'mapping' event. 'Gallivant' was mentioned several times. With distinction. And anytime next Sat is good, apart from 12 -2. Horrible news from Marine Ct. My old colleague from Dublin, Ranald, who lived under the top deck, has developed motor neurone disease. You have to wonder about that forest of radio activity... Be good to talk through our campaign. I was looking with interest, from the train window, at all that unused water that covers much of England.
Indeed sad news - i sometimes sense my own dementia sneaking round the back garden when i'm not paying attention - the sea helps but i suspect not for ever - Julien is now suggesting 4pm on Saturday at his studio which is BRETT LESAGE - THE TEA WAREHOUSE - LANT STREET - not far from the Jerwood - hope this still works - until then farewell
4pm at Lant Street... look forward to catching up with swannery. While Brian and I were fooling about (he swallowed the film from a smashed camera, among other tricks) at Swedenborg House, a Japanese girl sitting next to Anna tore up shreds of her 'reserved' ticket to make a perfect pink swan. Meanwhile, they have drained the stretch of the Regent's Canal where we walk every morning and fenced it off... conspicuous expenditure, cosmetic makeovers, and further meaningless enclosures: roll on 2012.
Andrew - just back from Newcastle, performance, walks, Tyne, Morden Tower, to usual Hackney whirlwind... Wed 24th is good for me... we are in Hastings at the weekend, but I have to be in London now for a reading on the 23rd... so it would be best to meet at the starting point of the walk (where we can work the old 2 car trick or some variant, in terms of getting back to where we started... or is it a round trip?)... shall we start early at 7am?... or later? I'd like to avoid traffic out of London... just let me know where to meet... A few snapshots from my wanderings of the Olympic sites in Athens are now up on the website
Andrew - I sometimes forget that humans don't all want to be moving through landscape at first light: 10am is good. My mobile is: So we can get in touch if anything goes astray with the rendezvous. What was the date for delivery of the bits and pieces for the feathered box? (We're in America from April 6 to 17.) Someone was telling me about the film festival you attended in Jersey. With only one actual cinema on the island? See you out soon.
Great day here, walking the drained canal, swans peevish to lose their habitat... after having a bit of work done on my back, my foot has borrowed the pain, so I'll be hobbling at your side, or in your wake... I'll get the stuff for the box together when we're back from America, around April 20... See you out there....
Iain – the skies being full of god’s toxic piss we have only just back from the debacle that was the homeland return – abandoned cars and screaming Brits along the French coastline pleading across the waters wanting to ‘go home’ – we pretended that Eden was severely disabled and in need of an iron lung in order to jump queues – had to keep reminding her to swallow her tongue on the ferry ...... elsewise sunned and scratched and resplendent from Pyrenean Easter fillip - GOD only knows where you are and whether you might ever return! My brother Joey should have flown back to LA on the weekend and that looks like being delayed for a whole week - mind you there are spotter planes and barrage balloons being launched as i write this - and apparently an unearthly quietness befallen the hubub of london living - anyhow should you ever return and should the feet still be working would 29th April still be a possibility - it would probably be from in or near Whitstable along that bit of North Sea Edgeland.
For now farewell
Great day here, walking the drained canal, swans peevish to lose their habitat... after having a bit of work done on my back, my foot has borrowed the pain, so I'll be hobbling at your side, or in your wake... I'll get the stuff for the box together when we're back from America, around April 20...
Andrew - I did my stuff in Texas, talks, walks, rides, and on to San Francisco. Where we remain, indefinitely. Watching our resources drain away. Holiday Inn packed for a hardcore lesbian biker conventiuon (with fundamentalist Xtian sidebars). We may be here for good. Off now on the ferry, in search of giant redwoods. The hotel pool is warmer than Hastings, we may try the Pacific soon... swimming home. Deadlines for swan box a mess of feathers
Channel a delight yesterday afternoon - very very cold but still like a desert - managed almost 20 minutes - from you to just along from the tate modern church! some aghast faces as i emerged from the saline - same as it ever was - good luck!
We're still out there. took a ferry yesterday and finished up at San Quentin, as bleak a place as there is... dreaming of the English Channel...
Did you manage to get home through god's toxic piss? - I'm back in France at the Centre Pompidou - just came out of a screening of Klipperty Klopp they have archived a 35mm print for their collection at great expense - on an huge screen it looked and sounded great - planning the rest of the week are we still on for a swandown gander this thursday 29th? if so and you were interested in watching Sean Lock perform in Chatham after the walk then he would be pleased to catch up again - a later start would be better in or near Whitstable - anon
We limped home last Thursday, by luck catching the first flight out of San Francisco. I had to deliver a talk at the University of Surrey on Friday, then down to St Leonards, the decadent entropy of Marine Court and the glitter of the sea: immense relief. Of course work is now stacked a mile high... But on my first hallucinatory walk through London, after getting back, I came across an old Swan Street I'd never noticed before, in the City, with a flying bird fixed to an office block. It will probably have vanished when I return. I lost my camera in San Francisco, on a ferry across the bay, after taking shots of San Quentin prison. Serve me right.
I'd forgotten about Thursday - but let's do it. I should be working on a piece for Gareth, but I'm sure he'll forgive the delay, in a good cause. But I won't stay for Sean's gig. I'll have to get back to London, so we can get off early the next day for Hastings. Just let me know when and where you'd like to start. Chris had an epic return after being caught in Buenos Aires, where they were showing all the old films: boat to Montevideo, flight to Madrid, then Rome, train to Milan, car to Zurich, train to Hamburg... etc. But he managed to shift the tab, I think.
See you soon, I hope.
I have walked both ways from Gravesend - and indeed crossed on the ferry and walked both ways on the other shore too. But we can meet there and decide which way to flow... Or we could break new ground (for me) by following the Medway. We could meet at the car park in the village of Grain. OS Map Landranger 178. Drive through village, past only shop, past school (on yr right), church (on yr right), down lane - which ends with car park, overlooking estuary. This would carry us through good swan-sanctuary, power-station territory. Starting at 11am, if you like. But if you'd prefer Gravesend, that's fine...
Andrew - no, we haven't received anything. All the academic talks I've done recently have been taxed - which is ridiculous. Cutting fees down to nothing. And I'm freelance and shouldn't pay - which now involves a long and complicated correspondence. To the point where it is not worth making the journey and all the effort that goes into making it appear that it's no effort.
Indeed things eat into the tolerance shield - i'm owed two payments from lectures done months ago in London - the good news is that they don't tax you at source nor NI which they do for me because i'm a part time employee - that bad news is that being an institution they've LOST the copy invoice i sent them of yours from almost two months ago - again buggering the belief. So the wait goes on! I'm sorry - be sure to fill up the car with fuel and the belly with food tomorrow and give me the receipts - and thus we stumble along - until Grain at 11am
ps do you mean parking on the edgeofland marked 'p' for parking and opposite 'the flats' on the OS Map 178 - almost deadad centre of the map? - i'll be on the bike so look out for the big wobbly bloke who seems to be losing his voice but not his will to confront bureaucracy
Our invoices must come coated in vaseline. They slither away and are never seen again...
The car park on 178 is at around 888770 (or something like it, from memories of the Combined Cadet Force)... GRAIN village, B2001 (brown road), past church, end of road (on left)... across the Medway from Sheerness. Will bring petrol receipt (if nothing else). See you out there.
Iain - it was good to be out and 'at it' again yesterday - where did the 5 hours go? - Sean was hilarious - had all 900 audience members wrapped around the fingers - the boys star is burning very bright at the moment - anyhow a link to Piet Moget - the friend that has been making the same painting now for over 30 years - our vistaline yesterday as we sat and nattered so close to the Port La Nouvelle Seascape - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Piet_Moget_peignant.jpg
Good days for me and the Whitstable leg would be:
Thursday 13th May
Andrew - The concrete ship almost deserted this weekend: no hot water, lift not working, phone on the blink. The dodgy owners are trying to squeeze us into the liefboats...13th, 18th & 19th are ok with me for the Whitstable leg. Hope Jack in the Green wasn't washed away.
13th is good. 8.30... by the oyster restaurant or somewhere in Whitstable? I've just sent off my Springfield Park piece for Gareth, so - once I've done my overdue VAT returns, and prepped tonight's talk (on rivers) - I'll start to put together the swan stuff for Julien. Can you let me have his number and address again? I'll arrange to drop them around, this week, or early next.
Will (son, not Self) is having a read through, with projections, of a potential comedy thing at Sketch. Very unlikely that you'll be around, I know, or any of your Sean-type contacts, but I'll drop you a few cards... Looking forward to pinholes and toads
Car park by oyster restaurant - we'll leave a car there and then drive to the start point - thanks for reading the hemales - will do changes as instructed - also just finished meeting about a work in progress swandown exhibition in the summer - to run from 15th july until the 8th august at UCA Farnham - THEY are keen that we lead a perambulation through the gallery space to blather the flotsam and jetsam on either 30th 31st july - any good or a few hours round abouts?
until the day after - farewell
here is a little 'Swanlog' of notes and bits for the box. I thought that it might work as a booklet on its own... or the extracts could be broken up and used in different ways. I'll send it to Julien also. Then sort out some photos and other stuff early next week. Hope Sketch goes well.
Swanlog a treat - probably uninterfered with although there are a few of my musings that seem to connect - anyhow i don't know whether Julien has got in touch yet - i forwarded your email to him and i know he's keen to join us on thursday - possibly liaising with you for a lift and stuffswap - attached are some of our email correspondences - edited slightly to remove phone numbers and addresses etc which are swandown centric - ish - i think they would work really well - let me know if there is anything that you aren't happy with and i'll amend and send to Julien - for now and then anon
Some nice snaps just collected from our last ramble: man in tree, man in oilseed rape field etc
I have assembled a photo archive narrative to sit in parallel with the written text, and I'll bring it along tomorrow. I'm happy to babble alongside you in July. I won't do a Chris Petit (he's brave to try) and ask for cash-in-hand. (The only way that works is when the poor lecturer funds it himself/herself and then tries to get it back from the office.) It's moving... I have a present for you, arrived today, that reissue of Richd Mabey's Edgeland book, 'The Unofficial Countryside'...
Fuckme the sea was cold out there today and an inspiring night last night at the gallery underneath you: Arts Forum 1 and 2 with Project Artworks Artists - all special needs adults that Eden will be working with when she comes home to live with us full time in July - Anyhow some great pinhole images just in from Anonymous Bosch - aka Anthony - and then a moot for the final olympiadiain stroll to conclude - could you do tuesday 25th may? trinity buoy wharf for the getgo? elsewise friday 28th also good? I hope you managed to get some sea air into the lungs and again thankyou for thursday it was a real fillip for the ‘youngsters’ - for now farewell
I dodged immersion-baptism this weekend, but looked at kyak (which is one good way of confronting Olympic circuit: but later...). Tuesday May 25th is good, to meet alongside lighthouse at Trinity Buoy Wharf... up Lea... circumnavigation of the Olympic horror. 8.30am again? Too early for the gang? I'll have some more snaps from that recent walk. I was re-reading the last chapter of 'Downriver'. If you haven't chucked it adrift on the channel, you'll find an account that mirrors our recent expedition, on the far shore, across the Swale... from Leysdown. Can I get those original photos back, when you've scanned any you fancy?
I'll get a disk of the new ones, to make it easier. It was a good day: crab-sexer, keeper of failed royal gun dogs, swan battle. Anna was delighted with Marine Court iconic tea towel, autographed. Many thanks. Until next time...
Great - Next Tuesday May 25th at 8.30am it is - and whilst we're at it just to confirm Friday 30th July at the gallery in Farnham. Strange how I had taken Downriver off the shelf and was busy 'at it' all morning in the studio - now festooned with underlines and memory triggers - it gets better all the time! I'll have all the original photographs with me next week - most were scanned in over the weekend - and damn fine they are too - the shoes under a bench and the abandoned motorbility scooter pregnant with resonance - they MUST go somewhere - for now goodnight.
Tuesday 25th is in the book & will soon happen like a memory of itself, the first Hackney walk always ahead of us & the swan-snake mural grooved into our circuits by routes we have already tramped... swimming is more like erasure, I think, freeing up space. I have added Farnham, July 30th, to the list... a Friday, so we might go on afterwards to St Leonards... and, by then, who knows, some part of the payment made. I have a CD now, of the photos from the most recent walk, and can put them through your door at the weekend... I also have a few swan objects, findings, roadside recoveries (there might be short texts to go with them)... I could deliver them, either at the weekend, or when I see you on Tuesday... the journey begins to write us... To the Lighthouse, without Woolfs
Back at the university trough - a little fullon this week with assessments. Anyhow away on friday but i'm around saturday ish - will probably swim with the high tide - we could do a swanswap on the foreshore - saturday night busy but sunday late morning also a possibility - all photos needed have been scanned - attached another of Anthony's this time of the crab feeler - farewell
Large men looking at very small object... I like it. The Tuesday walk will be interesting, I think, come masked. I will drop 2 CDs of photos through your door on Saturday morn... and we could meet to swap my old photos for a couple of small gathered objects if you have 5 minutes to spare, later that day. Otherwise, we'll do it on Tuesday. The ghosts are waiting. I saw Patrick Keiller's new film, 'Robinson in Ruins', yesterday; a circumnavigation of Oxford (as an island). All of you boys are making real endgame works.
I'm attaching a few swan notes to go with the swanlog (pps.10-12). See you at Trinity Buoy tomorrow, around 8.30am. I'll have my phone.
G L O R I O U S - Leila forwarded me your email - i'm editing the 16 screen headfuck version of IVUL in Battersea - but what a glorious reminisce and memory prompt for days wellspent. More glue for the disparity more credence for theory - WE FIND OUT WHAT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING ONLY WHEN THE JOURNEY IS DONE - more anon - 8.30 am once this day has been done.
I hope you made it back, past the radio-active dispersal cell, and the furious swan attacks, and the seductive paths leading into scrapyard wildernesses and dead-ends patrolled by aluminium gleaners. We'll have to climb the trees of Wick Wood another time...
Now all that is done (for the moment), the expeditions, meetings, texts, photographs, discussions and debates, it would be helpful if some part of the promised fee could be shaken from their sewn pockets. (I'll send you another CD of images, when this reel is finished.) The encouraging things is that the process that always happens, when a quest seems to be resolved, has kicked in. The unexpected pay-off. The thing you find without looking for it. The new road (or river).
I was on the train, yesterday, heading off to interview the painter Brigid Marlin about Ballard. (She did a portrait, owned but unexhibited by the Nat Port Gallery. She also - an interesting story - made his copies of those destroyed Delvaux paintings.) Leafing through her catalogue, I realised that Leda and the Swan was her dominant obsession. There were numerous versions. And indeed, in her house, I noticed a modelled swan beside the table where we sat down for lunch. So both my stories - Ballard, Swan - were interwoven and linked. And I recorded Brigid's account of her swan pilgrimage. The tape could become part of our project? I'll send you a transcript, when I have time to make one.
We ran the swan gauntlet back to trinity buoy wharf - a car park full of 'location' scouts for a south african beer advert - to coincide with the world cup in all probability - BUT just to say that the walks have inspired and convinced me of the futility of the thing that 'we' do - the boys are still buzzing and my face is aglow. A final outburst on your part would put the terries on the chop - some paragraphs of conclusion to include whatwas with whatmightyetbe - and perhaps a letter of reminder that you STILL haven't been paid? For now and yonder wherever thou dust wander – walkwell.
The thesis that Brigid had, if I remember it, was that the eroticised seizure by the swan, lifting the woman off the ground (Yeats echoing in her blood), was the moment of inspiration for which the artist labours to prepare herself... The counter pitch is that Zeus/Swan is the one who moves, travels, hunts, for a human host, the presently intense object of desire... And all this doubled against Brigid's arguments with Ballard while she painted that portrait...
Thanks for the photographs - we now have a treasure trove fairly full to overflowing of Swanstuff to dip into - and indeed a big pleasure to have beered with you and Anna in the doom and gloom - we must do it again, it always makes Eden feel very grown up and now that word is out that it is a Sinclairian haunt there will be more willing hands aboard to play Go! Fish - fondfarewells for now
You'll now have my little note on Brigid Marlin (and her swan familiars). I'll copy a few of the paintings when I can. And will offer words of summary too. All this amounts to a real chunk of work, in the end, more than they've paid for, as always... but that is beside the point. It's moving...
Do you have a working 8mm or Super-8 in your store? It struck me that it might be useful to shoot a few sequences, with swan at prow, if I do the boat trip from Rye to London in July. Passing many of our locations. Your Sketch card is a beauty (it is everywhere, so expect queues around the block). Pity to be landlocked today. The narrowboat dwellers have made an anarchic street of the canal, reviving old car batteries, telling fortunes, watching the carp float past (first fish seen since the Olympic excavations began). I'm doing the walk this week with Richard Mabey. See how that works. He might be a good witness for the swansong...
Good swimming & paddling,
Sadly all my super 8 cameras are convalescing - awaiting a 'proper' film commission to bring them out of their fusty hibernation and thus full service - i'm using my little stills camera in movie mode more and more - love the faded lo-fi feel of its image making. Could come along with the decoy and support or just lend the decoy - do you have ideas of dates yet - i could borrow a kayak or two if needed? Anthony also very keen to take a couple more pin hole portraits on swan lake of the two of us - as and when you are down next. Off to France today with brother Mark on the motorbikes and then Truman Brewery from wednesday onwards setting up student's degree show. I hope you get a chance to get along to Sketch - an immersive ears and face explosion - and thus forwards into the forray
ps was up at Phil Grey's 'writer's study' exhibition last week and transported by the words that accompanied the image of your huggermuggery
pps did the monies go through yet!!
No, not a peep of payment anywhere, no rattle of coin or float of envelope on to the mat. We've just booked ourselves on the Rye to Tower Bridge cruise aboard the MV Balmoral on 29th of June. 'Round Dungeness, North Foreland & up the Thames'. I may resurrect my mini-DV or some such. We'll certainly make it to Sketch at some point. On Saturday, I was yapping at the Roundhouse. (John Foxx has done his own cut-up and sound for some of my old 8mm diary films.) We can be pin-holed at the pond by Anonymous Bosch at any time. We're there, hopefully, on 20th & 21st.
Iain - Eden forwarded me the hereunder - and yes indeed Marlin words arrived this morning along with beautiful swan card - do they exist in any digital format? - i feel there is room for them in the bookwork - i look at prototype hinged swan decoy on monday in Julien's office as well as swanfind post cards and swanfind pinhole postcards - any offcuts a bonus - 'this our still life' no big rush - they want to print end of july early august - will remind the translator (emmelene landon) to pushalong the 'in preparation' project - she is well connected with the powersthatprint over there and also happens to be a very big fan of your work - she'll be erect at the thought of translating you - she is also a writer and prolific painter with a penchant for long haul container ship residencies - her alone with gaggles of Filipino and Bosnian mariners - more anon
pps don't tell Eden but i find go fish a little intolerable unless under the influence of harveyeast
What a fist of cards for some hedge-game richer and stranger than Go Fish! They disprove our walk with forensic subtlety: it never happened. There was much discussion yesterday, about postcards setting the agenda for text, when Gareth's film team produced a set made from every image in Sebald's 'The Rings of Saturn'. My sense was that you shuffle the cards for different tales, causing words to disappear and the book to dissolve into bones and curiosities such as you have found. A great winnowing from the chaotic mass, gathered up as we tramped, like that glittering road of herrings at Lowestoft pictured in the book. A lovely outlaw group of ghosts in the church grounds, our Bolivia, before the worst happens. And a real swan devours the fraud.
Yes, I'll go to Alys tomorrow. I did a talk with his lovely project, a few years back, of guardsmen marching, one by one, into the City of London, until they join up as a monstrous regiment.
Blimey o'Riley - whatever next - indeed fairly full to overflowing with morphic resonators - thankyou for the last outburst - oN thE Money! - good meet yesterday with Julien - prototype bookwork decoy hard cover looking superb - a selection of postcards winging their way but he's still slow with other 'insides' ready for their gallery spillage - ' an observer book of (our) correspondence' also looking dandy.
Anna and I walked, the day before her birthday, from London Bridge to Richmond... It started well on the bus down to the river from Hackney: two Russians absolutely hammered before 7am sleeping on the floor, the black driver putting his foot down had, as we approached London Bridge, to slam on the brakes, so that the enraged Russian bounced about the wobbly division in the bendy caterpillar like a rag doll. He charged up to the front and took the driver by the throat. After that the secret swans were everywhere: the ironwork design on all the benches opposite the Houses of Parliament, large wooden cut outs in the wet lands beyond Putney, numerous pubs, Shakespeare stuff, even living creatures tracking us upstream. Game on.
Great cards. The pinhole confers an unearned dignity on the tour. It's moving.