Wednesday, January 31, 2007

General Knowledge Quiz

Only one teenage schoolboy has the authority to pass me. My heart sinks when I see him on entering the book shop - I scarcely know him. Suddenly he makes an announcement. "Is Robin Whitmore here?" I say yes thinking that everything will be ok. He tells me that in order to proceed he needs to ask me ten general knowledge questions and I must get four in a row right. Oh god.
"Which category - science or art?"
First question about some Dutch artist on the tip of my tongue. Pass.
Second, "What is another name for a dentist's chair?"
"Alfriston," I think. (Dubious answer.)
Third, "When did Vasco da Gama sail round the world?"
I am really not sure that he did at all but know he was around in the 16th century. No idea of what date.
And so it goes on. Ten questions and I get none right. Hopeless.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Unbelievable Source of Dreams

An abstract painter I know has produced a book of dreams that X has had. They are exquisitely drawn. One shows trees in a dark yard with X just visible in the shadows. The other is a watercolour of the white space through the trees. Considering that X has a vocabulary of about 25 words I can't understand how the artist knew what to draw. He insists that X described the dreams over the phone and that the images are exact.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Impressed By Witch

A taxi is due to collect an older flirtatious woman and myself from hospital. Someone produces a Xmas tree wrapped in green netting which unpacks to form a tall witch puppet. Its long branch of an arm whips and crackles around the waiting room.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Charm Offensive

I have bought two horrible second hand dishes in a small shop near East Dulwich station. The shopkeeper is so friendly that I can't bring myself to point out the crack across one of the bowls. I ask her to wrap them for me. She produces a miniscule section of kitchen tissue which is not going to do anything. Once again I make no complaint because her manner is so amicable.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Shining Knight

I am wearing a tatty medieval knight's costume and I should be onstage now with my group tapdancing to a routine I don't know. Quite frankly they are better off without me. Instead I am holding two saws and sliding down through marble arches and pillars into a vaulted hall where some kind of masonic ritual is about to take place. Below me I see a shining ghost of a knight. "Are you ready?" a voice asks and the doors open. A choir appears and the room fills with dignitaries. No-one seems to mind my presence despite my wild chaotic dancing.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Computer Magic

Alice shows me an image by an artist she knows: a seared wooden fence overgrown with thorns sparkling against an open field. She explains that the image actually depicts a close friend. The artist uses advanced computer technology that converts a portrait into a landscape.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Have Faith

Acres of freshly ploughed earth stretch before me. I just need to stand back and let Nature take her course. Why do I doubt it? Why can't I believe that something will come from nothing? I can't force anything. I can only wait.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Strange Breed

At a party to mark the selling of an old friend's palatial family home I watch as groups of teenagers shuffle from room to room. A few with long hair and school uniform I recognise from years ago; others are younger versions of current friends; still more are representative of today's youth. They all look like they come from privileged backgrounds. I am not sure if I can relate to them any more. They seem weary, detached, purposeless, stoned.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

No Charge

Ed asks if he can buy a raffle ticket. "You don't need to pay anything," I tell him, "This is my dream and you can have it for free."

Monday, January 22, 2007

Is This How To Run In Dreams?

I am a bit lost, running home from King's Cross. Usually when I run in dreams my legs are heavy, but this time I seem to have got the hang of it more and I am kicking my legs back forcefully for added propulsion. It is all a question of not visualising myself as a bad runner. I take huge strides, my feet barely touching the ground, leaning forward at an extreme angle. I get along much faster than usual and am very pleased with myself.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Lost Sea Painting

I'm trying to find the other half of a canvas backdrop - a crude painting of the sea. Did Kat place it face down at the back of the garden to stop the weeds from growing? I check and find a painted canvas but its not the one I'm after.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dead Camel

Standing behind a door I am using an electric saw to sever the head of a dead miniature camel. I can't bear to look but two people watch and report on the process. One of them is Jade Goody.


Friday, January 19, 2007

My Younger Self

In the middle of the countryside on a summer's day, I turn back to check my bearings. I meet an old aristocratic woman in her mansion who introduces me to a tall young man. He is the son I never had. The old lady says, "He Is You - you are just a bit older. He is still here." I look at his youthful face and see my eyes as they once were, I see his energy and enthusiasm for life. He seems wiser than I ever was. I feel a mixture of elation and profound sadness.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Toy Dog At Sea

I am manipulating Judy, my old pyjama case dog, in a model theatre. The scene is a violent sea with a shark heading towards the dog.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Safe Path

A number of fairy stories started in the Nazi era. They were created for children running from persecution to help them understand the notion of escape and overcome their fear. Here a flying woman guides little Red Riding Hood through the forest of Manderlay.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


In real life he is slow and awkward and has a severe learning disability - in this dream he is tall and elegant and flirts with me on the dance floor. "You know I am a better person than you," he says, "You don't understand social boundaries and are condescending." I feel ashamed that I had never noticed how sophisticated he really is.

Monday, January 15, 2007

DIY at Mum and Dad's

Dad and Mike are putting up a cardboard wall. "Why are you doing that?" I ask. Dad replies that they need it for the oil lamp chimneys. I look for an excuse to get away and then realise I should be at work looking after my special needs students. When I find them they are all acting totally independently and don't need me around.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Blind Leading The Blind

In a Town Hall Council Room a group of blind men are engaged in some kind of movement workshop. They dance in a line preventing me from getting to the gents. When I eventually get through I discover it is the wrong door.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sophisticated Stones

These stones talk giving instructions.
These stones wipe themselves clean.
These stones correct the work after a cack-handed child has left too clumsy an image on them.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Cynical Artist

A posh overbearing artist moans, "Darling what I don't get is why you still believe in all this art crap."
"Art isn't just about the art market," I answer with great confidence, "You have cut yourself off from the rest of society. Your work is so elitist it is imploding on itself."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

High Boots

The stiletto boots I am wearing make me 4 foot taller and walking on cobbles is tricky. I settle down against some rough steps and take them off before jumping 12 foot down onto an uneven wooden surface. I land effortlessly but when I wake my toe is throbbing.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Unstoppable Insects

The insects I have brought indoors have climbed out of the jar and are multiplying fast. Lines of cockroaches, orange stag beetles, blue and red striped worms scuttle around followed by tiny plastic dinosaurs and elephants. The kitchen is teeming with these loathsome creatures and I am powerless to stop them.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Duck Disguise Does Not Fool My Mother

I have travelled downhill in a DiddyMan van. I am with a bunch of kids dressed up as ducks with beaks and web feet. Knocking on Mum and Dad's door I crouch down to be the same height as the boy with me, thinking Mum won't recognise me.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Naked Preston Displays His Jewels

Preston from Big Brother takes off all his clothes to reveal a naked body studded with tiny diamonds and other precious stones. The jewels are arranged in patterns reminiscent of an Elizabethan courtier's doublet.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Alice Lyons' Blow-In

Alice Lyons' work is compared to the scientist Raymond Petri. She shows a small flip book - a neat black and white drawing of a storm blowing in between two houses.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Time Tourists

An androgynous man and his companion show us their photographs. They are like bland holiday snaps but there is an oddness to them. The last two show yellow moons where the men's own faces should be.
"This is how we really look," he explains. "What you see now is a disguise. We have made a fantastic journey. In the year 3070 we paid a huge sum of money to travel backwards in time to your present. On the trip various things went wrong and our features became grossly distorted. We need help."

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Hidden Wurst Stall

In the basement of a block of flats is a concealed bar selling cooked german sausages. Inside are glasses of Schnaps but little evidence of sausage or bread rolls. The barmen try to palm me off with a huge hunk of fatty steak on sweet bread, "That's all we can offer you," they say.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Violent Encounter

Two thugs pursue a young man jostling and hitting him. After telling them to leave him alone he hits one in the face and a terrifying fight ensues. He realises that what these men want is to be given a bloody nose. He punches them again and again. It seems to satisfy them.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Actor Rejects His Portrait

I have drawn a delicate portrait of a young actor. I love the image which only works when the light hits it from a certain angle. The actor is unhappy with it and returns it to me. The drawing morphs into a speaking doll with pink plastic crinoline. He removes its voicebox replacing it with voices of annoying performance artists. He tells me I must feed it -like a tamagotchi -or they will play on incessantly.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Talent Scout

In the sittingroom of a rundown council house I am videoing a married couple and their teenage daughter for my show. The man is eager, the women indifferent. There is a heavy atmosphere, a sense of underlying violence. I ask the man, "Would I be right in saying that you occasionally lose control ?" He grins tensely ,"Its true, yes. It happens."

Monday, January 01, 2007

No Dreams

I am woken by warm bright sunshine streaming into my bedroom and I can't remember any dreams on this the first day of my dreamdiary exhibition. It is 5 o'clock in the morning.