Thursday, May 31, 2007
I thought we would have the store to ourselves but it is full of shop assistants dressed in Santa Claus outfits. "In preparation for the Christmas brochure," I explain to the nervous woman with me. I step into a lift with an acutely angled floor and head for the basement, realising too late that I have left her behind with all the Santas. I am carrying a pickaxe.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
I think I have taken some kind of hallucinogenic drug. I am in a marshy wood. A boy of about seven beckons- I know he is me. He turns into an elf and tiptoes on the top of the reeds in the water. Or is it me doing the tiptoing?
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
"It's starting again," my friend says and we notice the rubber ball bouncing wildly around the room. We pick it up but it jumps away and spreads itself all over the floor. There is no point in our scolding it - it only responds well if you treat it with great patience and it has already bitten me once. It slides onto my shoe, forming itself into a string of beads around my ankle. "See how it can actually become attractive," I say. My friend is impressed but as he looks away it edges its way up my leg tightening like a tourniquet. I am guilty of my feelings towards this ball, but it is too badly behaved.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
We are preparing for a show. I have made a list of all the performers' entrances and what they have to mention on stage. I rush around the narrow corridors backstage making sure everyone has a copy. I am not wearing any trousers.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Four men held together by one nightshirt have swum a vast distance without food. Close to death, their faces skeletal, they arrive at a busy port in India. Local people lean over to drag them from the water. It looks like they are going to pull through. Now the sea morphs into a bustling road in the same city. The men are too slow, too exhausted to get up in time and a bus drives over the top of them, crushing them, ripping their bodies to shreds. Life is cheap here.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
As we travel further into the wilds of America the Slavic language spoken in the area sounds more alien. No-one is going to speak English here - we need a phrase book to get by. Our hybrid bus-train drops us off at a motel. Inside I wander down the usual narrow corridors. I try greeting the proprietor in Polish, because that's the most eastern language I know a few words of. I realise I needn't have bothered - on the doors everything is in German and English.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
At the exit to the museum we are all waiting behind three women and their weird pets. I can't make out if they are prehistoric crustaceans or mechanised toys. One is like a giant open oyster lying face down on a dinner plate. Like something from Alien. "He looks good enough to eat," I say and gently poke it with my foot. "Oooh, he loves being tickled," its owner coos, " - before you know it he will climb up on your lap!" The thing slithers onto my shoe.
Monday, May 21, 2007
I am flying through a strange underground network of old tunnels, aware that I am inventing the space as I go. The sensation is like swimming underwater without the difficulty breathing, and I find I am quite good at it. Gliding round a corner I grab a rock from the crumbling brickwork and hurl it at a corpse covered by a tarpaulin far below me.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
I have just marked all the police papers, but one of the officers tells me, "The papers have all been tampered with, Ma'am. All the guilty P.O.'s have signed their names on those documents."
I have to dispose of the evidence or the good name of our unit will be at stake. I throw the papers down the toilet but find the flush handle has been removed! I realise too late that this is a trap to test corrupt P.O.'s and I have been caught red handed.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
We are in a huge dark flat in a Victorian house. C has returned from his trip away with very long hair. Outside my front door I overhear the woman upstairs sobbing to another neighbour, "And then he......Well, we will have to......him. We can't put up with that...." Although I can only partly hear what she is saying I am convinced she is talking about me. I had been unsuccessfully trying to counsel her the other night.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
It is snowing and we all have to go back indoors. I take my time. I am looking for something important. Is it my identity? Claire calls to me to toboggan down the snow slide with her. I follow uncertainly knowing that at the bottom a bully is waiting for me. I accidently kick one of the golden apples towards him but he does not react.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I am squeezing through tiny doorways in an old fashioned shopping complex in Newcastle. Endless dull rooms of womens' clothing. A short teenage girl is trying on some very tight ripped green shorts. "Excuse me," she asks me, " Do you think these fit ok?" "Are they comfortable?" I ask. "No." "Well I wouldn't buy them then." I am flattered a teenager should ask my opinion on fashion. Must be because my new black cord suit looks so good.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Cyril Fletcher, the old fruity TV presenter, teaches cultural studies. We are getting on well despite my being a little nervous of him because I rarely understand art theory. He takes my arm and we look at the cardboard entrance to a performance. It is dark and hung with what looks like a Sickert style portrait. "It's actually a photo," I explain, "blown up really big so it has become pixellated and distorted." We both agree it works well. Cyril is very sugary but kind of fun to be with.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Nervous but excited, I have come to see a performance artist who is known to effect profound changes in mens' lives. He picks me out from the audience and takes me inside a black gypsy cabin. "You will be electrocuted here like the man in this video," he says. I begin to feel uneasy. Who is this guy? Will I be ok? I am always so careful in life. His face becomes demonic and he laughs, "How sweet! Too late to go back now. I will parade you naked through the streets of Carrick - everyone will know who you really are."
I am terrified and yet I still trust this man.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
This is a race to complete up to 30 tasks using any technique you like in just three minutes. As a crowd of boxing men charge round the room, I construct a flimsy base out of rolled up sheets of paper and then attach a drawing of a boxer. Now I am trying to work out how to draw the hands holding a violin. Very tricky. I notice that the time is being stretched so that we now have no idea of our time limit. No-one is set against each other and every attempt to interpret an event is applauded.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
An exuberant dance to I Can't let Maggie Go in an otherwise empty dark hall. A man half in drag careers round on a wheelchair while Rufus Wainwright dances wildly in the shadows. I am swimming and gliding along the floor strewn with glitter and toy coins, leaving sparkling ripples behind me. This is me as a young man and I am reminded that he is still part of who I am. As the music comes to an end I see the beer stained floor and the grubby walls, yet during the song everything shone and was alive.
Friday, May 11, 2007
E's hair is like William Blake's drawing of the man in his dreams who taught him to paint. It really does not suit him- it's too wild and makes him look older. I am explaining this to E (who is autistic) using five complicated laws of modern physics. He does not get what I am talking about.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
A friend in Berlin asks me to show her some of my drawings. I unpack my tatty suitcase and am embarrassed by my usual messy pile of dream junk - broken pairs of glasses, electrical components, a tangle of wires, scraps of paper and a couple of small sketchbooks. One drawing I find is like a miniature Escher of a crowded building complex. I delicately brush the image with black ink and all the tiny figures appear to raise one arm in Nazi salute.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
I am staying over at my MA tutor's house. After some time I find a toilet that works but there is no loo roll. Under the dressing table is a pile of old papers. I spot my name on one of them - it is my marked MA dissertation. The only revealing comment I discover is the word "quaint" written on the front page. I use some of the paper to clean myself, and carefully replace the rest. The walls become invisible to me and I see a string of older women walking past the door. They are also staying the night.
Monday, May 07, 2007
A reporter who works for an art magazine called Process has come to look at our life size puppet, and is unsure whether it is real or not. As we step upstairs its eyes light up and seem to follow us, but when I lift it up it is clear it is made of plaster. I glimpse at some of the slides of meticulous paintings this reporter has with him and feel slightly out of depth. This feeling dissipates when he tells me that for a number of years he played the part of the grandmother in the musical "Annie".
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Saturday, May 05, 2007
I take a pile of CD's from the junk shop and shrink all the images saving them on one CD. The CD is now converted into a hymn sung by schoolboys. A pianist mutters his apologies as he plays the introduction which sounds like a car revving up. The hymn is sung unenthusiastically on one low mournful note, "Oh happy days..." There is a long contemplative pause before the next verse.
Friday, May 04, 2007
I know I am in a dream. I need to find some proof that dreams have a purpose. I see a CD in the window of a junk shop. (Junk shops are the only shops I seem to dream about.) I concentrate hard and push the glass firmly so it folds back allowing my hand to slip through and remove the CD. The shop assistant is powerless to stop me.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
C and I are in an airport about to pass through Customs. C gets in the queue, but why did I think I didn't I need to and why didn't I even bring my ticket? I follow the one arrow to the ticket office but it seems to disappear. I walk for miles trying to find it. As time goes by I am aware that C will be worried. I am unable to ring him because of my stubborn refusal to carry a mobile.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Who are all these friends at the party? I don't recognise many of them. One woman is matchmaking. I thought the two men opposite me were a couple but no she has only just introduced them. "You are a genius," we tell her.
"Yes, for example, have you ever thought about X (a young woman I can't place) and Olly together?"
Well yes, I think. Except Olly has been dead for about 25 years.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Louise and I are watching a pompous high brow performance in the Albert Hall. My heart sinks as the performer wandering through the audience makes a beeline for us. It is actually not too uncomfortable. He sets our table like he is preparing a sumptuous meal. As the show progresses I become more engrossed in its content. What I had originally thought was impenetrable fantasy I realise is a factual account of slave trading.