Monthly Archives: February 2012
This weekend I’ve been at Snape Maltings aka Aldeburgh Music for ‘Place‘, described as an enquiry into the cultural meanings of water. It appealed to me due to my love of open water swimming, inland waterways and generally getting wet. I wasn’t entirely sure what the nature of this enquiry would be but it was a mix of art, performance, films and readings. The highlights for me were:
Robert MacFarlane: On Roger Deakin; Robert knew Roger in the last few years of his life. It was good to hear a little more about Roger’s life and their shared experiences. I am re-reading Waterlog and looking forward to reading his other books and will hunt out Robert’s The Wild Places – readers of my twitter account will be proud of me for not buying a further mountain of books, but my wish list has grown considerably!
David Rothernburgh: Whale Music & Writing on Water; David was a replacement when other performers had to pull out and when he bounced to the podium like Tigger crossed with Paddington Bear I was not sure what to expect. He plays his clarinet to whales and they sing back. It was stunning, I was totally enthralled, he had also created a pair of films; underlying the film was the story of a man who has lost everything, his wife, children, possessions and sled through the ice (I wish I’d written down the reference).
Jay Griffiths: Telling the Sea; this really was narrative writing performed in a way which was lyrical and engaging. I took very few notes as I was wrapped up in listening to her use of language, it was beautiful and of all the pieces in the weekend probably the one that gave you the greatest feeling of being in water. Her book Wild is definitely on my wish list.
Olivia Chaney: Water Songs; the second replacement act, beautiful singing, haunting and plenty of drowning.
I would love to explain the evening performance of Swandown to you, but you really have to experience and decide that for yourself! [If you are an arts sceptic who wants to know ‘can people really get funding for this stuff?’ it could be a place to start, the audience were distinctly divided]
Today started with a showing of Derek Jarman’s ‘The Garden’, sadly the DVD playing was a bit mucked up and there were frequent restarts. The whole film is distinctly disturbing anyway, I’m glad I’ve finally seen it but will be happy to leave it there.
Manu Luksch: Kayak Libre; this was a delight. Manu carried out a project where she provided a Kayak taxi, with the fare being a conversation, which she captured. A great use of technology combined with the calm induced by travelling at low speed in water below the hight of the normal carriageway.
Simon Read: Seamarks; huge maps, hand drawn that interpret the rising of the waters and their potential impacts on the land. This work is both beautiful and informative, the detail aids understanding and creating the pieces helps Simon to question the landscape and imagine what will happened if various defences are breached.
So thank you to Aldeburgh Music and to Gareth Evans who curated the weekend. Also huge thanks to Linda @goodshoeday for light relief in the interval and the lovely cards, hot from her Letterpress Lab.
This is one of those longer posts, so – feel free to skip to the bit you came looking for:
Pieku – Haiku on Pies, 0r Janathon 2012 – Thanks Kathy and Janathoners, or ‘Dispersal’ – a short story
Pieku – Haiku on Pies
You will find elsewhere in this blog reference to Brays Cottage, the Perfect Pie Company. One of my first ever ‘Pop-up’ assignments was helping Sarah on her stall, I’ve written a silly screenplay in the past too. This weekend has seen a little activity that has taken over twitter in a big way and I love the way that Sarah can take a batty idea and run with it – introducing the Pieku. It started when she asked me for the origins of the nursery rhyme Georgie, Porgie Pudding and Pie; I pulled out my copy of the Opie’s book on nursery rhymes and quoted back a few lines. Then overnight my brain was clearly working away on the idea of rhymes and pies I woke up with Pieku forming; Pie based Haiku. I tweeted one to Sarah and she started a competition (it ends tonight – Sunday so get in quick for a personalised pie to the winner), they seem to be coming in at one every 10 minutes at the moment!
Here are some of the ones I have written – I try to stick with the 5,7,5 – cutting word and seasonal reference.
Knife through golden crust
Reveal inner soul, hearty
Blanket spread on ground
Wanton luscious pie
Mustard bit on side devour
Jelly optional consume
Hot crust raised up high
Chorizo filling warming
Not all pies are cold
If you have Pieku forming tweet them to Sarah @Brays_Cottage
Janathon 2012 – Thanks Kathy and Janathoners
Janathon 2012 has been a wonderful stimulus to get me moving again this year, but I failed miserably in the blogging and logging. Finally I think I’ve reached the stage where for me, as long as I do the exercise, I’m happy and don’t feel the need to log it all the time. This is progress. I am really thankful to Kathy for starting the ball rolling and I have taken up running which is another new activity and paying dividends. Although, you’ll understand by the picture above why I haven’t run or swum today. I am also really grateful to the fellow Janathoners who encourage and support and dare I say it the PlankPolice who riddle me with guilt!
Dispersal – a short story
This is my latest piece of homework for the writing workshop I attend. The task again was to allow the dialogue to do some of the narration, it is also designed to be read out loud for a ‘performance’ later in the year; let me know what you think…
The day I first visited here, a hoar frost was still hanging in the trees at mid-morning, thick fog had dogged us for days. Cloud Farm was boarded up and virtually derelict. When I opened the oak door I was disappointed that as it swung back it was silent, not the heart stopping creak I was expecting. It should not have been possible, but the air inside the tiled hall was even colder than outside. The door to the right led me into a large sitting room. As I entered the room the only light was forcing itself through tiny holes in dark sheeting tacked up to the windows. I struggled to find my way to one of them, and tore at the corner of the fabric; it made an echoing, ripping sound as it split.
“Stupid girl,” I turned at the sound of the quiet voice, “put that back, there’s no light allowed in here.” I attempted to hook the fabric back into position but there was no way it would stay put.
“Sorry?” I said tentatively, “I didn’t mean to cause offence; I wasn’t expecting anyone to be here.”
“There isn’t,” said the voice.
The solicitor had warned me that that in addition to dereliction, the house was reputed to be haunted. He probably thought I was joking when I told him that was fine because I grew up with them.
I moved towards the voice, “You’re the colour of amber,” I said, she had the sheen and consistency of manuka honey, fresh from the fridge.
“You’re not frightened of me then?” she said.
I moved towards her, a small table at her side held a deeply grooved board with what looked like a single large marble balanced towards the end. Suddenly my foot landed on another marble and I started to slide inexorably towards her.
“Don’t knock the table,” she called out weakly. I resisted the temptation to put a hand out and instead drifted into her, landing on my backside with my eyes at her knee level.
“Oh my god, what happened to your legs? They are so tattered, they look chewed, are they sore?”
“Stupid girl; I can’t feel anything anymore. The damage was done after I collapsed; I was unconscious for two days before I died. The rats got me.” She seemed calmly philosophical about it.
As I attempted to get up, my fingers touched another marble. I lifted it as I rose and turned it in my hand.
“An eye,” I said, “Are they all eyes?”
“Yes would you mind picking them up and putting them in the rack?” she asked.
“Of course; such a variety, I like this one, a beautiful sapphire blue, how unusual.”
“It’s the only one that matches my natural eye colour” As I looked at her now though, she had no colour other than amber.
“Could you help me fit it?” she asked. I lifted the eye-ball up to her face; she had no temperature, as I felt for the outline of the eye socket.
“You don’t feel of anything, I can just sense differences of resistance, is this a bony ridge?” I asked.
“Yes just press the ball in and it should sit there.” For a moment, with her sapphire eye, she was complete.
Then she sighed, “Stupid girl.” The fog was clearing outside, more light streamed into the room and as the temperature lifted I looked at her.
“Your eye; it’s slipping.” It slid down inside her face and fell out of the bottom of her jaw, hitting the ground with a dull thud and rolling to the skirting board.
“Dispersal,” she said “When I warm up I start to melt away, it takes so much energy to rebuild myself when it’s cool enough…” and with that she seemed to dissolve in front of my eyes, and hers; trickling through the cracks in the floorboards. Just an eccentric collection of glass eyes on a side table remained.
I moved back to the window and let in more light, then saw the note pinned to the wall.
If you are reading this, Cloud Farm is about to become yours. Charlotte and I have lived peacefully together for nearly thirty years. She lives in the walk-in fridge mostly. Each time she retires there we agree when she will next emerge. We have had some successes. So far we have found the final resting place of four of the rats who chewed at her limbs and have garnered quite a bit of her form. We have learnt that two degrees Celsius is the critical temperature, any higher than that and she starts to disperse, any lower and she is too stiff to move. You must turn the air conditioning to its lowest setting and raise the fridge to two degrees for twenty-four hours before she is due to come out; check the whiteboard on the wall for the next date. On no account attempt to bring her out if the air temperature is above two degrees. There are still more rat bodies to find, or potentially the rats that ate those rats. Also her original eye; she lost it cutting wood, but taking her outside is so risky and the emotions so painful, we have agreed to leave that until last. You see, like all spirits she cannot pass over and finally release her particles until she is complete. At least her imperfections are physical, it is so much harder for those whose damage is emotional, they may never recover and remain here forever.
Look after Charlotte; she is essentially good, just damaged.
That which dies does not drop out of the world. Here it remains; and here too, therefore it changes and is resolved into its several particles; that is into the elements which go to form the universe and yourself. They themselves likewise undergo change, and yet from them comes no complaint. – Marcus Aurelis
For #12DCP folks this is my belated Ghost Story
I know I’ve been tardy in sorting out the winner to the #12DCP competition but now and with a suitable drum roll [Click here for drums] I am very pleased to announce that the winner is……………………………………………………………………………………………………..