Travelling east from this jewel of the coast, civilisation expires gently into the water, rolling down to the dirty kerbstone of the not-cliffs into an oily sea. Scattered low-pressed dismal towns of unpainted fences and burgeoning drug use, elderly and young alike. Even the duolingo of Newhaven's centre ville is the last gasp before the rolling downs and dropping lands of the Seven Sisters - beautiful, yet corralled as tourist land and sanctioned extraLondon countryside.
The grim psychogeography of Beachy Head belying the bright snake rivers and snowy cliffs.
And into Kent - Cinque ports, high weald knifefolded wooded wilds. And the press of the ocean against its sea walls and grimey forts.
Photos - mostly Dungeness
A vaguely proper review of the Delaware Road Album is here. I'm aware I should have written this up less than two months later, but there is some clarity left. And many photos...
Kelvedon Hatch does feel very remote, even with its amusing "Secret Bunker this way" signs. And I arrived between two swathes of coached in people, in the dark, in the drizzle. There were some lit up bits going downhill. I walked towards them. I started hearing loud beats. It very much reminded me of the 90s, rave-tracking.
It wasn't rave, more a collection of curated hauntological weird. In a bunker. It's a massively disorientating experience as the Hatch is built into a hill. So you enter through the base and explore upwards, one strange bleepy tapetwisted room at a time. It's not my field of musical expertise, but good. More scary for the Mummers and Pappers popping up in various tunnels. The whole thing was finished with a Mummers Play that reminded me mostly of Riddley Walker.
Lots of Photos...
London's Future Exiles @ Iklectik, London
This was mostly an Alan Moore groupiefest for me. But with himself, Iain Sinclair *and* Brian Catling all in one place, I didn't want to miss it. Plonked square in the centre of Blaketopia in Lambeth, the Iklectik venue itself is quite plain and unassuming. A bit like a slice of Boiling Wells, really. Brain Catling is a quietly imposing ball of pinstriped hardintellect insanity. I've lost my love affair with Sinclair in whom I've noticed a recent streak of psychogeosnobbery in. But still, he writes damn well. But has no right to be so stuck up when Alan Moore is such a gentle fuzzy lovely. So, four very different poets on Blake and London, and a damn fine night indeed.
Also to be noted that these are the things that put a spring back in my step.
It even defies description in a lot of ways. It's about a special visionary family, Northampton and both of those through many tangled dimensions of time. There's a hell of a lot of philosophy. Maths. And linguistics. And a chapter on Bauhaus.
It is also literary, aping various novels and genres and in itself revealing a very expansive yet generally tight verbosity in Moore's writing that leaves every detail neatly, precisely and entirely described. It reminds me of Mervyn Peake on an amphetamin jag at times, to be honest. When I read it, there was much I skimmed and now only appreciate while going back through the audio book. It loops in and out like one of those table mats you wove from paper strips at Primary School.
It is intensely hard work. But very much worth it. I'm now a Moore fangirl.
This segues me over to By Ourselves. At just under an hour and a half, it's a much less serious investment. And there's an interview with Alan Moore. Who has a lovely voice *ahem* And as it's about John Clare's pedestrain journey from Bedlam to Northampton, there is more to link it than just fandom. Although there is either going to be some fandom or some patience involved as it's a studiedly "artsy" film at times with a lot of Iain Sinclair. The gentle bafflement of Toby Jones as the 18th century nature poet smacking against various underpasses and motorways saves the more grating bits of the film, and the claustrophobic and layeringly paranoid filming in black and white stock is genuinely starkly beautiful.
Up there with Field in England as a piece of weird folkhorror British film, but not as comprehensively mind fucking.
And I try to act normal and not to cry.
My child while be 10 years old in just 10 days. A decade of two new people working it out together. This is the most dangerous thing I've ever done, will ever do. This taking my heart out of me and putting it into another to set it flying into my world.
I have never been so vulnerable. And the world has never seemed so unsafe.
When I was a teen, my father didn't let me go to gigs in the neighbouring town in case... I don't know what, actually. Boys, maybe. Almost certainly the same scary unnameable monsters that all parents try to shove down deep in the queasy pits of their stomachs. Now those monsters seem more real - there are kids that won't come home from that gig last night. Kids whose parents gulped down those nameless fears and now cry broken glass tears.
I always swore I'd be braver than my parents and let my kid do those normal teenage things.
Now being a better parent than those before you comes with real terror and risk. And I have seen what losing a child does to you - I saw the light go out in my grandfather's eyes at my father's funeral. All he could do was keep himself still and calm - safety had gone. It put my own grief sharply into place.
A father loses a child. A child loses her father. My child never knows his grandfather. And I remember watching Nick Cave and his wife try to make mystic sense of misty nothings, and swear they will revenge themselves with happiness.
I only pray that we can all be that brave <3
And this prayer I wrote for Ben so that one day when I'm not here, he knows how I thought when I was un-mum. Today, it feels timely in so many ways:
They are both similar in some respects charting the history of British brutalist architecture on one hand, and women's fashion in the 20th century on the other. I read the fashion book first, shortly before I coincidentally acquired a sewing machine. So it was interesting in some respects, especially charting the more utilitarian fashions of the 50s which have become icons, such as Hooveralls. Actually real genuine interest in something I had no thoughts about. Until I got to the 60s and descended into a continuous waspish drone about how shit literally *everything* was at that point dahling.
So I skim read it until I got entirely sick of the sight of it and then took it back to the library. Think I just shoved it bac through the dropbox, to add insult to injury. Some interesting thoughts though as I ponder making my own garments.
Concretopia was much for fun. A gentle mix of political history and architecture with enough humour and humility to get over the fact that the author was a bit besotted with all things concrete. A much more enjoyable read that I actually learned from, despite being a bit of a cement geek myself.
So I'd recommend that one really :-)
You grabbed my hand And we fell into it
Like a daydream Or a fever…
I took my old website down and rebuilt it Joomla. Partly for the professional experience. Partly because it was getting out of hand. Partly because I have more ambition for it than a photo dump. I remember I used to post my photos here too. There seems no autposter to cross post to FB and LJ, so what I've done so far:
Some people are sitting on those cloth and metal chairs that I remember from school speech days. Others are flopped or curled on bean bags and cushions growing on the darkened floor like fungi. There are three figures at the front of the crypt.
The tools of their trade are neatly arrayed before them.
One takes a brass bowl and lights some vegetable something with a bright flame and copious smoke. The city sounds of a summer Friday night coerce their way through a broken pane of dust filmed leaded window. Revelery, sirens and buses are then obliterated by the unholy noise of unearthly instruments and inhuman voices.
The harmonious din is all together disproportionate to those three slight figures on the floor before us peaked with pointed mage-hats and cacooned in deep dark veils.
Occasionally passers-by look through the broken window then wander off befuddled, as this is truly an aural wilderness - there's no particular graspable frame of reference of verse-chorus-verse. No expected song structure. No words, even.
Just three circumspect men quietly and methodically weaving a cradle of of unplaceable soundscape.
And by the end of it, my head was ringing and entirely happily baffled in their tightly laced wailsong cage. One of the most confusingly peaceful places I may have been in the name of art :)
I'd have enough of supernatural crime books at bookclub. They're fine, but I've no real love for crime fiction in general. So I was a bit supsicious when I started reading this but it turned into a good horor book. Gruesome and gripping :)
It had the air of 28 Days Later to it. That creeping social thing that pits humanity against itself. It's part of a trilogy which I sort of get from the ending but then I quite like non-standard finishes to that sort of thing anyway.
Any more will be spoilers :P
This is difficult.
I feel grief for the loss of my child's simple happy early years. And I feel anger that this is so difficult and so time consuming for me. And anger that this must be even worse for other people less capable.
Everyone thinks my child has what their child has. I get that. We all want someone to walk this road with us. And everyone thinks that their child's school is the absolute best and most awesome. If you didn't, I would question why you sent your child there, to be honest. Good choice, well done. It's not going to fix things for my kid like a magic bullet though.
I feel patronised. I can accept a diagnosis, but what I can't accept is a label stuck on my child right now when I don't agree with it. I'm not in denial. Telling me that I am, however gently, is patronising.
So I've thought long and hard about what I will accept, for me and my child, right now. And here it is:
I have a fiercely intelligent, beautifully creative and quietly sociable child; he also has traits of autism.
It's a good book, even though the main character was an insufferable dick. I think I've outgrown it a little - wish I'd read it in my 20s. Mostly it just reminded me of my twenties and the grinding nag of never having enough money.
Might as well shove in a picture of the Coryvreckan Whirlpool here - it's ace:
It's interesting to read them again now. What I get a lot more of is the Hardy-esque nature of John Fowles work. My boyfriend at the time complained that he was horribly sexist in that he portrayed women as crazy borderline bitches (heh, can't argue there :P) but these days I seem to read in a fairly scathing condemnation of the sort of posh man who thinks he's awfully liberated but actually is a bit of a cock and ends up with egg on his face because of it.
I want to read The Collector, but I'm holding out for it getting voted in at bookclub :)
(He died a few years ago :()