Melting buildings.

In April last year I travelled to Weymouth. This was a momentous occasion for me, you see, it had been over three years since I had enjoyed a solitary break, a journey to the seaside on my own. It was magical. I was broken. Things in my life were all coming apart. The first day was ok, but it all started to collapse by the evening of the second. My life, the person I was had begun to come apart.

It doesn’t matter.

I take a stroll, and on that stroll I take photographs. Late into the night, anything that catches my eye. I have no idea what I might find. Sometimes nothing. Sometimes, looking back over those photos I find something I’d been looking for.

Occasionally I will find a photo that elucidates something, that puts into view what words have failed to convey. A mistake, an accident or chance. I am provided the resource to go on.

I ruminate upon an image, I draw my diagrams, transcribe meticulously and a adapt, I make my own, this image. In isolation, as raw data, another file on a hard drive, it is meaningless, an aberration brought on by shaky hands drunk with denial, with loss and with booze. But in context, tied to the significance of a journey, surrounded and enabled with the other fruits of that trip, it is a statement, a sentence in the paragraph of this document.

The work is a sequence.

I have just returned from another holiday, one contextually removed from this particular story, perhaps a more abstract, metaphysical tale than the tragic romance of my Dorset based reminiscence. There, as I walked for miles along the Kentish coast, I began to consider the sequential. It seems, sadly, in these last few years, I have mostly abandoned the story telling in my work, the long form considerations of a theme.

I mean, I continue this to a degree, the varying exegesis of my visual output, but in some ways, the sense of continuity has been lost, the themes, the overall sense of a wider picture is there, but the focus, the story, the point, is lost. Of course, this implies that I do in fact have a point, perhaps I don’t. Maybe this chaos of overlapping ideas and vague allusions to events is its own reward. Either way, this train of thought leads me to consider something more… substantial?

We shall see what the future brings. For now. Melting buildings.

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A building, coming apart.

Does it begin here or does it end? Is this building coming apart, vanishing from memory, or only just taking shape? Has it come to a halt, or is this just a break?

Time’s always slipping away from us.

Do you grasp for something, desperately trying to claw back what you’ve lost, or do you stand back and watch yourself, annihilated in quiet dignity?

Keep going back, digging around.

Something was lost here, something died. There is a tragedy buried in this memory.

But it’s gone, lost to time. Whatever you were, whatever you once believed is gone. That thing, that indefinable, impossible truth that you’d live for is lost, forever, washed away. And that being you’d attached all those hopes and dreams to? Another. No more the object you coveted.

You are forgotten. That man you were – dead. And this memory of a time and a place was the last time you saw him walk. All that followed you home was echoes – the last cries of a dying man.

Someone else now – another life, another inevitable demise. And every time a little less of me remains.

Farewell.

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Call me to return.

Thankfully, I no longer have the notebook. Left in a bag, lost on a train. Would I want to read what I’d scribbled, starved, drunk, alone in a hotel room, by the sea? It’s always the same. But isn’t that what we’re all afraid of? I’d like it if things would stop, so I might just stay here forever. Yes it hurts, but that’s who I am now. In this moment, it’s the pain that defines me and in a way, I don’t want that to go away. It hurts because things change, and though life may come to rest, briefly, it’s never long before the next ride begins.

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Pieces half done.

At first you’re excited, thrilled by the new piece you’re working on. Then you get bored. Then you get distracted, something more exciting comes along, or you’re busy at work (far too busy at work), perhaps mental illness snatches away any motivation to create – but then, what am I creating? What is the point of this? I’m using photographs here, have I created anything? Did what I see exist in any tangible way before I photographed it? Does the photo exist in the absence of a witness? As a photo referenced painting, well, not a painting – a digital painting, a painting without paint – what is it I’m doing? Why am I doing this? What is the benefit? Who is it for?

In other words – I stopped working on this piece. In memory my pieces are always half done. You build a block, you take that block and push it into the way of the act, thus making that passage – the path to creation – unapproachable. Why not try to ignore the block? Because you’ve carefully misremembered how difficult it will be once you’ve passed it, you’ve erected another block and placed that atop the previous one. It’s boring. It’s not worth the time any way. The piece will never be finished. You’re not good enough. Whatever. Before you know it, you have a tower, a tower you’ll need to climb before you can continue.

The frustrating temptation is to believe that this is it. You’re done. If you can’t finish this, you’re fucked. This is the end of you. There is nothing else you can do. You may as well give up here. Move on, dissolve, become someone else. The whole of you is tied up in this, the place you belong and without it, without completing it, you cease – that so much of you is a part of this, a part of anything, that without closure, you’re lost.

Fuck that. Work on something else, move on. Perhaps in time you’ll return. Perhaps not. There is no you. Just something temporary and disposable that you might cling to for a time, and after that time? You let go.

This time, I came back, I finished. I stand at a distance now. I probably wasted my time. I don’t like this work. Maybe you do. Maybe I might, in time, but whatever horror surrounded it’s creation, it’s transcription from vision to photograph to painting, has tainted it irreparably in my eyes. Regardless, I move on.

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Empty. Sky.

I can’t find the time.

It doesn’t make any sense when I word it like that.

I’ve been painting skies. That’s all that I can manage at the moment. I just want to stop existing for a moment. I can’t seem to escape myself right now. I want out, out of this fucking skin, out of my life – anything.

I’m drinking too much. I’m always drinking too much. Whether I drink or not I feel hungover.

I’ve been painting skies because that’s all I can manage, because the concentration – I can’t concentrate, can’t write, can’t paint, can’t focus on anything. Skies are easy, something relaxing to paint. It doesn’t require the precision… and I have lots of skies.

I feel like parts of me keep being pulled away, pieces crumbling under the stress of existence.

It seems like nothing will change. I remember now why I stopped taking my medication last time. Nothing changes, stasis, the inertia is overwhelming. Sometimes, it feels like the only thing that will make a difference is transformation.

Just an empty sky, colour without form.

 

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Just human beings.

It’s late.

There’s alcohol, there’s always alcohol. This is my life we’re talking about after all.

We talk, we discuss, we converse, we dissert.

I am the kind of man you can talk to.

I listen, I engage, I let you know it’s ok to continue, I am interested. I would like to know what you have to say my friend. Strangely, I have enough knowledge for you to continue at length.

You’ve not met me before.

It get’s deeper.

You can trust me.

It get’s deeper.

You can lean in, I know your pain, I know your struggles. I’ve been there, in my own way.

I can empathise, you can trust me.

I have the scars to prove it.

Perhaps I’m not a monster.

We’re all just human beings.

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Not yet.

You’ve drunk too much.

You’ve drunk enough that there isn’t a real world any more.

Escorted from the party, chunks of time slide away into oblivion and you’re left staring into nothingness, stumbling through the streets, lost and alone. Streets blur and splinter before you. Nothing. Home and emptiness are no respite from the torment.

You’ve taken mushrooms mere days later.

There never was a real world.

Everything’s sticky, and bits of you keep falling away. No fear now, just emptiness at the end, we’ve been there. I’ve seen this all before.

You seem to be teetering on the brink friend, ready to fall again.

Look over the edge there, what do you see?

Drugs – forgotten too many times of late.

Everything quivers, waiting to erupt.

Hold on.

Just keep clinging to something.

You could, but given this unravelling, given these events that have destablised you, what would be the point? What are you clinging on to?

I’m not talking here about what would be easier. It’s easier to push on and ignore this. To pretend it didn’t happen. Again. The fact is, this happens often enough, and you know it does, that the truth is, you’re clinging on to nothing. Let go and breathe it in as you fall. Take me with you. Let’s flee, into the unknown, into the darkness. It’ll hurt, we know that now, but with that comes liberation. Enough.

There is a limit.

Not yet.

I keep telling myself.

Not yet.

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Try to write.

There is evidently an ideal moment to begin writing. For me at least. This moment follows the first drink but precedes true inebriation. I am past that point. I am lost. Tonight, I cannot write.

Right now, as drunk as I am, writing is not good. Obviously, I manage. I am not so drunk I cannot make sense of the words I write, but my emotions are unhinged, I am liable to descend into needless melancholy. I believe it is important to write with joy, to say YES! to the world, even when delving into the darkness.

Tonight I have drunk too much.

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Keep losing things.

Everything is disintegrating around me. The man I thought I was is crumbling. What the fuck am I? I keep losing things. I keep coming here, again and again in my mind. Things don’t make sense, but here, it’s not important, I no longer need to be real. I can let go.

Have a drink, pitch a slightly broken tent, have another drink, write nonsense. It’s beautiful this place I’m in. Cherish it.

Time’s passed, I keep losing things, come back.

 

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She Speaks in Scents and Memories.

For reference, the following was extracted from sleep on the 31st July 2014 or thereabouts. For some reason, it never got posted. Enjoy?

With dreams so vivid, real life fades away – a temporary respite from harrowing majesty.

The white PVC frame that adorns the red brick walls holds glass smeared with a thousand tiny finger prints.

Beneath, fields stretch endlessly away, yellowing before a cloudless sky, reopening wounds long since sealed.

Green, snot soaked sleeves.

Soles etched with unreadable diagrams.

Brave cartographers mapping out the secret byways of the land.

A decay in the possible.

Avenues of my life severed.

Small legs carry me through these fields.

I try to hold on, reaching out to grip these instances before they fade, but my hands limply collide with the container of my will.

She comes to me, wrapped in linen, less a person now, sliding through the facade of reality. Colour drains from the world, the walls of this building seem flimsy and staged. She stands there for a moment, her flesh unreal, unlit, impossible.

Her mouth opens, herpes scarred lips part revealing teeth too few – crammed into moist, eager gums, but words don’t follow. She speaks in scents and memories.

I could hear her whimpering from the next room. I took my leave, smoking furiously into the night. Lives lived out of sync, chronologies displaced, a cosmology of isolated occurrence arranged to some arcane whim. The significance is only felt in retrospect. Writing a history in reverse.

She doesn’t last, fading into myth, features rendered obsolete as she joins an incoherent and shapeless her – the fire that burns through the house of my life, laying siege to my carefully ordered sanctuary.

Am I really under siege? I watch the rooms of this building laid to waste, the man I was, the rooms I once inhabited – reduced to ash. I run, opening doors into hitherto unknown quarters, past the familiar, into the unknown. I slide through the secret spaces of the house. An attic I never knew opening onto the city, empty rooms hidden within cupboards and between the cracks in memory. Entire floors, piled with unread books and disused furniture. A broken mirror, hidden in the wardrobe, thick with the residue of bodily fluid, reflecting both inwards and backwards. I pick and tear at it, a past not my own lying beneath the blood spattered walls.

And every window looks out onto the same apocalyptic sky.

I head deeper, into the bowels of this place I can’t know, the shifting stage set of my dreams.

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