Thursday, 26 May 2011

Keuken Up

From the archives No.5

Today on my way to work I witnessed a sight so strange that it seemed to warp an otherwise inflexible London morning. 
 Walking down Jamaica Rd my attention turned to a typical Bermondsey red brick estate; amid the burnished brick was an open door, inside the open door stood a woman and a young girl, both in childrens nighties. Their eyes were fixed on the pavement in front of the house on which there sat a white trainer. I looked closer and saw that the trainer was aflame. I looked again: there was a solitary white reebok classic trainer on fire on the pavement. I stopped, and the three of us stood staring at the trainer. 
 What was the meaning of this? A quasi religious ritual? A memorial to a mothers lost son? Some pre-school arson? A perverse mirage? 
 The mother and child now turned their gaze to the watching stranger. The mother gawped at me with the dead eyed glare of a fat cadaver overfed on Iceland tv dinners. The young girl looked over with an odd plaintive expression. I seemed to hear a voice: 
 " Stranger, I am but a child with little realisation of my place in the world, yet in a few years I will have reached a threshold from which I will never return. Take me away so that I may live". 
 I turned away and continued to work, but for a brief moment I imagined solitary white reebok clasics burning in council estates across the land.


Stills from a documentary portrait I made in 2009 of Chief Eagle Three Feathers a.ka Pete from Brockley.

Friday, 20 May 2011


From the archives No.4

An imagined review of Martin Creeds band by muso-spunk windbagger in chief Paul Morley:

Martin Creed has proved himself to be the ‘Dada’ of chronologically dislocated post-minimal avante-bluesrock. Imagine Brecht gardening in a post -apocolyptic allottment whilst the choking flowers sing early Zappa as covered by Nilsson and you might come close to grasping a thimblefull of the vapour of Creeds liminal enigma played out on stage where every cast iron certainty is revealed to be the mere shadow of a chimera drawn shallow atop shifting sands. This is Artaud directing The Seagull using only the first two chords from Judy is a Punk, and a cast of a solitary raven. This is a bipolar Giorgio Moroder playing tiddlywinks with the Incredible String band during a drum shortage in the winter of dis-contents; Mark E Smith translating La Nausea into morse code and chopping it out onto the shattered mirror in Iggy and Ziggy’s vortex-tual dressing rooms; Suicide in 'Waiting for Bonzo,' as the Dooh Dah band gargle absinthe soaked Cale. This is Richard. D. James as Lee The Agent Naked taking his Lunch of mainlined acid house through an intra-venus xylophone.
 Creed is a one man Hegelian music hall; theorist, magus, shaman, conjuror, janitor, consumer, talk show host and clown, a wrecked racontuer of reification warped into Rothko overdosing on P.I.L. He is you, I and Id. Everything minus nothing leaving everything. Existentialism bleached blonde by nihilsm. Curtis reading the myth of narcisuss to the corpse of Cobain as the waters of Styx reflect a rotting apple atop the bowler hatted head of Beefheart...cont (forever)

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

blanket policy

Roger Ballen

From the archives No.3


Yesterday on the 67 I took the last available seat.
Soon afterwards there was much tutting and kissing of teeth.
Above stood an African Empress with her entourage,
no older than 35,
muttering about priority seats.
I didn't consider her need taking priority over mine
so I sat firm accepting the challenge
only to be willingly usurped by a genuine case
minutes later.
Cue tutting and kissing of teeth.

I chose a seat at the right hand
of another African Monarch
whose giant denimed thighs
sat proud and immovable,
her teeth and tongue condemning my broadsheet.
Brows beaten from all sides
I perched in deference
careful to avoid more tutting
and kissing of teeth.

As we hit the shallow end of Kingsland Road
It struck me how fond I was of these women
with their tutting disapprovals and kissing of teeth.
Better, I thought, than glass eyed boys
with their handsome noses
Flat amidst their reflections,
dreaming of all the small
Better than the butterblondes
Rationing their icy kisses
to any new captain.
Or all the scattered sequins
for the light.

Better than asteroids
and firestorms
and free masonry
and performance art
and Bird flu and publishing sensations and the Bergdorf diamonds
Better than anxiety and better than regret.

But not better than cats.
Elegant and unbeatable,
striding through centuries.

And here amongst African Royalty,
these women seem permanent and
as indestructible as cats.
Kissing their teeth at my shadow
behind them on the high street or
in the queue for the cash machine.
Tutting at the breeze for its impudence
yet, I like to think,
secretly smirking at it all.
And the tutting and the kissing of teeth
a surly challenge to laughter

Monday, 2 May 2011


Stills from a mini portrait of Alexander: polio victim, orphan, refugee, professional survivor.