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First Edition printed January 2017 / ‘Linen Slipcase’ Limited Edition of 23<br />

Electronic Edition Published January 31st 2017<br />

by BA Publishing, Norfolk PE30<br />

Printed in the USA, 845 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022<br />

All rights reserved<br />

Curation, appendices material, design and art direction, all photographs of<br />

the pieces, collages and montages:<br />

© Phil Barrington / Barrington Arts<br />

Foreword, commentary and narration:<br />

© Phil Barrington 2016<br />

Pornography and demons; in conversation with Charlotte Niemiec:<br />

© Charlotte Niemiec 2016<br />

Book design:<br />

© Phil Barrington / Barrington Arts<br />

The rights of Phillip Barrington (also birthname) to be<br />

identified as author of this work has been in accordance with<br />

Section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988<br />

Every effort has been made to trace or contact all copyright holders.<br />

The publishers would be pleased to rectify any omissions or errors<br />

brought to their notice at the earliest opportunity<br />

Phil Barrington is an artist from East Anglia UK primarily working in analogue/digital photography and<br />

Multimedia using a variety of experimental paint and chemical methods.<br />

Previous books by Phil Barrington include;<br />

"A Collection of Rusted Dreams; Phil Barrington 2007-2012", 2012, OOTB Publications.<br />

"The Golden Age of Bloodsports; The Collected Words, Lyrics & Performed Songs of Jhonn Balance ", 2014, OOTB Publications.<br />

www.barringtonarts.com<br />

Charlotte Niemiec is a journalist and coffee addict from Surrey UK with an academic background, having studied MA in<br />

Shakespeare at Royal Holloway University of London before becoming an editor and freelance journalist.<br />

lotteniemiec@gmail.com<br />

23 2 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 23

<strong>Cracked</strong> <strong>Amber</strong> <strong>Solid</strong><br />

,Frieze of the Faded-<br />

Phil Barrington<br />

i. Life<br />

ii. Love<br />

iii. Sex<br />

iv. Death<br />


www.barringtonarts.com / www.facebook.com/BarringtonArts

Contents<br />

07 - Frieze of the Faded; a foreword by Phil Barrington<br />

10 - Acknowledgements<br />

11 - Pornography and Demons; in conversation with Charlotte Niemiec<br />

17 - i. Life<br />

25 - ii. Love<br />

33 - iii. Sex<br />

47 - iv. Death<br />

59 - Appendix I; Blotter Pad<br />

64 - Appendix II; Variants & Rejects<br />

79 - Index of Works<br />

*Inside back cover+<br />

- A Home for a Relic


Frieze of the Faded<br />

After nearly 25 years of collecting vintage media and 4 years of preparation, this is an exploration of mind, space, time and remembrance in four stages of<br />

human existence; I. Life, II. Love, III. Sex, IV. Death.<br />

The pictures here are accompanied by semi-autobiographical text that is gradually fragmented by cycles of Markov generation as the narrative progresses.<br />

Autumn 1993. The man behind the counter suddenly ushered me into a tiny back-room as soon as he saw me come in. The man's small shop was situated on<br />

the back streets of King's Lynn in Norfolk England and, as I recall, this was on one rainy Saturday lunchtime. The 6 foot by 2 foot room he motioned me to<br />

basically climb into was under a flight of stairs, thus the ceiling bluntly slanted downwards, without a lightbulb, and there were some slightly mouldy boxes<br />

of yellowed comics on the dusty floor.<br />

I was well-known in the shop up to that point, even from my very early teens, as it bought occult literature from my burgeoning collection and sold various<br />

Lovecraftian items to me almost every weekend. It was here where I bought my first copy of "Simon's Necronomicon" and it was here, in this shop, that I<br />

regularly traded banned films and a variety of prohibited VHS titles.<br />

On this particular rainy Saturday afternoon in my seventeenth year on the planet, this man (shall we say he was named "Bob"?) quickly shoved a white plastic<br />

bag of flat card-like items into my hands and simply said "do you want 'em?" before leaving to serve other customers at front-of-house. I tried to capture<br />

some ambient light from the doorway to see what the hell he'd given me. It was at a particularly strange angle to gain some light on my newly-given bag of<br />

'things' that I hit the top of my head quite hard on the slanted ceiling in that under-stair storeroom. Now, I mean this was a hard physical blow by anyone's<br />

verdict. If I was a baby at the time, my fontanelle would've split open like a fresh egg, I swear it. I literally saw stars in that damned dark room, nearly<br />

dropped this white bag of items, and a sharp scent of sulphur hit my nostrils in the way it always does when I suffer a blow to the head (I hit my head in<br />

public quite often - I am 6ft 4in tall). I became unsteady on my feet, swore a great deal, rubbed what must've been a bleeding scalp, looked around to see if<br />

anyone saw my slapstick calamity and luckily no-one was in my vicinity. I was safe from mockery, derision and raised eyebrows.<br />

I regained my composure, though still whoozy, and delved into the bag of items. It must've contained around 50 hardcore polaroids and amateur darkroomsourced<br />

pornographic prints, on a level that would've been banned from every sexshop in the land at the time (hardcore entry shots in adult magazines were<br />

still censored in the UK by those oval banana-trade stickers at the time). Bottlefucking to pissing, voyeurism to cuckold-by-PO-Box, group shagging to teabagging,<br />

all of the musty dog-eared photographs hand-annotated with suggestive personal notes by the female star of each setup. Even through my whoozy<br />

star-filled vision it was obvious to me in that darkly-lit room that these pictures clearly spanned decades, from the 1950s-1980s by my reckoning.<br />

Clearly, these pictures were sent between lovers and, on occasion, shared with mail-order subscribers. How the hell did Bob come into possession of these<br />

private items? I hung around the shop and waited until near closing time to ask my many questions. Who are these amateur pornstars? How did you get<br />

them? Where did you get them from? And how much money do you want for them all?<br />

7<br />


It turned out that a middle-man was involved. A man who was a passing acquaintance of Bob's. A man who conducted house clearances for a living (mostly of<br />

the abodes of deceased loners without family), someone who regularly sold a whole house-worth of relics at auction for his income - minus a nominal fee to<br />

the auction-house for their trouble.<br />

This man was not alone. In fact, I got to hear of a great many other house clearance businesses on my travels, each of them storing away "white bags" of<br />

personal items from the deceased. In the 2000's it'd be pen-drives, smartphone simcards and hard-disks that house clearers couldn't sell on through auction<br />

houses. In 1993, it was bag-upon-bag of private photographs from the deceased.<br />

And so my collection began. Over nearly 25 years I have accrued VHS tapes, Super-8 reels, audio reels, polaroids, slides, transparencies, notes, "Dear John"<br />

letters, inscribed notebooks and other personal items from all aspects of the lives of deceased strangers, sourced from the backrooms and white carrier bags<br />

of UK house clearers.<br />

On one occasion I obtained the x-rays of a deceased cancer sufferer along with the lady's final holiday snaps taken of herself by herself, with no member of<br />

her family alive (or otherwise absent) to accompany her on her final physical journey.<br />

These items, often recorded at the time with such obvious glee, playfulness and humour - lasting evidence of the vibrant and passionate lives of strangers - all<br />

shared the same outcome before I intervened and collected them. The items were all destined for the trashcan, lost forever. I saved all of these relics from<br />

complete destruction, not because I am some sort of sordid serial-voyeur (at least no more than anyone else), but that I felt it was an outright criminal act to<br />

destroy unique relics of these lives just because they have no monetary value in the nation's auction houses, or are otherwise condemned as either sordid or<br />

pornography without value or merit.<br />

Processes<br />

I had some personal caveats when making this collection. I am a firm believer in a person's "right to be forgotten". Without exception. The photographs<br />

which show a perhaps identifiable feature or face of the people involved must have either been taken in a public space or otherwise come from a collection<br />

that showed some evidence of being distributed in its lifetime, or clearly intended for distribution. Outside of that principle I was left with a problem; there<br />

were some fantastic pictures that I felt deserved to be seen and "kept alive", yet these were often the most personal of pictures, perhaps between lovers,<br />

and thus my usual method of adding texture to photographs by paints and/or eroding chemicals came into force; not merely to obscure the identities within<br />

but with the aim to add an extra layer of 'otherness' and vibrancy to them. My actions here are done with hope to give the collection an additional signifier<br />

from the old worlds that both time and space continue to erode.<br />

To make a more balanced and broader set of work here I wanted to add a piece of my own private life too. However, I did fear that this collection could<br />

revert to being a kind of vanity project - one in which I obscenely and disgracefully co-opt items from other people's lives to make a project all about me, me,<br />

me. It was clear that there needed to be some outside variables to mix up or influence the flow of things beyond my control. When I say 'outside variables' I<br />

mean it literally; I left a great amount of these photographs outside to brave the elements of three full-on Winter seasons (in fact three whole years). The<br />

photographs were hit and covered by snow, sleet, birdcrap, sap, ink from poisonous berries and everything else that an average English season can throw at<br />

them from 2012-2014, over and over again, with a year of drying out needed in my studio the following year.<br />

8<br />


This destruction-by-nature of a great many of the pictures did add that personally-uncontrolled aspect to the visuals that I needed, though I also required<br />

something external to happen to the accompanying textual narrative to make that less like an autobiographical stream-of-consciousness text that it first<br />

became. I firstly broke up my paragraphs into the four general themes of the book, added character names as independent voices and filtered most of my<br />

text through online Markov scripts in cycle-upon-cycle of textual degradation, in the latter stages most notably the script made by my acquaintance and<br />

coder Nick Boughton (though equally using Shaney script and other more linear word jumblers beforehand too).<br />

Phil Barrington<br />

9<br />


Acknowledgements<br />

Dedicated to John Ernest Joseph Bellocq (1873–1949)<br />

In assembling this collection, my sincere thanks go to;<br />

Charlotte Niemiec<br />

The Caretaker<br />

Jhonn Balance (wherever he is)<br />

Philip Eke<br />

Medusa Rose<br />

Ceridwen Smee<br />

Nick Boughton<br />

“Bob”<br />

All the eternal stars of the featured<br />

With rare exception, the original photographs featured in all sections and appendices were bought from various East<br />

Anglian household clearance contacts by Phil Barrington from around 1993 to 2014, the purchases saving the<br />

unauctionable pictures from ultimately being destroyed. To all the original photographers throughout the ages whose<br />

pictures feature in the book - my heartfelt thanks for your gift of inspiration, your great work has been saved from<br />

oblivion. For now.<br />

10<br />


Pornography and Demons<br />

In Conversation With Charlotte Niemiec<br />

Mostly illustrated by failed untitled pieces, studio scenes and unused alternate<br />

versions<br />

On a cold winter evening in late 2016, journalist Charlotte Niemiec confronted Phil<br />

Barrington on many aspects of the collection, his creative methodology and morality<br />

behind the content.<br />

CN: So, where are we at right now?<br />

PB: Well, after perhaps 25 years in the making, I finally reached the point of finishing this book -<br />

my first photographic book in 3 or 4 years now, and my third actual released book (the last one<br />

was the words of Jhonn Balance - a completely different subject, completely different material). So<br />

we are now at the point of being on the eve of releasing this book, electronically first and then a<br />

very limited printed art edition run.<br />

As a pre-amble, this book covers four major themes, a little bit like Edward Munch‟s “Frieze of<br />

Life”, this incorporates Life, Love, Sex and Death - universal themes that people can relate to,<br />

recognise or feel some kind of empathy towards. This is the first major project of mine that I haven't<br />

really featured my own creative photography in, because it's mostly found items, found photographs<br />

(different textures from a whole variety of sources really) and features complete strangers<br />

throughout that have no real-world connection to me at all. The people featured within the imagery<br />

are not portraying any kind of role or fictional character, they are just expressing themselves, or<br />

rather going on their travels, or just captured in a moment of time. So I think that's basically it with<br />

regards to a rather messy summary of the book.<br />

CN: If okay with you, could you explain the book’s title “<strong>Cracked</strong> <strong>Amber</strong> <strong>Solid</strong>” for me?<br />

PB: I was initially just going to call it “Frieze of the Faded” but that sounds too prog rock with a kind<br />

of overblown grandiose nature to it, so I wanted something with a little bit more depth and mystery<br />

to the title words, as they appear on the page. In my home studio I have a piece of rectangular<br />

amber that has a beetle inside it, not sure how old it is but it's a perfect specimen aside from a<br />

slight crack in it, and it gave me a mental image of people frozen in a similar way in space and time<br />

via photography, hence why it's called that.<br />

CN: Okay, so there’s a very explicit image on the front sleeve – did you deliberately choose<br />

one of the most explicit images from your collection for the front cover, perhaps as a<br />

provocation of some kind to the potential reader?<br />

PB: I don't want people to have any illusions going into the book that it was going to be held back<br />

or censored in any way, shape or form; one thing I can't stomach is a nude study that has the<br />

model do a kind-of striptease act, covering themselves up for the camera - I think that breaks the<br />

fourth wall, that kind of self-censored image, the subject just saying to the viewer “hey, don't forget,<br />

you‟re the viewer and I'm in control of what you see”, giving the audience a self-consciousness that<br />

isn‟t helpful. I think it's you have to see things as they would be in “reality”, so that attitude is<br />

reflected on the front cover. Perhaps it could also be seen as a creative warning that the collection<br />

is very explicit in parts and actually dealing with the concept of sex as a form of communication<br />

between people. Mostly though, I happen to love the image in question – a curious sense of a<br />

woman in peril, the female looking like she's falling. So, yeah, I think that it is representative of the<br />

strongest material that's in there.<br />

CN: Yes, I also think it does, but was the cover intended to “shock”?<br />

PB: No no no, definitely not intended to shock, not in a kind of violent or aggressive standoff<br />

against one‟s potential audience, because that kind of thing doesn't really work - and no-one ever<br />

makes millions of pounds from mere shock value alone. I think, anyway, that art collectors tend not<br />

to buy things that they “shocked by” per se. I have always wanted to be bold with regards to nudity,<br />

with regards to more horrific elements, with regards to emotional content and it is definitely wrong<br />

to say that I have ever wanted to “shock” people. Unless shocking people these days is equivalent<br />

of making them want to think about elements of their own private lives and general musings on<br />

society.<br />

11<br />


CN: Can you sum up the intention behind the whole collection in your own words, for those<br />

who haven’t read any summary of the book. For instance, what point are you trying to make<br />

when connecting love, life, sex and death together?<br />

PB: From an aesthetic point of view at least, all four subjects blur into one for me, a kind of<br />

hauntological collection of memories of all those elements in one‟s life. I've been skirting around the<br />

aesthetic qualities of hauntology for quite a while now with a similar ambient mood and imagery,<br />

trying to evoke an almost supernatural sense of the mundane; so, the images here could be of a<br />

very banal holiday, or an awkward portrait of someone looking to one side, looking down, or having<br />

sex, grief for those bastards who left us behind and so on, all elements linked together by the<br />

nature of them all being in one book with the shared visual aspects of decay in many forms. These<br />

kinds of „episodes‟ are happening in everyone's life and I just wanted to share a portrayal of “life in<br />

hindsight”, from my own world and perspective, whilst using other people‟s worlds to show it<br />

visually.<br />

Leaving the photographs out to decay for such a period of time is a bit like putting a magnifying<br />

glass over a pinned butterfly; there's a quality from it‟s existence before you get to that point, the<br />

butterfly will always show its beauty as long as it physically exists in that time/space even though<br />

it's captured in time, but the magnifying glass distorts and, if caught by the sun, burns or fades the<br />

creature in an almost abstract way by its focus on it.<br />

I think, yes, in some of the works there is an element of fear or sadness, but there is also humour -<br />

which perhaps we can explore a bit later because usually the most ignored side of my own work is<br />

the humour I put into various finished pieces over the years.<br />

CN: You say in the book’s foreword that it would have been outright criminal to destroy<br />

these unique relics or photographs, which I can understand, but how do you reconcile that<br />

desire to preserve the past with how you manipulated and changed them by leaving them<br />

out in the open for years to degrade and rot?<br />

PB: Well I did that for several reasons - one being a practical reason, as some of the best pictures<br />

had fully-identifiable people in them so I wanted to obscure their identity (if the situation was clearly<br />

in a private setting). Although most people in the photographs are deceased (the pictures<br />

originating from my house clearances contacts), there is still a possibility that someone could<br />

personally identify a person in it, so I wanted to minimise that a little bit and actually enforce some<br />

anonymity in some of the best works. I most often preserve the person‟s body but destroy their face<br />

in my own work anyway, so this approach isn‟t new to me. So, even though there are some<br />

distorted and decayed pictures there, I think I have that balance between respecting the original<br />

picture, respecting the person within it, and also adding a necessary aesthetic texture to the whole<br />

collection.<br />

I still maintain that these very human, very touching and very moving moments are better kept<br />

forever in some form than destroyed en masse as they were going to be, but it's an interesting<br />

point that I found myself balancing between preserving them and actively destroying elements of<br />

them myself.<br />

CN: But I I think that many people could pick up this book, or download it, and think that<br />

you’ve just included pornography for titillating purposes - any excuse to include such<br />

polarising material - what would you say to that?<br />

PB: I'd like to know of such people who think that any of my work is pornographic because, if anyone<br />

gets „turned on‟ by most of my work then I probably wouldn't want to know them! I can't predict<br />

all the ways that people will react to the very explicit imagery in the book but, to a large extent, that<br />

is beyond my control - if someone reads the text or sees the other imagery there that surrounds the<br />

explicit works and still comes away thinking that the book is pornographic (pornography<br />

12<br />


asically existing to stimulate a person‟s genitals) or if you put my book down thinking, um, “I'm hot<br />

for action” then you're a different person to myself. Of course, there is a variety of straight hardcore<br />

and S&M imagery in the book, but I genuinely struggle to see how anyone could find anything that<br />

I produce sexually stimulating.<br />

CN: So, in that case, how do you think people would react if they picked up your book for<br />

the first time?<br />

PB: It depends on the person – because if they're comfortable with themselves and in-tune with<br />

their emotions and their sexual peccadilloes, then I think they wouldn't put the book down in shock.<br />

I‟m hopeful that they'll put the book down feeling quite emotional that certain elements of the book<br />

have triggered certain memories or feelings of their own about their past; their sexual experiences,<br />

their grief for their parents, their first love, their most explosive break-up, their first holiday in<br />

foreign lands. All these things have equal balance in the book, but I am realistic and understand<br />

that some of the more “out there” sexual imagery could be grabbing lots of people's attention away<br />

from some of the more subtle works and that's fine. It‟s nature, because we're mammals and we<br />

need to think about sex almost constantly.<br />

Large portions of the text were written when I was in a highly emotional state, during a particularly<br />

bleak period of time, so I do hope at least some of the readers would recognise a tenderness and<br />

longing at the core of the book itself. In my mind there are also many symbols of hope - not<br />

complete nihilism - but they are not always there - and death may be on almost every page in<br />

some form or another.<br />

Beyond its own dedicated section, “death” has the tendency to leak into everything in life anyway,<br />

likewise it is the case throughout the different sections of the book - but then I don't necessarily<br />

see death as a pessimistic topic to talk about anyway. I see our mortality as an interesting subject<br />

to think and talk and feel about - but the book as a whole, itself, has elements of hope and they're<br />

embedded in sand within much of the contents.<br />

CN: You say that some of the work is “explicit”, but that form of visual erotic expression is<br />

basically the same as calling it pornographic in my opinion. In that, despite your view, there<br />

is some material in the book that could be sexually stimulating for many people. Again, I<br />

have to go back to what you intended, at least as an idea in your mind for the book from the<br />

outset - or what you wanted to achieve, and does the book successfully convey that idea to<br />

you now?<br />

PB: Ok, fair enough. Simply put, my idea from the outset was to thread many of the collected<br />

photographs together into solid themes that gave a sense of a narrative in an ambient emotional<br />

way. But when I say „outset‟, I don‟t mean when I started collecting the images 24 years ago. I<br />

never thought about showing them or doing anything artistic with them until about 5 years ago - I<br />

just wanted to keep them as “mysterious treasures of human life” or something [laughs]. The book<br />

has actually turned out exactly how I envisaged it to become all those years ago, almost down to<br />

each page how I wanted it to be.<br />

I didn't predict how the text would turn out though, because the text was written - all of the text in<br />

the book was written actually - in one draft only and lots of it was made in a stream-ofconsciousness<br />

way with some sentences inserted from my daily travels, or things I think about<br />

when I'm riding on the bus as a chronic pedestrian. I have to suffer public transport but, when a<br />

sentence comes to me I jot it down on my phone and build a narrative around it in some way later.<br />

90% of the text in the book is, firstly, a broad stream-of-consciousness writing and the remaining<br />

10% being altered or randomised text through software text generators – and, yeah, that 10% is<br />

vital to the mood and reflective nature it gives to the other text, and to the book as a whole.<br />

CN: You talk, especially in sections of the book, about respecting the individuals that<br />

appear in the photographs, that you will not show the full identity of individuals unless the<br />

photographs are set in public spaces or intended for distribution. It seems to me, though,<br />

that you don’t always respect them, and that your rules seem contradictory in some of the<br />

chosen works for the book…<br />

13<br />


PB: Okay, right, you might have to bring up some examples here…<br />

CN: This one on page 51 - this image, I’d argue, is neither intended for distribution, nor set<br />

in a “public space” or anything else - totally private between her and her lover (who's taken<br />

the photograph).<br />

PB: Right, there's handwriting on the back of the original picture and it is saying “to Richard” -<br />

actually it was to a certain name which may or may not be Richard - and it is part of a cache of<br />

photographs that have clearly been distributed, upon request, to other people in a PO Box swinging<br />

community of the 1960s-1980s so, in other words, I‟d argue that these pictures are out of the<br />

source‟s control and, to a large extent, there‟s a fair expectation of them drifting into the public<br />

realm, at least after they pass away.<br />

Similar to the polaroids I use later on in the book which is especially in the Blotting Pad section,<br />

just an appendix as the set wasn't a final thing, these sexual images all either have writing on the<br />

back to indicate a prior circulation, or the faces are obscured anyway. But, again, I have to point<br />

out [flicking through the book] that there is a lot more to the book than the sexual imagery we keep<br />

going back to…<br />

CN: But a sexual theme runs throughout the book – constantly…<br />

PB: I disagree. But I think that, regardless, once people see the sexual imagery in a different<br />

context they can see why they have merit for being featured there. I'm just flicking through the book<br />

now… through the Life section… and until it gets to this point here, for Love [page 28], a section<br />

which needed to have some kind of sexual imagery as just one visual representation and expression<br />

of love, there is nothing preceding it of an explicit nature. I do admit that there is some sexual<br />

imagery that crosses over the themes of the book slightly, but is that wrong? What‟s so bad about<br />

that? I think that beats a photo of someone eating a burger next to a van in the 1970s as a form of<br />

their expression, if you take their life as a whole.<br />

The Street Photography genre covers such mundanity well, War Photography covering violent<br />

conflict in all its varied forms, Tourism Photography doing its job too, so all elements of a person‟s<br />

life can – and are – covered by all genres of photography. I just like to mix such content up a bit.<br />

I still think it's a very balanced book even though, granted, looking at it through for your eyes there<br />

may be lots more sexual imagery than of other possible elements of a person‟s life.<br />

CN: What are your personal favourite works in the book?<br />

PB: I quite like something called “Akio's Last Summer (Isolated Jaw Version)”, which is towards the<br />

middle of the Death section, and I quite like some of the humorous ones…[flicks through book] I'll<br />

just, maybe show you a couple of my favourites… I particularly love this picture here [page 48], of<br />

the person looking back and their face melds in with their environment – that, there, encapsulates<br />

everything visual that I wanted to do with the collection… the road leading up the centre of the<br />

picture… it is all just perfect, perfect destruction, to me.<br />

CN: The works featuring urinating women…?<br />

PB: As mentioned before, I have no desire to shock people - that isn't what I've ever wanted. It can<br />

be handy to shock people at times, but it‟s an ultimately childlike tool with limited results – no longterm<br />

vision, just a fleeting thing, so although I think actively shocking someone can be a good and<br />

positive thing, I've never wanted to do that with any of my works, and people don't seem to understand<br />

that sometimes. When people are „shocked‟ by an image, they immediately cut themselves<br />

off emotionally from it. That‟s not good for any artist.<br />

Like all creatives, I simply want to make striking, memorable imagery and, especially working with<br />

collage and montage, that depends on what materials or pictures you have at hand. And I<br />

happened to have had, through no fault of my own [laughs], images of urinating women at hand.<br />

14<br />


Regarding nudity, I really don‟t think many people find it shocking – nude human beings have<br />

appeared in art since cavemen began doodling on their cave walls. But I suppose the most<br />

controversial image in the book is probably the Blowjob Bible image. Some may find that work<br />

disrespectful to their tiresome beliefs. But, again, that was just me in the studio playing around with<br />

what imagery I had within reach, doing something on the spur of the moment. Not planned out. Not<br />

calculated. I placed several things on that framed bible before digging out that old reel sleeve of a<br />

stag movie. The title just worked and the whole thing clicked from there. The image almost didn‟t<br />

make the final selection for the book, but there it is.<br />

PB: If we can move outside of this Q&A format for a moment, I'm very interested in many ways<br />

about your own thoughts on the images, or the book as a whole, or the text, because I know from<br />

our private prior conversations of your literary interests and your ability to look at things in various<br />

different ways to me, like you have done with the questions. I was wondering if there are any<br />

particular images, or text sections, which you felt were “too much”, that I perhaps “stepped over a<br />

line” to the point of being almost puerile, maybe?<br />

CN: There aren’t necessarily many works within the book that I’d say went “too far”, but<br />

there are works which I think could be seen of lesser artistic worth, or perhaps a few that<br />

are slightly distasteful. Let me show you a few… This one here with the bottles [“Miss<br />

Bottle Top”, page 41] struck me as such a work. I have two responses to that image – one<br />

being of natural curiosity and the other being one that reflected my questioning earlier, to<br />

do with the reasoning behind your placing this image in the book if not to shock or titillate.<br />

What was the point you were trying to make with that particular collage, in relation to the<br />

rest of the book?<br />

PB: Would it be fair to say that the reason why some of the images, such as this one and the<br />

collage of the female opening up her vulva [page 40], look distasteful to you because they're not<br />

especially aesthetically pleasing to the eye, or are perhaps rather rough and unflattering to the<br />

female form in comparison with standard glamour photography?<br />

CN: it's not necessarily because of aesthetic reasons. I think it's just the point of showing it.<br />

Maybe I'm not entirely sure what someone is supposed to feel when looking at that. It’s<br />

either meant to “turn people on” because of its erotic nature, or it's not a turn on because<br />

it's too explicit. I'm not so sure that there's any way to appreciate those works in the right<br />

way.<br />

PB: But you're still seeing it as having the potential for being erotic, and you have mentioned that<br />

there are lots of images in here [the book] that are erotic.<br />

CN: You said that you understand that many people could see the works as erotic, as we<br />

are all mammals, but if this image is not erotic, then what is it? What does the explicit<br />

nature show or represent?<br />

PB: Right, okay, well my response to that would be that when I was dealing with any of these images<br />

I never once thought about whether something is erotic or not. Yes, I am dealing with fe/<br />

males, who are doing sexualised poses, but I genuinely didn't see eroticism as the primary mood<br />

of the works when seen in the larger context of the whole book. I saw the vintage and strangely<br />

disjointed nature of the pictures enhancing the mood, perhaps, of a recollection or haunting past<br />

memory, regardless of any sexual content. Lots of human memories focus on human contact, sexual<br />

or otherwise.<br />

I don't personally find any representations of the fe/male form in the book aesthetically displeasing,<br />

but I respect the fact that some of the photographs have more in common with a gynaecologist‟s<br />

clinical examination of female genitals than traditional glamour photography normally covers these<br />

days.<br />

15<br />


I do think it's important to take into account that there are background images, taken from<br />

1800s/1900s scrapbooks, which support such explicit central images in particular ways, whether<br />

humourously, mysteriously, symbolically or surreally complementing such imagery. Along with the<br />

accompanying text, of course. To get a sense of what I wanted to achieve, you really have to see<br />

beyond a vulgar photographic representation of a vulva and see it as part of the whole experience,<br />

mood or world I wanted to create. So, for example an open vulva could suddenly become a warm<br />

and inviting – all-encompassing, even – home to a family of nesting birds in a wry kind-of way. Just<br />

an example of course [laughs].<br />

CN: Could you talk a little more about the text that accompanies the imagery in the book?<br />

PB: There are, basically, certain mysteries in the book that I‟d like to keep mysterious. If I went<br />

through it all now and gave lots of things away then I'm not too sure that the appeal of the book<br />

would stand up. I think I‟d definitely agree with the view that, in a sense, there is not one single<br />

narrator but, in fact, several – and hard to pinpoint, sometimes, who the narrator actually is; if it's a<br />

real “character”, if it's me, someone else, a demon, or electronically distorted and randomised text.<br />

For me, it doesn‟t matter who the narrator on any particular page is - I really wanted to create a<br />

texture of words which started off seemingly making some kind of order but then, as time goes on,<br />

names and sentences get jumbled up, the structure of the page can sometimes feel compromised,<br />

etc. I never wanted to be making completely pure linear sense, so the idea that the text definitely<br />

always echoes or reflects the accompanying imagery on any particular page is more or less open<br />

to interpretation.<br />

Aside from the fiction and the “cutting up” of some sentences, there are two things in the book<br />

which are of my own factual writing and strongly from my own personal worldview. Firstly, the<br />

Foreword background story of when I was first introduced to some of these pictures - that is all<br />

completely factual except for a name change of someone external. Secondly, the 1980‟s streamof-consciousness<br />

block; every single word there doesn't reflect everyone‟s “reality” but it reflects a<br />

gloopy sense of reality of the eighties when I look back. Those two pieces are definitely all me,<br />

right there.<br />

CN: Yeah, okay, well - for a final summary - maybe you can talk to me about the Love<br />

section of the book, instead of me asking you specific questions?<br />

PB: Okay, well, in this section I would argue that the pictures mirror the text in a way that there are<br />

blank open spaces and things left obscured - some of the images, to me, portray a massive void,<br />

of lovelessness, that I really wanted to write about too; “love” from the view of not having it,<br />

because my personal perspective at the time of writing that section was exactly of that situation.<br />

That section reeks of loss. Of loneliness.<br />

CN: And I believe this is the main section where your own name is mentioned?<br />

PB: Right. Yes. Yeah, I did at times want to cut through everything and make it personal to me<br />

because the rest of the images obviously (except for one) don't feature me or anyone I know in<br />

them. This section still contains strange musings and distorted half-truths, though - the text is<br />

definitely not from a “me me me” perspective, because I intentionally jumbled the text up and put<br />

other people's names in to try and stop that. It's not all an ego thing. Though if your view of this<br />

section as one of complete introspective indulgence on my part, I wouldn't get upset about it - I did<br />

intentionally want to have an honest and confessional air to it.<br />

So some people could argue (myself being one of them) that perhaps it's my personal musings<br />

that mostly drive the entire Love section, because at the time it was all written I happened to have<br />

felt a complete and utter bereavement about that element of my life. I needed to let that particular<br />

demon out.<br />

16<br />


tion I.<br />

ife<br />


Akio’s Last Summer (detail)<br />

*page 17 - Davide Bromide+<br />

18<br />


Akio's Last Summer<br />

The universe? It died aeons ago. The<br />

very living sadness we all feel - indeed<br />

all that which binds us - is the soft unidentifiable<br />

ripples of extinction coming<br />

back to us from space zero. The<br />

physical place at which the ending of<br />

the universe happened had transmitted<br />

the end back to us, similar to<br />

ripples from an exploding atomic<br />

bomb.<br />

The lamp in the window is simply another<br />

reflection of dying starlight,<br />

slowly but surely arriving in our vicinity<br />

from the distant apocalypse.<br />

Can't you feel it, Davide?<br />

19<br />

Yeah. I can feel it.<br />


20<br />


21<br />


*page 20 - Familial Spaces+<br />

*page 21 - Lists+<br />

Do you have an eternal nagging feeling that someone gave you a pony,<br />

unannounced, and told you to just deal with it?<br />

There’s a feeling that I don’t believe has a definitive word in the English<br />

language. A feeling of anger towards one’s parents for giving birth to<br />

you to make them feel better about themselves, and leaving you to your<br />

own devices as they die. There’s more than one thing that every living<br />

being on this globe shares, and I’m talking about the fact that none of us<br />

– not one human being – asked nor voted to be alive.<br />

You see, human life itself - the very act of being born - is completely<br />

undemocratic to the individuals involved. Sometimes even the parents<br />

themselves do not make the binary choice to have, or have not, the<br />

children they force upon the world. They just go along with it. To hell<br />

with the consequences to the child they create; Umbilicus Detestus.<br />

Sam; “You wanna force a child into this world to suffer, for your<br />

amusement? It seems the way of human life and ape logic. We know<br />

the cruelty here. We know the abject pointlessness of it all. We know<br />

we bring a child into the world to suffer disease, possible abuse, murder<br />

and the very act of dying. When we look into our bairn’s smiling eyes, all<br />

of those mortal damages fade away and we smile too. For life is a fascist<br />

card trick we playfully nod along to.<br />

Now that’s not to say that there are no joys in this world, but they are<br />

fleeting. All things must pass, they say, and that’s possibly the truest<br />

sentence. Throughout our lives, our loves, our fucking, and our closing<br />

stages of death, we learn to live with the lie, the darkest card trick of all,<br />

the parlour game of life.<br />

Step right up, buddy boy, for we have a menagerie of lurid diseases to<br />

show you. There is a disease that effects your reflection, one that will<br />

corrode your memories to a rust-red brilliance, another disease that<br />

will confront you with cancers, pox and breathing difficulties. Sex is not<br />

a disease – but it’s a hazardous and messy past-time that fails to fulfil<br />

the images in your brain that your very being needs.”<br />

There is a disease called love, too. But we shall talk about that later. If<br />

that’s okay with you?<br />

Sam; “Growing up in a very rural area – a village that is almost Amish in<br />

its outlook on the modern world – my experiences of life were almost<br />

always painted in dark hues of horror and fear. I was a timid, shy,<br />

awkward and doom-transfixed child. A kind-of Milhouse Van Houten<br />

meets Rimbaud. It was the 1980s.”<br />

Fading into view. AIDS pamphlets arrived today. Or was it yesterday?<br />

An iceberg on the front. Depth of field. This thing called “Sex” can kill<br />

you. Highly toxic bonding. Where’s the Titanic? A nuclear fallout leaflet<br />

is arriving tomorrow, giving advice about unhinging doors. DIY? “When<br />

The Wind Blows”. A programme about Nostradamus, a book from my<br />

father; severed hands and tarantulas. The Pan Book of Horror. Bryan<br />

Ferry crooning fucking Avalon as Durex promotes. Finding my first used<br />

condom. In my childhood living room. First glimpses of anal porn and<br />

leather fetish, “Loose Ends 2” standing 69 and Bondage Monthly. An<br />

anniversary about punk music. Copies of “Razzle” found when breaking<br />

into tractors. The Russians will kill you if the sex doesn’t. What is sex?<br />

Drawing nude ladies at the age of 6. Rubbing through Flash Gordon<br />

pyjamas to your sketches. Telephone sexlines at the back of The Sun.<br />

Badly photocopied lips and perms. Trading top-shelf magazines<br />

22<br />


Solitude Sometimes Eats<br />

and Page 3’s at morning assembly – the High school<br />

champion of open beaver shots. Censored adult magazines,<br />

banana stickers covering hardcore entry. Making horrific<br />

cartoons on Spectrum 48k paint programs. Reagan and<br />

Thatcher gurning as acidic puppets. The girl’s face mauled<br />

by a dog, sellotaped and kept in my mother’s handbag as a<br />

warning to me. Beware. Be Aware. Of Dangers. The<br />

Yorkshire Ripper blows up the Iranian Embassy. Frankie<br />

Goes to Hollywood and meets Sinn Fein there, starring as<br />

legitimate violators in their own overdubbed movie. The<br />

English not giving up their absurd distorted Empire<br />

memories. Poverty. Moving into the warm kitchen during<br />

winters. Dogs dying. Now That’s What I Call A Supermarket<br />

Bombing, Volume 8. First visit to Pontins. Seeing a redhaired<br />

beauty ascend from terrifying local swimming pools.<br />

Wet hair and water dripping down. At age 11, drawing her<br />

picture in secret. In the bus when it ran over that poor girl.<br />

Seeing her sad-looking death-skeleton as other children<br />

laughed nervously at the whole deathly incident. The<br />

headteacher’s trenchcoat over her body as we marched past<br />

her to the assembly room. Dissolving horrid teenage years<br />

as Thatcher cries.<br />

23<br />


Solitude Sometimes Eats (detail)<br />

24<br />


Collection II.<br />

Love<br />


26<br />


27 27

28<br />

28<br />


*page 25 - The Lovelorn Corrosion+<br />

*page 26 - We Are All Geometry+<br />

*page 27 - From the Exit+<br />

*page 28 - September, 1969+<br />

Love? Does it exist? Oh, not for me old friend. You have to have at least<br />

one element of beauty about your person. A glimpse of attractiveness<br />

hidden in your top pocket. As the song goes, “No, the mystery of love is<br />

not for me”.<br />

I have loved. And have haunted myself with it for more years than I care<br />

to think. I have looked into the eyes of my lover and actually see her love<br />

for me fade away into nothingness through her irises like a drop of milk<br />

in a bowl of black ink, preferring a return to her abusive relationship of a<br />

past lover than a safer country life with myself. A cottage of mine,<br />

covered in cobwebbed items of dead unions. A Mr Havisham of the<br />

Referendum Age. Being told by another that she is the attractive one in<br />

our relationship. I should not, then, think of myself as worthy. Can love<br />

remind you constantly of death? It shouldn’t. For it’s the same thing.<br />

Love is also what the French existentialists call “finding fleeting moments<br />

of joy in your short, meaningless life”. A deathly distraction, then.<br />

I had wanted it. Love. Until the age of forty and the knowledge that, in<br />

my small rural sphere of existence, I shall never find another. Not like<br />

her. Never like her. When distant wedding bells chime and a noose<br />

swings.<br />

Michelle; “Why did you become so cold to me. Where are you really?”<br />

Phil; “We had our memories. Remember Egypt? I loved you. Your long<br />

flowing fiery-red hair. Your smile. Your milky-white beauty. Your beating<br />

heart and innocent caring eyes.”<br />

Michelle; “So why did you leave me? Leave…’us’?”<br />

Phil; “I didn’t leave you. I left…this. Your beautiful red hair; such striking<br />

colour to contrast with your pallor. I let you go, because – please admit it<br />

– I left your thoughts six years ago”<br />

Narrator Describes in Script Cycle; “Occasionally numb by choice. The<br />

hurt lasts, and my soul aches for the world to be different for me. To be<br />

different for me. To be good, the world to be different for me. The world<br />

became grey and isolated, occasionally numb by choice. The hurt lasts,<br />

and my hope left with it. After that time my world - be different for me.<br />

The left was always Shelley. She left and my hope left with it. After that<br />

time my soul aches for me. To be different for the world, to be different<br />

for me.”<br />

No, the mysteries of love are not for me.<br />

Michelle; “I touched your heart and you kept it from me soon after.<br />

Locked it away. Like a briefly-discovered jewel that you reclaimed –<br />

snatched away for pawning. At what price? And did you get a receipt for<br />

it, my love?<br />

Phil; “If the gallows ever had a backstage green room, this bar would<br />

surely be it. Rejoicing racists, zestful xenophobes, beaming bigots and<br />

nationalists nodding in approval. ‘A graveyard for favourites’, as my old<br />

gambler friend once said. Yet, here we are, for our final meeting no less.”<br />

29<br />

*page 30, 31 - In This Place We Shall Disappear Together (detail)+<br />

*page 32 - In This Place We Shall Disappear Together+<br />


30<br />

30<br />


31<br />

31 31

32<br />

32<br />


Sex<br />

Collection III.<br />


Scrapbook Memories & Actions I; Quondam<br />

*page 33 - Return to September, 1969+<br />

34<br />


Scrapbook Memories & Actions II; June, 1967. Almost Airtight<br />

*page 36 - Sunday Afternoon (Before Mother Came)+<br />

35<br />


36<br />

36<br />


Narrator Expands in Script Cycle; “To be different, for the world became grey, and my world to be good. She<br />

left with it. After the hurt lasts, and isolated, occasionally numb by choice. The hurt lasts, and isolated,<br />

occasionally numb by choice. The hurt lasts, and my soul aches for that time grey and my world became grey<br />

and my hope left with it. After the hurt lasts, and my soul aches for the world to be different for that time my<br />

world became my hope left with it. After the world to be grey and my soul aches for me. To be good.grey and<br />

my hope left and my hope left and my hope left and my hope left with it. After that time my world to be grey<br />

and my soul aches for that time, grey and my soul aches for the world to be different for the world to be<br />

good. It was always Shelley. She. World became grey and isolated, occasionally numb by choice.”<br />

Narrator Concludes in Script Cycle; “The hurt lasts, and my soul aches for me. To be different for me. To be<br />

different for the world be different for me. To be different for the world became grey and my soul aches for<br />

me. The hurt lasts, and my hope left and my soul aches, for that time my world became my world, became<br />

grey and isolated, occasionally numb by choice. The hurt lasts, and isolated, occasionally numb by choice. To<br />

be different for that time grey and my world to be good. Don't you see? It was always Shelley. She left with it.<br />

After that time my world to be good. Hope left was always She, left with it.<br />

After that time my world became grey and isolated, occasionally numb by choice. To be good. After that time<br />

my hope left and my world became grey and my soul aches for the world to be good. Numb by choice. The<br />

hurt lasts, and isolated, occasionally numb by choice. The hurt lasts, and my world to be good; isolated,<br />

occasionally numb by choice.<br />

To be different, for the hurt lasts, and my soul aches for me. To be grey and isolated, occasionally numb by<br />

choice. The left and isolated, occasionally numb by choice.<br />

The hurt lasts, and my hope left with it.<br />

Occasionally numb by choice.”<br />

*page 38 - Relics Of Suzie With Her Sister+<br />

*page 39 - Scrapbook Memories & Actions III; Animals+<br />

37<br />

37 37

38<br />

38<br />


39<br />

39 39

Scrapbook Memories & Actions IV; Making A Nest<br />

40<br />

40<br />


Miss Bottletop<br />

41<br />

41 41

Scrapbook Memories & Actions V; Headless Voyeurs<br />

42<br />


Agape<br />

43<br />

43 43

Slapping, choking, whipping, public exposure. The fetishes of others.<br />

Those times when you simply cannot sexually connect to them, to sexually<br />

synch, makes you an actor on behalf of your lover like any porn<br />

star out there. The only difference is the audience figures. Bums on<br />

seats. And you’re doing it for free. Though we all have our fetishes, but<br />

formed from what? A childhood glimpse of pornography?Erotic<br />

photographs of long-dead people bought from house clearance<br />

traders? A map of your nerve endings and how to damage them? A<br />

buzzing game of “Operation”? Doctors and Nurses?<br />

Susan; “Oh, Ken, please find enclosed in this letter some<br />

photographs for your pleasure. I miss you all over me, Mr. K.”<br />

The Sex-Death;<br />

Kenneth;<br />

The Sex-Death;<br />

“Believe her, Ken. Follow her logical route.”<br />

“You are perfection. Open up for me.“<br />

“Why, thank you Ken.”<br />

Kenneth; “I don’t mean you. I mean to say that Susan is<br />

perfection. Who are you?”<br />

The Sex-Death;<br />

Kenneth;<br />

“Oh, you know me, Ken…”<br />

“It’s Kenneth to you, sir. Susan…you there?”<br />

The Sex-Death; “Look over to your right… That’s it. Come closer… See<br />

those two inkblots of black? They are my eyes. Look into the inkblots, Kenneth.<br />

Let me tell you a secret; a male will always be a violent misogynist in<br />

bed. The feminists are right; males use their cocks on females like guerrillas<br />

use their bayonets on sandbags. You want to stab her. You WANT to hurt<br />

Susan, don’t you Ken…neth?”<br />

Kenneth; “You haven’t said who you are. Your eyes… Hurting<br />

Susan? No. No… not me. You’ve got it all wrong, buster.”<br />

The Sex-Death; “I am the uncontrolled darkness in your blood. I am the<br />

uncontrolled darkness (hereafter known as U.D.) in Susan’s blood. You<br />

want to hurt Susan; the violent lubeless anal, the flowing of your sperm<br />

and urine on her white fleshy body. The hair-wrenching. You want to<br />

degrade her. Treat her like a lowly animal. You want to choke her at that<br />

very moment when you cum. But that’s okay. She wants that too. All that<br />

pillow violence. For about 12 minutes. Until you both need to stop, breathe<br />

again and find your clothes. Haunting you all that time was one clear,<br />

nagging thought; you know you need to drop that faulty 3-in1 tv remote<br />

control back into Argos before the store closes. You have to account for<br />

driving through weekend evening traffic to get there too. And that<br />

normality eats away in the back of your mind as you grapple Susan to the<br />

ground and tear off her clothes. I am the U.D. in your sex. You need my<br />

drive to battle normality and to make you cum into the very fabric of the<br />

universe. And it’s okay. It’s merely a rape-play for today. By mutual<br />

agreement, kind sir.”<br />

The Sex-Death; “Susan is fucking someone else right now, Ken…<br />

neth. It’s just you and I here until she towels-off and returns to us at<br />

this very spot, in your meeting place.”<br />

Kenneth;<br />

“Who are you? I cannot see you – the fog here is…”.<br />

44<br />


The Ultimate Kiss<br />

45<br />

45 45

Kenneth;<br />

The Sex-Death;<br />

Kenneth;<br />

Susan;<br />

Kenneth;<br />

Susan;<br />

“No, it isn’t. You are just trying to confuse me. Muddy the waters. I am a good<br />

person. I merely want to feel passion-”<br />

“-YOU want the threat of harm, mister. The tease of death in your climax. The<br />

sweat of annihilation glistening on her body under raw moonlight. That is what<br />

passion is. That is what actual real-life liquid cum embodies. That is the<br />

moment when you become unstoppable in your climaxing rage during all<br />

moments of sexual release. Oh, that is what sex is; “Death”. You know this. And<br />

I am your U.D. Do you hear me Ken…neth? I rule your forbidden moments that<br />

society condemns. I am you then, Ken-neth. I am your fucking U.D.”<br />

“…”<br />

“Sorry my love – are you there, Kenneth? I’m back, but I cannot see you here.<br />

Come closer if you’re here…The fog has descended. I cannot see our tree, my<br />

darling. Ah…there you are. Do you know someone called Davide Bromide? He<br />

says he knows you. He looks just like you too, my love.”<br />

“…”<br />

“Are those your...eyes?”<br />

46<br />


Collection IV.<br />

Death<br />


Yesterday's Shorelines<br />

*page 47 and 57 - Untitled+<br />

Davide; “I remember you. And I<br />

remember her too. It was almost 25<br />

years ago when you came into my life.<br />

But now? You’re both gone. You wanna<br />

know something funny? I miss you.<br />

Both of you. Despite our wars. Despite<br />

the fallout and your octogenarian sans<br />

pension poverty towards the end.<br />

The bitterness. Recrimination and all<br />

the rest. So there we are. So here I am.<br />

You want to know when I decided that<br />

Death had taken firm hold of our<br />

relationship? Let me get the drinks in<br />

first.”<br />

48<br />

48<br />


Yesterday's Shorelines (detail)<br />

Death is something I think about often – every day, to be truthful. Such thoughts are<br />

aspirational ones. Imagine a life without death? A terrible idea. A life with no fucking<br />

ending? Now that’s simple cruelty. Infinite nothing-days with endless false dawns<br />

(you cannot, of course, have a true dawn without a death) and meaningless nights,<br />

the sun’s savage illuminations mocking your existence. Because, although death is<br />

intrinsically linked to nihilism, death is a bringer of hope too, no matter how<br />

fleeting that “H” word may be.<br />

49<br />


50<br />

50<br />


51<br />

51 51

*page 50 - Akio's Last Summer (isolated jaw version)+<br />

*page 51 - Soon After The Operation+<br />

Maybe, as it is, death eats deep through your marrow with a rage of holes<br />

for mouths at that final moment. A feeling of disintegration through tiny<br />

jaws as your mind and body succumbs to the end. A deafening cacophony<br />

of rots destroys your hearing as an obscene cutting machine, all diamondseethrough,<br />

shreds your vocal chords. And so on. Each diabolical Death<br />

Device taking you one step closer to oblivion upon completion of each<br />

small purpose.<br />

Davide; “It was that time you looked at me after my Mother passed away<br />

all those years ago. You could not understand my loss, my mourning actions,<br />

and so laid the beginning of the distance between us. I do not<br />

blame you. One death begets another, you understand? In this case, if I<br />

may be so grandiose, a skull-encrusted chain of dominoes, falling and<br />

falling onto each other, bringing each other down until the final wretched<br />

piece of “us” collapsed. Yet I miss you to this day and beyond. We could<br />

have made a difference. We could have loved more. Yet the stars were<br />

not for us.”<br />

It was the 1980s.<br />

There’s more than one thing that every living being on this globe shares,<br />

and I’m talking about the fact that none of us – not one human being –<br />

asked nor voted to be alive.<br />

There is a disease – but it’s a hazardous and messy past-time that fails to<br />

fulfil the images in your brain that your very being needs.” There is a<br />

disease that effects your reflection, one that will corrode your memories<br />

to a rust-red brilliance, another disease that will corrode your memories<br />

to a rust-red brilliance, another disease that effects your reflection, one<br />

that will confront you with cancers, pox and breathing difficulties.<br />

Do you have an eternal nagging feeling that someone gave you a pony,<br />

unannounced, and told you to make them feel better about themselves,<br />

and leaving you to just deal with it?<br />

You see, human life and ape logic. It was the 1980s.<br />

There’s a feeling that someone gave you a pony, unannounced, and told<br />

you to make them feel better about themselves, and leaving you to your<br />

own devices as they die.<br />

When we look into our bairn’s smiling eyes, all of those mortal damages<br />

fade away and we smile too.<br />

When we look into our bairn’s smiling eyes, all of those mortal damages<br />

fade away and we smile too.<br />

Wet hair and water dripping down. Drawing nude ladies at the back of<br />

The Sun.<br />

The Pan Book of Horror. Reagan and Thatcher gurning as acidic puppets.<br />

Dissolving into horrid teenage years as Thatcher cries. Be Aware. In my<br />

childhood living room.<br />

The English not giving up their absurd distorted Empire memories. The<br />

headteacher’s trenchcoat over her body as we marched past her to the<br />

assembly room.<br />

Be Aware. Never like her.<br />

And have haunted myself with it for more years than I care to think. When<br />

distant wedding bells chime and a noose swings.<br />

And have haunted myself with it for more years than I care to think. Does<br />

it exist?<br />

I have loved. As the song goes; No, the mystery of love is not for me.<br />

52<br />


53<br />

53 53

54<br />

The Death Midwives; Funeral Preparations, Spain, 1985<br />

*page 53 - Of the Erased+<br />

When distant wedding bells chime and a noose swings. For it’s the same thing. And have haunted myself with it for more<br />

years than I care to think. I left...this.<br />

Michelle; “I touched your heart and innocent caring eyes. So why did you get a receipt for it, my love?”

Before The Cull<br />

Phil; “If the gallows ever<br />

had a backstage green<br />

room, this bar would surely<br />

be it.<br />

Rejoicing racists, zestful<br />

xenophobes, beaming<br />

bigots and nationalists<br />

nodding in approval. I let<br />

you go, because – please<br />

admit it – I left your<br />

thoughts six years ago.”<br />

55<br />

55 55

Some erotic photographs of long-dead people bought from house clearance<br />

traders? A “childhood glimpse of pornography”?<br />

Does it matter? Does it matter? How do they form? And you’re doing it for<br />

free.<br />

Susan; “Oh, Ken, please find enclosed in this letter some photographs for<br />

your pleasure.<br />

You WANT to hurt Susan, don’t you Ken…neth?” Kenneth; “You are<br />

perfection. I miss you all over me, Mr.<br />

Come closer… See those two inkblots of black? I miss you all over me, Mr.<br />

No... not me.<br />

The Sex-Death; “Oh, you know me, Ken…” Kenneth; “It’s Kenneth to you,<br />

sir.<br />

Susan…you there?” The Sex-Death; “Oh, you know me, Ken…” Kenneth;<br />

“It’s Kenneth to you, sir.<br />

The feminists are right; males use their cocks on females like guerrillas use<br />

their bayonets on sandbags.<br />

The feminists are right; males use their bayonets on sandbags.<br />

All that pillow violence. All that pillow violence.<br />

The hair-wrenching. You want to choke her at that very moment when you<br />

cum. By mutual agreement, kind sir.”<br />

You need my drive to battle normality and to make you cum into the very<br />

fabric of the universe.<br />

The sweat of annihilation glistening on her body under raw moonlight. Ah…<br />

there you are. I’m back, but I cannot see you here.<br />

I am your fucking U.D.”<br />

Kenneth; “…”<br />

Susan; “Sorry my love – are you there, Kenneth?<br />

Kenneth; “No, it isn’t.”<br />

I am you then, Ken-neth.<br />

Oh, that is what sex is; “Death”.<br />

So there we are. A terrible idea.<br />

Let me get the drinks in first.” Death is something I think about often – every<br />

day, to be truthful.<br />

A terrible idea. You’re both gone.<br />

You wanna know something funny? Now that’s simple cruelty. Such thoughts<br />

are aspirational ones.<br />

Maybe, as it is, death eats deep through your marrow with a rage of holes for<br />

mouths at that final moment.<br />

But now? We could have loved more. I do not blame you.<br />

Davide; “It was that time you looked at me after my Mother passed away all<br />

those years ago.<br />

We could have made a difference.<br />

The Sex-Death; “I am the uncontrolled darkness (hereafter known as U.D.)<br />

in Susan’s blood.<br />

You need my drive to battle normality and to make you cum into the very<br />

fabric of the universe.<br />

You want to hurt Susan; the violent lubeless anal, the flowing of your mind<br />

as you grapple Susan to the ground and tear off her clothes.<br />

The Sex-Death; “I am the uncontrolled darkness in your sex.<br />

Oh, that is what passion is. Do you know someone called Davide Bromide?<br />

I cannot see our tree, my darling.<br />

56<br />



Appendix I<br />

Blotter Pad<br />

A brief series mixing 1960s/70s home-developed erotic photographs and pages from a 1937 blotter pad with added blue ink<br />

blots and patterns. This series didn’t really fit within the wider themes of the frieze, though I did love the set enough to keep<br />

it alive by envisaging it as eventually being included somehow. PB.<br />

59<br />

59 59

60<br />

60<br />


61<br />

61 61

62<br />

62<br />


63<br />

63 63

Appendix II<br />

Variants &<br />

Rejects<br />

64<br />

64<br />


65<br />

65 65

66<br />

66<br />


68<br />

68<br />



70<br />


72<br />

72<br />







78<br />

78<br />


Index of Works<br />

Front Cover - Return to September, 1969 *2014+<br />

Page 5 - The Lovers *2012+<br />

Page 17 - Davide Bromide *2014+<br />

Page 18 - Akio’s Last Summer (detail) *2016+<br />

Page 19 - Akio’s Last Summer *2016+<br />

Page 20 - Familial Spaces *2016+<br />

Page 21 - Lists *2016+<br />

Page 23 - Solitude Sometimes Eats *2016+<br />

Page 24 - Solitude Sometimes Eats (detail) *2016+<br />

Page 25 - The Lovelorn Corrosion *2014+<br />

Page 26 - We Are All Geometry *2016+<br />

Page 27 - From The Exit *2016+<br />

Page 28 - September, 1969 *2016+<br />

Page 30 - In This Place We Shall Disappear<br />

Together (detail) *2016+<br />

Page 31 - In This Place We Shall Disappear<br />

Together (detail) *2016+<br />

Page 32 - In This Place We Shall Disappear<br />

Together *2016+<br />

Page 33 - Return to September, 1969 *2014+<br />

Page 34 - Scrapbook Memories & Actions I;<br />

Quondam *2016+<br />

Page 35 - Scrapbook Memories & Actions II;<br />

June, 1967. Almost Airtight *2016+<br />

Page 36 - Sunday Afternoon (Before Mother<br />

Came) *2016+<br />

Page 38 - Relics of Suzie With Her Sister *2016+<br />

Page 39 - Scrapbook Memories & Actions III;<br />

Animals *2016+<br />

Page 40 - Scrapbook Memories & Actions IV;<br />

Making A Nest *2016+<br />

Page 41 - Miss Bottletop *2016+<br />

Page 42 - Scrapbook Memories & Actions V;<br />

Headless Voyeurs *2016+<br />

Page 43 - Agape *2016+<br />

Page 45 - The Ultimate Kiss *2016+<br />

Page 47 - Untitled *2014+<br />

Page 48 - Yesterday’s Shorelines *2016+<br />

Page 49 - Yesterday’s Shorelines (detail) *2016+<br />

Page 50 - Akio’s Last Summer (Isolated Jaw Version) *2016+<br />

Page 51 - Soon After The Operation *2016+<br />

Page 53 - Of The Erased *2016+<br />

Page 54 - The Death Midwives; Funeral Preparations,<br />

Spain, 1985 *2016+<br />

Page 55 - Before The Cull *2016+<br />

Page 57 - Untitled *2014+<br />

Appendices;<br />

Blotter Pad<br />

Page 59 - Blotter Dog *2016+<br />

Page 60 - Blotter Bowl *2016+<br />

Page 61 - Blotter Bath *2016+<br />

Page 62 - Blotter Words *2016+<br />

Page 63 - Blotter Self Portrait *2016+<br />

Variants & Rejects<br />

Page 64 - In This Place We Shall Disappear<br />

Together (prep) *2016+<br />

Page 65 - Memories of Akio *2016+<br />

Page 66 - Solitude Sometimes Eats (alt) *2016+<br />

Page 67 - Memories of Akio II *2016+<br />

Page 68 - A Dying Correspondence *2016+<br />

Page 69 - God Is Love *2016+<br />

Page 70 - Relics of Suzie With Her Sister<br />

(Full Version) *2016+<br />

Page 71 - Paradise Lost *2016+<br />

Page 72 - Family Secrets *2016+<br />

Page 73 - Treating Sheep Kindly *2016+<br />

Page 74 - Water Fall *2016+<br />

Page 75 - Proud Display *2016+<br />

Page 76 - Provision *2016+<br />

Page 77 - Playful Milking *2016+<br />

Page 78 - Mr. Cuddles *2016+<br />

Back Cover - Untitled *2014+<br />

79<br />

79 79

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