Stream of Consciousness

The Poem Hidden Inside One Year

 

To edit is to deconstruct. Put every word under the spotlight and make it account for itself

There is a point where music, writing and visual art coalesce.  Perhaps this coalescence reached its apotheosis in the album cover art of the 1970s!

No one seems to love living poets.  OK, Roger McGough and Ian MacMillan might be the exceptions

Autumn as a metaphor for the approach of old age, that’s a bit of a cliché, isn’t it?

I prefer to distil rather than expand.  The American poet, Lorine Niedecker, said her job was ‘condensing’

Stream of Consciousness 1

What is it with TV dramas that, when they stretch out the original successful concept into a longer series, they seem to lose all the initial freshness and become hackneyed and stylised?

It was nice to get out and do a bit of improvised wandering – to see how places that one is vaguely familiar with actually connect up when one’s on the ground

Have I found my voice?  What is my voice?  What does it sound like?  And all those other voices, those that I believed to be mine, to whom did they belong?

A map of the town showing the pattern of streets and buildings.  Subjacent to that is a map of the underlying tunnels, sewers and passageways.  The other town.  The secret town

About the effect of word, line and space.  Of punctuation and placement

The combined text is looking pretty good now, looking forward to seeing Charlie’s proposals for the lay-out

. . . a London of smoke, smog and post-war austerity

But does stream of consciousness writing really mean one writes without thinking, or is it simply thinking in a different way?  As if telling the internal editor to take a back-seat, for now.

For me, the best genre fiction is that where the writer consciously subverts the form of that genre; where he or she breaks the rules

The simple act of walking and its effect on the heart, the soul and the imagination

And who’s to say my inner life then wasn’t real? Isn’t real still? Aren’t my memories of my dreams as much part of me as my memories of my actions?

Modernism let the genie out of the bottle – never again can we carry on as if we’re unaware of the significance of the form the writer chooses

A dark sky: blue-black ink washed over with black

Today I’m looking at Flint through the lens of Shakespeare

My aim with this poem is to harness some of that anger without lapsing into hatred

I see that King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut is still open.  What a great name for a venue!

At the back of my mind is the thought of whether I actually bring anything to these meetings, particularly as I don’t even attend regularly

Poetic enemy number one: the received phrase.  There, I’ve gone and done it again

People don’t realise, there’s far less to me than meets the eye

Or are we all separate, so far removed, each from the other, that we’re doomed never to meet?

All those underlying, long-held anxieties and concerns spilling out into words

Stream of Consciousness 2

What I like is the fact that it is written from the point of view of the parents, not that of the writer

Seen once from bus to Birkenhead, white paint on shipyard wall: ‘People not Polars’

Does having the insight to realise you’re a bit eccentric mean you’re not really a true eccentric?

Is he still alive?  His lack of any kind of a digital presence suggests the worst

As Billie Holiday lay dying in her hospital bed the police waited outside hoping to arrest her for possession of drugs

Feel like you know all of your supermarket check-out assistants by their first name?  Up to speed with the holidays they’ve got booked and what their kids are up to?  Then you probably work from home, like me

To Sheffield for the day…

Goodbye to BST; hello to evenings cloaked in darkness and waking before sunrise

The trouble with giving your poem a good title is that it tells the reader too much

An apprehension of time – past, present and future – and the capacity to imagine are both integral to the nature of consciousness

A poem about the making of a poem: a meta-poem, one which shows all the wires and pipework, giving a list of the sources and influences, conscious and unconscious, into which the poet taps.

A hint of orange on the eastern horizon, a spark to light the wash of grey sky behind the dark outlines of the trees

Memory is episodic, a series of echoes and impressions.  Placing those memories within a narrative arc is an artificial construct

Ron Silliman joined a forum discussion I was part of yesterday, which was pretty cool.  Too many of my favourite poets are dead, so it’s good to hear from one who doesn’t have that second crucial date after his name.

There must be a huge landfill site somewhere in America with all the ‘U’s from colour and favourite, ‘S’s from maths, ‘I’s from aluminium and ‘A’s from aesthetic.

Fieldgate Mansions was at the centre of the campaign against unscrupulous East End slum landlords in the 1930s.  It was still a tip when I lived there in the 1970s

Blimey O’Reilly, I’m starting to talk like my blooming Dad

Interesting use of a John Cage mesostic to write through Frank O’Hara’s ‘The Day Lady Died’

A big day today – after a lot of work we publish our psychogeographic collaboration

Baby’s body moves through time and space; with the illusion of language, he describes that journey

Is there an element of tedium in the One Year process?  Of course there is, tedium is an inescapable fact of the human condition.  Perhaps even a necessary fact; the plain black cloth against which the precious jewel can be displayed

Stream of Consciousness 3

Make a list of the people you have lost.  Honour them with your tears.

The trouble with typing up a poem is that it makes it feel ‘finished’; it discourages further revision when revision is usually what that poem desperately needs

…reading BART poem out loud, his voice conveys the gathering momentum of the train.

Weird dream – news that a chicken was infected with a computer virus

.. and when the memory holder dies, what happens to the memory?

I pledge elegance / two thief rag

… and in my dream it was my last day in a place where, apparently, I’d worked for years.  It was an imagined place, but I still woke up with a feeling of loss and sadness for the imagined place and the imagined people I was leaving behind.

What would be interesting would be if, while sticking within the bounds of the genre, he could nonetheless pull off something daring and experimental.

To Gresford in search of the grave of Harold, May Sinclair’s brother

Listening to a reading in English by Caroline Bergvall and her soothing, but slightly disorientating, French/Norwegian tones

No sign of that comet in the sky this morning.  Stand easy, Bruce Willis

In his wine shop in Whitechapel, Mr Trotosky presides over the cabinets with glassy smile and polished head.  ‘O?’, I say

Feet remember a way mind cannot recall

At horizon’s line a ladder of cloud: backlit pink, rungs of grey and indigo

Entering a world furnished with the sound of colour and the taste of light.

‘twas the face that launched a thousand sheds

But can we fit all of that onto one side of A4?

Anorexic pruning – / a painful birth / revealing flowers / of such unexpected beauty

…make a list of the major towns and cities in Britain that you’ve never visited

Walking through the Victorian heart of the village, I feel the presence of May Sinclair.  But I’m not sure a proper historian would accept this as research

Ram Rod and Special – the drink of choice in 1970s London

Flickering images and remembered phrases

An answer that is lost in a shower of leaves

Foundlings line up at my command / some come unbidden / others never leave

Here are wires / see the pipework

.. with steel pylons for masts and sewn newspapers for sails

Resisting the temptation to interpret and explain

…her true self existing only in my mind…

.. as if stumbling upon a movie set and into the glare of lights

Walking her streets, I sense the hand of design

Once again, it’s the ending of that poem that’s proving to be a bit tricky

I could have been someone.  Well, so could anyone

An interesting sequence of numbers again. Such beauty constructed only from combinations of ten characters

Which reminds me that social housing doesn’t have to be dehumanising

Yet another symmetry of numbers

The shadow of Polaris still hangs over this shipyard

Clouds scud across the luminous disc of the moon; the trees nod and sigh

The streets throng with the ghosts of long-dead travellers

Is a life ever completed, or is it just brought to an end?  The piano lid slammed

Dansette record player, cherry-red cream

The not so sunny side of Port Sunlight – nice phrase, Diana

They must have been so afraid that, this time, the Sun wasn’t coming back; so overjoyed when it did

….and while Mr Seal is in Sheffield….

…the view continues, unaware of the absence of its observer

A curtain of crimson velvet covers the doorway; a confusion of austere opulence

Stream of Consciousness 5

Can you really trust someone who doesn’t like Christmas pudding?

The grass with its decorative frosting

‘the first flakes of snow on my tongue’

Her new poem, a precious winter gift

A tree trunk floats by on the swollen waters of the Dee.  A sleek U-boat heading for Chester weir

Fingers long, wrinkled red, salt water raw

Beach treasure trove: coloured glass worn smooth

Rousing, as if from sleep, he realised there was a room in his house he had never entered

From downstairs, the sound of a piano

I saw the New Year in on a shed roof.  I think it was my shed

… and the postman tried to attack me with his handheld delivery device

Swimming with the stream rather than against it; what a novel idea

He took all the clouds from the sky and laid them out flat on a very large canvas

I have no idea what the retirement age is for bank robbers

The escalator of generational change; far superior to that game-show conveyor belt

He found it useful to feign deafness

He added her name to his list of people he should apologise to, knowing none of those apologies would ever be voiced

A glow of light at the eastern horizon; dawn crawls up the ladder of sky, a rosy-pink new-born

Thoughts of Spring and yet a fear that Winter still has her worst to come

Watching his thoughts, watching his anxieties, but declining to own them

He turned his thoughts to conspiracy theories, surely he could come up with a good one?

He opened his eyes to see the dome of stars above him, each one large and clear, a night sky of terrible beauty

She flows slowly, with swollen power

…sweeping up branches and animal carcasses as she goes

Inexorable momentum

Sometimes, there are no words…

She is an army on the march, gathering numbers to her host

For months he had been living in this way; endless circling, perpetual beginning, followed by frustration

River water the colour of Brown Windsor soup

So how come Rabbie Burns never wrote a poem about neeps?

He turned his head to face the window, and remembered…

Stream of Consciousness 6

A suggestion of the character’s inner life expressed by silence and punctuated by subtle facial expression

Shortly before he passes away, his father told him for the first time about the older sister who died when he was just an infant

I need a map.  If it’s not the right one, I’ll adjust it until it fits

She sees the rocks, their surface an embroidery of erosion

Who will light a fire and say the kaddish for them?  Who will say it for us?

… a murmur of voices and echoing footsteps from the corridor outside

And when I dream, I dream I can fly

I beat my wings upon the unyielding glass

The smell of incense and candles; burning books and rotting flesh

An arrow, a pointer, a finger posting showing the way

We live on in memory for a time but, then, even the memory dies

She looked at the back of Janek’s head, the way his blonde hair curled over his collar like the tip of a hawk’s wing, and shuddered

Flowers she could not name, the like of which she had never seen anywhere else, seemed to bloom throughout the year

A crow was patrolling along the guttering, taking two hops and then stopping to look down at the people below

When Marijeka awoke it was already light.  She heard footsteps walking past her room and saw shadows chopping at the light coming under her door

Striving to heal old wounds, slights upon the character of the landscape

The pace of the film is perhaps slower than modern audiences have come to expect but, in Dreyer’s hands, this only emphasises the quiet, ordered nature of this rural community which follows the rhythms of the farming calendar.

A bright morning star in the south-eastern sky

He starts his walk in Manchester

He looks.  He tells us how he looks, but not what he sees

As he walks, he writes a letter to his daughter

Where do all these thoughts come from?  Have they been voiced before?

Walking as an act of exorcism

They call it psychogeography.  I realise now I have no idea what that means

What is the significance of Liverpool?  Why make that his destination?

He was eighteen at the time.  Friends they had in common told him the two of them were made for each other.  He never did get round to meeting her

Angela was three years older than him.  She worked in a library and liked to visit historic sites

She sounded great; it was the idea of being ‘fixed-up’ that appalled him so

That song has a haunting quality that always takes me back to that day so many years ago

Sunday afternoon, work finished, sitting in the car with the two others, driving across the marshes

I need to write a business plan.  No one will ever really read it, not even me.  I just need to have one

The trouble with Dogme 95 is that they announced the rules to the public.  Gnostic film-making, now that’s the future

She plays a Freudian game with the readers

He walked, absently gathering up sensual impressions, more from habit than strategy

A rag-picking somnambulist

It’s a place I’ve passed through many times, but I’ve yet to stop, to walk, to look

They quote his every word, declare even his shopping lists the most sublime of poetry

He prided himself on the acuity of his self-awareness, yet only became aware of the façade of his life when it began to fall away

A life lived with no stain, no memory, no echoes

She follows the thought, pulling it up by its roots

Meths drinkers, feral kids, street performers, pie and mash shops

Cohen took his camera out into the streets to record a way of life that was rapidly disappearing

Those physiotherapists of bricks and mortar, striving to heal old wounds

Slights upon the character of the landscape

Stream of Consciousness 7

She took it all in; the sun and rain belonged to her, her alone

Nurturing with murderous love

Embracing Revelation’s two thousand years of holiness, Dewdrop leaves by night without saying goodbye, and his wife and children remind themselves to forget

But then, Agamemnon in New York has a certain ring to it

Old men linger, the caretaker generation

Guarding buildings and books.  Remembering.

We walk up Cambridge Heath Road, past Bethnal Green tube, and on to Hackney.  Victoria Park Road is on our right

I stand before the green front door and ring the bell. I’ve never got round to asking Ramona why she hasn’t painted it yellow.

A Julian calendar is pinned to the wall looking down, as she screams and flounders in bathwater turned chill.

Can I be the only person in the world who finds Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables the

He sits on a bench so well-polished that his rump constantly slips and slumps

November 1840: the birth of time

A station hall and the smell of smoke; engine steam that billows and clings

Off the bus and straight into the George Robey

A grand tour, edging through tribal territories

Shop front names stake territorial claims

But somewhere along the line I lost sight of the poetry

A tip: put the things you’ve already done onto the list

A moon so large one could reach out and touch….

I swim, I count, ticking off the lengths

Hats. I need to become an expert in hats

A never-ending tale told in a perpetual present

Drifting into a sleep that feels like slipping into death

She was the youngest of the three princesses.  No more and no less beautiful than her older sisters, but more loveable

Yes, that was the word, loveable.  She inspired love, and her name was Marijeka

A narrator so unreliable one might almost say he was treacherous

Which was during the silver age of American comic books

…and he was convinced the lyric was ‘hey you, get off of my car!’

A crow was patrolling along the guttering, taking two hops and then stopping to look down at the people below

She blew noisily at the cold air to see the vapour of her warm breath form little clouds and then dissipate

Grey.  Four grey walls.  Grey ceiling.  Grey floor.  I lie on my narrow metal-framed bed and my head is full of grey.

A high window with a grey metal grille lets in a little light.  Grey light, just enough to see this grey world

Searching for an empty notebook to take to Devon I find an old one from 2004 with several forgotten drafts of poems and short stories

Mr Seal is in Devon

I like Devon

Though I miss you, dear reader

… and, more than anything, I miss my morning view

The Germans have a very useful word, sehnsucht, which means a kind of wistful longing.  It’s a shame we don’t have a direct equivalent in the English language.  The Welsh hiraeth is similar, but not quite the same

Stalin and Litvinov, in London in 1907 for an International Marxist Congress, stayed at Tower House.  When I lived nearby it was a Salvation Army hostel and more recently the building has been transmuted into luxury apartments

Shining brightly, visceral echo of ancient light

Late evening sunshine after heavy rain, platinum sky

Desiccated sunshine; a poisonous embrace

We creep nearer to the fire, a circle of souls holding back the night

Did you see me?  Did you hear when the streets called my name?

Rounding the corner the mill loomed into view above the village, dominating the skyline like some vast, ugly cathedral

He reminded us at regular intervals that he’d written for Coronation Street and an episode of Blake’s Seven

A black leatherette settee with orange furry cushions

By the back door, a dog lead hangs from a hook

Al fresco dining on the wall outside the chip shop

John Cooper Clarke’s skinny jeans are a thing of wonder.  I have it on good authority he plans to donate them to the National Trust

The travel agent tells me that, obviously he’s heard of Malmö, but I’m the first person he’s met who actually wanted to go there

The voice of the water was honeyed, soothing

 

Stream of Consciousness 4

The taste of brine and iodine on his tongue, a crushing pressure in his chest so that it felt as if his lungs would burst

But, at this point, it was the rucksack that bothered him; its weight pulled at his shoulders and seemed to crush all his joints and muscles right down to his knees.  Like the accumulated load of his life heaped up onto his back

Time is doing strange things,’ said the voice in his head

The plan was a commercial disaster and the Duke of Lancaster’s shell now sits at the side of the river rusting away.

The 242 from Hackney to Bank and the conductor’s constant refrain: ‘Any more fares please? Thank you! Ta!’

My bus to Finsbury Park was late so Geoff got there before me.  He ended up meeting Roger Chapman and Charlie Whitney and having a pint with them in the George Robey before the gig.

Cityscape of echoes and reminders

…and a chill of remembering

‘Buckshee’ is such a great word

May, and the air is full of rumour

My new business website is coming together at last

Puzzling over a one-line note in my journal from a few weeks back: ‘Gramsci fishermen’. Beats me too!

But what if someone in The Bull throws their beer at Morrissey?

I prefer my version

A forgotten Anthony Newley film with a soundtrack by Kenny Graham

Jesse Hector, the guy should have been a rock star, but instead he was last heard of working as a cleaner

The trees a smear of green along the valley side, the house a hazy shape beyond the trees

I mention Kathy Acker’s name and receive nothing but blank stares

Sooner or later life’s journey takes us all into the dark wood

A clutch of shapeless characters

Lightning in the circle of unity; the flash in the pan

“Goo’night.  Goo’night.”  He gives a word of farewell to the landlord and every corner of the room.  Eliot’s patrician ear captured only a dim echo of the real thing.  But then the pub wasn’t his milieu, not his place of worship

Pale, underfed bodies from Govan, Maesteg and Stepney.  Barely trained, poorly armed, baking in the Andalucian sun.  Dying in the Andalucian heat

Imagism seeks to produce a poetry that is “hard and clear, never blurred nor indefinite.”

To the other side of the Pennines for the day and the chilly embrace of the easterly wind

Williams tells us that this is the child “who robs her” and, indeed, the very structure of the poem emphasises a sense of alienation between the two in the

One reached the point in one’s life when one felt one had lived beyond one’s time.  She remembered Daddy saying that, and now she understood.

Below, the Pennines swept by, a narrow strip of upland strategically placed to stop Manchester and Sheffield growing into one another.

The car zipped from the orange glow of one street light to the next with hypnotic repetition.

She loved to walk here, discovering new glades and previously unnoticed corners

The Woman Who Did: Grant Allen’s male fantasy of a feminist novel

Exploring the link between the New Woman and Herbert Spencer’s socio-political model of human evolution

On Chesil Beach only works if read as a comedy

She strained her ears but, try as she might, she could not hear the sound of clawed feet on the roof. But she knew he was there, his slick, black feathers glowing in the moonlight

But the huge expanse of sand he had walked over was now gone.  In its place, but for the odd sandbank, was an expanse of grey water

Time is doing strange things,’ said Captain Metcalfe to his Mate as he struggled to hold a steady course while he steered the ship up the estuary

He stood up straight and pulled back his shoulders, as if willing himself to be decisive

The cliff was the colour of terracotta plant pots and was made up of countless weathered slabs

Out of context one might call my pictures crap.  I call them unique, original

Stream of Consciousness 9

The question hung in his mind; an echo of doubt

But if you knew they were just voices inside your head, and not something that was real, that they were not another person with their own existence, did that mean you were alright?

Nut brown malt, winking foam

Fluffy words and clunky sounds, all on a Saturday night

Dewdrop sits alone, his bitterness before him

Gender Admin – a sawn-off room

It was a right how do you do

Such unexpected beauty

He holds his gaze in that zone of safety between the table top and a rheumy-eyed middle distance

A medieval bridge with two squat arches, its sandstone blocks glowing pinkly in the early evening sunshine

The river water was warm and viscous, its whole surface dotted with a generous sprinkling of flies

They walked on in silence, an inexplicable sadness hanging over both of them

She held it reverently and slowly, carefully began to examine its pages

He squinted to try to force his smarting eyes to see

Like four horsemen, solemn harbingers of tribulation, the chimneys of the power station dominated the western riverbank

All of his senses were real: he felt the water on his skin, the sunshine on his head and discerned the scent of newly-mown grass in the air

As Morrissey put it: ‘We hate it when our friends become successful, and if they’re northern, that makes it even worse’

Thanks for asking, Guardian Weekend.  My ideal dinner party guests would be: Ed Reardon, Count Arthur Strong and Albert Steptoe

Religious belief and militant atheism share an absolute faith in something that cannot be seen or known; one believes it’s definitely there and the other it definitely isn’t

Perhaps agnostics are the Liberal Democrats of faith, neither one thing nor the other?

Why not try shaving foam for a low-fat version of strawberries and cream?

Mark E Smith once said the typical Fall fan is a middle-aged bloke in a windcheater sitting in a pub drinking bitter and moaning.  Rubbish, I don’t even own a windcheater

Just like The Tiger Who Came to Tea, I’ve drunk all the water in the tap and all of Daddy’s beer from under the sink

I bet he’s even funnier in Spanish

I keep going back again and again to Caroline Bergvall’s VIA

I love to hear her read in that strange, compelling Danish/French/English accent

Of course it’s really Dante’s poem, but then that’s the whole point

Forty-eight Dante variations: layer upon layer of translations of the same few lines

Along the journey of our life half way

I found myself again in a dark wood

In the mid-journey of our mortal life

I wandered far into a darksome wood

Where the true road no longer might be seen

Lost amongst murmuring trees

There is no natural landscape; the simple act of looking changes it forever

Out of sight but not out of mind

Suddenly Copenhagen

But when the observer is away

Dream Malmö

Lament Malmö

I am a stranger in my own land

We drift along as if in a dream

Blaming the victim once again

Life as we know it, Jim, a fragile layer upon a spinning rock

Picking out the lights of Perth as his craft orbited the Earth

In deepest Lincolnshire

A window is the eye of the soul

Realising that The Reaper had caught up with all three members of Atomic Rooster’s classic Death Walks Behind You line-up

Vincent Crane, 14 February 1989, overdose of painkillers

Paul Hammond, 1992, accidental methadone overdose

John Du Cann, 21 September 2011, heart attack

In the hands of David Markson, this would be a crock of artistic gold

In my hands, it’s more like a crock of shit

Hands up, don’t shoot

The redemptive power of fiction

The fictional power of redemption

Nothing to beat the excitement of a good idea and a new project

Got to finish the other ones first

It’s all connected

We followed the river all the way back to the dam

I remember that the swearing of the older boys was more imaginative than ours

The things I remember are those that I write about

The terror of kept objects

I set a trap for my conscious mind, and wait around to see what happens

Integrating the irreconcilable elements

Transferring all my lists into one master list: strangely satisfying, though not very productive

The illicit thrill of climbing onto the scaffolding once the builders had gone home

A word collage of overheard conversations

Seeing a familiar view from a different direction

Most of these conspiracy theories are absolute guff, but I still believe governments massage information on a daily basis in order to mislead public opinion

So who sets the news agenda?

Daggers of rain; cold, vindictive

Stream of Consciousness 8

Sun glow claws at southern edge

And in the fairground, empty rides, music without notes, circling in their funereal geometry

I’ve been offered a chance to help with a local history/arts project on a subject close to my heart.  How can I possibly say ‘No’?

‘So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to do it every day for a year’ – Cathy Dreyer

‘As of October 5th, 2006, I have been creating one small painting almost every day’ – Carol Marine

‘Every day I took a different drug or intoxicant and drew myself under the influence’ – Bryan Lewis Saunders

Everyday started on January 11, 2000 and is a work in progress’ – Noah Kalina

‘You know how it is. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. Time creeps in its petty pace’ – Auggie Wren (Smoke)

‘Oddly moving to see the sky change / not change’ – Liz Lefroy

‘I’ll stop when I’m dead’ – Karl Baden

Sky, rooftops, trees

What is noticeable about all of these pictures is that they are seemingly devoid of the presence of any human beings

And yet they are there.  Their impact upon the landscape is manifest

Patrick Keiller, a fellow traveller, looked out of his window and he saw it too: ‘The desire for poetic experience of ordinary, everyday phenomena was central to Surrealism and many other strands of modernism, from Baudelaire or even De Quincey onwards, but it was perhaps most readily achieved through photography and cinematography.’ (The View From the Train)

And the frame itself is a mere construct, beyond its edges a world vibrates

At first I thought of myself as a mere observer, a recorder, sitting there, cool and detached, choosing not to engage

But the gaze is never neutral, it affects the observer and the observed

Day by day the effect upon each is multiplied.  Until 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Year Montage

One Year is a project I stumbled into just over twelve months ago.  I started wondering about a view I looked at every day, the one from my office window. Would it look the same a year from now and how would it change each day? So I began taking a picture of that view every morning before I started work, the same view every day for a year. This montage is the result. It seems to me that landscape, any landscape, is not so much an objective reality in itself, but a constructed projection of those who observe it. So, sit back and observe one year in six minutes thirty seconds.

This is what I said when I started One Year back in September 2013:

The purpose of this project is to explore continuity and change.  Over the course of a year, I will build up a daily visual record of the same view.  Despite my best efforts, though, I will not be able to replicate the ‘same’ view each day: it is subject to changes in the environment, such as the weather or the time the sun rises.  But it is also affected by changes caused by me, the observer.  For instance, my feelings that morning may change the way I hold the camera or, inadvertently, the image may show my breath on the glass from getting too close to the window.

All images, lens reflections, shakes, under-exposures and over-exposures are by Bobby Seal. With grateful thanks to the wonderful Martin Thulin for the use of his musical piece ‘Pictures of Woods’. Why not take a look at his site and maybe try a download or two.

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Psychogeographic Review’s Recommendations – October 2014

This past month Psychogeographic Review has been reading:

SteppenwolfHermann Hesse – ‘Steppenwolf’ (1927)

On the surface Harry Haller is a respectable, educated and well-dressed pillar of the community.  But within lurks an alienated savagery: the lone wolf of the Steppes.  Through a series of hallucinatory journeys, which embrace eastern religion and western philosophy, he begins to come to terms with his inner nature and catches sight of the possibility of redemption.  I first read this book as a teenager in the 1970s when it was a totem of the counter-culture.  I feared disappointment when I read it again recently, but I needn’t have worried, it is still a profound and powerful work.  But there is also a dry wit I never managed to appreciate the first time round.

Lud HeatIain Sinclair – ‘Lud Heat: ‘A Book of the Dead Hamlets’ (1975)

‘Lud Heat’ is a short but extraordinarily influential work.  It is the book which first gate-crashed psychogeography into its present place as a vibrant sub-genre of English literature.  In verse and prose Sinclair explores the psychic connections between six of Hawksmoor’s London churches.  Beneath the surface of the city pulse shamanic incantations, given voice by the likes of Blake and Pound.  At the heart of it all lies King Lud, the mythic founder of London.

 

Memory PalaceEdward Hollis – ‘The Memory Palace: A Book of Lost Interiors’ (2014)

In this, Edward Hollis’s follow-up to his Secret Lives of Buildings, he makes an imaginative reconstruction of five famous rooms and one very personal one.  From a collection of remembrances and fragments he recreates Rome’s Palatine, the old Palace of Westminster, the Petit Trianon at Versailles, the sets of the MGM studios in Hollywood and the pavilions of the Crystal Palace.  From deep within himself he also conjures up his own grandmother’s sitting room. This book will make you look afresh at the rooms you presently inhabit, and those that live on in the recesses of your memory.

Meanwhile, we were listening to:

BSDetector1Various – ‘Bullshit Detector: Vol 1’ (1980)

I played this record to death in 1980 and was pleased to discover it again recently.  The people from Crass gathered together a clutch of tracks from a collection of post-punk DIY bands from the less-fashionable parts of the UK.   This is the first of several Bullshit Detector collections they issued in the early 1980s.  The quality of the songs varies, the recordings are without exception pretty rough, but the whole thing crackles with energy.  There are some gems, like Amebix’s ‘University Challenged’ and its spoken intro in a heavy Devonian accent: ‘We are not fascists/We are not nihilists/We are anarchists’. Quite.

a3485274743_2Various – ‘Menai Bridge: Music from Gwynedd 1980-1985’ (2014)

Talking about post-punk collections, this latest issue by Travin is a delight.  I thought I knew all about the North Wales scene of this period, but most of this material is new to me.  Shamefully forgotten bands like Fay Ray and Brenda and the Hot Dicks have all the energy of punk, but with a palpable musical sophistication.  The limited run of C35 cassettes has sold out, but Menai Bridge, in all its glory, is available for download at Travin Systems Records.

 

Something ShinesLaetitia Sadier – ‘Something Shines’ (2014)

This, the third solo album from the former Stereolab singer, is a satisfying concoction of French pop, psychedelic rock and electronica.  It’s hard to pick a stand-out track from the ten excellent cuts, but perhaps the epic Butter Side Up shades it.  In some ways this is one of the year’s best albums,  the only slight disappointment  being that it is so similar in feel to her 2012 release, Silencio.

 

And watching:

Last of England‘The Last of England’ – Derek Jarman (1987)

Derek Jarman’s films begin to make sense when you think of them as visual poetry, rather than as stories with a conventional narrative arc.  The Last of England offers up a series of dramatised vignettes interspersed with snippets of old Super-8 film and found footage.  This is Thatcher’s England in the 1980s; a nation riven by the destruction of its industry and the defeat of its trade unions.  England is dying, her life-force finally sucked dry by the City of London.  While her TV screens glory in the spectacle of war in the South Atlantic and endless Jubilee pageantry, the nation’s streets are dark, grimy and windswept, her people stumbling on without hope.

Pride‘Pride’ – Matthew Warchus (2014)

The plot oversimplifies complex real-life events and the characterisations are lazily shallow.  But, for once, that doesn’t matter; this is a glorious feel-good, dance-to-the-beat movie that celebrates diversity and wears its political colours with… pride.  It’s also got some pretty good 1980s music too.  A group of young lesbian and gay activists from London see echoes of their own struggle in that of the miners when the latter take on the full power of the state in 1984.  They decide to raise money to support a mining community in South Wales.  The film charts how, from initial mutual suspicion, a real understanding, respect and affection grows between the two communities.

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One Year – Week 52

This is the final week of my One Year projectThose of you who have followed it will be aware it was my intention to construct a daily photographic record of a single view: the view from my study window at around 8.00a.m. each day when I sat down to work.  I annotated each One Year picture with a note of the weather for that day and the morning’s main news headline from the BBC News site.  In addition, I included a note taking a key sentence or two from my daily journal.

There will be no further One Year entries, but there will be a short film and some follow up pieces to try to make sense of what the project has come to mean to me.

 

12 September 201412th September 2014

Sunny intervals

Pistorius awaits homicide verdict

Sky, rooftops, trees

 

13 September 201413th September 2014

Light cloud

Business row in Scots weekend campaign

What is noticeable about all of these pictures is that they are devoid of the presence of any human beings

14 September 201414th September 2014

Thick cloud

PM condemns hostage’s ‘evil murder’

And yet they are there.  Their impact upon the landscape is manifest

 

15 September 201415th September 2014

Thick cloud

Hammond to discuss plans to tackle IS

And the frame itself is a mere construct, beyond its edges a world vibrates

 

16 September 201416th September 2014

Light cloud

Pro-Union leaders in powers pledge

At first I thought of myself as a mere observer, a recorder, sitting there, cool and detached, choosing not to engage

17 September 201417th September 2014

Sunny intervals

Referendum campaigns make final push

But the gaze is never neutral, it affects the observer and the observed

 

18 September 201418th September 2014

Thick cloud

Voting begins in Scottish referendum

Day by day the effect upon each is multiplied.  Until

 

19 September 201419th September 2014

Thick cloud

Scotland votes ‘No’ to independence

Patrick Keiller, a fellow traveller, looked out of his window and he saw it too: ‘The desire for poetic experience of ordinary, everyday phenomena was central to Surrealism and many other strands of modernism, from Baudelaire or even De Quincey onwards, but it was perhaps most readily achieved through photography and cinematography.’ (The View From the Train)

Artist Statement

… “natural history” has no actual existence other than through the process of human history, the only part which recaptures this historical totality, like the modern telescope whose sight captures, in time, the retreat of nebulae at the periphery of the universe.

Guy Debord – Society of the Spectacle

This is what I said in September 2013:

The purpose of this project is to explore continuity and change.  Over the course of a year, I will build up a daily visual record of the same view.  Despite my best efforts, though, I will not be able to replicate the ‘same’ view each day: it is subject to changes in the environment, such as the weather or the time the sun rises.  But it is also affected by changes caused by me, the observer.  For instance, my feelings that morning may change the way I hold the camera or, inadvertently, the image may show my breath on the glass from getting too close to the window.

Looking out at the view on this, the first morning of One Year, I see a scene comprising sky, trees and rooftops.  I don’t see much evidence of human activity just yet, but that may come later in the year when the leaf cover begins to thin out.  Being on a flight path, we also see the odd vapour trail or aeroplane light in the sky too.

Some of the changes that will become evident will be pretty obvious, such as the seasons.  Other changes will be more subtle.  My daily notes will give some insight into what is going on inside my head that morning, from my journal entry, and there will also be a record of what is happening in the world in general, from the news headline.

But the ‘view’ I am recording in One Year is not neutral, it is selected and framed by me.  Similarly, my journal extracts are selected from a much larger body of work; it is the ‘insight’ into my thinking that I choose to present.  Even the ‘news headline’ cannot be regarded as neutral, for it is subject to BBC editorial bias.

But there is a third party in the One Year process, one that is outside of my control. That person is you, the reader of this blog, the interested observer of the project.  I want people to bring their own interpretations, views and insights to this project.  All comments received will be reproduced in my weekly project reports.

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One Year – Week 51

One Year is a project through which I intend to construct a daily photographic record of a single view: the view from my study window at around 8.00a.m. each day when I sit down to work.  One Year will annotate each picture with a note of the weather for that morning and the morning’s main news headline from the BBC News site.  In addition, there will be a note taking a key sentence or two from my daily journal.

As we approach Week 52 and the end of the project I increasingly find myself reflecting on the meaning of it.  In particular, this week, I’ve been trying to place One Year in some kind of context by exploring other works of a similar nature.

5 September 20145th September 2014

Light cloud

Hope rises for UK peace deal

‘So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to do it every day for a year’ – Cathy Dreyer

 

6 September 20146th September 2014

Light cloud

  • Ukraine ceasefire with rebels holds
  • ‘As of October 5th, 2006, I have been creating one small painting almost every day’ – Carol Marine

7 September 20147th September 2014

Sunny

Scottish referendum ‘neck and neck’

‘Every day I took a different drug or intoxicant and drew myself under the influence’ – Bryan Lewis Saunders

8 September 20148th September 2014

Sunny

Pro-Union figures step up campaign

Everyday started on January 11, 2000 and is a work in progress’ – Noah Kalina

 

9 September 20149th September 2014

Sunny

Parties to back more Scotland powers

‘You know how it is. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. Time creeps in its petty pace’ – Auggie Wren (Smoke)

10 September 201410th September 2014

Sunny

UK leaders campaigning to save Union

‘Oddly moving to see the sky change / not change’ – Liz Lefroy

 

11 September 201411th September 2014

Sunny

Obama: US to pursue IS in Syria

‘I’ll stop when I’m dead’ – Karl Baden

 

 

Artist Statement

… “natural history” has no actual existence other than through the process of human history, the only part which recaptures this historical totality, like the modern telescope whose sight captures, in time, the retreat of nebulae at the periphery of the universe.

Guy Debord – Society of the Spectacle

The purpose of this project is to explore continuity and change.  Over the course of a year, I will build up a daily visual record of the same view.  Despite my best efforts, though, I will not be able to replicate the ‘same’ view each day: it is subject to changes in the environment, such as the weather or the time the sun rises.  But it is also affected by changes caused by me, the observer.  For instance, my feelings that morning may change the way I hold the camera or, inadvertently, the image may show my breath on the glass from getting too close to the window.

Looking out at the view on this, the first morning of One Year, I see a scene comprising sky, trees and rooftops.  I don’t see much evidence of human activity just yet, but that may come later in the year when the leaf cover begins to thin out.  Being on a flight path, we also see the odd vapour trail or aeroplane light in the sky too.

Some of the changes that will become evident will be pretty obvious, such as the seasons.  Other changes will be more subtle.  My daily notes will give some insight into what is going on inside my head that morning, from my journal entry, and there will also be a record of what is happening in the world in general, from the news headline.

But the ‘view’ I am recording in One Year is not neutral, it is selected and framed by me.  Similarly, my journal extracts are selected from a much larger body of work; it is the ‘insight’ into my thinking that I choose to present.  Even the ‘news headline’ cannot be regarded as neutral, for it is subject to BBC editorial bias.

But there is a third party in the One Year process, one that is outside of my control. That person is you, the reader of this blog, the interested observer of the project.  I want people to bring their own interpretations, views and insights to this project.  All comments received will be reproduced in my weekly project reports.

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One Year – Week 50

One Year is a project through which I intend to construct a daily photographic record of a single view: the view from my study window at around 8.00a.m. each day when I sit down to work.  One Year will annotate each picture with a note of the weather for that morning and the morning’s main news headline from the BBC News site.  In addition, there will be a note taking a key sentence or two from my daily journal.

29 August 201429th August 2014

Light rain

Abusers ‘brazenly targeted girls’

Seeing a familiar view from a different direction

 

30 August 201430th August 2014

Sunny intervals

Cameron and Clegg hold terror talks

Most of these conspiracy theories are absolute guff, but I still believe governments massage information on a daily basis in order to mislead public opinion

31 August 201431st August 2014

Sunny intervals

Missing Ashya King found in Spain

So who sets the news agenda?

 

1 September 20141st September 2014

Light cloud

Ashya brother defends arrested parents

Daggers of rain; cold, vindictive

 

2 September 20142nd September 2014

Sunny

IS accused of Iraq ethnic cleansing

Sun glow claws at southern edge

 

3 September 20143rd September 2014

Light cloud

Islamic State ‘beheads US hostage’

And in the fairground, empty rides, music without notes, circling in their funereal geometry

4 September 20144th September 2014

Light cloud

PM and Obama unite in defiance of IS

So when I’m offered a chance to help with a local history/arts project on a subject close to my heart, how can I possibly say ‘No’?

 

Artist Statement

… “natural history” has no actual existence other than through the process of human history, the only part which recaptures this historical totality, like the modern telescope whose sight captures, in time, the retreat of nebulae at the periphery of the universe.

Guy Debord – Society of the Spectacle

The purpose of this project is to explore continuity and change.  Over the course of a year, I will build up a daily visual record of the same view.  Despite my best efforts, though, I will not be able to replicate the ‘same’ view each day: it is subject to changes in the environment, such as the weather or the time the sun rises.  But it is also affected by changes caused by me, the observer.  For instance, my feelings that morning may change the way I hold the camera or, inadvertently, the image may show my breath on the glass from getting too close to the window.

Looking out at the view on this, the first morning of One Year, I see a scene comprising sky, trees and rooftops.  I don’t see much evidence of human activity just yet, but that may come later in the year when the leaf cover begins to thin out.  Being on a flight path, we also see the odd vapour trail or aeroplane light in the sky too.

Some of the changes that will become evident will be pretty obvious, such as the seasons.  Other changes will be more subtle.  My daily notes will give some insight into what is going on inside my head that morning, from my journal entry, and there will also be a record of what is happening in the world in general, from the news headline.

But the ‘view’ I am recording in One Year is not neutral, it is selected and framed by me.  Similarly, my journal extracts are selected from a much larger body of work; it is the ‘insight’ into my thinking that I choose to present.  Even the ‘news headline’ cannot be regarded as neutral, for it is subject to BBC editorial bias.

But there is a third party in the One Year process, one that is outside of my control. That person is you, the reader of this blog, the interested observer of the project.  I want people to bring their own interpretations, views and insights to this project.  All comments received will be reproduced in my weekly project reports.

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Psychogeographic Review’s Recommendations – September 2014

 

This past month Psychogeographic Review has been reading:

American InteriorGruff Rhys – ‘American Interior’ (2014)

American Interior is a book (and also a film and an album) by Gruff Rhys, the creative force behind Super Furry Animals.  The project arose from Rhys’s practice of ‘investigative touring’: combining a standard musical tour with field research.  His book is an imaginative examination of the journeys of the eighteenth-century Welsh adventurer John Evans and his search for the mythical Welsh-speaking tribe of Native Americans who supposedly lived somewhere beyond the Missouri River.  The result is a joyfully whimsical and thought-provoking work.

BlindsightRosemarie Waldrop – ‘Blindsight’ (2004)

“A frame supports what would, on its own, collapse.  Apple trees pilfered from a novel, the firmest possible squeeze of the hand, the same skin in and out.” (Certainties)

Rosemarie Waldrop is a German-American writer and critic who specialises in experimental prose poems and philosophical questioning.  Blindsight is one of her most accomplished collections and refers to the neurological concept of the brain registering far more visual information than we are consciously aware.  Thus, she uses collage effects and unusual structures in her poems to try to expand the reader’s imaginative vision.  The result is a work of profound beauty.

MusicageJoan Retallack – ‘Musicage: Cage Muses on Words, Art, Music’ (1996)

Joan Retallack is an American poet and lifelong friend of the writer, composer and artist, John Cage.  Musicage is the result of a series of interviews she conducted with Cage over a number of years.  Cage talks with candour and wisdom about the fields of music, art and literature and constructs a cohesive worldview; a beacon of opposition to authoritarianism in art and in society in general.

 

 

HovelElizabeth West – ‘Hovel in the Hills’ (1978) and ‘Garden in the Hills’ (1982)

In the 1960s Elizabeth and Alan West gave up their jobs in Bristol and bought a derelict cottage on a plot of land in North Wales.  For the next ten years or so they spent considerable time and energy repairing the cottage and turning their unpromising hillside plot into a garden capable of keeping them self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables.  But the difference between Elizabeth West’s two books and the host of other ‘good life’ titles is that the Wests were early innovators, dropping out of the system before it was considered

fashionable.  They were also a working class couple with no private income and very little in the way of savings, so life was a constant struggle of finding casual work to keep them afloat whilst they lovingly nurtured their garden.  West tells their story with straightforward humour and humanity.

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, we were listening to:

Annea LockwoodAnnea Lockwood – ‘Ground of Being’ (2014)

Annea Lockwood is a ground-breaking composer who specialises in working with found sounds.  This collection gathers together works composed between 1996 and 2013 and makes uses of natural sounds, conventional instruments and conceptual experiments such as pianos gradually destroyed by water or fire.

 

Davy and BertDavy Graham & Bert Jansch – ‘Davy & Bert’ (2014)

Two of the giants of the folk guitar, Davy Graham and Bert Jansch, were brought together for a concert in Edinburgh in 2005.  Alas, neither is with us any longer, but this album provides a record of the guitar virtuosity of two very different, but equally innovative, players.

 

 

And watching:

Jimmy‘Jimmy’s Hall’ – Ken Loach (2014)

After being deported from the United States, Jimmy Gralton decides to build a dance hall in 1930s rural Ireland.  In doing so he challenges the power political conservatism and an authoritarian Church has over the people of his native village, but above all else he wants to give people the chance to dance and have fun.

Dawn‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ – Matt Reeves (2014)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is an entertaining Hollywood action film that actually asks important questions about what it means to be human and how we relate to our planet.  The apes are wonderfully realised, but a convincingly unhinged Gary Oldman in a supporting role steals the show.

Honey‘A Taste of Honey’ – Tony Richardson (1961)

Adapted by Richardson and Shelagh Delaney from her play, A Taste of Honey is a gritty slice of early 1960s social realism.   Shelagh Delaney broke new ground by creating working-class characters who were fully-rounded and believable and gave a new voice to women, gay people and others on society’s margins.  Tony Richardson and his cinematographer, Walter Lassally, evoke an industrial Salford that is now long gone.

 

 

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Sanctuary Wood

Sanctuary Wood is the popular name for an uncultivated corner of land nestling in the rolling green Flemish countryside to the south-east of Ypres.  Marked as Hill 62 on Great War British military maps, the name Sanctuary Wood was first used, apparently with no sense of irony, by the British forces defending this section of the Ypres Salient during the first Battle of Ypres in 1914 when they used the flimsy cover of the wood to shelter their wounded and dying men.

What passing-bells for those who die as cattle?

     – Only the monstrous anger of the guns.

     Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle

Can patter out their hasty orisons.

Belgium and Old House 033

When the farmer returned to reclaim his wood in 1918 he found an unearthly landscape of bare, shattered trees and ground covered by flooded trenches and pock-marked with shell holes.  Like most Flemish farmers he gradually returned the bloodied battlefields to cultivated land, ploughing up a fresh crop of human remains and the detritus of war each year for many decades afterwards.  But he left Sanctuary Wood as it was, one man’s makeshift memorial to those who had fallen.  The land, as they say in Flanders, never forgets.

No mockeries for them; no prayers nor bells;

     Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, –

The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;

     And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

Belgium 034

Belgium 028

Sanctuary Wood is nowadays a museum and one of the few places in modern Flanders where one can gain some idea of what the original trench network in the Great War was like; the trenches in which hundreds of thousands of young men from all nations died.

What candles may be held to speed them all?

     Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes

Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.

Belgium 032

Belgium 025

     The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;

Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,

And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

Poem: Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen, courtesy of Faber & Faber

Other words and images: Bobby Seal

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One Year – Week 49

One Year is a project through which I intend to construct a daily photographic record of a single view: the view from my study window at around 8.00a.m. each day when I sit down to work.  One Year will annotate each picture with a note of the weather for that morning and the morning’s main news headline from the BBC News site.  In addition, there will be a note taking a key sentence or two from my daily journal.

22 August 201422nd August 2014

Heavy rain

IS militants ‘biggest threat’ to US

The things I write about are those that I remember

 

23 August 201423rd August 2014

Sunny intervals

May pledges anti-extremist measures

The terror of kept objects

 

 

24 August 201424th August 2014

Sunny intervals

Hammond: Foley killing betrays Britain

I set a trap for my conscious mind, and wait around to see what happens

 

25 August 201425th August 2014

Light rain

Film’s Richard Attenborough dies

Integrating the irreconcilable elements

 

26 August 201426th August 2014

Thick cloud

Salmond and Darling in heated debate

Transferring all my lists into one master list: strangely satisfying, though not very productive

27 August 201427th August 2014

Light cloud

Fresh quit call over sex abuse report

The illicit thrill of climbing onto the scaffolding once the builders have gone home

 

28 August 201428th August 2014

Sunny intervals

Wright quits Labour but not PCC role

A word collage of overheard conversations

 

 

Artist Statement

… “natural history” has no actual existence other than through the process of human history, the only part which recaptures this historical totality, like the modern telescope whose sight captures, in time, the retreat of nebulae at the periphery of the universe.

Guy Debord – Society of the Spectacle

The purpose of this project is to explore continuity and change.  Over the course of a year, I will build up a daily visual record of the same view.  Despite my best efforts, though, I will not be able to replicate the ‘same’ view each day: it is subject to changes in the environment, such as the weather or the time the sun rises.  But it is also affected by changes caused by me, the observer.  For instance, my feelings that morning may change the way I hold the camera or, inadvertently, the image may show my breath on the glass from getting too close to the window.

Looking out at the view on this, the first morning of One Year, I see a scene comprising sky, trees and rooftops.  I don’t see much evidence of human activity just yet, but that may come later in the year when the leaf cover begins to thin out.  Being on a flight path, we also see the odd vapour trail or aeroplane light in the sky too.

Some of the changes that will become evident will be pretty obvious, such as the seasons.  Other changes will be more subtle.  My daily notes will give some insight into what is going on inside my head that morning, from my journal entry, and there will also be a record of what is happening in the world in general, from the news headline.

But the ‘view’ I am recording in One Year is not neutral, it is selected and framed by me.  Similarly, my journal extracts are selected from a much larger body of work; it is the ‘insight’ into my thinking that I choose to present.  Even the ‘news headline’ cannot be regarded as neutral, for it is subject to BBC editorial bias.

But there is a third party in the One Year process, one that is outside of my control. That person is you, the reader of this blog, the interested observer of the project.  I want people to bring their own interpretations, views and insights to this project.  All comments received will be reproduced in my weekly project reports.

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One Year – Week 48

One Year is a project through which I intend to construct a daily photographic record of a single view: the view from my study window at around 8.00a.m. each day when I sit down to work.  One Year will annotate each picture with a note of the weather for that morning and the morning’s main news headline from the BBC News site.  In addition, there will be a note taking a key sentence or two from my daily journal.

15 August 201415th August 2014

Light cloud

Iraq’s Maliki quits to end deadlock

The redemptive power of fiction

 

16 August 201416th August 2014

Sunny intervals

Yazidi villagers ‘massacred’ in Iraq

The fictional power of redemption

 

17 August 201417th August 2014

Light cloud

PM warns of possible IS threat to UK

Nothing to beat the excitement of a good idea and a new project

 

18 August 201418th August 2014

Heavy rain

Iraq mission ‘could last for months’

Got to finish the other ones first

 

19 August 201419th August 2014

Light rain shower

Fresh unrest in riot-hit US town

It’s all connected

 

20 August 201420th August 2014

Sunny intervals

Militants ‘kill reporter on video’

We followed the river all the way back to the dam

 

21 August 201421st August 2014

Sunny intervals

US military tried to free Foley

I remember that the swearing of the older boys was more imaginative than ours

 

 

Artist Statement

… “natural history” has no actual existence other than through the process of human history, the only part which recaptures this historical totality, like the modern telescope whose sight captures, in time, the retreat of nebulae at the periphery of the universe.

Guy Debord – Society of the Spectacle

The purpose of this project is to explore continuity and change.  Over the course of a year, I will build up a daily visual record of the same view.  Despite my best efforts, though, I will not be able to replicate the ‘same’ view each day: it is subject to changes in the environment, such as the weather or the time the sun rises.  But it is also affected by changes caused by me, the observer.  For instance, my feelings that morning may change the way I hold the camera or, inadvertently, the image may show my breath on the glass from getting too close to the window.

Looking out at the view on this, the first morning of One Year, I see a scene comprising sky, trees and rooftops.  I don’t see much evidence of human activity just yet, but that may come later in the year when the leaf cover begins to thin out.  Being on a flight path, we also see the odd vapour trail or aeroplane light in the sky too.

Some of the changes that will become evident will be pretty obvious, such as the seasons.  Other changes will be more subtle.  My daily notes will give some insight into what is going on inside my head that morning, from my journal entry, and there will also be a record of what is happening in the world in general, from the news headline.

But the ‘view’ I am recording in One Year is not neutral, it is selected and framed by me.  Similarly, my journal extracts are selected from a much larger body of work; it is the ‘insight’ into my thinking that I choose to present.  Even the ‘news headline’ cannot be regarded as neutral, for it is subject to BBC editorial bias.

But there is a third party in the One Year process, one that is outside of my control. That person is you, the reader of this blog, the interested observer of the project.  I want people to bring their own interpretations, views and insights to this project.  All comments received will be reproduced in my weekly project reports.

 

 

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