Passport back again

Years ago my passport fell out of my pocket on a National Express bus overnight from Newcastle to London. I had a gig in Amsterdam with the flight booked 24 hours after I realised it was no longer with me. “So few people know what to do with a stolen passport,” said my best friend. “It’s much more likely that it’ll show up, but you need to make yourself easy to find.” I left a message on an answerphone at the National Express bus depot in Portsmouth or wherever that particular bus finished its journey – I forget. I got a call from a cleaner at about 7am. She gave it to a driver in an envelope, and I picked it up at 11am at Victoria Coach Station. My flight was at 4pm. I made it, made the gig, made some money. Phew.

My best friend’s wisdom was my guide this time around. Nobody knows what to do with the fucking thing. I kind of knew it had to be somewhere.

I had tried every single place I had been to or even walked past in St Brelade. It’s pretty easy. There’s fuck all in St Brelade. I made myself a right pain for the staff at the posh hotel there – it was the most likely candidate. The only place I couldn’t try yesterday was The Crab Shack. It was shut when I went round.

This morning I tried the coffee shop in St Helier. I tried the bus depot. I went to both the main Jersey police station and to the St Brelade parish hall, inexplicably located in St Aubin. Nothing. I was not going to be deterred. Thank the lord I had given myself all this time.

Once again I walked down the St Brelade strip. One by one I stopped everywhere, even places I had not been into. You’d remember if a passport had been handed in. Nobody remembered.

Finally, The Crab Shack. I go in there thinking to myself that if this is fruitless then I’m honestly completely out of possibilities.

“Excuse me, do you have a lost property / department or…”

” / we’ve got it. It’s safe. You came. Yes. Your passport. I recognise you.”

Ten years ago. No beard. Still got it.

He had my passport. They ran out of the place to try and find me after I left but I was too quick.

“We rang the number you gave when you filled in your form. It was a dead number.”

“I never fill those forms in correctly.”

Nobody stole my passport. Minnie was right again. It HAD to be somewhere and likely there was a person who wanted to return it. And it was somewhere. And it was returned. And now I can get back to the UK and renew the damn thing in peace.

Thank you for your prayers and chants and positive energy. Maybe this time I’ll learn to stop walking around with my damn passport in my pocket. Particularly not if I’m going to a beachfront cafe at 8pm in order to consume a carafe of wine and six oysters.

Lost passport again

And I’ve lost my passport. Again.

Best guess is that it fell out of my pocket somewhere in St Brelade. Maybe when I was talking to the old racists and made a swift exit.

It’s not a major issue. I can travel to England from Jersey without a passport in theory. I’ll get to the airport extra early just to be sure.

“Why were you carrying it in your pocket?” Yeah. I’m not sure. I know I was doing so because I pulled it out of my pocket in front of Anna at lunch on Monday and she quite rightly told me I was an idiot. That might have caused me to put it somewhere unusual and safer… But I’ve got a bag. That’s it. And it’s not in the bag or any of my pockets. Or the outer pockets. Or anywhere. So as far as I can tell I’m out of options.

I went back to the posh hotel. The manager has my number now and will call me if it appears. It’s an absolute ballache but I went back into my old room and I double checked and it’s definitely not there. I’ve asked in all the bars and restaurants along St Brelade beach. Nothing. Nothing. My scarf as well. There’s the weirdness. My scarf and my passport… I can’t work it out. The only other option is that I left it in the bus. I handed in a bag that somebody left on another bus today, so maybe karma will bring me my passport tomorrow at the bus depot when the office is open. We all have to wear masks on the Jersey bus so it’s a bit discombobulating being there when the rest of Jersey is very chill about them. It involves a pocket rummage for me every time.

I rented a car today. I needed to get back to St Brelade and retrace my steps quickly and I still hate masks. Plus the weather has just gone to shit. I got soaked to the skin trying to retrace my steps, and after the perfect becalmed week, Jersey is back to being a ship in a squall. I’d prefer to have independent wheels for the next few days instead of getting drenched at bus stops where there’s not enough room for a shelter. Taxis are punitively expensive and I like to be able to impulsively go places.

The good thing is I’ve got my driving licence. It should be all I need to get back to London. Then, my passport expires in November plus it is full of errors. Time to sort everything out… And if I end up being stuck in Jersey until November it’s not the end of the world. You can all come visit. It’s lovely over here, so long as I can find somewhere to sleep that isn’t astronomically expensive. Right now I’m back in The Mornington, my old happy haunt, and it’s still the best place. No wonder I lost my passport. My own fault for getting ideas and staying in the posh hotel. All the other guests I met had downturned lips like angry frogs. If it was the place my grandparents loved, it helps me understand how different I am from them. Even the reception staff were slightly nonplussed that I wanted to search my own room, as if I would somehow be incapable of anything so menial. The duty manager Tomas at least has my number now if it shows up randomly. We shall see.

Wish me luck for a result at the bus station or with the Jersey police. It’ll be a bugger to lose it, and your average Identity thief will run into all sorts of problems with it – although I guess this blog is a rich mine of information. My mother’s mother, Eileen Nostradamus, she predicted this would happen. It’s why I named my first pet Seth.

In unrelated news, my room at The Mornington has A DOUBLE BED. Luxury.

I’m off to sleep in it.

Jersey Jersey Jersey

When I first ventured to Big London from Jersey I really didn’t have any perspective whatsoever. Islands can do that to you if you grow up on them. This island is crowded. Over a hundred thousand living here now. Perhaps a few too many are here to avoid paying their taxes. I’m here because grandpa had a diplomatic appointment and then his daughter made a baby that loved the island and she made me. I’m staying here a bit longer than I might so I can try to untangle historic tangles, but also so I can just BE here and think about what stories I might want to make on and about this rock. More and more I wanna come home. This place is really old but we’ve drawn over it. The more time I spend here the more I can start to crystallise the myths and the stories and work out how to tell them.

It’s small here though. Really small. And I think I might have carried that smallness into my university thinking and into my drama school audition thinking. I’m so glad of Guildhall accepting me for that three year life training. I’m glad of the breadth of different backgrounds in my year group. There was me, from this tiny island and with a cosseted upbringing here, working closely with friends to whom my upbringing was as alien as theirs to me. Crowded urban young men and women with broad thinking and wide angle on human behaviours. They understood things I initially just interpreted as threatening. They taught me how to London. Managed expertly by kind and smart teachers, I grew away from a lot of the small thinking I had grown up with. I started to be proud of my learning. My new perspective. Over decades I have become a thing that the youthful version of me would call “streetwise”. I can probably go out anywhere in London and not get knifed – although as I start to look older I might start to lose the invisibility.

Then I find myself in a conversation with some old guy in a bar in St Brelade. He’s with his friend who has found a guitar. The friend is noodling. Cat Stevens. The Beatles. Dad stuff. He’s bored as his friend is occupied. I’m eating mussels.

“I’ve never had a mussel.” That’s his opener. “They smell too vinegary.” “Have one of mine,” I say, but he’s not here to try new things. “No no no no no,” he tells me. “They aren’t vinegary,” I assure him. “No harm in trying one?” “I know I won’t like it.” That’s his conclusion. He knows he won’t like the thing he has never encountered. He’s made his mind up. Five minutes later he says one of the most unavoidably racist things you can say these days, just casually, because I’m his new mate and he’s decided I’m not different enough to be bad even if my skin is a few shades darker than his. Whether or not I think a bit of perspective might help him, I just excuse myself and go. I’m too angry to engage with bad thinking so I just literally walk into the sea. I’m staying in a beachside hotel and I had two pairs of dry shorts. Now just one.

The beach at St Brelade is wide and beautiful and clear. I’ll be back there shortly. I’ve had wine and it’s an hour and a half to high water. Dark but clear. I think I’m gonna wander down in the dark and just empty my head against the breakers in the dark. Like it or lump it I’ll be back in London in a few days.

Yesterday I saw a guy walking down St Brelade with a T-shirt saying “Keep Jersey Jersey”. He was wearing it without irony. I don’t know what it means any more than he does. But it’s a good illustration of how small it is here, that this guy is on the campaign trail for something that only really makes sense when he explains it to you. It’s sad because the message is probably hateful in intention. But I just found myself laughing lots about it. He’d gone to the effort of getting it printed too. Poor silly little boy. Jersey will be Jersey.

And I will stay in hotels with 6 jams at breakfast …

Revolution in Jersey

You’d think we would have learnt when everybody bought all the loo paper. Fuel…

I’m in Jersey, and in Jersey everybody is pretty relaxed about fuel right now. To read my social media though – that’s to be told that people are murdering one another on concourses across the mainland for the last drop of diesel.

I extended my stay in Jersey. Easyjet allowed me to change my flight with no extra charges. It’s a bank holiday on Monday in Jersey suddenly though. The hotel receptionists are pissed off about it. I’m staying on to try to do some business, so tomorrow will be an enforced day of rest for me. I assumed it was a bank holiday across the UK. Then I spoke to Lou. It seems it’s just in Jersey. Interesting. Why?

So. Initial research brings up The Anniversary of The Corn Riots. And yes, by “research” I mean Google searching like your old mate who tells you to do your research because he insists that Hulk Hogan is actually a radioactive space mole. Corn Riots. That’s the official name.

In the 1760’s in Jersey there was a bloodless revolution. Nobody went to the guillotine, but things changed significantly. It was the peak of a period of discontent. The island has been run as a bailiwick for centuries. This means that there is a constantly shifting post of lieutenant governor. The governor at the time of the revolution was entirely absent. He was living on the mainland and had never been to Jersey. This is frequently still a problem. The post is an honourific and even if they do live here now they still have no clue how the island runs. His deputy was on the island, but he was a baddie – a guy called Charles Lempriere. Not as cool as my grandad was for decades.

It’s interesting to think about that season of revolution at the end of the eighteenth century. Many institutions toppled forever, inevitably to be replaced by similar institutions but with that very temporary injection of perspective.

The Jersey shift happened just before the French one, but no heads rolled. Then the American shift followed. Some of the entitled idiots “in charge” of Jersey learnt a touch more diplomacy. The wrongheaded tariffs on wheat were adjusted, and Charlie our chum Charlie CLASSIC Chaz Lempriere : he ate a lot of humble pie, and eventually somehow managed to go back to work with his head still attached.

“The Corn Riots” though. I’m told that the riots are the reason for this holiday. And right there we can hear Chazzo Lempriere’s high pitched voice, calling them riots. They weren’t riots, the things that brought about strong change in how the farmers of Jersey were taxed for their wheat. The Corn Riots were a quiet and sustained revolution. They were the force of unity and popular opinion. They were people at the end of their tether, fed up of a government of out of touch entitled morons. The policy makers of Jersey thought they had perspective. They really didn’t. Tous ├ža change.

Eventually, trying to make sense of all the cagey stuff I found with “corn riots” I googled “Jersey Revolution” and suddenly I hit the motherlode. “Jersey Corn riots” turns up nothing useful this evening. Just slave articles.

The Corn Riots were never corn riots. That’s just to make them small. That’s just what they were called by people who weren’t desperate. Maybe people who guiltily watched the unrest unfold through the window of their seaside home.

The bank holiday here tomorrow is to celebrate an important shift in the democratic journey of this island. The people of Jersey – led by women I should note – came forward in the face of a clueless leader who literally didn’t have the foggiest about what the people of Jersey wanted or needed. Real change was made as a result of the people mobilising, even if it was change within the existing system. Sure the system needs overhauling. But…

It means that tomorrow I’m just gonna lounge around. I’ve booked into a hotel with a steam room. I’ll be having a lovely time. While so many thousands of people freak out about the incorrect idea that there might never ever be petrol again, I’ll be relaxing. And once again we won’t march on Downing Street in our tens of thousands with pitchforks. Not yet. Not yet. But either I’m getting older or they’re getting worse..

St Brelade…

The Devil’s Hole in Jersey

Gradually, over time, this island is shrinking. The vast tides. The terrible winds. The sea wants it back, all this world that we think is ours. The sea understands time in quantum. Soon. The chalk will fall before the granite. But soon, in sea terms, this arrogance of air will be curtailed.

Centuries ago in Jersey there was a hole that looked like a face. Le Creux de vis. “The hollow of the face”. Erosion took the face. Capitalism and ignorance allowed a rebrand. De vis. Misheard de ville. Devil. The creux or hollow of the devil. The devil’s hole. BUY OUR DEVILBEER. There’s a pub at the trailhead. Pablo and I, when we are close, we ask: “Are we near The Devil’s Hole?” We get: “Yes, it’s about ten minutes. And the pub too!”

We bypass the pub. We are after a caldera – something primal. We walk a short distance after having to pass through the car park, and we find a large devil standing in a pond full of algae. He is sad, this Satan. If he was ever made to look powerful, somebody has disempowered him and sidelined him.

He is guarded by fences that are strong in intention but not in practicality. He feels like he has been shunted far from his proper place and dumped here. He is obscured by branches and standing in a muddy puddle.

Pablo works with bronze. If he’s bronze, we think, it’s a terrible waste. We can’t get to him. So we decide to throw things until they connect, so we can at least hear the sound and guage what he is made of.

Crab apples. We find and throw crab apples at the devil. Our aim quickly adjusts to the fact that he is a long way from the path. Neither of us are really aware of the mythic weight of our actions, hurling our disrespectful bitter apples at this vast replica of a figure some faith structures have constructed to represent BAD. We established that this devil is made out of fiberglass. We both receive a *bonk* that definitely isn’t a clang.

When I was a child, a different statue was on the hillside, looking down into the hole. It was a powerful statement. Before I was born, another equally striking statue stood at the bottom of the hole. The early one is long gone, the one from my childhood must have had its platform eroded and fallen into its own hole. It was never replaced (elf and safety innit!). This one has been moved from the main site with all the usual bullshit reasons. “It might scare children.” If your children are going to have their life damaged by a statue of the devil, you need to let that happen because you’ve already destroyed them by cosseting them too much.

We walked to a hole that had nothing to do with the devil but art and misinterpretation. We saw how ignorance and fear of repercussions can make the world less interesting. We looked – for a moment – at a hole in the ground. We noticed how there were more people at that particular part of trail than at any other.

It’s not the Devil’s Hole. It’s a pub that doesn’t give a fuck about anything but the bottom line, that has a misinterpreted bit of land on its soil. Artists have repeatedly tried to augment the superstition of the area. The Devil overlooking the hole was chilling. I remember it from my childhood. This fat fiberglass Pan – it’s fucking stupid to try and make Pan into the devil anyway – that’s just mythic colonialism. But if he exists, at least put him where he can be seen.

I’ve been “arting” in Jersey so perhaps I’m particularly sensitive to it right now. Yeah it’s only fiberglass. But some artist that thinks of Pan and The Devil in the same breath – (and who can blame him after generations of a deliberate blurring of the two?) – that artist made something with personality only to have it dumped in a brackish pond. In order to not scare children. Bullshit. There’s more at play, and I bet you that somewhere at the top of the pile is somebody that believes in magical beardyman. Whatever they’re calling Zeus these days. With that conflation of Horus and Odin dying on the tree. And definitely not Pan, oh no because Pan is BAD because he represents nature and freedom. But yeah. The popular beardy skyperson has caused a pub landlord to sideline an interesting fiberglass figure where the myths have got confused and a fallen angel has become a faun in order to try and teach pantheists that their canon is bad and somehow we still accept that image long after the idealogical battle is over. Bleh. Myth. Another interesting thing about Jersey that I might be able to get stuck into…

Birthday last day of residence

My birthday coincided with the last night of this residency. At first I was resigned because I knew being here meant I would be so busy I would barely be able to connect with my friends. Pretty much the only time I get with my phone is now, when everybody is asleep. I figured my birthday would be swallowed up by the business of the lock-in. I hadn’t taken into account how Sue – our wonderful facilitator – likes to incorporate our roots and our history. Birthdays are important to Sue. She sent me off on random tasks and while I was distracted she got everybody to make a load of silly games and general birthday things as a surprise for me.

There was a certain amount of cunning preparation, followed by a game of musical chairs and a pass the parcel with dangerous forfeits – all laid out in order to help bring a stupid fun party atmosphere. Nina also presented me with a bottle of cordial that she had made from the sloes that grow in vast abundance on the clifftop pathways around our barracks. There was (forced) karaoke, slug impressions, songs and secrets and nose picking. I don’t think I’ve encountered such a birthday party since the last time I had a birthday party on this island, and maybe not even then.

This is the first time for many years that I have experienced this solar return so close to the place I popped up. It feels very grounding. Tomorrow is my own. I will go to the little hilltop churchyard where my mother lies and have a good pow-wow with her, with my grandparents and with my uncle – all of whom are good and close to one another. Then I might try and break into the house I grew up in – or at least get into the garden. They have CCTV cameras in the TREES though. Apparently it’s owned by a nice but unimaginative old couple. Probably a property worth upwards of twenty mil now though… Property has gone off the scale in this island. It used to be a little impractical cottage with a huge garden. Now it’s a huge mess of tasteless concrete bullshit, a few trees and a patch of grass that some guy mows every two and a half minutes on a mower you have to ride. There are sprinklers where there used to be brambles. Maybe I should make friends with that nice old couple… I could go and see if I can handle being in the garden surrounded by their horrendous fountains, or if I run in terror from the whole thing like Maupassant from the Eiffel Tower. The view might still be similar, there at the top of the hill. Damn I need to win the lottery. If I could move back there tomorrow I would do it like a shot, although I might have to immediately do something about the sculptures in the garden.

It’s been great coming back here to my birthplace just in order to make random stuff for joy. We’ve had a remarkable group. So much positivity. So much “yes”. Lots and lots of lovely makers, all full of curiosity, and all flexible. Many of my joyful moments have been when I’ve seen people excel in mediums I know are not their strong point. Certainly for me the opportunity to be stretched has been infinitely helpful – to step into other mediums and listen to people who know what they are doing and to learn. I’ve grown through this fortnight, and it has helped me crystallise my method of make, highlight my strong points, and shore up some of my more glaring weaknesses.

Plus I’ve now got a Facebook timeline full of lovely messages that I’ve barely been able to read or respond to. That’ll be for tomorrow when we are wrenched apart. Because the circle is about to break. I know that loss only too well now. But there are some young artists here. This has been an immaculately held circle. Now we all go off into the world again. It’ll be a wrench…

This is Todd screening the rushes from the footage he took of us over the last few days. Like a home movie screening, but much much weirder.

Fire

This evening is gearing up to be about fire. Sue, who is the beating heart of this extremely varied residency, is very used to working with fire. “I think the smell of paraffin is my favourite smell,” she told us all half an hour ago, with a huge grin. She’s looking forward to this.

We are up in an abandoned fort on the Jersey coast. Fort Catel. Napoleonic, I believe, and very much like the one I came within an inch of renting for one night in May for exorbitant amounts of dosh. Guy and I just set a fire in a trashcan, which is behaving very well. Inevitably the rain has started to spot on us as we sit here outside, but it’s warm here as we sit around this can like a group of New York tramps in the 1960’s. “There’s always rain when I run a fire workshop,” says Sue. I don’t think it’s going to set in but it’s the only damper. I’m looking forward to learning some new techniques. I’m looking forward to playing with fire and calling it learning.

The week we’ve had has involved skill sharing and large amounts of making. We’ve made theatre and film, we’ve made art and sculpture, we’ve been really busy and we’ve been remembering how joyful it is and how quick it can be to make things with other creative people. All the ideas I’ve had and then blocked in recent years – I suspect this will be the catalyst for a period of getting on with it. So long as I don’t set myself on fire tonight, which is always a possibility.

“shall we?” says Sue. I’m about to get covered in smoke.

I’m writing to you with filthy fingers and yep, I reek of paraffin. It feels great. There’ll be a queue for the shower – we have one between about eight of us so it’s a delicate negotiation.

Up in that fort jutting out over the dark sea, we learnt how to make very good paraffin torches that throw a surprising amount of light and also happen to be extremely good fun. I got some of my youthful fire-poi fantasies ironed out via playful wild dervishes, flying and blazing to the sound of the waves by moonlight. The whole experience has probably made me marginally less likely to burn my face off in overambitious experimentation with hot coals on chains or something similar.

Also, bean cans… I will be looking at bean cans in a whole new light now. They can make excellent short term fire effects with a bit of hessian and paraffin. I have always loved fire. We always had a fire when I was growing up, and I have many happy memories of staring at fires and telling myself stories. Perhaps there can be some more use for fire in the stories I want to tell others. Christmas Carol was always at its best when there were a fuckton of candles everywhere. Nothing beats the living light of a naked flame. And we learnt some small simple tricks that just add to the joy. Flour… Milk powder. Magic.

Next year’s festival season I’m gonna have something crazy and gorgeous to bring joy to people. And I’m pretty sure it’ll involve fire.

Lock-In Day Four

This is getting deeper now. Four days is fucking nothing but we have started to know each other’s boundaries and each others preferences. This kind of process is delicate. So many different skillsets, such a wide range of ages, and yet all pushing in the same direction.

I’m sitting around a table now, and we are talking about boundaries. This was a familiar conversation in the before time, but it’s not so familiar now, and it makes me more and more uncomfortable thinking about how we have been separated from each other. I remember being contacted by a journalist talking about the “me too” movement, and he wanted to try to angle it to my profession. “Because of the long hours and drinking culture”. He seemed to be trying to make out like the industries that had already spoken out – the performative industries where we have learnt how to speak out because that’s our job – that those industries and the speakers were somehow compromised. I said: “This shit is endemic. Great, people in my industry have spoken. But look at your industry. Look at Estate Agents. Look at industries where people haven’t had the courage to step forward. Yeah it’s good that people in performance industries have started to speak out. That’s our job. But if there’s somebody in the supermarket industry, will you give them a voice?” His response was defensive attack – as if I had insulted him personally. I told him I had nothing more to say to him. His article was targeted on theatre and specifically on Kevin Spacey. It was disappointingly lacking. But I guess his job is to churn them out to the editor’s brief. I think it was The Telegraph. “I want you to do a piece about how all this ‘me too’ stuff is just restricted to the acting industry.” The very fact that the dude that phoned me was a dude… They had clearly run the gamut of every female writer and been disappointed by their integrity so they’d gone with this eloquent fellow with a touch of ethnicity. Pfff. I didn’t give him a quote.

Anyway, fuck that guy.

The work today was a delight. As always, we made things quickly and with joy. One of my favourite tasks was to make one of the group into a beast, with very limited time and mostly newspaper as material. We only had about half an hour to make the beast, and in retrospect I’m thrilled that neither of the beasts were political. Considering our main building material was the Jersey Evening Post, the personal was pushed to the foreground. Thankfully, the articles we found were balanced towards human interest. The JEP we encountered is interested in “how did the creature feel upon meeting the creature…”

It’s about how they moved, and the sound…

I don’t think any of us can answer that apart from the creatures, but there was a joy in both sides. Kyriagos was our beast, on the right. He was a lustful beast, horned and beaked but tassled and with Madonna boobs and a willy. The other group’s beast had Demeter nipples in angry red, so many of them. They worked well together, our beasts.

“They always either fuck or fight.” Not an exact quote. But…

Our beasts were made for sex because we weren’t paying attention to the papers that made them. Yeah and sure we could read the articles in those papers and start hating those damn people who don’t. Whatever the don’t is.

Who knows? The whole beast thing was about an hour of a beautiful and curious day. The day brought so much more but I’m not here as a scribe and I’m way too immersed to document anything. I’ve given some of the guys the breadcrumbs that lead to this blog. But all I can really do when I’m this tired is to say that I’ve met and become part of a very strange group that will find a voice beyond Jersey. But in so doing I’ve plugged back into my own head…

Lock-In Day Three

The crickets are loud here. I remember that now from my childhood. I’m sitting watching the last fingers of sunset on the equinox. The darkness is coming. This morning I was careful to eat seven pomegranate seeds with my breakfast, but no more. Wouldn’t do to tempt the winter. But it’s coming.

Nevertheless I’ve got a towel beside me as I write, and my swimming shorts as well. I think there’s a very strong possibility, with the tide still coming in, that I’m going into the sea shortly. We are all going down there with torches. High tide very shortly. Equinox. Full moon…

Well that was bloody marvelous. A huge number of us just ran into the sea in a patch of moonlight. At the end of even a summer like this it’s pretty warm in that water. I can barely remember the last time I went swimming in the dark. I was … well I was something close to nineteen years old. I was somewhere in Greece. That’s about as much as I can remember. Good to stick my head under water and properly mark the change of the year.

God alone knows what the people of Greve de Lecq thought was going on tonight. Before we all ran screaming into the dark water, we paraded with lanterns and an angel down the promenade singing a Spanish chorus. Then one of us sang a vulnerable song on his own, and we were all shown reflections of moonlight and the sea. Then we did a ritual of remembering and forgetting on the beach. Sort of a mixture of performance art, light installation and song, with a ritualistic element thrown in. The joy of it was worth the risk of being on the front of the JEP with the headline “SUSPECTED SATANISTS ON THE STRAND.”

Before I was even dry, in the queue for the shower, I started reading people’s tarot which was fine until I started getting tired. When I think back to my festival reading days, or being in that caravan on Carnaby Street, my stamina is not what it used to be. I was kind of spent after the second person, and I didn’t have anything to clean the cards with so they started popping up weird. I had to leave my oojey-boojey bag in London as I was flying and it’s probably got all sorts of shit that’ll get confiscated. I’m only here for a week so no point buying stuff I’m gonna immediately have to leave behind. Still… a nice thing to do on the equinox, and I’m glad to get back into the swing with it. I still think that tarot’s a lovely way to help people think about things from a different angle. But I’m pooped.

Lock-in Day Two

And I’m tired at the end of the day…

I managed to duck doing a ten minute presentation about my art for the second day running, but they kinda rumbled me this time so I’ll not get off the hook again. It’s strange that, considering I’m writing all these words every day, the idea of encapsulating whatever the fuck it is I’ve been doing for the last few decades makes me feel uneasy. I guess it’s the knowledge that much of the stuff I’m proudest of was by its very nature ephemeral so I can’t show an image about it, or encapsulate it in words. The stuff I value tends to break, moments after its observed. I like these shiny temporary things as much as I hate photographs of them. But essentially I just have to get over myself and do a presentation. I like these guys and they are doing interesting shit. Maybe I just need to find my own shit more interesting. Maybe that can be my takeaway from the week so far. Learn to like my own shit.

We went to Noirmont. Noirmont Point, on the south of the island, on this shocking bright day, and we were all running around in the gorse on the top of a cliff. First thing we had to do was just know the palate of the area we were in and stick it all onto a bit of card. Basically exploring the area, but with a task. I found a Jersey Lily in full bloom, bright pink on the side of the cliff.

The Jersey Lily throws beautiful short lived flowers without bothering to put out leaves. The flowers deliquesce so quickly in the sun, but for a shining moment there is nothing like them. They tend to grow in remote areas as well, plugged in with the gorse and bracken, incongruous and gorgeous.

I like to think that we were a little group of Jersey Lilies today, telling short and weird stories in all sorts of places. The groups and the stories shifted as we experimented with lovely things and unusual things and silly things and fun things. There was a lot of thinking about the difference between outdoor and indoor work, and I found myself wondering quite how that ratio would pan out if I looked at my own life trajectory. A decade of Sprite would certainly push the balance towards outdoor work, and hell I’ve always loved plugging directly in to nature and moving with the flow of itz much as I love a film set too… The seesaw. The wild / control.

Today though – lots of stimulation. Lots of laughter. Moments of joy and moments of surprise. This residency is a powerful call for us to plug back in to our craft through nature. It’s brilliant that I’ve landed on it here on the island of my birth. Seeing this place through the eyes of my fellow makers is a powerful thing.

I’m tired, and I’ve had wine, and the wind is blowing. Equinox tomorrow. What sparks of light shall we all take into the darkness with us? I’m in a good place for it. Tomorrow the day and the night are the same length, and then … then we start the journey into the underworld. It’ll be harder than sometimes to cling together for warmth, and to shoot forth beautiful shocks of light into the gathering darkness. But we can do it. Together we can do it. Even if, like the Jersey Lily, we have to dispense with some of the practicalities, like leaves.