The Hunting Ground.


Dem Tay 2


The composition ‘The Hunting Ground’ is one chapter of the installation ‘Drawing the line somewhere’, part of the Masters Art Society and Publics show at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design – 15th August – 24th August. This piece is being performed in venues in Dundee during the ten days of the exhibition.

The Hunting Ground – dates and venues :

Monday 4th August  – Fintry Writers Group – 11am

Tuesday 5th Aug – Douglas Community Centre – 12.30pm

Saturday 16th Aug – Verdant Works – 2pm

Sunday 17th Aug – Dundee Law 12.00pm

Sunday 17th Aug – Visual Research Centre, DCA,- 2pm

Monday 18th Aug – Broughty Ferry Library – 3pm

Tuesday 19th Aug – Central Library – 12.30pm

Saturday 23rd Aug – Discovery Ship – 11.30am


Hope to see you.


Dundee City Council



The bench has been located. I am being allowed to borrow one from Dundee Law. In fact, it is the highest bench in Dundee – I like the fact that it looks down on the city and it is an old worn bench with graffiti sctatched into it. And its the sort of bench that makes you want to sit on it. Some definitely aren’t.

Thankyou Dundee City Council for your support .




lundie 2

Slumbering limbs fidget in the breeze, heavy with heat.

Violet vetch thread the curve of the track, upward,

to the nape of the hill……


This is part of a new composition made on another walk at Lundie, the source of the Dighty burn.



I have visited all of Dundee’s parks, well nearly all, looking for a bench. I don’t think I appreciated the variety of benches on offer. I had thought it would be easy to choose a bench, but its proving tricky,  in that I have to think about the context of  the seating within a gallery setting, and the space I will be showing. Heres a few –

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And it needs to be comfy. Some benches are and others are just not. But then it might depend  what you are doing on your bench I suppose. Anyway Dundee City council have been very generous in their support and it is very much appreciated. Maybe there’s some smart ones in the Ferry ? I should go and take a look……











Dundee born writer Jim Crumley is going to translate a piece of my text into Dundonian. The piece opens the book and I wanted the first text to be from the city, of the city so I am very pleased Jim agreed to do it.  Jim writes about the wild animals and wild places of the world, the wilderness. A little different to my preoccupations but both share a common language in wanting to tell the stories that come from observation and reflection. The stories I make are urban based, yet as rooted in landscape as Jims narratives of eagles, whales or wolves. And it his language, that comes from this place that connects the people directly to this landscape. Without it my words in the text are dulled. I need to hear the music.

A book, a bench and a performance.




The Masters show in August is not long away now, and , as the title suggests, it will consist of a book, a bench and a performance.

The show will be a physical culmination of the research, writing, process, and making of the stories I have discovered and imagined through the two lines I have walked in Dundee repeatedly and  I think is as much a portrait of place as a narrative of place. The world I have inhabited has slewed between a factual documentary of Dundee to a fictional ballad of loss and longing and connection to people and where they call home.

The notion of ballad is one that returns to my thoughts as I have always seen the writings, drawings, paintings and photographs in part, as a musical score. Indeed, in my notebook from earlier in the year I talk about what I think this book is, and I say it is an artists book, a guide book, a travel journal, a conversation, a script, a score, a repository for the little known, the uncommon and slightly absurd. There in essence is how it will be.

And, at least I have a bench ! The Council have just emailed to say that I can borrow a bench for the show. I can choose one from any of the parks as long as it doesn’t have a memorial plaque.

The book however is another matter. I have started on the demolition and reconstruction of all my work this year, and with the help and support of my friend and designer we have a form to work with. Much to do.

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There is a performative element also to the piece, a composition written for the opening night of the Masters show which will be performed in various venues around Dundee during the 10 days of the degree show. I am going on tour, taking the words and images that came from the city and returning them as something altered, as a new story to add to the stories. Presently I have four dates booked including the central library and the Discovery ship.The voluntary groups I worked with are my first audience . It will be great to perform it for them first.





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Hangin’ over the bridge, peeking for broon trout,

too warm for your gansie the day.

Bin bags filled with water

splitting their sides,

laughing at her Arbroath joke

about soup.


Gas mantels, flax seals, the Troubles, bingo wins, trainee beekeepers. Being scunnered, trees, jokes about wind, photees of the Tay rail bridge. Culverts and herons, a mallard, the Ferry, pulleys for the washing. Grandchildren, comics and songs and the plastic cable ties that sometimes dinnae work.




the burn.








He calls me ‘little spuggie’.

Sorry Edith.

But I’ll take it,

its nice.

My second gift,

a still life of Dutch compare,

funny and brlliant.

I smile.

And lastly,

they show me how to eat jaffa cakes


Apparently I’ve been getting it wrong all these years.





( spuggie is Dundonian for sparrow.)



April fools




Hi ho.

hi ho,

its off to work……

‘An’ wha’s ‘Grumpy’ the day?’

Burnt grass,

Black Watch.

A cold under baked morning,

not fit to rise.




Shiny boots and woodpeckers,

buzzards and mibbe a newt, but na’.

Macaroon bars at a celtic game,

the lade,

the ponds,

the Watchie,

the ghosts……..

fun- sized mars bars,


meeting a childhood friend not seen for thirty years.







keeping secrets



March 25th 2014


It was one of those cool, ash-coated mornings, the kind that are good for a job such as this.

The sun, sallow, thrawn, slunk low in the sky.

Down by the burn where Asda and Lidl took the plunge, a sparrowhawk skimmed the trees as we climbed through the fence.

The silence of holding breath.

Tooled up,

strung taut a line in a funereal tone we came to the place in plain sight.

With an L-cut in the earth we buried the stash.

He laughed about Paris in Springtime.

“Shut it “, she snapped tight a cable tie.

The canary grass fizzled in the easterly wind,

from Russia with love.





This may or may not have occurred in quite the way detailed but, one thing is for sure, we did plant some trees.