Bob tells me of
kingfishers in the burn
kites in the glen.
He looks at his hands and says golf.
The bird man.
I am starting a series of portraits, of hands. The way our hands tell our stories, of us, of our histories. It is another way of storytelling, and of expressing who we are. I am asking people to show me how they think their hands best say something about them.
Huge thanks to Lynne and Barbara for letting me draw them despite their reservations !
A composition from our Christmas dinner at Sainsburys. A great lunch after a mornings work along the burn. I was asked to write something that contained the jokes from the crackers…….!!
Where do cows go on Saturday?
The works Christmas dinner
Sherlock Bones, she laughs.
You drop them a line,
a tour round the scheme,
Turkey and all the trimmings,
he’s always stuffed.
paper hats too small for our heads.
The shoppers eye us,
a mumble bee of trolleys.
As we clink Irn Bru.
Put some bread under the gorilla
and a chipolata too.
An unexploded bomb, a present left over from the war,
pull the cracker,
Merry Christmas !
This is a piece I wrote about my adventures this week with the Dighty group. I am recording peoples stories and memories about the burn and the following is a result of recent conversations. The comment about community service is a joke Stuart and I shared whilst litter picking along from Sainsburys, and all the other references came from stories I have been told including the one about a young squaddie in Hong Kong meeting a film star.
dead fingers wi’ cold.
Picking litter on the roadside
wi’ oor wee grabby sticks.
Community service we chuckle.
“Ah weel”, he says
“That’ll teach yous fae locking the bobby in his tardis,
an’ fae tying the doorknobs the ‘gether
cross the landing in the tenement
so they cannae get oot.
Ha ha yer dunderheid.”
ta’ the post office an’ ma giro,
an’ on ta the Hilton fae a beer
wi’ John Wayne.
Here is a recording of ‘The Hunting Ground’, the composition which was part of my MFA degree show. It is a fictional walk along a fictional street in Dundee, and yet all the words and images have come from my observations and conversations from my walking of two lines through the city repeatedly this year.
I am walking a new line, the line of the Dighty burn which runs to the north of Dundee. The burn starts its journey at Lundie loch in the hills to the north of the city and finds its way through agricultural, industrial and residential landscapes before it finally meets the sea at Monifieth, some 15 miles in length. I shall be walking, writing, drawing and painting my way along this line. I am being funded by Dighty Connect without whom this project would not happen.
Here is a start to my journey, a piece I wrote whilst walking in Lundie –
Slumbering limbs fidget in the breeze,
heavy with heat.
Violet vetch thread the curve of the track,
to the nape of the hill.
Drowsy, ruffled, whiskered corn,
lain this way and that,
by the dreams of horses.
He carries a cowboy gun and eats cherries.
‘What’s it like living here ?’
says the boy.
I am now half way through the performance schedule of the composition ‘The Hunting Ground’. This is a piece hewn from historical research, observation, documentation, drawing, painting, photography and conversation from the two lines I have been walking all year here in Dundee. Alongside the factual accounting, the fictional runs, weaving in and out, creating a new walk along a new line.
The performances have been varied in venue and attendance, each a new version of the text . All have been enjoyable and the responses interesting and considered. Many have likened the piece to a modern ‘Under Milk Wood’, and said that the pictures made are vivid, like ‘Painting with words’, said one person. It prompted another to say that he would leave the gallery and look at the street with an eye as to how he might tell a story.
Most have said that I should make an audio recording of the piece, and so shortly I will set to and do that. Will let you now when it is ready. The book ‘Where I Am Is Here’ which is also a component of the installation is now available to buy online. It contains the text to ‘The Hunting Ground’, plus other texts, paintings, drawings and photographs that make up the narrative portrait of my line walking. You can view it on Blurb.com.
Here is a picture taken just after my performance on Dundee Law. It was a lovely, small audience, and they endured gale force winds and cold bums whilst sitting on the steps to the Law monument, listening to me this morning. Thankyou.