November morning

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.

 

True Grit.

 

Chill

dank

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.”

Anyways,

I’m awa’

ta’ the post office an’ ma giro,

an’ on ta the Hilton fae a beer

wi’ John Wayne.

 

Cheeri,

compadre.

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painting

I walk and the world unfolds. I think its as simple as that. Writing is stretching me and I am returning to painting. This painting is from the Dighty walk, a view to the Sidlaw hills from the railway track. Out one day I met a man who walked the hills every day. He said he did to escape himself.

 

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New line.

 

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 –

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Lull.

 

Slumbering limbs fidget in the breeze,

heavy with heat.

Violet vetch thread the curve of the track,

upward,

to the nape of the hill.

Nettles,

corbels,

lums,

clegs,

lintels,

hogweed,

hollow.

Drowsy, ruffled, whiskered corn,

lain this way and that,

flattened,

by the dreams of horses.

He carries a cowboy gun and eats cherries.

‘What’s it like living here ?’

‘Silent’,

says the boy.

 

Performances

 

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.

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Installation

 

P1180679Some pictures of the installation ‘Drawing the Line Somewhere’, as part of the Masters Show.

Photos by Lada Wilson.

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