Shooting blanks

and it’s about bloody time after all we all voted for it every man woman and child every decent honest straight white Brit everyone with any sense that is not like the PC brigade who say we can’t even beat people up if they’re gay or black what’s wrong with them it’s bloody political correctness gone mad not like in my day in my day we could murder anyone we liked as long as they weren’t proper Brits you know what I mean proper Brits who eat bacon and eggs and watch Eastenders and wank over pictures of the Queen we could murder anyone who didn’t wank over pictures of the Queen back then that was a good time to be alive not like now with the PC brigade telling us we can’t even beat up immigrants or murder people who don’t wank over pictures of the Queen the PC brigade who haven’t got any common sense who haven’t got any old fashioned British decency not like us not like the rest of us not like the majority of true Brits who voted for it who voted for it because it will give us back our sovereignty our voice our way of life our curved cucumbers our right to deport anyone with a funny sounding name our right to post shit through letterboxes our right to bang the drum our right to wank over pictures of the Queen I am a true Brit I was born here just like my father before me and his father before him we ain’t never consorted with aliens we ain’t never diluted our blood with foreign muck you wouldn’t even catch me dipping my wick in any of them foreign birds though I’ve thought about it and it disgusts me it makes me sick to my bleeding stomach just thinking about it I’ve thought about it many times it disgusts me I could vomit I could spew I really could just thinking about it when every man woman and child every honest hard working man woman and child in Great Britain voted to stop that kind of thing voted to ban it stop it bin it throw it out throw them out with their funny names they don’t even eat bacon what’s wrong with them they don’t belong here none of them when was the last time they wanked over pictures of the Queen never that’s when they don’t know the meaning of the word patriotism so it’s about bloody time now we’ve voted for it it’s about time it happened it should have happened already should have happened when we voted for it what’s the delay bloody Eurocrats clogging up the works bloody foreigners still ordering us about we voted for it so it should happen now we all voted for it every man woman and child it’s our right we need to do it despite them moaners saying it’ll ruin the economy despite them moaners saying it’s economic suicide we should bloody do it anyway who needs the economy the economy was invented by bloody foreigners building flashy glass buildings in London well good riddance I say they can bugger off they can bugger off and take their economy with them who needs it anyway when was the last time you were hungry or ill and the economy made you better never that’s when because the economy is nothing it’s just a word it’s probably a foreign word French I should think or probably German we don’t need it I don’t need an economy thank you very much I can wank over pictures of the Queen without an economy thank you very much I can do whatever I like without the slightest need of an economy thank you very much


mirror | writing

mirror | writing is a film poem, in which I explore the acts of looking, reading and writing, through a series of still and moving monochrome pictures. It started as a visual gag: I pictured a large hammer next to a mirror, with the caption, “In emergency, break glass.” What’s on the other side of the looking-glass? A chessboard, a red queen, Alice’s journey of self-discovery. A world where the rules are reversed. I decided to make a film poem featuring the red queen and me (represented by a black knight – geddit?), in which the viewer is taken to the other side of the mirror.

I used a compositional technique that often drives my writing, selecting a limited set of images (in this case, a mirror, a hammer, a book, a chessboard and the two chess pieces) and combining them in various ways, experimenting with juxtapositions and different ways of presenting the objects. Ever since I set fire to a tree in my grandad’s garden when I was ten, I have been fascinated by fire, and an image that has repeatedly imposed itself on my mind’s eye lately has been that of one of my own books, in flames. So I knew early on that I would include footage of a burning copy of the mannequins are more real than you. In the end, I burned just one page (a poem called “The mannequins are only playing dead”), and in the film poem this shot appears more than once, playing at different speeds and, in its first iteration, in reverse, so that the written page is created by the flames. But I didn’t want the destruction of my own work to end there. Inspired perhaps by @gadgetgreen  (who a year or so ago tore up, mangled and generally wrecked a copy of my book Mono and tweeted the pictures), I filmed a stop-motion sequence, in which rips appear in pages of my book and the shredded remains crawl away, out of shot. Like the burning page, we see this more than once: forwards and backwards. Creation mirrors destruction. 

At several points in the film, the viewer is presented with brief close-ups of bits of text, including random fragments visible on torn, scrunched-up pages. Looking becomes reading, or perhaps writing: the shots are so fleeting that the viewer is forced to select words and phrases to read, and in that act of selection, the viewer/reader writes the film’s meaning. When I write or make pictures, I never set out to determine meaning; that is for the reader to decide, through a creative act of interpretation. In making mirror | writing, my sole intention was to play with some objects that fascinated me, toying with reflections and echoes. I had no final destination in mind. The viewer looks in the mirror. The viewer writes.

The film was made using a smartphone and a tablet, commonplace possessions. We are all photographers, writers, artists, film makers now. As Isidore Ducasse said, “Poetry should be made by all.”