Saturday, 3 April 2021

All at Once

Seventeen years ago I took part in an Arts Council project that culminated in a local art exhibition. I'd created a series of short pieces of electronic music which I paired with digitally created pictures. These were based on photographs I'd been taking of my own shadow, which I'd taken outside in the area around where we live. Looking back, it's very like things I've been doing recently, being confined to our local neighbourhood as we have been for the last year.

The other day I came across a track I'd created in the years after the project. It clearly belonged to it but since the moment had passed, I'd left it unfinished. Yesterday I finished it off and uploaded it to YouTube. For the visual element, I added the images from the original project.

The title of the track refers to a Kenneth Patchen picture-poem, All at Once Is What Eternity Is


I then added it to the Bandcamp album I'd created of music from the original project.


Wednesday, 31 March 2021

The Wood


Over the last few days I've been walking up to the small wood at the top of the hill when I've had an hour or two here and there to spare, making this. 



 

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Waiting for the Van

I had to get up early today. It was no problem: I woke up about 2.30am and it felt as if I hardly got back to sleep at all after that. I listened to a podcast and spent a happy hour reading other people's blogs and commenting on them.

I had to get up because we're expecting a Tesco delivery sometime between 8 and 9. Unfortunately, it's too late to change the order. If I could, I'd add doughnuts to my shopping list. Sometime around 5am I was reading Hiawatha House's account of his great grandmother's doughnuts. I've been craving one ever since.

Sat here waiting for the van it crossed my mind to wonder how long this was going to go on for and what sort of a lifestyle it'll morph into afterwards? There are many things I'm looking forward to but, equally, there are aspects of our lives now that I want to retain. I have more time to do this, for example. Also, I've written quite a lot of poetry over the years (I'd like to have written more) but have rarely had time for the slog required to write huge quantities of prose. Thanks to a year of being locked down I'm now over half-way through a book (I passed the 30k word mark the other week). I'll have to start thinking about trying to get it published. I might get nowhere, in which case I'll self-publish it. At the very least, when I finish it, I'll have written a book. I don't know how things are going to change over the coming year but I'm determined to make sure  I continue to set aside time to work on it.

I always feel a cloud settling over me as the time to deal with the Tesco order approaches. I don't know why. The time I spend unpacking it, washing it (yes, I still wash it all) and putting it away is a fraction of the time I used to spend driving to Tesco's, shopping and driving home. Getting it all delivered is one of the things that has created more time in my life.

Oh well, it's 7.55. I better go and gird up my loins.

*

I watched this recently. It's particularly interesting on account of bit about Ron Hitchins, the artist and flamenco dancer:



Friday, 26 March 2021

Thresholds

This post first appeared on my other blog, ...made out of words.

Whenever I read accounts of urban wanderings I feel the urge to go and explore a city myself. This is a little difficult for me right now, locked down as we are in the middle of an epidemic. We live in a village, down an unmetalled road by the side of a beck. 

A few yards past our house, this road crosses the beck and turns into an even rougher farm-track. Here, the houses end and the fields begin. I went for a walk that way one evening, a while ago. I found myself thinking about urban exploration and it struck me how villages, like cities, have their edgelands. They don’t sprawl for a mile or so like those of cities – in fact, blink and you might miss them. As I walked away from our house I realised I was walking through ours.


When the road turns into a track, the verge widens into a small area of “waste” ground. At the moment, it’s merely overgrown (I say merely, but it’s good to see it that way) but for several years it was used to store a number of huge concrete pipes intended for a land-drainage project. When they were finally taken away, it acquired a mound of hardcore that resembled a miniature Silbury Hill. I have to admit I played a small part in building it. Over the years the heap got used up. You can still see a low mound there, in the winter, when all the vegetation’s died back. Over the years, people have also dumped garden waste in the undergrowth hereabouts. A few yards beyond the remains of our Silbury Hill I spotted a lone daffodil growing on the bank of the beck. Not far from it stood a large-leafed, exotic looking plant I couldn’t name. Fortunately, no-one has dumped anything invasive. I think people here know better than to shit in their own backyard. The daffodil marks the end of the edgelands here. Beyond this point, everything is farmland.




Back home from my walk, I sat writing this in our conservatory – a grand word for a lean-to structure built on one end of the house. Boiler-room would have been more accurate, had the boiler not been taken away. There are no hot-house plants here. This is a place to keep bicycles, wellington boots, a tumble dryer, the odd piece of garden furniture which might be taken outside on warm days. The wall opposite the windows is the stone wall of the house It’s built of irregular-shaped pieces of stone and roughly pointed. Part of it has been plastered at one time and there are traces of green paint on one of the stones. An elaborate system of copper pipes which once connected to the boiler still run down the wall. I often sit staring at all this. Anyone attuned to the Japanese concept of wabi sabi (of seeing aesthetic value in imperfection and decay) can sit here for hours. The point I’m getting round to here is that this space is our “edgeland”. One door (the window in which is filled with a piece of salvaged stained glass which, like the wall, can hold one’s attention for quite a while) leads to the outside world. Another leads to the carpeted, centrally-heated world of the kitchen. Wherever we establish ourselves, on whatever scale, we create some sort of liminal space around us. Such spaces serve to sustain the illusions we create within their borders.

We live not far from an Iron Age hill fort. Fortunately, it’s quite remote and rarely visited. Finding it is a test of map-reading ability and many visitors to the area complain that they failed to find it. Being local, I’ve been there many times and so far I’ve always had it to myself. It strikes me now that what remains of it –the mound and the ditch- probably marked the edgelands of the community that settled within it. It seems that the thresholds we create are often the most enduring part of what we leave behind.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

The Window

I went for a walk across the fields the other day to a ruined barn. There's a small,  stone window in the side of it that always reminds me of the dark openings in neolithic long barrows.  It's obviously a very modern structure by comparison but the darkness is the same.  I took my tablet with me and recorded some footage. 







Saturday, 20 March 2021

Playing Telemann

First lockdown, there was more of this kind of homebrewed entertainment kicking around on social media. Home recordings, lists of favourite albums, favourite books and the like. They were grim times, for sure, but for those of us lucky enough to be able to lockdown in relative comfort and security there was less to be angry about. And we didn't know just how grim it was going to get. Anyway, almost a year on, I've finally got round to recording this. Better late than never.



Saturday, 13 March 2021

Expectations

Expectations

A poem

    It is time for us
to go out onto the balcony
    in our uniforms
and stand in our appointed places

Sometimes I wonder
    why they feel the need
to keep us set apart like this
    bringing us out
        on special occasions
to shake the hands
    of the chosen few

There is an emptiness
    at the middle of it all
silent rooms that serve no purpose
that it is forbidden to enter

Later they will take us out
    in horse-drawn coaches
so that the people can cheer
    and wave flags at us
        as we pass
            but right now
    it is time for us
to go out onto the balcony
    in our uniforms
and stand in our appointed places
    so that the people
        can look up at us
            from the street
or watch us on TV and know
that everything is as it should be

© Carruthers, 2021










All at Once

Seventeen years ago I took part in an Arts Council project that culminated in a local art exhibition. I'd created a series of short piec...