Tomorrow morning I head back down the A19 to Hartlepool to run through the final arrangement for my bigband song with the arranger Gavin. It still seems a little bizarre even to me that I have pursued this particular line, especially since it has taken so long to get this element together. I am clear though as to how I see it fitting in.

In essence this song is the gateway to a narrative which allows me to explore wider issues in the whole piece. It’s a prop really I suppose… but one that has not been easily achieved. Having said that I’m very happy to be questioning my own definitions of what ‘ART’ is. This aspect of the piece has the added bonus that it involves quite a range of people too, from musicians to performers and then through to audiences.

I’m hoping it will become a bit of a legacy for the piece after my Hartlepool show is over. Something that will be played and remembered. For me it’s kind of interesting that my agenda is perhaps not what the average punter might appreciate, but that fact doesn’t matter in this context. It has a dual function.

I have my Male singer sorted too… but not sure about the girl yet. This Sunday I shall head to the bands weekly rehearsal gig in the Park Hotel and present the bands leader with the full arrangement. “Remember me? it was only 10 months ago we first talked about this!”.

The first of our ‘whisper campaigns’ has been sent out… content supplied by me and a video link to Vimeo which is embedded on the Council website. I have given them content for the first four of these so we will begin upping the awareness levels hopefully…

.. also there is talk of me guest speaking at East Durham College… never been there so that might be interesting… a viewing of the finished piece in July is now sorted for the people who took part in the dance event at Hartfields retirement village… and there is very positive talk about me showing the installation at the Toffee Factory after the Hartlepool show. I just don’t have the time to pursue any other showing opportunities as finishing the installation has to take priority, but once complete there will be a mountain of things to do to raise awareness and get shows further afield.



…is his real name. When I first spoke to him, over a year ago, I was under the impression it was ‘Moule’… which would indicate it’s French roots, however although those roots definitely exist it turned out his name is actually spelt ‘Mole’

When sifting the material from my interviews I am trying to find something that defines both the essence of the story being told to me (‘their’ story if you like) and also something that might have happened at the time we met. I am trying to reference something unique to our moment together.

With Lenny it took a while but then two themes emerged which now seem like a ‘drrrr how come you didn’t see that before’ thing. He talks about the life he always wanted, to be a market gardener, to work outside in the fresh air. The irony emerges that he was called up during the war to be a ‘Bevin Boy’ working underground in the mines. Not to make a bad joke out of it… but you can’t help thinking that a name like Mole is just toooo serendipitous for such an occupation.

His house is a treasure trove of things collected over the years; to the unfamiliar eye arranged in a somewhat haphazard way. No doubt this is not the case and I’m sure Lenny knows exactly where everything is. At one point during our chat his bird clock chirps in. It didn’t occur to me at the time, but on trawling through the material it stands out as a brief ‘NOW’ moment; less about recall and more about reaction. It’s funny and Lenny smiles.

Birds seem appropriate to his story. His love of the outdoors and the more functional metaphor of a canary in a coalmine fit perfectly. The plastic bird trill acts as a metronome though this piece. It may be harsh but I hope I haven’t missed the poignancy of this extract from his story. What I show here is only part of his story, but one that offers a window into his world.

Making these pieces I am acutely aware that they have to be snatches, an essence of a situation. Seen in the gallery context they will loop and compete with each other on the various monitors. I want people to be able to dip in and out of these worlds, taking away with them singular impressions but also an appreciation of the whole.

I give you… Mr Lenny Mole >>

From Darkness into Light



Been working on the back story for my composite character Jack Brunel. I’m quite liking him now, and thinking that his story will provide the main text for the small book I will publish for the Rink Project. I ended up visiting a sweet shop in Seaton Carew with him (on paper… not in reality this week). But that’s the point.. there is a blurring of the ‘real’ with the way I need it to be, which isn’t necessarily always the same thing. In some ways that’s the process of fiction I guess.. except it’s more like truth mixed with imagination – I’m not sure what you would call that. He ended up skipping onto the beach and reciting a mad little rhyme…

The gob stoppers stupidly glad dad
the liquorice sticks and ice-cream
and it’s no fault of his
that the sherbet’s a-fizz
or of hers for this comical scene
Though the sports mixture’s still tired out dad
the imperial mints are serene
for tonight it’s declared
not the Lords nor the Lairds
but the Poor Bens
shall dance with the Queen!

Yes all mine I’m afraid.. perhaps I am going slightly mad???

Also this week I have completed my Manfreds sequence. This ‘sketch’ has probably been my most difficult dialogue to date, mainly due to trying to get the balance right between what was ostensibly an ‘interview’, but needing to avoid the trap of journalism. I’m there I think. It was always going to reference the film BLOW-UP …and so it does.

Having put a few sequences together now I’m beginning to get a glimpse of how these will sit together… which is somewhat of a relief. Having said that, the more I do the more I realise there is to do… I don’t actually have days off anymore…

Take a look below… see what you think >

sketch #4