The House by the Railroad by Edward Hopper, 1925
I love my sister but sometimes she can have the most frightening scowl. I took these photos of her, inspired by the birth of Pauline Parker’s scowl in the Fourth World.
An excerpt from THE ONES THAT I WORSHIP by Pauline Parker
I worship the power of these lovely two
With that adoring love known to so few.
‘Tis indeed a miracle, one must feel,
That two such heavenly creatures are real.
Both sets of eyes, though different far, hold many mysteries strange.
Impassively they watch the race of man decay and change.
Hatred burning bright in the brown eyes, with enemies for fuel,
Icy scorn glitters in the grey eyes, contemptuous and cruel.
Why are men such fools they will not realize
The wisdom that is hidden behind those strange eyes?
And these wonderful people are you and I.
Pauline Yvonne Parker, 1953. (back of diary)
This is not the last you will hear on the topic of Parker and Hulme. It is one of my obsessions.
I went to Napier for the weekend. If I go somewhere, first on my ‘to see’ list is the local graveyard. To me graveyards are one of the most beautiful spots on earth. I love the idea I am wandering above people, past and place. When I wander about graveyards I usually have …
I. A Sigur Ros song that I hum, this time it was the exquisitely chilling Varúð, the latest single from their album Valtari.
II. The poem Elegy by Carol Ann Duffy in my head.
Elegy – Carol Ann Duffy
Who’ll know then, when they walk by the grave
where your bones will be brittle things – this bone here
that swoops away from your throat, and this,
which perfectly fits the scoop of my palm, and these
which I count with my lips, and your skull,
which blooms on the pillow now, and your fingers,
beautiful in their little rings – that love, which wanders history,
singled you out in your time?
Love loved you best; lit you
with a flame, like talent, under your skin, let you
move through your days and nights, blessed in your flesh,
blood, hair, as though they were lovely garments
you wore to pleasure the air. Who’ll guess, if they read
your stone, or press their thumbs to the scars
of your dates, that were I alive, I would lie on the grass
above your bones till I mirrored your pose, your infinite grace?
and III, this scene from Alfred Hitchcocks Vertigo replaying in my head.
While, these lil’ rituals may remain, each wander through a graveyard is unique. Here are some photos I took at the Napier Hill Cemetery.
Sun spots look like spirits
I love Angels
When I first saw this photo, I mistook the sun spot for a spirit.
They don’t have a voice. They cry out but nobody hears. They are denied the secrets behind slammed doors. People use them to get from A to B. They are lonely. Very lonely. So Very Lonely. LONELY.
I am talking about the neglected spaces of this world: the hallways, the doorways, the alleyways, the corridors and the staircases. Those inbetween spaces we momentarily pass through to get to the favoured rooms: the bedroom, the classroom, the lecture theatre and the office. Equality is the key to happiness but how can we ask for equality in society if we don’t create equality for these neglected spaces. Next time you’re passing through the hallway on your way to the dining room: stop, sit down and ask someone to bring you your dinner. Next time you’re passing through a corridor to a study room: stop, sit down, roll around and take your study notes out. Next time you’re at a house party and your going upstairs to use the bathroom: stop, drop your pants and release, release it all over those stairs. Sure your hosts may be pissed off but the stairs will thank you and next time you’re passing by that dark alleyway at night, go down that alleyway and wallow in the hobo shit and underage spew. I implore you to embrace these neglected spaces because one day they may find their voice and bellow out ‘YOU SHALL NOT PASS.’ We don’t want the world to end that way, do we. We would prefer it to end the old fashioned way with fire, brimstone, horses and Rebecca Black’s Friday.
Do it like these cats:
An excerpt from one of my favourite plays/musical. My mission in life is to find this ‘spot’ with that ‘someone.”
Written by Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt
El Gallo: (describing the scene where two lovers will meet in secret)
You wonder how these things begin. Well, this begins with a glen. It begins with a season which, for want of a better word we may as well call- September. It begins in a forest where the woodchucks woo, and the leaves wax green, and vines intertwine like lovers; try to see it. not with your eyes, for they are wise, but see it with your ears: the cool green breathing of the leaves. And hear it with the inside of your hand: the soundless sound of shadows flicking light. Celebrate sensation. Recall that secret place. You’ve been there, you remember: That special place where once- Just once- in your crowded sunlit lifetime, you hid away in shadow from the tyranny of time. That spot beside the clover where someone’s hand held your hand and love was sweeter than the berries, or the honey, or the stinging taste of mint. It is September- before a rainfall- a perfect time to be in love.
Whilst lost in the wonderful world of Retronaut or Retrocrack (as coined by a dear friend), I came across this ghostly apocalyptic proposed but forsaken amusement park in China that had been photographed by David Gray. This got me pondering about why I love ghost worlds.
I see ghost worlds as a liminal space – a place of collapse between the past and future, the skeletal remains of a humanities ebb and flow, between the forsaken and remembered, a space that breaths, lives, dies and decays like a human. It is a crypt of national unease and of the repressed. It remembers. It is frightfully Gothic.
In New Zealand, abandoned meat-works fascinate me as a space of colonial unease and national amnesia. In the Introduction to David Ballantyne’s creepy bildungsroman Sydney Bridge, Upside Down, Kate De Goldi describes the meat-works as “the transformation of the New Zealand colonialist into ‘a systematic and calculating’ butcher, and described the progress of the ‘New Zealand dream’ from an imagined South Pacific Eden to a fallen society with, literally, blood on it’s collective hands.” I will mumble and ramble about this book and Antipodean gothic at a later stage.
I am obsessed in ghost worlds and when I begin my O.E I intend to visit as many of them as possible in my wanderings.
A LIST OF 5 GHOST WORLDS ON THE BUCKET LIST
KOLMANSKOP (Namibia): Once a mining village, now it is buried in sand.
A ghost of german exploitation, colonial corruption and finally collapse. The indigenous sands bury the colonial stain. More info
SAN ZHI UFO HOUSES (Taiwan): Once a futuristic resort project.
Abandoned in the 1980s due to economic losses and deaths, these dystopic remnants are a must see. More info
CRACO (Italy): Once a medieval town.
I love anything medieval because I connect it to blood: blood lines, blood shed and bloody barbaric feasts. Ghost worlds retain this blood-memory. More info
BODIE, (California): Once a Wild West mining town.
There’s a story about a little girl whose family was moving from San Francisco to Bodie; Depending on who tells it, she wrote in her diary either: “Good, by God, I’m going to Bodie” -or- “Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie.” More info
HASHIMA (Battleship Island), Japan – Once an Industrial Island.
A concrete jungle on a ghost island shaped like a battle ship, with a few war stories to tell. I’m so keen. It is also featured in Battle Royale II: Requiem, a pedestrian film to its predecessor. More info