Fish Kiss

A summer day, Bristol Zoo, my camera. The fish was darting about in the water
but it always remembered to kiss.

You are a river I can’t hold on to

Testing out modes of writing, 500 words for class, this is my take on New Journalism.

I’m cruising along Comfort Road, colours blur in front of me until nothing makes sense. Stop. Focus. Which way next? The roads are open save a few silent witnesses. I head towards the water to gain my bearings and wait for the familiar whip of sea air. Nothing happens. The ripples are limp and forget to speak. I turn the other way, the grass looks thread bare, the trees don’t tweet or flutter. Nothing is moving but me.

In reality nobody drives here and there are no cars. I’m on the Google driving simulator and I’m steering with my mouse.

I know the street my sister lives on, although I have never been. Saskia moved to Ohio last year, everyone wondered what it was like. I wanted to see what it was like. I typed her ZIP code into Google, hit ‘maps’ and dropped the little icon of a man onto the street view. I drove around her neighborhood, checking her route to Uni. “I hope she’ll be ok” they said. “I know she will be”, I nodded. I’ve seen, and she will be.

I move on. Travelling at breakneck speed in a borrowed car, I catch that familiar sign. The car thumps to a halt. Graceland. He always looks the same, the stranger blocking my view. The sound of the phone wakes me. I have to go. I close the browser. Sorry Elvis, I’ll come back, I always do.

I want to go somewhere the air tastes sweet. I type in the words. Highway 101 and I’m driving on the wrong side of the road. The Madonna Inn. I close my eyes to remember. We were friends then, we ate cake, posing in the leather chair by the fireplace, laughing so hard tears tickled our eyes. Sweet sixteen. The sun was shining. It shines in my sleep.

The next day I walk to the tube station, past the fuming dog and the smell of popcorn. I half run down the escalator and wait for the familiar whip of warm air. It’s time. I squeeze onto the train, trying to dodge the man’s sweaty hair in front of me. There is nowhere else to stand. Panic clothes my eyes. Breathe.

Later I see Kate. I tell her that I almost ended up with someone’s hair in my mouth on the journey. She visibly curls at the thought. New subject. I mention Google maps and the Madonna Inn. Her eyes widen, “I used to live along the same street!” She tells me how every year Mr Madonna would bring a giant circus cake to the street party. Everyone loved that man.

I haven’t driven properly since moving to London four years ago. There are lots of cars but nowhere to park. The city is my freedom but it can also feel claustrophobic. On days like that I go to my white desk pull out my white chair and open my white laptop. I type in a place name. I open the memories, and my thoughts colour everything.


I ordered the cardboard cutout women from a site online. Admittedly the company needs a new website designer but they could not have been more helpful and I was lucky to have them on board. The ladies came folded, they stood for a while and now they are folded again in my room.

I gave the orange lady to Anna Gerber of Visual Editions so she can have a new pretend receptionist in her studio.

I am going to keep the pink and blue, I think they need names. It is right to name a lady in waiting.

Ring Ring

In Phone, In Fashion

Glamorous, glossy, sexy women in the 1970s and ‘80s were used to advertise household goods. This of course included the phone. Working to sell the phone as part of an “in-crowd” lifestyle desire, these advertising campaigns were a true reflection of the time.

I found the ladies in phone catalogues in BT Archives, I cut them from their domestic environment and made them bigger than you.

The ladies invite you into their world, join them, watch yourself react in the mirror. The phone on the mirror gives you something abstract to hold on to, but like the women it is bigger than life size. Adverts are aspirational, they represent an idealised version of reality and no matter how hard you try, you will never measure up.

Exhibited : Seeing Voices, Inside BT Archives. London College of Communication 2- 11 March 2011.