Walking Through The Morse Code Rain

I could tell you that I was trapped on the top deck of an abandoned old double decker bus somewhere on the promenade of Brighton. Yelling through a little sliding window to passers-by below.

“Help! Help! I’m trapped on this bus”

I was alone and a group of Japanese tourists just sauntered by as if my escape pleas were some sort of live entertainment. Everything about this situation was just wrong. Quite a few people passed but nobody looked up to see me in my desperation.

There was a commotion from the lower deck.

People.

I clambered down the stairs to see a group of teenage boys in scruffy school uniform piling on the bus, the doors were now clearly open.

I suppose you could say the boys looked a little like Etonian toffs on a day trip.

“How did you get in?!”

I asked.

“Duh! I pressed the manual door button,stupid.”

Said one of them.

I didn’t get off the bus because one of the boys had started driving it. That is how the brief transition occurred, that I was now in a darkened cinema, watching a film, an abstract animation of an old red double decker bus parked in a vast landscape with a red cloud formation swelling up in the sky to the left field. An audio waveform pulsed away in the top of the screen and began to rain lines of black ink and morse code across the expanse of the rest of the screen. A solitary man walked in the dash-dot droplets, devoid of concern for how linguistically drenched he might become.

Neatly transitioning to the arrival at an peculiar old factory standing like a giant cube of decaying bricks ,steel and concrete within a wasteland of extinct industry.

The boys got off the bus, which they’d parked in a cargo bay within the building’s interior.

I was immediately taken back by the gigantic installation of a suspended cuboid structure bearing down on all of us in a central hall area. It appeared to be made of brushed steel, glass and electric blue neon lights clustered in geometric formations similar to Bismuth crystals. I whipped out my phone and pointed it at the formation.
“Bloody Hell! These pictures will take themselves! However I point the camera, the photos are going to be brilliant”

(Or words to that effect)

Some of the steel cubes appeared to have spherical glass objects attached to them, these too glowed electric blue and reminded me of images I have seen of marine bacteria from electron microscope pictures.

I took a few shots and watched as the boys then left the main hall by ascending an old iron staircase. Curious, I followed and arrived in a darkened room with a glowing blue screen situated on the rear wall. I could see quite a few people at at a long modern rectangular table running along the length of the screen, they were all silhouetted, It looked like some kind of modernist rendition of The Last Supper (and another photo opportunity for my camera) Just as I was about to capture the scene, I crashed unexpectedly into Saturday morning. Concluding my adventure at 7:50 a.m

Keeping it Regular

Connect The Goddamn Dots!

Blogworthy news this week was the rare opportunity to see one of my all time favourite industrial thrash metal bands ‘Ministry’ play live (almost) on my doorstep at the O2 Arena in Bristol. I’ve seen them play live once before in London, so to travel a stone’s throw away was a real treat.

A couple of virtual friends arrived in Bath to pay my wife and I a visit, then we headed off to Bristol to see the band. These days I tend to shove earplugs in before live events like thisas I’ve rather grown fond of being able to hearthe day after a gig. My wife and I had found that the last time we saw Ministry that earplugs also made it easier to listen to the wall of sound emanating from the stage. It has to be said, apart from the dulling of the higher frequency noises, earplugs don’t affect the ability tohear the show in any kind of detrimental way.

Ministry played a blistering and furious one and three quarter hour set covering tracks from the most recent album ‘Relapse’ all the way back to ‘The mind is a terrible thing to taste’. The Bristol crowd seemed a little subdued to begin with but by the halfway mark, the audience energy ramped up into a suitable frenzy of jumping around and slam dancing at the core. I managed to get into the full swing of dancing like a loon but sorely regretted wearing my knee length New Rock boots which were heavy on the feet and made me feel like I’d been nailed to the floor, apart from that, the rest of my body got a good workout!

The highlight of the show came with the encore when the band played a couple of numbers from the album Psalm 69
NWO and Just one Fix, they also played Thieves and the infectiously danceable So What. The later, I went a bit mental dancing to.

Just as quickly as the evening began, it all seemed over in a flash. I’m hoping this won’t be the last time I get to see them live, they put on such an awesome show and I feel like I’m seventeen again when I dance like that.

As we piled out of the arena, I heard my name being called, I turned around to see my old chum from Norwich, Matt D standing behind me. We haven’t seen each other in a couple of years, it was good to see his little bawldy head again.

And then the rest of the week commenced, the usual stint of 5:30 am wake-ups and 21:30 Bed times. The space between is full of clambering around on scaffolds attending to an assortment of stone masonry jobs. I’m pretty much in my element with it all, there’s much to be said for doing work that you enjoy, it seems so much less like work.

On the building I’m working on, I’ve spent a bit of time building a radial wall into an area where there used to be some crunky old fire escape. Here’s what I’ve put in its place.

There’s now a sash window above the stonework, simple pleasures and a contribution to the historical arc of the building.

This week I’ve also been reading up on Hermeticism, following the observation that its symbology occasionally appears in my dreams in an explicit manner. What I mean by explicit, is that the symbology leaves little room for interpretation other than being of itself. I live my life with an enquiring mind, though not religious and not an atheist, my own spiritual perspective is one very personal to my unique field of experience. I won’t deny that there is an overall odd facet of reality that tends to point beyond the otherwise quantifiable world. So far I’m certain that the very nature of the mind is an intrinsic link between the outwardly normal world of predictable experiences and those things that happen on the fringes of ordinary reality. It could be argued that all psychic and preternatural occurrences are nothing more than extensions of how the individual’s brain operates.

Scientifically, it could be argued that universal oddness is nothing more than a mental condition, however, In my experiences, many of these mental conditions have had the unusual quality of containing information particular to future events …which as time has unfolded, have revealed themselves to be highly detailed and specific. I don’t think that my thoughts are a time machine and I’ve put consideration into the notion that I might have subconsciously projected my own ideas into an event to make the proverbial ‘shoe fit’. It really isn’t that, I am merely a witness, and It would appear that some things that I experience, appear to occur by my coincidentally being there to then know that I’ve seen them previously within a dream state.

I have been fortunate in two or three cases where I have discussed my dreams with a person, who has then been with me at a later date to witness particular specific details come true. While they’ve gasped at the transpiration of the uncanny, I’ve been quietly relieved that I’m not just imagining the synchronicity of it all.

Having lived this life for forty years, I don’t feel that my understanding is any greater, only that certain borrowed, bullshit ideas and notions I once held as factual have fallen away. I don’t think anyone can tell it to you, nobody can give it to you. The closest experience I have to life containing an otherly , spiritual* dimension is my nightly excursions into the realm of dreams. I consider myself fortunate that I have artistic ability and a general command of language to express that state of consciousness in an effective way.

So, I’m currently taking an interest in the branches of esoteric thought that is covered by Hermeticism. It could be a dead end, or it could be another piece of my personal jigsaw puzzle. I think that the explicit symbology that I’ve mentioned earlier warrants an investigation of sorts, If I find anything notable, I’ll probably mention it in these pages at some later point.

There does seem to be a rhythm in nature that underlines the principle of “As above so below” I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I was in St.Lucia a few years ago, sitting on a jetty overlooking a small bay. The waters were calm, I noted a large flying insect buzzing along the water’s surface. In a split second, a large fish leapt from beneath the surface and caught the insect in its mouth before plunging back into the sea. Within that same brief moment, a large seabird dived into the same spot of water, only to emerge a second later with the same fish caught in its beak! It flew away to enjoy its piscine meal. I felt so fortunate to have observed that incredible moment of symmetrical predatory dynamism, it has stayed with me ever since.

I am an aspect of the universe observing its own nature, we all are. This I believe is a fact of life and not enough of us are realising the simple truth of that reality. But I don’t think I can tell it to you, if you know that already and you really just know that, then consider yourself a little more enlightened than the average shoegazer…I just couldn’t say that above that realisation, that I know what any of that truly means, but I’m still travelling, still looking, still listening to the inner and the outer. Perhaps with time deeper meaning becomes apparent.

Broken Hart

It took the wind out of my sails, returning to the House of Bannerdown, seeing the works carried out in my absence.

I noted that the pillared porch had been assembled incorrectly so that they stood several meters away from the house itself, built in a discordant fashion, so that the head of the porch had been positioned half way down the columns making an improbable ‘H’ shape. Clearly this was architectural incompetence.

Rory’s business partner appeared somewhere nearby and struck up polite conversation. I noted with interest that his T-shirt bore the motif of the Cross of Lorraine ; my banker mark and symbol of choice. Curious.

I mentioned that the relinquishing of my services had failed to make any sense in the days that had passed since our parting of ways and I was keen to really know why.

He gestured to a transparent polythene bag filled with old books and said in a flat voice.

“Rory didn’t like the way you had stolen the library books.”

I immediately protested that I’d never seen the bag of books in my life.

 I asked whether that had been the only reason, he then said

“Rory didn’t like the fact that you disagreed with our suggested working methods.”

Feeling more impassioned, I began to blurt about how those methods would have delivered a catastrophic effect on the decaying stonework of the house, that those window mullions would just disintegrate upon the first frost of Winter.

 “The Mullions would disintegrate?”

He said, keeping his impartial,and somewhat doubtful flat tone.

In a melodramatic moment I went on to say how the phone call in the pouring rain, where it was established that we would not be working together any more broke my heart and that I’d really loved working with them.

Neither of which was true. Replace ‘broken heart’ with disappointed and ‘loved’ with enjoyed, it would be a more accurate but this was in the heat of the moment.

The partner just repeated the words “Broken Heart?” like a terminally bored business parrot.

His Cross of Lorraine T-shirt kept drawing attention to itself and I began feeling silly for sounding so melodramatic, something about his angelic appearance was unnerving and I couldn’t shake the feeling that his repetition of certain phrases was some kind of verbal ploy to illustrate the unlikelihood of my own garbled sentiments.

All in all, I felt quietly relieved when I finally opened my eyes.

 

Journey.

What a trip.

Hello void dwellers, time for another pry?

OK, firstly, this site is now up and running due to the kindness of a friend I’ve never met but known digitally since the days of my first website ‘Hellclouds’, heh! Apple ceased hosting last Sunday and hiab-x needed a new home. Thanks Jason 😉

I’ve been very busy recently as a subcontractor in the centre of Bath, I’m helping with the assorted repair and rebuild requirements of a central 18th century hotel. It’s great having the regular work but oh boy, getting up at 5:30 to start at 7:30 Mon-Fri is making me resemble a walking corpse by 8:30 most evenings, my appetite for brains has leapt through the roof.

I must admit that I do love my work in spite of its regular coating of stone dust and building site grime, every job has its own unique challenges and I sometimes have to pause in amazement at the strange trajectory my career path has taken, it was rather unexpected and I’m now a qualified stone mason/conservation mason. It’s funny turning up at a job, being briefed on what I’m required to do then being left to my own devices. And I know what to do! I don’t have to generally ask anyone how to do something anymore.

In between work I do like my follies and side projects. Last blog entry I was generally

bemoaning the whopping disappointment that was Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’, however before seeing the film, I had been inspired by promotional images of the giant statuesque head featured in the movie. I set to work carving a small scale replica which kind of became a book end. I found the project challenging as most of the images I could use for reference were frontal views bathed in shadowy light. I’d also not carved a human head before. I eventually bought the ‘Making of Prometheus’ book in hope that It would contain another perspective…which it kind of did but not particularly satisfying as the side view was also obscured by bloody set building equipment! Errrr, well I did my best…

I also recently carved the grumpy looking piece of stone at the top of this page.

Now, it’s commonly known by the one or two occasional visitors to my blog that I’m a pretty keen gamer, it was either computer games or football. I opted for computer games and fucking loathe football. Anyway, I’ve recently played a stunning game that I’ll briefly gush praise upon here.

‘Journey’ by That Game Company. (PS3 Only)

Journey is a gaming experience like no other. The first tantalising clips appeared a couple of years ago on various gaming websites, it promised to be visually stunning, revealing a wonderfully rendered cartoon like world where the player controls a mysterious,cloaked nomadic figure and traverses a strange desert like landscape filled with the remnants of a fallen civilisation.

What these teasers promised, delivered in spades. Journey transcends the well trodden path of so many games to a point that it becomes an incredibly emotional artistic experience that one interacts with.Even though it employs some basic platforming game mechanics such as climbing and jumping to reach certain areas, it still manages to dazzle the player with the most glorious visual array of sublime imagery.

So, what’s it all about? I won’t include spoilers from my own playthrough but I can say this; on the surface, Journey is what it says it is. The player begins in a desolate sand dune within a sparse desert, you then begin your travel to a mysterious looking mountain somewhere in the faraway horizon. Along the way, the game provides you with little gifts and visual cues to help your travels become less monotonous than wading through sand, these come in the form of little power-ups that can help you to jump and fly for a brief period, or slide gracefully down a sloping dune.

You will periodically encounter ruins that reveal a visual narrative that begins to provide a backstory for your character and the world it inhabits. I particularly enjoyed encountering these as they remind me of the art of ancient civilisations such as Mayan or Aztec pictorial hieroglyphics, albeit in an animated,computer generated way.

Once you have become familiar with the game mechanics, which are beautifully simple and elegant, you then travel through a gateway leading to the next level of the world you are exploring. It is from here where the player then will possibly encounter another player. Considerable thought was put into how to to achieve this multiplayer dynamic without breaking the spell of the atmospheric environment that the game offers. The result is breath taking, other players remain anonymous in terms of username and there are no distracting voice chats, silly gestures or any of the other often annoying attributes found in other games when meeting other players. Your Journey companion will only be able to interact with you by staying with you, or calling to you by means of singing a musical range of notes. You can only do likewise. It keeps the vibe totally in check and just encourages the player to remain perfectly in character.

On a deeper level, Journey can be seen as a visual metaphor for the path of one’s life, the world we actually live in and the people we encounter during these things. It refreshingly  contains no violence or accumulation of impossible super powers, within the linear narrative of the experience, you are meant to travel through the levels of the game until you reach the mountain. Your journey may be solitary or it more often than not, will be about being a travelling companion with another player. One of the other notable aspects about being a companion is that you will most likely be helped by other players on your first playthrough, should you return (And there are several reasons why you’d want to) you find yourself naturally wanting to help your other companions.

Journey may not be a long game by any means, one can travel from start to finish within a two to three of hours, yet within that span there is so much quality within the experience, it becomes obvious that the duration is note perfect for delivering all of the narrative points that it needs to make.

I can’t finish this brief review without also mentioning the absolutely stunning soundtrack composed by Austin Wintory

This little except to any who have played Journey will prove to be incredibly emotionally evocative.

I don’t mind admitting that at the end of the game I was moved to tears through a combination of having my heart strings pulled by the haunting finale of the game and its rousing score. Its a testament to the game’s creators for being able to pull the player in and involve them so deeply into the narrative. It’s a truly rare thing and even more beautiful for being so.

On to other things. In a brief moment of nostalgic inspiration yesterday, I started the ball rolling with building a new radio playlist called Radio Jacquard. It’s an ode to an old nightclub in Norwich where I spent many a Friday evening dancing and pratting around with friends. The Jacquard was pretty much the only alternative nightclub in the city back in the late eighties and early nineties. On Facebook there’s a Jacquard fan page populated by generations of former club goers. Sadly the club eventually closed leaving a legacy of memories that spanned three decades.

Yesterday, I started chatting with a few old friends and John  the DJ about what music they remembered and associated with the era of our own visits, I’ve managed to rustle up a playlist that contains a good thirty tracks so I’m planning on splitting it into Radio Jacquard Volumes 1 & 2.

If on the off chance you’ve found this blog entry because you were looking up the Jacquard and you attended during the period I’ve mentioned, feel free to drop me a line via Facebook. I’d be interested in any anecdotal memories you may have, also, I’m planning on giving one of the playlists an accompanying picture (album cover) that features old photo booth images of attendees back in the day. (inspired partly by the following sleeve by Sheep On Drugs)

 

So, if you did attend the Jacquard on Fridays between 88 & 91 and would like to be included in a nice little art project, do drop me a line. If you don’t have Facebook, try hiabex303(at)gmail(dotcom)

I’ll post links to Radio Jacquard sometime over the next few days on my usual Radio page.

Other bits briefly…

I’m probably going to alter the section called Mnem so that It feeds directly from my Tumblr account, site statistics suggest that nobody actually bothers looking at this current section anyway but I seem to have an old stubborn stalwart attitude where I’ll post things to it regardless of an audience. The old grid format was a pain to keep updating and takes ages to load.

For those of you who enjoy electronic music with heart, I cannot recommend enough taking a listen to the new album called ‘Napoleon’ by Napoleon (Simon Mills from duo ‘Bent!) It’s a great album, full of sunny audio beams that take the edge off of the British Summer we are currently not having.

Charlie Brooker suggested that we should just rename the season ‘Glummer’ and be done with it. Anyway, Napoleon, have a listen…

Beautiful!

You can get the album from the usual outlets.

OK, that’s me done for this entry. Cheerio
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