Busking Ghosts

London, UK (2013 – 2015)

Extracts re-constructed from a 2,500 line typewriter cut-up, sourced from a myriad notebooks and journals. Originally compiled on an Adler Universal.

The work has been a continually evolving piece, presented as poetry, zine, psychogeographic essay, art-exhibition and sound-installation. At heart it is a delirious and fractured account of my relationship with the mythological margins of the urban landscape — a hauntological drift through the flickering dreamlike edges of ruined folklore.

“The work is not nostalgic in a sentimental way but more influenced by Walter Benjamin's thesis on history, about shards of messianic time hidden in the built environment waiting to be realised.”

(Laura Oldfield Ford)

~ Images from riso printed zine edition

~ Images from typewriter variations

~ Images from solvent-printed zine edition

'licked with alcoholism and feverish youth William Blake, rapt by a vision of angels and Hermetic formulae'

'London below the soil, new streets bubble to the surface, folklore rises like damp'

'Venner's Rising attempts to take the city — under bus-stop light, glare at maps and plans crossed telephone wires, garbled signals, open the memory vat like a vein..'

'birth, rebirth, repeat into a recursive, formless abstract past and future coagulating. the Earth is gone before it settles back'

'Spectrality wrought by schizophrenic hauntology, processed through the studio of Austin Osman Spare. Creeping histories, street magick, signs and symbols — the ritual re-adjusts itself'

'in 1720 the walls of St Mary Newington broke open during service — something bellows out in the street, birth, rebirth, repeat — past coagulating into present, multiple histories blur together above the rumoured remains of a Mithraic sun temple'

'Consider this, the past surging beneath us, a seething tapestry of time-shifting spooks running beneath Threadneedle Street — diffused through cryptoendolithic schisms of the city, rebellion.. terrain vague.. the ruin continues with or without us'

'The hauntological discontinuum.. the mass hallucination, mapping intrusions into place myth territory'

'it all sounds like an old echo, something faintly remembered — a replay from the back catalogue of the city'


'down Druid Street, the last days of the condemned, the first emanation of divinity — Old King Lud rules pulsing valves and an antenna of bone'

'England in blood — folklore fresh graffiti'

'We live in the flicker.. compressed layers of human remains.. futures refracted.. the absent reality seeps through'

'a freshly opened skull gives an infinite sense of possibility..'

'out on the margins a site beyond time, a broken negotiation with the city — deciphering chapters and rituals chaos cloud of tags, sigils, markers, engaged in an orgiastic communion with the beyond'

'tracing through rain, heat, steam, a wounded city — Abolish Individual Private Property! Abolish Enclosure! no Popery! no Gin! no King!'

'in a Walworth Road boozer she passionately recites Anna Trapnell's Report & Plea — riotous, seditious, mischievous invocations'

'Sir Christopher Wren pulls out his cock and pisses on the tavern floor'

'Venner is said to have killed three men with a halberd to the crackle of bootleg reggae LP's'


'Lingering sting of graffiti mists over the Thames, that liquid thread of history full of relics and death'

'Captain Porteous orders his men to fire into the hanging crowd — I walk on still, slowly through deep exhalation of history, misapplied notions of immortality'

'Lord George Gordon flicks a match into Southwark — the initiation begins with a choreographed violence on the outer reaches of the city.. the absent reality seeps through fresh cracks in blasted concrete.. you may notice devilish and Druidic deity at this hour'

'King Mob can be heard muttering down the Old Kent Road, whispers of plague pits, abandoned tube systems bricked over rivers, sunken Mithraic temples.. forgotten sources of occult power — a malodorous vapour trail haunts his hidden smuggling tunnels'

'I wander thro each dirty street chasing electric memory buzz of Blake's dissident reality — More shadowy ritual, shakily tracing veins over twisting roads and tangled side streets — an illuminated glimpse into the edgeland'

'bask for a moment in the phantom chatter of post-war-daze — new forms and languages laying dormant behind terraced residences, their secrets hid behind swelling curtains'

'rain spattered journals full of redundant imagery — “Acid house year zero” reading SAVAGE MESSIAH zines on the rooftop of the Heygate Estate (2012) in a growing ring of blood and fire'

'spasmodic cthuloid concrete — antenna of bone — the transmissions spread out across the city, The Fifth Monarchists disturbing the peace'

'this is nothing but damaged texts printed again and again — the mechanical process of reproducing the object until abstraction'

'words may appear fractured, a compilation of memories and intrusions'


'Driscoll House included a large number of Zoroastrian artefacts added by Mr. Driscoll as a loving gesture to his wife who was a devout follower of Ahura Mazda — now a busy hostel the remains of a subterranean Fire Temple can still be accessed via a shrouded basement staircase'

'I consider the superior learning of witches and the old and re-invented gods in a squat on Walworth Road.. a boarded up old boozer full of hushed spook stories — ..Austin Osman Spare used to hang his paintings here'

'clinging beads of longing pool on skin.. crowds swell, fuck the riot act! the prophecies attracted widespread public attention — England in blood'

'shadow folk emerge from blank corridors from the dark vaults of broken elevators, apparitions moving through stairwells their lightless forms impossible to bring into focus, like heat shimmer on tarmac'

'Brutalist facade traced with orbital grooves, streaked with cracks, veins, impressions — etchings of memory, myth, encounter — the old estate haunts itself replaying its past caught in an endless feedback loop'

'losing my point of origin among semi-lucid mythic encounters, ruins continuing past the point of abandonment, outliving their capitalist use-life — official histories decay here, the city goes on, ungoverned, sorcery and devilish cartography re-map the fringes'

'it was always wrong to think of the city as a whole, more a fleshly sub-cultural mass of fractal archetypes — a reality mix-tape, a conjurors dub track'

'something nostalgic weighs heavily on my senses — the estate as time artefact.. all soft lines and blurred focus, half in this reality and half out like waking from a fever dream'

'the ruin continues with or without us'


'failed architecture discharges an affect of hopeful melancholy, de-crystallised, the ghosts that linger here reclaim the map — the site is alive long past the point of abandonment'

'my contact slips me a folio of heavily redacted papers detailing plans for Spirit Houses built into parking garages, amorphous effigies to be embedded in concrete foundations and something like witches bottles buried beneath lift shafts'

'the old estate is psychotomimetic, de-materialised, infinite — I squint and glimpse a shimmering wake through space in which all the seams converge'

'I draw guide lines in the air with my gloved fingers, outstretched arms joining the dots, tracing invisible paths, psychogeometries'

'I must be certain, it must be impossible for future travellers to retrace my steps — piece by piece the disordered elements align.. my sense for the fractured state of the grid tightens — I watch the entanglement of streets feeding into the nexus'

'I fold myself into the spectral materiality of the zone, opening myself up to the presence of haunting'

'undeterred by the illusory misdirection official narrative I have engaged the occulted channels of the city, seeking ancient signs.. feral innards, THE GHOST ZONE — I no longer sleep for the cutting up of city plans, re-arranging, uncovering, deciphering the shifted topography'

'glimpses of transience and memory, forgotten and discarded futures — impressions of place and non-place, use and disuse, urban folklore and concrete myth'

'I dream of distant illusions and remnants of revenant territory —

'I re-calibrate my senses, preparing to cast my mind back, again, back to the city I left behind — buried in the sands of memory'

'Eyes flicker open on the break of day — vision crawling over the remains of a derelict language'

'Beneath flickering shattered strip-lights — twitching slithering spasms of illumination'

'Glimpse the last dying of the night-light — spooks crawling back to their haunts in the cracked landscape'

'A gradually enveloped vision of monumental proportions, curving imperceptibly towards abstract horizon'

'Glittering fields of tape-echo.. Spillages of space-time'

'Over-exposing the grey morning and the irregular, angular, bony intersections of concrete'

'electricity cables strung up like veins, an exposed nervous system grafted onto the brutalist body — transmissions and signals pulse received and replayed by unseen participants — generators whirr and humm, powerful.. elemental'

'I meet another drifter on the fringes.. a settler, a Shaman of the dispossessed with inky black glyphs marking the backs of his hands — he shows me how to access the old energies to decode the tags graffed up and down the walls, ..liminal sigils he calls them'

'he speaks of ancient Pagan ecstasies buried in the territory, of psychic residue feeding the roots of the estate — a young woman moving with him explains how burning certain incense attracts helpful spirits, showing respect for the land'

#buskingghosts #cutup