The Gradual Mutation of The Territory
Thames Estuary / Hadleigh Downs / Oil City (2012 – 2013)
Extracts re-constructed from a typewriter cut-up, sourced from a hand-written notebooks and journals. Originally compiled on an Adler Universal.
“The United Kingdom, for all its pomp and phlegm, is permeated with a sense of spiritual doom. No matter how many churches were built in its fields and villages, no matter how many saints walked its newly paved streets, pagan powers had long before claimed the blood-soaked land. Thus, every year, the River Thames’s muddy banks at low tide yield ancient figurines, human bones, and Roman coins. Here is a raw reminder that we share this world with impish beings with unbridled hunger and desire who watch us and our silly concerns with bemusement.”
(Guillermo Del Toro, from The Ecstasy of Saint Arthur – forward to the Penguin Classics edition of Arthur Machen’s The White People and Other Weird Stories)
'The land has memory loss. England sleeps — hurt — broken'
'The land has amnesia — history played back with the worn down tone of magnetic tape'
'In my dream, the river coils about me — the Thames.. that liquid thread of history full of relics and death.'
'I spent a Summer tramping along muddied banks chasing premonitions and shadows, divining the future in pools of shimmering oil washed up over spurts of clay, broken pottery pieces, splintered driftwood, reading the cracks in mudflats like a wrinkled old palm or dried tea leaves.'
'I cast my mind back to faded days worn with the recollection, threadbare like comfortable cardigans.'
'Pick carefully across the floodplains traversing the bloodied tributaries pushing through the blackening trees — the land spits out time, dry skin peels from bone — this is anxiety about worn places'
'Spectral phosphors glow over marshland at night — a phantom flicker, a landscape without time'
'Regions are just layers for storage — Perform a regional invocation, Perform a regional summoning, to draw something up from the localised past'
'Place clay offerings among the brown leaves on the slopes of the greenbelt'
'The days along the Estuary — the River Days — are the days that led me here.. the path waiting to be deciphered.. revealed..'
'Its signs were etched into the land and hanging all about me like mist off the North Sea.'
'Bury clay offerings beneath loose Earth in a circle of small bones — the remains of a fallen Magpie or Treecreeper.
'This is the anamnesis of place — Here lie the Gods of Tree's and Wilderness'
'In the morning mist apparitions wire up the land'
'I could open my lungs and breathe the future in.'
'Weathered backpack leans against stone — inside, a loosely bound collection of pages comprising journals and travel-sketches, path-workings and meditations, herbals and inscriptions, and unearthed from beneath the floorboards of the house, older hand-written pages of Leechcraft and Wortcunning'
'Words pulled from history from land and dream — words written and re-written, discarded and transfigured — 'dark memories — night oil to blacken leaves'
'At the close of the decade I am re-tuning to old frequencies, straining to track dub-soaked broadcasts from the Isle far across the sea'
'Fingers dig into crystallised mud, excavating deposits of time — robed in dewy mist I conjure a signal blast from the North Sea, down the circuit cables of memory'
'I bury the papers amongst the loose earth and stones — a sacrifice to the distant Gods of Oil and Coast, and to the Deities of Hillside and Down with whom I used to roam'
'Narrow woods come into view banked in dark mud, burial mounds of feathers and fragile white bones'
'With surgical precision, open the veins etched across the territory and the spectra of history oozes through, glittering fields of tape-echo — spillages of space-time'
'Re-adjust the drift calibration, charge the walking memory, map the Ghost Loop of the folklore spectrum'
'Re-tune to the frequency of ritual here, conducted into a ground loop of blast mounds & anti-tank ditches — muddy creek beds thick with early morning fog and the sound of bird watchers rustling sandwich bags'
'A deteriorating stretch of corrosive blackened history — tributaries flanked by humming pylons, skeletal transmitters tracing the GHQ line, sewing up the hexagonal carcasses of concrete river defences'
'Toxic — splintered deposits of mangled industry cause a decrease in the memory circuit'
'Eyes crusted over with sediment of limestone and clay — bones dry, skin explosive — the mixture causes a lapse in the ability to process linear time'