My wife was going through some of the old shit I keep in the house and one of the things that fell out was a contact sheet from the old days. Taken around 1988 or '89 the pictures are of people I was at college with, taken around the flat I lived in half-way up a tower block on the Harrow Road. This one's of Steve (who is most decidedly still around); there's another one of me and Guillaume (now in Los Angeles landscape architecting) and one of Jojo. I've no idea where Jojo is now.
Andrew or Steve. In joyful anticipation I put the words, page and images together while riding the big bus from home down to Bethnal Green or Hackney, foolishly imagining I'll have the time at work to put these imaginings together. The reality is this, a picture by Harland Miller from the show he co-curated at White Cube and instead of poetry a series of bullet points:
- The show's based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe
- It's in the basement of Shoredtich Town Hall as well as White Cube.
- The Town Hall stuff is better.
- At first I thought having Poe in a dusty disused basement was too twee for Poe's work. Actually it gets the humour pretty well.
- The best work in the show is funny. The worst overly gothic.
- I once got a taxi in the 'seventies back to Chantry Point where I lived when I was very drunk. The taxi driver, a bitter bitter man, whose wife left him while he was in hospital had memorised the complete work of Poe while he lay there, wifeless and recovering. He said "It's what kept me sane" as he gripped my hand through the small money hole in the glass partition. He patently wasn't sane and had lost the plot a long time ago. He insisted on reciting the poems as proof of his feat. I remember he did The Raven and Lenore. He recited them at high-speed in a flat monotone like someone reciting the times tables. I've always imagined setting up an audio book label where cab drivers read the world's greatest literary works in a gruff "If I had that Ken Livingstone in here I'd give him a piece of my mind" monotone.