July 2013 Issue #4 Guest editor Flo Wales Bonner
EDITOR’S NOTE Spontaneous. Brief. Cheap. Unexpected. Candid. All adjectives that spring to mind with the word ‘snapshot’. In this age of instant messaging and instant gratification, the snapshot is inescapable. It is hard to find a space – public or private – that is untouched by the light of the cameraphone’s flash. I set a collection of writers, artists and photographers the challenge of exploring the snapshot, and the results reveal that this most readily-accessible of forms can be mined to great depth. And that it can mean so much, and so little, all at once. In keeping with the theme, and the ever-decreasing attention spans that characterize my generation, all written submissions are under 500 words. And in keeping with the ethos of Gadabout Press, each person who submitted work was then required to respond to the work of another contributor. Many of the pieces spoke to each other in subtle ways, so rather than place each piece alongside its response, I chose to arrange pieces in a way that seemed to flow best, which also means that each response can be seen as a work in itself, rather than just the reaction to another. I hope you enjoy this edition – it has been a privilege working on it. Flo Wales Bonner
INFORMATION Gadabout Press has been created to provide a space in which artists, writers, musicians, readers, lookers and listeners can engage in conversation. It is intended to encourage fresh critical perspectives as well as the creation of new material. There is no manifesto and no single approach, rather emphasis is placed on listening to and learning from the creative practice and critical opinions of others. www.gadaboutpress.com.
CONTENTS 5 / Overexposed Tamara Colchester 6 / To Facebook Clare Fisher 7 / Opposition Anna Maguire 8 / A Journey into Foreign Memories Tomasz Jedrowski 9 / Zanzo Rosaline Shahnavaz 10 / (Response to ‘Zanzo’) Francesca Perry 11 / Digital Snapshots Kiran Moodley 12 / An Insight into Dinner with the Family Kitty Knowles 13 / Stills from ‘Hold’ Imran Perretta 15 / The Dark Room (Response to ‘Hold’) Clare Fisher 17 / Untitled  Francesca Perry 18 / (Response to ‘Digital Snapshots’) Grace Pickering 19 / Untitled  Grace Pickering 20 / (Response to ‘Sandwich’) Tamara Colchester 21 / Overused (Response to ‘Overexposed’) Tomasz Jedrowski 22 / Broken (Promised) Flowers (Response to ‘Untitled ’) Kiran Moodley 23 / Shadows (Response to ‘A Journey into Foreign Memories’) Imran Perretta 24 / (Response to ‘Digital Snapshots’) Grace Pickering 25 / Sandwich Flo Wales Bonner 26 / Text the Promotional Code ‘tube241’ and get Two Profiles for the Price of One. You and a friend can join today. (Response to ‘To Facebook’) Anna Maguire 27 / The Road Trip (Response to ‘Untitled ’) Kitty Knowles 28 / (Response to ‘Opposition’) Flo Wales Bonner 29 / It’s Rude to Play With Your Food (Response to ‘An Insight into Dinner with the Family’) Rosaline Shahnavaz
OVEREXPOSED She came inside, eyes dilating in the darkness. Everyone else was still lying by the pool, heavy with lunch. Shutting her bedroom door she tugged off her wet bikini and went quickly to the mirror. She pressed on the light and was created, soft and golden. She looked and looked, mesmerized by the reflection. The dark memory of only minutes ago – the horizontal perspective of soft sunburnt thighs and traitor stomach, bloated with food - was superimposed and defeated. She went to the bed and opened her computer, the screen lighting up to reveal Jane Birkin wearing only a sunhat. She would die to have breasts like hers. The screen began to beep, signaling a call. She panicked, ran to the mirror to check she was there, lowered the lights by an inch and arranged herself on the bed. There he was, that handsome face, the one she’d set her sights on. Her own face appeared on the screen, framed in a small box. She composed her features, eyes sliding to check all was well. But… something was wrong. It didn’t look right. It was a bad camera. Her skin was greenish in the light. She tried to move sexily but the connection was cruel and she jerked oddly and got stuck with one eye closed and her mouth hanging open. He laughed. Panic gripped her. Could she turn the camera off? No, he liked it on. He wanted to see her. All of her. She glanced down – soft, bloated, fat – No, absolutely not. Please? He’d missed her. He’d missed that face. And that ass. She tilted the screen back and stood carefully, like she was balancing herself on a tray. He leant back and looked, nodding slowly. What was he thinking? Her eyes darted back to the corner of the screen. ‘Take off your towel. Let me see you properly.’ She shook her head, fear gripping her scalp. She had an awkward left nipple. ‘Take off your towel, baby, please let me see you.’ She looked at him and he looked at her. ‘Let me see your beautiful body, I’ve missed it so much.’ She let the towel fall, keeping one arm over her left breast. ‘More.’ He laughed. The towel fell to the floor. He was touching himself, mesmerized by his screen. ‘Do you mind?’ he asked without stopping. She stared just past the screen not moving, hands tight in her lap. ‘Do something.’ he said. But she didn’t know what to do. It didn’t matter anyway. His eyes were closed and she watched him until he came, her small face quietly looking back at her. He opened his eyes, smiling at himself. His eyes moved across to meet hers. ‘Look, I have to go. Let’s talk soon, ok.’ She covered herself with the sheet. The screen went dark. She lay back and felt something cold and wet. She shuddered. It was her soggy bikini, sat in the damp circle it had made on the bed.
TO FACEBOOK We don’t talk much these days but we do look each other up on Facebook. We scroll through each other’s photos until we reach the time when we were young, dirty and drunk. We look at our old-young faces and we remember the words of the old-young us, and sometimes, when our right-now-right-here lives aren’t whining in our ears, we remember our thoughts. When we see our bare limbs stretch into the cosy-as-a-duvet Mediterranean night, we can hear the voice of the only one of us who is not tagged in the picture: Ally. We crane our necks towards the screen. In the flash of her teeth, we hear her laughter skit across the steps of the eglise St. Roch, turning heads, shutting mouths, twisting bums. Our bellies burn with pride as we realise that everyone is watching our hot, sticky, unreachable core – which is what she is. * We scroll. We see the same bare limbs, the same smiling faces, same sun-scorched noses. Our fingers pause on a one-off: that party we gate-crashed, where we were the only ones not wearing Hawaiian shirts, the only ones to have dusted our faces of adolescence some years back, the only ones to talk in French and convince the Erasmi that we were Romanian. Or that day we went for a riverside balade, except that instead of the river we found dusty roads lined with the growing skeletons of future houses, and one grimy roadside kiosk which served sandwiches garnished with hair. We keep scrolling, but our minds cannot keep up, our necks are stiff, our bladders full and our feet numb. * We hover the mouse over Ally’s name, waiting for it to turn blue, to link to her profile, to snippets of her right-here-right-now life; but the letters stay black, the word goes nowhere. We scroll down. And suddenly we are gone. We are Matt hugging the wind atop a Yorkshire moor; Douaa licking an ice cream in Hyde Park; Lucas leaning out of a window in Barcelona; Amandine spreading her hands over the belly pushed out hard and round by a baby we have never met. * ‘Who’s that?’ they ask, the people in our right-here right-now lives. We frown at the photo of the boy blowing candles. ‘I don’t know.’ We peel our bodies away from the screen. But we know that the next time we’re alone in the flat, the next time we’ve got to file a tax return or book a flight, we’ll come back. We’re old and clean and sober and still we believe: we’ll find something better – a better version, a better link, a better angle – on the next tab.
A JOURNEY INTO FOREIGN MEMORIES As the train rumbles East into the darkness, I unpack a sandwich and take out a small bottle of vodka. I am alone in the compartment. Birch forests and abandoned factories glide past. Growing up, I recall, I would ask my grandmother to tell me the story of her family escaping deportation to Siberia. With her long white fingers on my blanket she’d recount how, as a child, she had hidden from Russian soldiers in the rosebushes of her garden. Today my grandmother’s hometown Lviv lies in the Ukraine, after centuries as part of Poland and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. When Europe’s maps were redrawn after the war, her family was one of many forced to move thousands of kilometres West into the new Poland. She left her home at 13 and never returned. I fall asleep, lulled by these memories and the rhythm of the train. In the middle of the night border patrols enter, with fur hats and the broad faces of the steppe. They point torches and check passports: We are leaving Europe. The train arrives early in the morning in a snowed-under city. Medieval townhouses stand next to art nouveau palais; Lviv is Vienna’s forgotten sister. In the run-down Anthropological Museum, I see my grandmother’s face – the melancholic eyes, the papery skin, the high-cheekbones - in the lady who hands me my ticket. Later that day I board a jittery bus to the suburbs, clenching a piece of paper with the address written in Cyrillic letters: Parowozna, the street of the steam engine. It makes me think of the open fields from my grandmother’s tales, and there must be an error, I think, when the bus leaves me in a grey street with towering Communist blocks. I show passers-by my paper. ‘A street like that does not exist here’, they say in pigeon Polish. In a bakery an old lady with skin like bark nods and points: ‘There, behind the blocks’. My heart beats fast as I hurry through the snow. It is only one storey high, with a high entrance gate and a seam on the façade, mutewhite, curtains drawn. As I take photos I feel nothing. I want to go back to my hotel. I cannot see this house in anyone’s memories. When I turn to leave a window opens and a woman appears, with blonde hair and a kind face. She asks who I am. ‘Would you like to come in?’ Behind the fence the garden is small, with one tree and no bushes. She leads me into the house and serves me coffee, her two-year-old daughter playing with a Spongebob Squarepants balloon on the floor of the living room. They extended the house in the 80s, she explains, handing me a photo album. ‘This is what it looked like before’. In the photograph I recognize a young her, frolicking in a green garden in front of a small house that seems somehow more familiar. ‘Those are happy memories’, she says.
DIGITAL SNAPSHOTS When in doubt, listen to Grayson Perry. I will go on holiday and return with just a dozen snaps. I don’t know whether this is because of age, laziness or the feeling that photography has become a torrent of clichés. The camera-phone has made the forest of glowing screens ubiquitous at events. Maybe I’m a snob, but it’s put me off photography. Perry wrote this for a discussion on photography in The Guardian. Perry is right. Snapshots used to be placed into binders and placed on our bookshelves. They were a combination of thoughtful compositions and memory-inducing group photos. Seeing that little display click down from 36 to 0 made you think before you snapped. You cherished the moment. Now, those binders are gone. Even the bookshelves have been replaced – they’re called iPad holders now. Composition has gone and group photos are little more than sweaty shots from inside a club. The camera itself has changed; it’s actually a phone. Perry is right. Snapshots of moments are no longer a combination of 36 pictures and a long list of anecdotes. They are not told over a dinner or shared over coffee. Snapshots are now endless, 2GB on a portable hard-drive; on an online cloud; dropped in a virtual box. They are shared online and tagged and condensed into 140 characters. Perry is right. Go to any event, gig, gathering, unique one-off, and the glow of those screens will dominate. Conversation has given way to blank stares and arms stretched out high as a wonky shot is sent to Facebook and the ‘likes’ are slowly notched up. One day we will all sit in an armchair, gather our grandchildren around us, and slowly trail through our online timelines and flick through our walls and tell everyone about those days. But will we remember what happened past the photo? We were so caught up in taking an image, so consumed by sharing and boasting where we were; that did we actually enjoy it? Was it fun? Did we talk to anyone? Were we there?
AN INSIGHT INTO DINNER WITH THE FAMILY Different families have different traditions. Archaic traits passed down through generations for children to love, and then grow out of, and then embrace in later life with greater warmth. In my family we pass the port to our left (a navy custom), count the pips in the plum crumble (to ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor’), and sit ‘boy – girl’ around the table (which, believe me, when you have a handful of elderly aunts can cause quite a commotion). A sibling being dismissed from the table for laughing food out of their nose has become an honorary tradition too. Family members often develop their own roles, a skill set or signature dish to call their own. Ultimately, if you are good enough, you will go down in family history – for my generation a particularly boozy pudding will always have had ‘a touch of Great Aunty Ethel’s elbow’. Failed attempts are equally memorable, and are often etched into physicality. The stained crochet tablecloth is a lesson not to pour red wine left handed, the singed doorframe, a reminder to not douse the Christmas pudding so liberally with brandy, and the discoloured sideboard, an example of where not to place the piping hot oven tray. Close proximity, anticipation, and indulgence can be fuel for family friction. Aged five I stabbed my brother with a table knife for having ‘taller’ cutlery than me, and, during a particularly heated dinner time debate, I can still resonate with this reasoning. If you are lucky, a sweet elderly relation will be present, who will calm any fraught nerves by telling you the same story that they told you on the last occasion they saw you (incidentally, the same story that they told on the occasion before that). They may even inform you as to how vegetarians, allergies and homosexuals didn’t exist in their day, and will express deep concern over these inventions. Without a doubt, you will confuse others with your lingo (I was once asked who authored The Face Book), and you will learn to respond to the names of other family members – as a young woman, my favourite aliases are Alex, Pat and Martin. In contrast, I speak to my granddad for a good fifteen minutes before he realises I am actually talking to him. At some point someone will attempt to answer the door when a loud text is received. If someone asks if there is dessert, to everyone’s amusement, the answer will undoubtedly be ‘WASP’ (Wait And See Pudding), and there is always room for a little stupid wit along the lines of ‘shark infested custard’. By the time the meal is well and truly over, at least one guest has already fallen asleep in their chair.
View full video at http://imranperretta.com/projects/hold/
Stills from ‘Hold’
THE DARK ROOM ‘Comein,’ he’d shout in the shoutiest of voices, but as soon as I wentin, he would be sitting in a bow-headed silence so heavy that after only a few minutes of it I would be convinced that I didn’t exist. Maybe we were ghosts of people locked up here centuries ago. Or wax statues of the people rumoured to have been buried here, statues paid for by the museum or horror theme park that we were now part of. This second thought made me laugh, which made him look up and shut the book he’d been reading and hand it to me and tell me to read it. I opened it and although my eyes moved over the words, my brain refused to take them in, because the rest of me was aware, too aware, that I was sitting in a dark office with a man who was officially Very Clever, and had read my work, and was not showing any acknowledgement of having read my work. He continued to not-speak so I had no choice but to continue to not-read. His knee was inches away from my knee and I could hear his breath – which meant he could also hear mine, which was weird, very weird, and could signify the start of a clichéd donpreying-on-silly-little-undergrad story I didn’t want to be, nor had ever imagined myself having the potential to be, a part of.
He tapped my knee. ‘Don’t sue me!’ he said. ‘But I’ve asked you four times. I didn’t know how else to get your attention.’ He was looking me in the eye, which I found a bit confronting, because it is a bit confronting, when people do that, which they often don’t. ‘I asked what you thought of it.’ ‘...’ ‘I knew it,’ he said. ‘You were “reading”’- he mimed an emphasis, ‘rather than reading, am I right?’ I replied by wishing intensely that we were the wax museum statues. ‘I did it right, this inverted commas thing?’ he said. ‘Isn’t that what you kids like to do this days? As if everything is hypothetical, nothing real?’ The tourists were photographing us. They were using a flash and the assistant was bustling over to tell them off. ‘Is this a hypothetical situation to you?’ he said. ‘It doesn’t exactly feel real.’ We had a very long discussion about the meaning of the word real, over the course of which I learned that my understanding of this particular word was ‘used to,’ and so now, years later, when my life grows around me like a dark room and I don’t know what to say, I ask myself ‘what’s changed?’ And it helps2.
Sometimes; a bit.
are about looking for that moment when things really happen. That moment will never be expressed as beautifully or truthfully as it is on film.
Ping! But no one came. The small bulb inside the combination grill kept burning and the red bars curved along its roof kept on glowing. Beneath the heat and the light, the sandwich: Perfectly golden, dark brown, black edged, black.
OVERUSED It was on a Friday night that he found, by accident, the icon ‘Hours spent on planetromeo.com in the last 365 days’. He clicked on it without thinking. A little window popped up, displaying the number 223. He looked at it, eyes narrowing. Then he closed the window and clicked on the icon again. The same number appeared like a malediction. Two hundred and twenty three. He pulled up the calculator and divided the number by 12. He stiffened. It was almost 19. Nineteen days. Suddenly he felt disgust, seeing himself sitting in his dark bedroom in the light of a screen. He jumped up and walked quickly to the living room to pour himself a glass of water. He started to think about that time, and what he could have done with it: Printed out and labelled all of his holiday photos, learned Italian, looked for a job he actually liked, read the books he had been meaning to for years (Moby Dick). Instead, he had chatted to 100s of men online, had gone on about 50 dates (and how many hours had that taken up?), slept with about 30 (though he had stopped counting). What was left of them? He could only recall a handful. He remembered the Brazilian student he’d met by Old Street (because the sex had been awkward and he now saw him every week at Bikram), the Israeli TV presenter he’d walked around London Fields with (because he had been rejected after trying too hard to impress), and the German doctor who’d taken him to a gastropub in Islington (lousy kisser). (He had suppressed many others, such as the Pakistani sales manager whom he’d fucked on the floor of this living room.) He let himself fall onto the couch. ‘Put yourself out there’, his friends had said a year ago, and he to himself. Now that he was single. After P had left without really saying why. ‘Freedom’ was the word they used. He, since then, felt more like a gas flame someone had forgotten to put out. Was it his fault? Could he have predicted poor conversations, unsynchronized wavelengths? Would he find someone whose voice did not contain the despair he felt himself? He wondered whether he should, after all, pick up a book. He looked around the room and for the first time in a long time became aware of the silence. A ring from the bedroom – three rising notes – broke it and stirred him up. A message from another virtual Romeo. He hesitated. Then he got up, and walked back to his computer.
BROKEN (PROMISED) FLOWERS Films are rarely true to life, hence their allure. Yet every now and then, for most of us, a moment occurs that mirrors either a clichéd movie scene or specifically adheres to a rather obscure one. I once experienced the former. I caught a bouquet at a wedding. That’s it. It was just like in a movie, although for some reason I was the only man among the girls. I didn’t catch it particularly glamorously either, but the comedic nature of the clasp was still very rom-com. It fell to me and I swiped, hit the bouquet in the air, went for the grab again, and flicked it to the other hand. It felt like an eternity until I actually had it in two hands. As much a movie moment as it was, it was not all that important or even memorable, contrary to these written words. It may have made for a good trailer but it will not be part of a scrapbook nor a best man’s speech. The moments – or snapshots – that will be recited are never film-worthy and never make for particularly good stories when retold to others. Still, they are far greater and far better. I have no wedding date planned. The bouquet lied.
SHADOWS (ABRIDGED) Let us praise the shadows. Let us revel in dimness. Let us descend into darkness so that we may better understand the light. For light is currency, you see, illumination a commodity and exposure, an irrevocable certainty. There is no dusky haze, no dim half-light, only the glare of modernity. My life has taken on an opaque lustre, my surfaces have a saccharine sheen and my environment is saturated with the glow of progress. I seek, with all of my might and with all of my means, to eradicate the smallest shadow and to banish the darkness so that I may be exposed to the light, unabated and without fear of censure. For the shadows are where the demons lie, where the reprobates scheme and where footsteps disappear into the void. Everything is illuminated. My eyes are square and my eyebrows are singed. I am made violently aware of my own body at every turn. I see too much. There is no veil, no mystery, only matter and surface. And as our built environment irradiates the atmosphere with the light of our betterment, even the cosmos is blazed from the sky. I find myself complicit in the noise, the bright lights and the immediacy of stuff. I long for clarity, revelation and disclosure in the hope that I will find something of myself in the melee and that I will be enlightened. And yet, despite our propensity for the light, we are dependent on darkness and are inseparable from shadow. For in the darkness, one can find absence and presence, space and substance. It is in this space that we should seek refuge and immerse ourselves in the shadows. I sense this Shadow surfacing in unwanted moments of selfreflection, where I see a glimpse of myself in the darkness of others. And in these moments I brim, momentarily, with my past, my fears and my home truths. Discomfort and restraint burst into outcry. I am united with my shadow only fleetingly, and once I have shut the door to this interior space, I can only feel a shame and dishevelment for having given the game away. I’ve seen this happen in other people’s lives, and now it’s happening in mine.
TEXT THE PROMOTIONAL CODE ‘TUBE241’ AND GET TWO PROFILES FOR THE PRICE OF ONE. YOU AND A FRIEND CAN JOIN TODAY. People ask us to tell the story all of the time. Of how we met. Of how I burst into Kivre Food and Wine, the off-license and small grocery beneath my flat wearing one shoe and my blouse half undone, hair and clothing and body soaking wet shouting 'Lily. Lily! Where's the stop-cock?' because I thought my flat mate was buying milk and the shower pipe had exploded and Lily knew all about these things and I didn't. Because of this, I now realise that it was fair of him to think that I was one of the lapsed-but-supposed-to-be-recovering addicts that dutifully turned up at the meth clinic on the corner of our road every day at 9:00am. He only lived the next road over, so he too knew about the meth-clinic and the 9:00am methadone handout. She wasn't buying milk. She wasn't there at all. She must have forgone breakfast and a shower that morning because she must have been running late for work. Otherwise she might have been the one to open the bathroom door and be soaked in a deluge of what must have been at least four hours of a burst water pipe of freezing cold December water. As I ran-walked through the tiled isles looking for Lily, (there were four very tight corridors between the highly stacked goods) I rounded a corner too quickly for my wet skin-coloured stockinged nylon foot, slid into a half-splits position whilst grabbing hold of an armful of tinned spam that I had hoped was going to be something solid, and crashed headfirst into the corner of a shelf that I later found out housed jelly cubes. I passed out. When we go to Kivre Food and Wine now we laugh, he puts his arm around me, we greet the shop-keepers who have since become our friends, but who, at the time, must have been terrified by the blood and water and the unconscious girl on the floor of their shop. He had immediately put down his shopping and laid me out flat, staunching the bleeding with his scarf. He motioned to someone else buying their work-a-day provisions to call an ambulance. I had five stitches above my left eye, and now my eyebrow splits in two different directions, ever so slightly, as the hair doesn’t grow on the scar tissue. I quite like it. The floor of the bathroom and the ceiling of Kivre Food and Wine had to be re-plastered. It was badly sagging by the time Lily rushed back from her office after receiving a phone call from an unknown number. Kivre Food and Wine could be as much to thank as anywhere. It’s just two people connecting in a space isn’t it? On Thursday it will be a new story.
THE ROAD TRIP Scrap the Americanised image of fast cars, fast food, and fast sex. The most heartening road trip will always be steeped in a slow, rich, reassuring nostalgia. The landscape that rises and falls through the window frame, the gentle hum of the engine, and the consistent vibrations of the wheels in motion, together lull a soothing, monotonous calm. Even when knees nobble the backs of seats, heads rest cricked on their seatbelt cords, and the try-hard Magic Tree has long betrayed its petroleum scent, each advancing mile coaxes forth an increasing soporific comfort. When the motorway railings seem without hope of an end, one is left to wonder: ‘will my raindrop be the first to reach the end of the pane?’ Indeed, only on a road trip can I Spy, How Many Legs Does That Pub Have? and Spot The Christmas Tree truly come into their own. As one local radio station fizzles out, another crackles into life, and unknown communities sift through the airwaves from the picturesque villages rolling past. ‘Car Tapes’, or perhaps ‘Car CDs’, live in the glove compartment for decades at a time and become synonymous with travelling – only the ‘Car Music’ genre succeeds in uniting fans of ABBA, Disney and Rihanna alike. Of course the road is not always smooth. Sometimes the Little Chefs, Welcome Breaks, and Ginsters goods fail to sufficiently whet the appetite. Sometimes you lose the ‘dibs’ for the front seat and get put in the boot to befriend dogs, wave at children and gesture inappropriately at other road users. Sometimes, you vomit over your coat, because, contrary to road trip folklore, sitting on a stack of newspapers is not an effective cure for carsickness. But, as long as you have a sticky box of boiled sweets, Polos, or Haribo to hand, then a burst of Canned Heat’s ‘Going Up Country’ is all that is needed to realign the heart with the journey’s steady and uplifting forward pace. The best time to be a passenger is probably at dusk. There is nothing quite as charming as watching night’s sable hues sweep across the sky, cloaking fields and sleepy hamlets in enchanted gloom. The lively trail of lights that snakes ahead becomes mesmerising, sliding behind corners and shimmering from view. When batting cats’ eyes glitter brightly, quaint country lanes are transformed – their arching tunnels of trees now crouch inward, feeding visions of Farthing Wood, witches, and their familiars. Though the inside of the car is safe and snug, just enough night magic seeps into the slumberous mind to cast thick dozy dreams. The kind of spell that is not even broken when the driving stops, and aged five, you are gently unbuckled and carried indoors. It is that deep contentedness which makes me ever keen to get in and belt up – to put my feet on the dash, sink low in my seat and count cars.
A gust blew and something fell to the bedroom floor. It was a photograph she knew well, part of her visual history. A dark forest, and in it, very small, two people – a man and a baby. The baby was her, and she was wearing pink, being held up amongst the misty trees like a fat little star, arms and legs outstretched. The person holding her, the man, her father, was walking away from the camera – oblivious. This world was shady and indistinct – it had obscure corners, and the trees stretched away on a plain that was too flat – but it was a happy one. The light reaching through the brume made it a fairytale of her childhood. She had once been struck that the photographs she liked most always hid the faces of their subjects – on a wall, in a frame, was a picture of herself, her father and her sisters standing by a harbour, watching ships come in over the grey water. Her father with these three miniature girls, all waiting for life. And the backs of their heads there forever, on the wall. She picked the photograph from the floor. Stroked off a film of dust. There was a crease across its surface, fine and raised like a scar. She looked again at the fat baby, and down the arms that held it. Something stirred. How hadn’t she noticed before? The hair. The hands. The person holding her was her mother.
(L: It’s Rude to Play With Your Food)
CONTRIBUTORS Anna Maguire / Clare Fisher / Flo Wales Bonner / Francesca Perry / Grace Pickering / Imran Perretta / Kiran Moodley / Kitty Knowles / Rosaline Shahnavaz / Tamara Colchester / Tomasz Jedrowski