Sunday, 27 May 2007


Sometimes I wonder what I am. Am I an artist or a driver? A live artist or a drive artist? A student or a lecturer? A performer who writes or a writer who performs? I am sitting in a car talking to strangers about a loss I can't expect them to understand. Sometimes I am the only person I know. The problem is the only person who was anything like me is dead and that's the reason for the journey. I don't even know what he would think. I'd like to think that he would approve of the journey I'm going on. That's sometimes the only thought that keeps me on The Long and Winding Road. Sometimes I think he would say it was 'different'. Which is the sort of thing people say when they don't understand what you do but don't know what else to say. I can only hope there is an audience of passengers that want to sit with me for a while and listen to what I want to tell them. I hope there is. I think there is. The steering committee exists to guide me on the journey but I don't even know what they think. A collection of email addresses from a time when I was high on previously locked up emotion. In some ways I have become the car. Broken down. Broken into. Run out of petrol. Parking ticketed. Towed home. When we brought the car back from London I waited for the auto-recovery vehicle like I was waiting to see my brother again. When we pushed the car back into the garage I felt I was tucking my brother in to bed. The driver said 'It's been on its little adventure.' And I smiled. Because that's exactly how it felt. The car has a life of its own. My brother's life. My life. And everywhere it goes, everywhere it sees, everyone who sees it becomes a part of a car history. His story. The breakdown was why it took me two years to work out what to do with the car. The breaking into was how I felt when people told me I was insane. The running out of petrol is how I feel when I lose the will to talk about the project. There are times when it doesn't even make sense to me so I can't make it make sense to other people. Non-believers. Non-drivers. The parking tickets are prescriptions for the anti-depressants I have taken. Penalties for the mistakes I have made. The towing home is the process of auto-recovery I have been undergoing ever since. I have been doubted and I doubt myself. Every day. Is this art or therapy? No pun - no reference to car-tharsis can help me. I am bound to the road. I am making myself do this. Wake up to this. Sleep with this. Live with this. Because if I don't I let my brother die again. Every day. This is how I keep him alive. If art is my religion. This is my candle. Lit every time I take the car out of the garage. Every time I talk to a passenger I am bringing the car and my brother and what we've been through back to life. Back to Liverpool. Back to me. The car is my brother. My brother is me. I am the car.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

The lock up

The homecoming

National Express

Dear National Express,

I am writing to complain about the standard of driving I experienced on the above service travelling from London Victoria to Nottingham on 17 May 2007. I paid for a Fun Fare ticket but it wasn't very fun.

There was an unnerving confrontation between the driver and a passenger seated behind him regarding the passenger’s use of a mobile phone. The nature of the confrontation was unclear but the driver attempted to resolve it by contacting the controller and complaining audibly about the passenger’s behaviour. Though this may be National Express protocol this tactic seemed to inflame rather than subdue the conflict between the passenger and the driver.

When the controller reassured the driver that the passenger should stop using his mobile phone if it was a health and safety concern or a distraction the driver hung up but continued to speak to the passenger in an agitated manner. Though the passenger was contributing to the argument it seemed that the aggressive discussion was affecting the manner of driving and we began to feel unsafe. The discussion became more of a health and safety concern than the mobile phone.

The driver seemed to make incendiary comments like ‘Are you a driver sir?’ and ended the discussion by stating ‘You’re really beginning to annoy me now’ and continued to drive in silence. We set off slightly delayed and it seemed that towards the end of the journey the driver was keen to make up for lost time. However this led to persistent reckless driving in excess of the speed limit and repeatedly tailgating other traffic from the A607 to the centre of Nottingham. I know because I have recently attended a speed awareness workshop.

On arrival in Nottingham my partner was violently ill and we were shaken for some time about the dangerous driving and manner of the driver’s behaviour. I would be grateful if something could be done to warn the driver against this in future and to reimburse us the cost of this traumatic and regrettable experience.

Yours faithfully,


Tonys' House Hotel

Dear Tony,

I am writing to complain about the standard of your hotel. My partner and I stayed for one night on Wednesday 16 May 2007. We were not impressed - it was like waking up in a Martin Amis novel.

• The wallpaper was gathered in the corner of the room indicating damp
• The plaster was falling from the ceiling
• The windowpane was cracked
• There was scaffolding outside the window – with no warning or notice of whether we would wake up in the morning to find builders looking at us
• The shower head holder was broken and kept falling off
• There was no hot water from the shower
• There was no cold water from the sink
• The bathroom was so small and wet that toilet rolls were soon sodden
• The continental breakfast was a tray of items from Lidl
• The TV and kettle were plugged into a splitter that did not work
• The other plug socket did not work
• The TV had a very bad reception
• The walls were very thin and we subsequently found it difficult to sleep

I have photographs of the above items that I can forward to the relevant authorities if required but would be grateful if you could reimburse us the cost of this unfortunate experience.

Yours faithfully,


PS The apostrophe in your name is in the wrong place

Post-show blues

Patronised by the ICA

Driving by night

Driving by day

The dashboard

Packing at the ICA

Arriving at the ICA

The Big Smoke

Saturday, 19 May 2007

The collection

Auto Recovery

Dear Chris,

As discussed, I have a custom painted 'art' car (Ford Fiesta) in Nottingham that I need to take to two arts festivals in May and June. The details are as follows:

Wednesday 16 May
ICA, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH

To collect the car from a private garage on Malvern Road. I will meet you at the garage at 10am. To arrive at the ICA, London before 5pm - to be collected at 10pm. The car to be kept at your depot until the following day when I will be available to meet you at the garage. The car parking space at the ICA is behind the building off Regent Street.

Friday 1 June – Saturday 2 June
Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham, B1 2HS

To collect the car from a private garage behind the flats on the right on Malvern Road, NG3 5AG. I will meet you at the garage at 10am. To arrive at the Ikon, Birmingham before 4pm on Friday to collected at 6pm on Saturday. The below map locates Broad St. in relation to the main Birmingham Ring Road, and the routes from major motorways. We can unload the car on Oozells Street.

The agreed fee for this work is £500. I will pay by cheque £300 on 16 May and £200 on 1 June. I trust that this is acceptable and look forward to meeting you. Thanks in advance.

Yours sincerely,


Thursday, 10 May 2007

Back on the Road

ICA, London
Wednesday 16 May 2007
6.30pm - 7.30pm Free
8.30pm - 9.30pm Free
Places are limited, meet in ICA Foyer

Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
Saturday 2 June 2007
12pm - 5pm Free
Places are limited, please book in advance on 0121 224 8084

Dear Steering Committee,

Clunk Click. The Long and Winding Road steps up another gear as it enters the final leg of its four year journey from Nottingham to Liverpool. So far the car project has had a number of slip roads.

It started in 2004 with a journey from Nottingham to Liverpool in a graffiti covered car packed with items wrapped up in brown paper and string. In 2005, I made a film of the journey - shown at festivals in the UK and Germany. In 2006, I was invited to exhibit the items at Nottingham's Surface Gallery and the Hinterland Festival commissioned an installation by the banks of the River Trent. In 2008 I plan to drive the car and everything in it into the River Mersey. Watch this space.

This year I have been commissioned to create a one-on-one performance at the Ikon Gallery for the Fierce! Festival in Birmingham in June and the performance has been selected to appear at the ICA in London as part of the Accidental Festival in May. Yes steering committee. Welcome to the fast lane. Luckily I recently attended a Speed Awareness workshop.

The Long and Winding Road - A Scar History will see me sitting in the driver's seat offering passengers a travel sweet before telling them the reason for the journey. Scars are stories. Stories on your skin. Each of the scars on my body is linked to the car. I address guests via the rear view mirror and tell stories. The story of the project so far. A scar history. A car history.

So dates for your diary above if you live near London or Birmingham and would like to join me for a travel sweet. Safe driving. See you on The Long and Winding Road.


The Art of Driving

La la la, la la la la la
La la la, la la la la la

I wish you'd learn to slow down
You might get there at the end
Don't think the accelerating pedal
Is the man's best friend
You don't have to break the speed limit
You don't have to break your neck
Another dead boy-racer
Cut out from the wreck

You've been driving way too fast
You've been pushing way too hard
You've been taking things too far
Who do you think you are?

Maybe wait until the summertime
Maybe wait until December
Because a heartfelt seduction
Lasts a life time

It's called the art of driving
It's called the art of driving
It's called the art of driving
The art of driving
It's called the art of driving
It's called the art of driving
Just the art of driving
It's just the art of driving
The art of driving
The art of driving
It's called the art of driving
It's called the art of driving
The art of driving
The art of driving
The art of driving
It's called the art of driving
It's called the art of driving