I am continuing my fascination with Chester le Street Railway viaduct and Lhasa de Sela’s challenging and healing music………in unison. The illustration above is from the album notes for ‘ The Living Road’ for the song, La Frontera ( The Border). She made the illustration, which is a collage, with the viaduct, aquaduct ? in the background. It brings me to and reminds me of the Railway viaduct spanning the River Cong. ‘Jungle Madness’ was there in the Cong valley recently bringing the bright lights and giddiness of 21st century entertainment. The contrast of the fun fair and the astounding, gigantic monument to the industrial revolution that savagely shaped County Durham was bizarre. The bright green lights of ‘ Jungle Madness’ and Kong looking down on his river whilst trapped in 2 dimensions and dwarfed by the brick monument still elegantly serving its purpose. There’s a curtain of scaffold and tarpaulin around the structure and a large ‘cherry picker’ – the viaduct is having an intensive check up and repair. Makes me wonder how many more centuries ? It’s already approaching the end of its second.
Back to Lhasa’s music and going back to The Border – time and again – trying to overcome a fear ? get the scary ‘life’ thing right ? carrying on even if luck is out of the picture ?
So ideas……..hard, savage, (beautiful), industrial development from the forging nineteenth century and Lhasa – her subtle, gentle, clever, endlessly healing, passionate, dogged cling onto life – trying to fathom it all out AND succeeding sublimely, can’t have one without the other if sanity is sought after !
On Friday the 13th March, proved to be very lucky for me, I rang an ancient bell in Gatehouse of Fleet. I can still feel the reverb in my skull – it felt fabulous to actually make that note happen and feel the effect. Also aware that to repeat the process too often would lead to deafness and possibly madness ! It summed up for me keeping it real in our computer age sitting at our screens ( as I am now) not really seeing it or hearing it. Also witnessed the wondrous night sky, without light pollution, outside Challoch Manse. I realised how much of a veil of murk is cast over my night sky at home – some would say so what ? Get real man !
As one possible emerging set of viaduct / border ideas begins to ferment – maybe – who knows ? The ideas could go in a completely different direction – that’s what is so amazing about collaboration. Another one is fully formed with the real handmade inky print aroma infused throughout its pages. ‘Souvenir of Tynemouth’ the latest Moonkwayk Studio handmade artists’ book will be for sale from my Tynemouth Market stall – price £15 from sunday 22nd March 2015. It is a collaboration between myself, hand printed lino blocks and digital images and Elaine Cusack, a poet who has written a poem about Tynemouth Railway Station. Why not make your own mind up about how brilliant the poem and the book are and hear and see Elaine perform the poem live at Free as a Bard in the Jam Jar Cinema, Whitley Bay on the evening of sunday 22nd March. If you go to the reading and want to buy or order a copy of ‘Souvenir of Tynemouth’ there is a ‘one night only offer’ price of £12.00, for full details of the evening and other venues in the North East – go to Elaine’s website dipdoomagazoo.wordpress.com.