Map of the area to the south of Taunton, West Somerset, England. Corfe to Taunton is roughly 2 miles. The 3-word references (which are also found throughout this document in Bold) mark locations identified using the app What3Words. This app divides the planet into 3m square grids and assigns a different set of 3 words to each square. Somewhere on Earth there’s probably a square called Never Get Lost. I wonder where it is? Oh hang on a minute let’s check…. Looks like there isn’t one. But there is a Never Deft Lost. It’s in Southland, New Zealand just to the east of Rae’s Junction, between Roxburgh and Lawrence (there’s also a Never Debt Lost in the heel of Italy).
A hall full of cards left unfilled ended his life with wine and pills there’s a grave somewhere only halfway filled a sign in a graveyard on a hill reads....
BINGOMASTERS BREAKOUT!!!!!!!!!!!! – Mark E Smith
Mark E Smith and me have something in common. Both of us are crap at singing and both of us sing anyway what the hell. While the world is yet to catch on to my genius, however, the world does recognise Smith, founder and constant member of The Fall, as one of the great innovators in pop music.
Smith was destined for the factories of 1980s Manchester, but he saw what The Clash and The Buzzcocks were doing and he thought why not and gave it a go and, ignoring detractors, persisted. And I for one am very pleased that he did. There’s probably millions of people who wouldn’t put up with Smith’s tuneless drawling, but then there’s also (me amongst them) loads of people who can’t stand opera and no-one’s going to seriously deny that the world would be less rich if Puccini had decided to say stuff this to composing and taken up a career in plastering instead.
That’s what’s roughly going through my head (John Peel style, complete with accent) as I skirt around Staple Lawns farm (Prowling Treating Besotted) and enter the Forestry Commission lands of higher Blackdown. From here you can see the scarps of the remains of the Holocene coastline leading the eye across the Somerset Levels, the flooded lands, some of the lowest in Britain that even today are barely above sea level. Staple Hill’s the highest point on the Blackdowns but it’s darned difficult to find the nipple on its pine-treed breast. My map does show a trig point (Devoured Grove Exotic) so, although there’s no corresponding physical structure there, I’m confidently standing on a fallen trunk one morning proclaiming myself to be King of the Castle (no Dirty Rascals to be seen – they’re all sensibly tucked up in bed watching Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt on Breakfast TV).
At school I gained my lowest grades in the subject of Art. A consistent run of D-minuses and the odd C for effort. Clearly I had no talent for drawing or painting.
Fast forward some 30 years or so and, one day, 08Me was dragging out some old interior lining boards from a kitchen I’d helped demolish in one of those old workers’ cottages in Holloway Road, Wellington, New Zealand. I’d stashed the sheets of hardboard under our house for fuel and there they’d stayed for at least a decade during which time, I discovered when I finally dragged them out into the light, they had accumulated an extra superficial layer of interest. The old kitchen boards were covered with an intricate filigree of mould. Complicated miniature deltas and braided rivers of black spread beautifully across the pale blue. I was captivated. I painted over pretty much all of those boards with a thin wash of white that sealed the whole lot together and, in some cases, I thought, enhanced the beauty of the surface.
There was one board that I particularly liked. In fact I valued it so much that when I did my first exhibition I put quite a steep price tag on it to prevent it being knowingly undersold. On the last day of the show a guy I’d seen a few times already that week wandered in and he stood in front of the painting and he told me he loved it so much that he really wanted to buy it but that he couldn’t really afford it and could I possibly consider.... So we negotiated a price and he left the gallery that evening with the piece in his arms, bound for his bedroom wall in his house in Tawa. I like to think of that guy coming home tired from a hard day’s work standing in his bedroom looking at that piece of board and feeling ... well feeling, I guess, something similar to what I felt when I couldn’t stop looking at it. Feeling that somehow my life had been enriched by the existence of this strange and beautiful object that I had had a hand in making. This object which if I’d decided that I wasn’t cut out to be an artist would never have come into existence, would never have made a difference to my own life, the guy from Tawa’s life, to anybody’s life.
Well that’s what I’m thinking about anyway this 2nd day of the month of July in the year 2020 on Staple Hill so there you go...
UK-born in 1962, Treefrog ‘David’ Sanders is a musician and artist with a peculiar interest in the piano and creative investigations into the world of fluid dynamics. Since 2009, David has exhibited works at venues including the NZ Academy of Arts, Thistle Hall and Ron Barber Gallery. David has also been a member of the Bayview Shelley Bay Arts Collective and the music theatre group, Amalgam. Solo painting shows include Demolition Series (2009), Surface Tension (2013) and Strange Attractors (2017). David lives and works in Wellington, NZ.