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Signs: Sold

If we could sell our day
what would we be bid
who would want to buy
we who were always sold
who would profit
from our debiit
what would be our lot
who would take our benefit

Found this new sign today a short distance form the Swale. It amused me. Today is what I have. Today is what i've done. All the thoughts thought during the hours. Experiences. Sights, Sounds, Dreams, Emotions. I took a whole tranche of photos of the Short Brothers creators of amazing flying machines. Close. Together. Arms outstretched. Mimicing flight. From afar I thought they were children playing. Fliight is childish. Adventure. Fun. Crazy. The thought that we might fly. I would add it to the lot.

I would play a word game. I would auction my day today knowing that yesterday today was tomorrow and that tomorrow never comes and that my day, my life, could not be bought.

I had no idea how to express it. The words just wouldn't come. And who would I wish to sell my day too today but you. So, I had to make it saleable. I had to make you want it. And i had the radio on and I was laughing. Harvey Proctor was bemoaning his human rights being squashed and was looking to hold May and Horgan Howe to account but the blue the home secretary holds to, the blue line the police parade. Well isn't it their whole intention to just squash those rights. My laughter mocked those who would take what thy have no respect for until its gone.

And I thought of a facebook conversation once had with Bob Findlay Williams and I thought about reading Alan Holdsworth say in Disability Politics that institutions are our plantations and I gave consideration to the experience of our common day, Yesterday, today, the future seemed so far away and then the words came. They came at night. Fleeting and disappearing and I thought that I might dream them like Keef's Satisfaction and would wake up and find them fully formed. But I was scared that I might lose it. And so I wrote it down on the back of a creased up paper. And I knew I hadn't caught it. I knew I hadn't the words that I wanted but I knew it would do.
So here is my day. Sold to you.

Posted by Rich Downes, 30 March 2016

Last modified by Rich Downes, 30 March 2016

Signs: Inducement

Beneath a Waterloo arch I spied an empty Billboard. Fill it with your own message. A sign for your own making.

The sign is bordered by bright lights. I couldn't get far enough away from it to get the vertical lights in. If i did the words Prime Sight would have been clearer. The sign backs onto a wall. Invention, building, design. Is it a contradiction of capitalism that even where there is no capitalism that capitalism is every where; not just elsewhere.

My signs read;

'My life is the struggle'. I have just passed a bust of Mandela beneath which read; 'The struggle is my life': a simple message for activists of any colour. My inversion is not our message but right now, beneath storm clouds, an individualistic one. For myself alone, beaten down by rain, wind, and cold with a hinkling of dehydration. To think i woke feeling so well this morning.

'No inducements'. The electric billboards on the Waterloo escalators are all out. I wish i'd snapped them in their grey uselessness waiting for power, blandishment, a reboot or sale.

'Emptiness Strikes'. I feel a void. Dissatisfaction not a depression. Neither am I anxious for the lights to come on to seek to sell me something. There is another sign I never took a photo of and wish I had. On the side of a building in Tower Hamlets; 'Sorry the lifestyle you ordered is temporarily out of stock'. This seemed redolent of someting then and maybe even more so now. Please fill the void with slogans, fill it full of lifestyles. The space is yours

Posted by Rich Downes, 28 March 2016

Last modified by Rich Downes, 28 March 2016

Signs: Truth

The sun goes down
in the west
I walk towards it

The sun shines long
on the Debden
I walk along it

The sun goes down
darkness in time
I walk amongst it

The sun has gone

It was 2014. There is a river walk in suffolk I like to do. Not too long, not so hard. There is a good time to do it. Late or early when the sun is low and the tide is likewise. Little riverlets form strange shapes in the mud. I love to photo into the sun. I like it because it works well. I like it because they say don't do it.

It's one of my rebellions. I shoot into the sun as often as I can. My rebellions last a long time. I rebelled aged 8 in special school. I denied the cloth i wore on sundays. I denied all that was old, all that could hurt, all that could not be trusted. 

Walking back along the Debden, must have been early and still light, when I found this sign because the light was still there. I think I must have played with the colours. I can't imagine the doors and the bolt being this colour. But it suits my blue mood, my blue truth, my blue absence and my blue reward. Thanks for nothing. Thanks for being nowhere, thanks for being nothing, thanks for being no.

Posted by Rich Downes, 20 March 2016

Last modified by Rich Downes, 27 March 2016

Signs: Unhinged

Many thanks to the good burghers of Brent who tickle my fancy every time I pass this sign. Yes even today when the clouds amass stormliness and I have to use the flash..... well, i don't have to but its digital and i don't know how to turn it off yet.

And so onward........

Before we go through the keyhole to this far from salubrious one storey affair, we trepass along a down trodden path past a hole in the ground which may or may not have once been a fish pool full of koi carp but now dehydrated, left without water, devoid of duck houses and barely mustering a drained moat we can only surmise that a tory patrician never lived here. We might also note from the uncared appearance of the garden that neither are we visiting Alan Titmarch though he may well be well disposed to sorting this mess out. Him and the guy from DIY SOS for it is clear that its a poor soul who lives here. Shame.

Still we move on..... this is not that sort of programme..... that swings from tragedy to uplifting smiles and moist cheeks, stained by tears, at the bravery of TV heroes relieving undateable inconsolables. Stepping over the threshold. We should not be put off by the stat scrawled on the wall '100% of cripples entering here do so glibly in ignorance of the fact that 25% of them can never get out without support'. That's not really a fact its just something the researchers read somewhere once.

One thing we can take comfort in Keith Lemon style is the preponderance of loos on every floor not that there are that many floors to a bungalow but look a toillet there and a commode here. Could it be that the victim is someone with IDS. Sorry I didn't mean irritiable Duncan Smith. It's not his house. I mean't IBS. Its really so difficult to find any clues to any sort of life here never mind spot the celebrity so there's only one thing for it.


Really the scrounger who lives here losing benefits to feed the middle classes needs to go stack some shelves in some supermarket. OK it wouldn't suppport their need for an income but at least they'd be getting out of the house and enriching some deserving capitalist. They might also be able to nick a snickers so as to leave some clue as to who they really are. Anyone can go down a foodbank you know. So, panel over to you. Saint or Sinner?     

Posted by Rich Downes, 17 March 2016

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 22 March 2016