Weekly Diary


As I got up, wearing clothes I had borrowed from a passing mermaid (I should have realised I would have problems with the trousers), I looked across our playing fields window box to see the weather gods playing games without knowing the rules. I thought about this and then thought about the left of centre politics of big grey clouds before having a breakfast of harmonicas and a drink of pasteurised music. I walked about the house blindfolded before attaching a search light on my forehead and going out; June followed a few minutes later to take the blindfold off – by then I had simultaneously gone under and over a bridge and met people I would never know. The paper darts of conversation were lost to both me and the man who had a pocket calculator for a face. I tried to calculate a smile.


June and sat I in the crying eye of a giant robotic saint (neither of us knew what religion it adhered too – although all religions are probably one to machines); she was wearing a manhole cover instead of a hat and I was dressed in the gate leading to an abandoned mine shaft – more than one person has told me it was exceptionally deep. She wanted to walk the long hand of a giant clock and I walked with her for a few minutes – the lady coming up the slope with a steam roller in her pram compared the minutes to the stick like figures in a Lowry painting. I joked that I thought they were the teeth of a long extinct shark despite feeling deep down that nothing actually becomes extinct but rather just jumps dimensions – I then jumped a puddle.


I got out of the barrel of an early Tudor cannon before June had shed (or even thought about shedding) her hauberk night clothes. I went downstairs with a map of the Low Countries in the Mid Sixteenth Century pinned to my front and a diagram illustrating the Bessemer Process on my back). A hand with more than ten fingers was clawing at the window as I strapped armour to my left arm and leg and floral patterned fabric on my right. I looked up at what I thought was a bunch of smiling heads (one of the pictures of heaven I have dreamt up likens it to bunches of sentient grapes – I am not sure if you can make sentient wine). June called out as is she was a mathematician and an endangered big cat and I looked up again – sure enough it had begun to rain.


I looked out of a medieval knight window in the dragon breath of morning (not knowing if I was an electron in an incandescent arc or the last thought of a dying sun – I counted the burnt out remains of my circling planets just in case). Outside was a cornfield of endless grey shoots; I imagined small figures trapped inside getting squashed by the force of the impact. As an experiment I placed one giant hand out of the window and then one miniature one – interestingly they both got wet. June and I had planned to go out for the day and had already donned our ocean liner clothes: I was the RMS Mauretania and June was going to be the RMS Lusitania but I told her not to. As it turned out we stayed inside a French Foreign Legion fort all day dressed as Tuaregs.


Unusually I was woken by the alarm (in our household a Hawker hunter breaking the sound barrier in a shallow dive within a glass case which once housed a relic from the second Defenestration of Prague). I got up with two heads, one of which I discarded in favour of a mane from a Lipizzaner stallion and rode like the wind (even though the wind was actually blowing in the opposite direction) across a railway bridge to catch the bus. I boarded a large black shape which almost disappeared in the large dark morning and changed shapes in a field of gigantic corvids – each of which was bigger than a modest retirement bungalow and thought of the past instead of the future. I subsequently met the personification of both the past and the future and we talked of the present.


I woke up inside a tree, refrained from calling myself a hamadryad, and then crawled out of the porthole of a sunken merchant ship from a non-World War. The man next door was climbing a ladder stuck in the middle of the lawn as I placed a hierophantic lizard on my head and read the entire life story of an interstellar pilgrim on its unwound tongue – I then unwound my own tongue and wrote down a row of numbers, the sum of which can never be an even number. The dog barked from inside a cat box and the rabbit grew Sellotape wings which stuck together when he tried to fly. I pictured heaven full of stuck up people and built a cave on the door step; going out for a drink when another caveman knocked the door – he was hoping to get a doctorate in philosophy.


June and I started the day as two separate words on a printed page (no matter how close I wanted to get punctuation always got in the way). I finally got up out of the slightly surreal story, moments before a giraffe in a designer suit ate the entire contents of a window box supposedly planted by Mahatma Gandhi as an act of nonviolent civil protest. I climbed onto the back of a white rhinoceros and promised to plant more nonviolent civil protests; partly as a man who eats mirrors and partly as a wild animal who paints pictures. I was swishing this idea around in the bottom of a wine glass (which was too large and encouraged immoderate drinking) when I decided, in a heavy rain storm moment, to take June out for lunch dressed as a sitar player in the middle of a red giant sun.


About Gerald Shepherd

Gerald Shepherd is a painter, graphic artist, sculptor, digital/multimedia artist, photographer, writer, curator and arts administrator. He has also been involved with science art, performance art, conceptual art, installations and environments (as well as peripheral creative pursuits such as garden design).
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