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Symbolic Forest

A homage to loading screens.

Blog : Posts tagged with ‘Kilburn’

Scenes from the weekend

In which we describe the wintry countryside

Struggling, out of breath, up steep steps up a hillside; turning back and looking down to snap a quick photo. Reaching the top, and turning again to adore the view; gasping for breath in the cold January air. Wandering along the clifftop, past all the other Sunday walkers, and watching gliders taking off: the growl of the winch cutting out, then the whistle of the towline falling to ground, and the glider passing quietly overhead. A random dog jumping up my leg, as I stop to take a photograph of the glider.

A railway station in the depths of the countryside, with no trains, no trains at all today. The only village nearby is the single line of houses built because there’s a station here. It used to be a busy junction, but now it’s a quiet branch, most of the platforms decaying to grass, and rust on the rails. We wander along the platform, wondering if the people who live here now have spotted us. The signal at the platform end is red, and villagers are walking their dogs.

There are photos of all this, to come, but for now the ink polaroids will have to suffice.

Guerilla art

In which we talk about art and anonymity

Over the years I’ve had all sorts of plans for art projects which have never quite got off the ground. So I’ve never had to answer the question: how would I feel if I did something Artistic, which became famous all over the place, but nobody knew it was me who did it.

The local news here was full of something similar, recently. All around Yorkshire, in Goathland, Kilburn, Arthington and Braithwell, mysterious stone heads have been appearing; and some then disappearing again. Intriguing, you could say. I’m strangely attached to the idea of mysterious heads – which are reminiscent of some of the stranger stone crosses on the Yorkshire Moors – popping up in the night. Rather like crop circles, in a way.

Unfortunately, though, the mystery of the stone heads hasn’t lasted very long. Crop circles were a puzzler for a few years, back in the 1980s. The stone heads have been a mystery for a few weeks; but they’ve only stayed a mystery for a few hours now the story has hit the national news. They are apparently made by a chap called Billy Johnson. Presumably, he’s done it all for the publicity;* as he left some easily googleable clues attached to each head, it’s fairly obvious that he wanted to be found. Artists have to make money somehow, after all. Personally, I’d rather it had stayed a mystery, though.

Mysteries are good for the imagination. An anonymous sculpture, appearing out of nowhere, is something to tantalise the mind and get you wondering about all those things sitting just around the edges of the known world. A self-publicising sculptor called Billy Johnson – whether he’s real or not – is dull and mundane by comparison.

* and I’ve just helped, haven’t I. Oh, well. Billy, if you’re a self-googler and you’re reading this, I’ll tell you where my own street corner is; you can leave one there and I’ll make sure you get some more publicity for your website.

Update, August 29th 2020: This post originally linked to the website about Billy Johnson’s stone heads, which was easily findable if you did an internet search on the words attached to each head. It has since disappeared completely from the internet and the domain name bought by an entirely different woodcarver. However, the “friend of Billy’s” who set the site up is part of the “digital fiction studio” Dreaming Methods who seem to have used the publicity from the story to distribute more of Billy Johnson’s stone heads rather more widely than he could do on his own. If you want to see Billy Johnson’s work, you can find a lot of it scattered around his local area, near Barnsley.