Saturday, 13 December 2008


Ray Melvin’s Strike Guys

My friend Oscar Oldershaw asked me to help him out with a project a couple of weeks ago which involved taking a semi fictional bowling team on a short (one night only) tour that was part chaotic car chase and part leisurely reunion and dance off. I was officially involved simultaneously as team photographer, project documenter and inside informer. But this role in itself was part of a more performative aspect.

I’ll hopefully add more details and some more of the photographs as soon as Oscar decides what he wants to do with them.

I also helped out with a soundtrack of sorts:


Just posting this here to remind me to edit the cat film. And James Hedges sent me this:

Regarding 'Semeel the guardian' about the two boys' experience of a large cat that warned them of a man wanting to kill them; it may be significant that they'd lit a fire and that one of the boys was playing with a bow and arrow. I'm sure that other readers interested in magic and the occult will also have made the connections below.

There are both a good angel and a fallen angel (demon) sharing the name Samael (close enough for the boys to have spelt the name as Semeel). The order of the golden dawn changed the name of the good angel to Zamael to avoid confusion - but the correct name is still Samael! Angels are abstract forces and rarely appear in human form. The tradition of associating a human form with angels probably comes from linking letters in the Hebrew alphabet with corresponding images; the suffix 'el' implies (at least) human legs and wings. The Golden Dawn found it more correct to ignore the 'el' in forming the image of an angel, so that the letters of an angelic name, excluding the ending, suggest the most useful form for human beings to picture the angel's appearance - usually in hybrid form, or as animals (when they appear at all). Vowels don't count, so the most significant letter of Samael is S (Samekh). Two of Samekh's associations are 'archer' and 'male'. I suggest that the boy's playing with a bow and fire-arrows accidentally evoked the (good) angel Samael.

I cannot find a link between Samael and the form of a cat, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Samael is traditionally supposed to appear as a warrior in green armour*; perhaps that would have been more terrifying for the boys than a large cat.

I certainly believe the report of their adventure. The valuable warning, the statement that he was a 'guardian', and the name he gave them are, by themselves, very significant. If only they'd asked for his seal - to compare with the grimoires!

Rob Solomon
Southwick, West Sussex

Sunday, 9 November 2008

work in progress..

Whispering Grass (Don’t Tell the Trees)

Work in progress. Film starring Heathcote Williams (actor, playwright) about a giant cat formed forest spirit further exploring narrative as a collaborative engagement. Upon completion this will be screened first as a b-movie at the Fiddlers Island Film Festival Oxford. The FIFF are an outdoor group that uses the same space that was used as a backdrop for the main scenes in the film.

Heathcote and FIFF

suspended chord

Suspended Chord

Each speaker played a sample of a smoothly looped note from a different film soundtrack. The volumes were low so it was possible to hear a different chord depending on where you stood.

jack's robot

Jack's Robot 4:48

james and michael

Michael and James 4:29

A film exploring reconstruction, genre and documentation and the effect of a camera on a situation. We left two friends in a room with a camera rolling talking for half an hour. The same night Oscar Oldershaw and I transcribed a section of dialogue to make a script for a re-enactment which was shot the next day. Part of a continuing investigation into narrative instabilities..

naked lunch at the drive in

We taped a video camera to the dashboard before driving out to get lunch at a burger place. We left the camera rolling for the duration of the journey capturing the sounds and movements made by the four people in the car. As the tape ran out of film on our return, we rewound it to the beginning and threw it out of the moving car window. Two of us saw it bounce breifly.

Tape throwing performance reconstruction

Reconstructed film ‘stills’ from tape throwing performance