• Alan Smith ACA

Distant thinking while rambling


A lot of time has passed since looking beyond the horizon, yet via satellite I am seeing imagery from the latest obsessive trends in news; the Cummings family drive from London to Durham, the racial shit storm in the USA and political turmoil between China and Hong Kong.

It would be too easy to place the actions of over there as being too far away to matter here. So why should I care? I’m watching from the safety of Allenheads and its imaginary force field makes me unnervingly invincible, safely removed from all exterior matters, but then I remember that the local landlady felt a need to repeatedly boast about being a white supremacist and tell me and others that she voted Brexit “to get her country back from the p**** and n******”. I have not returned there since 2016 and I must admit to getting some pleasure from seeing the pub closed even if it’s because of coronavirus and not a result of her racist views; sadly racism is everywhere.


Remote viewing. The birds are singing and the sound of passing vehicles marks a change in COVID-life. The eerie silence of the total lock-down that I was growing sick of is gone and I find myself wishing it would return. I have not been told to end shielding and I am suffering from envy of those who now travel around and about with ostensible abandon and left wondering if I should try to ignore my reservations about venturing out, I feel like I am now trapping myself?


On the 13th of June (this month) my father will have his 90th birthday and I am desperate to go to him but know I can’t. Time has passed but the anger I continue to feel regarding Cummings and his barefaced disregard for HIS coronavirus rules of 'stay at home' and breaking them by driving from London to Durham, Barnard Castle and returning to London.


I can’t travel because of indoctrinated fears for my parents and myself and now I feel submerged in confusion from lies, contradiction, make believe, unclear communications and behaviours from this conservative government and the sudden free for all of the public after being told they can go where they like.


How am I to know what’s real if I can’t see, touch, taste and feel it for myself? The invisible virus and the digital data streams that are talking to me as I write. They are presenting me with; ‘total deaths and excess deaths’. What the fuck is an excess death? Excess synonyms: surplus, spare, superfluous, left over, glut.

There are times of calm that wash over me while walking, sitting and looking, eyes closed listening and after 30ish years drawing again. Loving that before I start moving the pen I don’t have to know what the drawing will be. It feels close to exploration while in lock down and contributes to deep thinking which happens on the periphery of other more direct thoughts or observations, it's a head space that I’m finding addictive and hope it will remain post COVID.


Making asemic drawings while listening to voice is intensifying the experience of hearing and it contributes to the rhythmic movement of hand and pen, with the space between words often causing me to momentarily hold my breath.




Is this meditation? With so many years of drawing behind me I don’t recall such intensity, perhaps it’s my need for avoidance, forgetting and ignoring my current situation that is the driving force?


It might be better if I don’t find out, perhaps some information is better not received.

© 2018 Allenheads Contemporary Arts, Allenheads, Hexham, Northumberland NE47 9HR

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