Saturday, 15 September 2018

The man walking a dog down the opposite side of the road pulls out his earphones and jogs across the road towards me...

The man walking a dog down the opposite side of the road pulls out his earphones and jogs across the road towards me. “Kevin?” he says. “Yes” I say. “I came to a reading of yours in Manchester a few years ago”. I remember the occasion and we have a brief chat about it. “How’s it going?” he asks. “I’m just off to work, hence the outfit” I say, looking down at my hi-vis waterproofs. “I’m just walking the dog, hence the dog”, says the man.

It’s raining for the first time in weeks and the man on the bicycle who passes me on the slope in the park has both feet on the ground to augment his brakes. 

The man with the pull-along shopping cart is rummaging through the bins again and a big buzzard is circling directly above the house of the old man who is watching the antique and collectables based quiz show For What It’s Worth.

In the village, where crisp brown leaves line the parts of the gutters that aren’t lined with Range Rovers and Audis, a Volvo edges out from the driveway of one of the big houses. It pulls away to the left while the Citro├źn Picasso that follows directly behind goes to the right. Both vehicles stop about ten metres apart and the driver of the Volvo signals to the man in the passenger seat of the Picasso. They both wind down their windows. “Has he got it on Google maps?” shouts the Volvo driver. The Picasso passenger shrugs. “Ask him if he’s got it on Google maps”. “Have you got it on Google maps?” says the Picasso passenger to the Picasso driver. “No” says the Picasso driver. “No, he hasn’t got it on Google maps!” shouts the Picasso passenger to the Volvo man. “It’s telling us to go this way on Google maps!” shouts the Volvo man, “Shall we just say we’ll see you there?” he asks. “He says, shall we just see him there?” the Picasso passenger tells the Picasso driver. “Yes” says the Picasso driver. “Yes, we’ll just see you there!” shouts the Picasso passenger to the Volvo man. “All right!” shouts the Volvo man, “It says it’ll take us about an hour!”

Nettles, brambles, berries, crows, muddy wellington boots by the back door, a metallic blue Range Rover with blacked out windows and a noisy modified exhaust.

The woman with the pony tail jogs up the lane in a vest top and cycling shorts. Past nine cars—six German, three Swedish. Past the statue of a cartoon dog and the ornamental bays in pots decorated with the words Beauty, Inspire, Nourish, Grow in quite a plain, slightly rounded sans-serif.

At the reception of the offices of the property developer, the skinny painter and decorator with paint on his trousers is talking to the big bald security man in the sweatshirt and lanyard. “I suppose I do quite like political comedy” he says. “What, like Ali G?” “Hmm, nah, hmm, well, n…, hmm, Ali G? well, not… hmmm. He’s all right.”

Friday, 17 August 2018

Round About Town, book trailer

For the last eight years Kevin Boniface has been writing succinct descriptions of events and incidents that have taken place whilst out and about on his postal round, his daily route taking him from the main sorting office to the streets and outlying neighbourhoods above the town.
In these commentaries and records nothing seems to be typical—engaged and disconnected conversations, the observed and the overheard—the everyday activity of life on the move.
With 58 black and white photographs.
“Round About Town is a work that can conjure fury at poverty, contempt for the poverty of mainstream popular culture and joy at its moments of poetic collapse.”
“I find scratching beneath the surface of the ordinary endlessly fascinating.”
‘The way I work’, Big Issue North
“There’s no story here, in this whole book, but there are glimpses of hundreds of stories.
It is funny, and unsettling, and comforting, often at the same time, and you don’t get to find out what happens next.”
Anna Wood, Caught by the River
March 2018
128 pages, 234 x 142mm Paperback with flaps Price £12.00
ISBN 978 1 910010 18 1
Buy direct from Uniformbooks or from online booksellers and independent bookshops.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

6am: the overnight rain has resulted in a few small puddles

6am: the overnight rain has resulted in a few small puddles and the first beech nut fall of the year. The taxi driver is hosing down his Skoda Octavia and the jogger is wiping his bald head on the hem of his faded black t-shirt. In the park, there's not much left of the festival of tribute bands now, just a few straggler motorhomes remain. A large flock of black-headed gulls has colonised the arena that yesterday was full of grey-headed Duranies on collapsable chairs.

There's no scratch card win today for the elderly woman with the disobedient sheltie and the perhaps inadvisedly sheer leggings. “I’m low on cash so I really shouldn’t be doing this but you’ve got to have hope, haven’t you?”

Across the road from the new builds with the fake bricked up windows, the big man in the Eric Morecambe specs is calling his Yorkshire terrier a little shit-house and punting it up the arse with the toe end of his Croc because it knocked over the statue of a meerkat holding up a little sign saying ‘Welcomes’. A few doors down, A note scribbled in marker pen on lined paper from a ring bound notebook has been sellotaped to a window: "Gone to Blackpool for good. Andrew". Further along again, at the house with the statue of some pigs having sex on the doorstep, the man who looks a bit like Antony Worrall Thompson is up his step ladders chamoising the roof of his five berth Crusader Storm.

Later, back at home, I see an old fashioned seven-spot ladybird in the garden

Thursday, 5 July 2018

It’s Been a Windy Night ll

It’s been a windy night. 

A crow with no tail flies out from the bushes on the central reservation of the dual carriageway. It flaps frantically up onto one of the tall new LED street lamps. Down on the ground, a ginger Tom cat emerges from the bushes too, its mouth full of feathers. 

An old Jaguar XJ scrapes noisily past with part of a tree wedged under its front end

A large McDonalds take-out cup is embedded in the ivy on the stone steps next to the chip shop. The narrow footpath down to the big house is littered with sycamore helicopters, small prematurely ejaculated conkers, and an unusual reddy-brown frog.
“The door is open”. The disembodied adenoidal woman on the control panel at the flats is unequivocal.
Outside again and a small dog attacks my leg and tears a large hole my trousers. 
A sparrowhawk darts silently past at eye level before suddenly swooping dramatically upwards and into the tree where the woodpigeons have all been flapping about noisily. A blackbird sounds the alarm.
A trellis of clematis has blown over at the house with the sign on the gatepost: Beware of the wife.

A pair of grounded jackdaw chicks huddle in the undergrowth, blown from their nests in the night.
On, into the village where the aroma of cheap scented candles and accreted dog piss pervades. A large Cross of St George hangs from the first floor window of a brick and pebbledash terrace. There is music; too quiet to discern exactly what kind at first, but it gets louder: I Want to Break Free by Queen. An old Toyota decorated with badly applied decals of scorpions rounds the bend at the top of the hill and the music is loud enough to turn heads. The car skids slightly as it pulls up against the kerb. The driver waits for the song to finish before turning off the ignition, winding up the the windows and climbing out.

Beer bottles glint in the sun on the parched yellow verge.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

6am in the park: water vapour hangs in a mist above the pond

6am in the park: water vapour hangs in a mist above the pond, a blackbird sings in the flowering hawthorne, azaleas and primulas bloom around the feet of the Boar war infantryman and the fat pigeon pecks at the plastic portion control packaging underneath the bench.

A flustered looking man on a tiny moped pulls over to ask me directions to Buxton. I tell him to head for the hills and keep on going for three or four hours. He looks a bit blank and then asks where the nearest petrol station is.

I follow the door-to-door salesmen as they “luvvie" and “matey” their way along the row of red brick inter-war semis. Twenty years ago, number 43 had a wooden lean-to conservatory in chicken-house green which was filled with beautiful red geraniums. Now, the old wooden structure has gone, replaced with a new one in battleship-grey double-glazed UPVC. Inside, the geraniums have gone too, instead there is now a rowing machine and a treadmill.

At the garage: I’m in the queue next to the row of light boxes displaying faded upside-down pictures of sandwiches. In front of me is the short fat man with the Hiace monster truck parked outside. He’s wearing a Stetson hat and talking to the young man with the geometrically precise beard behind the counter, “It says on the thing on the thing that you have to buy a minimum of 50p’s worth of air”. “Oh”, says the young man. “Well, don’t you think that’s a rip off; a quid for some air?” “I don’t know," says the young man.

Hawthorne, cow parsley, lilac, horse chestnut, laburnum, broom, rotary washing lines, and plastic bottles glinting in the gutter. There are three people at the bus stop, an elderly couple in beige with accents of pale green and lavender and a young man in black with accents of white.

The man on his phone at the Co-op describes the wrapping paper he has chosen, “grey with circles and stuff all over it”.

The man in the gilet who is sitting behind me on the bus shouts into his phone, “I’m gonna get off here, gunna go Bar Maroc and I’m gonna stuff my big fat white face with fucking pizza”.

Sitting in gridlock on the M62 I watch the men in pool sliders and ankle tags argue loudly with the bald men in Adidas who are stopping them from using the hard shoulder, "Don't call the police, I'm on remand!"

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Round About Town / Uniformbooks

Uniformbooks' print version of The Most Difficult Thing Ever.

Round About Town

“I see the waxwings again. This time they are in the tree by the ats where the skinny Asian man with the grey jeans and studded belt is trying to gain access by shouting Raymond.” 
—Sunday, 23 January 2011

For the last eight years Kevin Boniface has been writing succinct descriptions of events and incidents that have taken place whilst out and about on his postal round, his daily route taking him from the main sorting of ce to the streets and outlying neighbourhoods above the town.
In these commentaries and records nothing seems to be typical—engaged and disconnected conversations, the observed and the overheard—the everyday activity of life on the move.
With 58 black and white photographs.
KEVIN BONIFACE is an artist based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. After graduating in art and geography in 1993, he joined the Royal Mail as a postman which has influenced his artwork ever since. Over many years, he has also produced zines, exhibitions, artists’ books, short films, audio recordings and live performances. His previous publications include Where Are You? (2005) and Lost in the Post (2008). 

Available here with free postage:

Friday, 2 March 2018

Round About Town

I've been working with to put together a print version of this blog. The result is Round About Town, available from 20th March. The book comprises the complete text from The Most Difficult Thing Ever—10th August 2010 - 25th February 2018—and 58 black & white photographs taken over the same period.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

It’s the first clear blue day for weeks on the solid and dependable streets of semis

It’s the first clear blue day for weeks on the solid and dependable streets of semis: half brick, half pebbledash. Reliable men polish hatchbacks or further fine-tune already solid fixtures and fittings. King Charles spaniels bask on the backs of settees. There’s no dog shit, no litter. People stop me to talk about the weather. A woodpigeon calls against the gentle background thrum of the busy motorway tributary. Left, into a side street and a step up the aspirational ladder: double bay windows, dormers, steeply pitched roofs, 4x4s on the drives. There are sparrows in the neatly trimmed hedges and there are children in the schoolyard. An elderly woman waits for the Cairn terrier in the little red dog coat to shit under the hedge at the edge of the pavement, her walking stick decorated with souvenir badges. “What a lovely morning!” she says, before bending down to carefully package the mess.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, the owner of the pornographic bookshop is unloading bulk bought dog food systems from a battered Transit van, his Yorkshire terrier tethered to the door handle. A noisy Subaru Impreza farts past at about 60mph with an acid green quad bike in noisy pursuit. Further down, opposite the house with the brass plaque on the front door that reads, ‘A friend in need is a pain in the arse’, a couple are huddled over a phone taking an online quiz at the bus stop next to the pile of energy drink cans. “What’s the day after Pancake Day?” asks the man. “Valentine's Day”, says the woman.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

I’m gagging on the stench of the fetid urine

I’m gagging on the stench of the fetid urine and marinated faeces at the house of the bow-legged terrier called Diesel while over the road a woman in bunny slippers and a bath robe is jumping up and down in a wheelie bin.

A young man in a hoodie sings loudly to himself as he walks past

Eleven magpies and a crow overlook the estate where pretend owls outnumber the human population by two to one: fluorescent silk flowers in tiny porches, pizza sized ha’penny stepping stones, a row of three tiny retrievers with placards around their necks saying ‘Welcome’. Both the Buddha and the donkey that pulls the little wooden cart have lost their heads in the recent frost.

The murky horses look dejected in the steep miry field

Mr Briggs answers his door, legs akimbo, thumbs in belt loops. There are no pleasantries, no hello or good morning, instead, he opens with ‘Well, he’s right in amongst ‘em now, in’t he? “Who, What?” I ask. He nods at his neighbour’s house over the road, “He’s in Goa, in’t he? Moans like hell about ‘em when they come over here, then he goes over there to see them!’

Ensnared black plastic flaps from barbed wire while a solitary starling swanee whistles from a telegraph pole. A long ‘V’ formation of geese honk overhead. I pull up in the van next to the field of jackdaws and rooks—hundreds probably. I get out and slam the door. The jackdaws fly off. The rooks stay put.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Highlights: 2017

*Audio: Beeves

Highlights: 2017

Listening to speaker-phone hip-hop
Fly-tipping your wheelie bin
Playing kerby between two derelict fridges
Driving your Skoda Fabia at high speed while wearing a polyester parka
Trying to look nonchalant while your dog pisses on next door’s gatepost
Playing with your knob in Sports Direct
Eating Pot Noodle in a Portakabin
Kicking the green hamster of sphagnum down the wooden steps
Discussing who will look after the technical side when Geoff’s gone
The dead twigs in plastic pots and the fake bells of All Saints
Mending a caravan and shouting for Susan
Improving Yorkshire’s sewers
Discussing a mutual neighbour: “That twat over the road”
Pushing a baby in a pushchair past some discarded bathroom scales
Snowflakes settling on your luxuriant mahogany perm
Wearing matching purple anoraks
Goldfinches squabbling in polythene trees
Unfashionable bell-bottom jeans in indigo
Galahad Premium Lager and bags of green potatoes
Eating peanuts while the man with the Father Christmas bag-for-life hugs a spaniel
Walking your Akita past the temperance fountain
Threatening to jump from a railway bridge
Gathering around the modular seating at the Hyundai showroom
Decorating your Smart car with an Iron Cross motif and the word ‘Luftwaffe’ in an elaborate jackboot font
Cutting out the word ‘J-Dog’ from some silver foil and displaying it in the window of the cab of your truck
Smashing the windows of a VW Golf and dragging out the driver
Sitting on a bench with analeptic leg shakes and an eagle print t-shirt, smoking weed
Couch grass paving flags and fake lawns in acid green
Wearing Crocs to chamois your Skoda Yeti
A brace of German saloons and a statue of the Buddha
Making use of the pejorative overtones of the word ‘titivate’ while discussing your neighbour’s new outdoor LED display
Walking down Newsome Road with your head in your hands
Arguing about which of you understands dogs the most
jumping from a four foot high garden wall using a Morrison’s bag as a parachute
Leaning on the bins and drinking strong cider
Seeing if you’ve got a bag of Cheetos in the third drawer down
Installing a lurid 3D picture of a blond haired Christ adjacent to the front door of the vicarage
Wearing superman pyjamas to withdraw a tenner
Accidentally going to Whitby during the Goth weekender
Having a bloody funeral to go to