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.