Textual Healing

Textual Healing /’//

A textual conversation between Rachel Adams and Ian Giles

Chapter 1 – Loomings

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago- never mind how long precisely- having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

Moby Dick; or, The Whale, Herman Melville, 1851

In the Pines

“I thought of having the press release text read:
But I know it should be slightly more informative than that.

The image is a photo of the desktop on my computer. It’s a photo of the sun shining through some pine trees in Vermont, USA. I keep a folder labelled with a * in the centre of the sun. I used to let my desktop fill up with files until it reached the point where I’d have to tidy it. Now I dump everything into the * labelled folder and my desktop is tidy. All the mess goes into the folder until the hard drive is full.

‘In The Pines’ is a traditional American folk song also known as ‘Black Girl’ or ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night’. It’s unknown who is the original author of the song. It’s believed to be of Southern Appalachian origin. I came across it through the Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie version. The song is deep rooted in my head and I often find it playing in my mind. I believed the song was originally by Lead Belly and didn’t realize it wasn’t until recently when looking the song up online. I new it was a well-covered song, Nirvana and Bill Callahan have also done versions I like. I didn’t realize how many different versions there were. Lead Belly himself has done several different versions and the version I believed to be the original isn’t even the original Lead Belly version. The origin of the song for me is the Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie version as it is the version I heard first. I like how the origin isn’t known and can be personalized by the listener depending on which version they hear first. I also like how the song is a tradition that is shared and kept alive amongst musicians, with each musician giving a different feel to the song’s identity.

The pine forest in Vermont is a place that has a personal significance to me. It has given me something similar to what the sea has given me. I’m not quite sure how to articulate it. It’s something emotional.

Or I thought of having the press release text read:
“Mo yeke sengi”
Again, maybe it needs to be slightly more informative than that.

“Mo yeke sengi” is a Sango greeting, which translates as ‘Are you empty/naked?’. I had known for a while of an African saying that used the meaning of empty/naked as a way to articulate one’s own well being. Only recently did I discover how to say it. I think it’s a beautiful saying and it feels nice in my mouth to say it. It is now deep rooted in my head and I often find myself saying it to myself. It has given me something very similar to what the forest and the sea have given me. It is something emotional. I don’t think I can articulate in words exactly what that is.

Or I thought of having the press release text read:
“Art is a guarantee of sanity” – Louise Bourgeois
Again, maybe it needs to be slightly more informative than that.

Louise Bourgeois was born in Paris on December 25, 1911. She is still making art. I saw her show at Tate Modern in 2008. One of her ‘Cell’ works that was on display had an inscription high up near the top of it that read ‘Art is a guarantee of sanity’. More than anything else I’m scared shitless of losing my mind. The more I think about the world the more insane it really seems. But the insanity does not scare me when I believe in Bourgeois’ sentence, then art makes sense and makes me feel safe. If I get caught up in the insanity of the world I go with my sense of art and I feel unafraid. I feel like I’m outside myself and I feel happy. I can also often feel this way when I’m walking in the forest or I’m swimming in the sea.

Or I thought of having the press release text read:
Went for swim in sea / It made so happy / ’Cause seeing with mud
Went into wood / Making with mud / Saw wind in trees / Made so happy / ’Cause making with mud
Again, maybe it needs to be slightly more informative than that.

Lyrics from a song called ‘It Does’ written by Jack Strange and performed by Mr Clack. For more information on Mr. Clack please visit myspace.com.


Press Release; Jack Strange, Limoncello Gallery, 2009

So Lyra and her daemon turned away from the world they were born in, and looked towards the sun, and walked into the sky.

Northern Lights, Philip Pullman, Scholastic, 1995 http://www.philip-pullman.com/index.asp

“Kant. What a cunt.”

Sapere Aude, Sandy Smith, November 2007, http://www.sandysmith.co.uk/artwork/sapere_aude/sapere_aude.htm

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

Tonight you’re mine completely,
You give your love so sweetly,
Tonight the light of love is in your eyes,
But will you love me tomorrow?

Is this a lasting treasure,
Or just a moment’s pleasure,
Can I believe the magic of your sighs,
Will you still love me tomorrow?

Tonight with words unspoken,
You said that I’m the only one,
But will my heart be broken,
When the night (When the night)
Meets the morning sun.

I’d like to know that your love,
Is love I can be sure of,
So tell me now and I won’t ask again,
Will you still love me tomorrow?
Will you still love me tomorrow?

Carole-King, Will-You-Still-Love-Me-Tomorrow http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Will-You-Still-Love-Me-Tomorrow-lyrics-Carole-King/5A2CDFBD96D92B9648256DA6000F179B

Soft stockings coddle them by day and nail-bossed leather shoes buttress them, but my toes refuse to pay attention. Nothing interests them but emitting toenails, horny plates, semi-transparent and elastic, to defend themselves–from whom? Stupid and mistrustful as they alone can be, they never for a moment stop readying that tenuous armament. They reject the universe and its ecstasy to keep forever elaborating sharp ends, which rude Solingen scissors snip over and over again. Ninety days along in the dawn of prenatal confinement, they establish that singular industry. When I am laid away, in an ash-colored house provided with dead flowers and amulets, they will still go on with their stubborn task, until they are moderated by decay. They–and the beard on my face.

Toenails, from Dreamtigers, by Borges trans. Mildred Boyer / http://thefloatinglibrary.com/2008/09/02/toenails/


Makin’ good moonshine is quite an art. It takes lots of time and practice before one can whip up a good batch that sells. Throughout history, there have been many ways of making moonshine. Some folks would add a special ingredient or perform a certain method during the distilling period to make their moonshine taste distinct. Check out this basic recipe for moonshine:

How to Make Moonshine at Home

Things Needed

  • Water
  • Cornmeal
  • Sugar
  • Yeast
  • Pressure Cooker
  • Copper Tube
  • Vessel (to collect moonshine)
  • Charcoal


  • Go to the market and buy 25 pounds of cornmeal, 100 pounds of sugar, 100 gallons of water and 6 ounces of yeast.Next, you will be required to collect the necessary equipments, like a few large pots, a large pressure cooker and a coiled copper pipe.Put water in the pot and place it on stove. Keep on boiling it until it reaches a rolling boil.Add cornmeal to the water. The resultant mixture will be known as mash.Keep aside the mash and let it cool down, till it is warm to the touch.Now, add sugar and yeast to the warm mash.Again, keep it aside and let it ferment for 4 to 5 days.Keep on checking the mash and when it stops bubbling, it means that it is ready. At this stage, the mash is known as sour mash or beer. Put the sour mash into the pressure cooker and keep it on fire, till it goes up to 173 degrees Fahrenheit.At this temperature, the alcohol content of the mixture will start rising to the surface.With the help of a coiled copper pipe, passed through cold water, trap vaporized alcohol in a separate vessel.As the vapors from the cooker pass through the cold copper tubing, they will slowly condense into the liquid called moonshine.Finally, filter the moonshine through charcoal, making it absolutely fit for consumption.



I rely on you
like a Skoda needs suspension
like the aged need a pension
like a trampoline needs tension
like a bungee jump needs apprehension
I rely on you
like a camera needs a shutter
like a gambler needs a flutter
like a golfer needs a putter
like a buttered scone involves some butter
I rely on you
like an acrobat needs ice cool nerve
like a hairpin needs a drastic curve
like an HGV needs endless derv
like an outside left needs a body swerve
I rely on you
like a handyman needs pliers
like an auctioneer needs buyers
like a laundromat needs driers
like The Good Life needed Richard Briers
I rely on you
like a water vole needs water
like a brick outhouse needs mortar
like a lemming to the slaughter
Ryan’s just Ryan without his daughter
I rely on you

I Rely on You, Hovis Presley, 1994 /http://hovispresley.co.uk/some_poems.html

Take me out tonight
Where there’s music and there’s
People who are young and alive

Driving in your car
I never never want to go home

Because I haven’t got one, anymore

Take me out tonight
Because I want to see people
And I want to see lights

Driving in your car
Oh, please don’t drop me home
Because it’s not my home
It’s their home and I’m welcome no more

And if a double-decker bus crashes into us
To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die
And if a ten ton truck kills the both of us
To die by your side, well, the pleasure and the privilege is mine

Extract – There is a light that never goes out – THE SMITHS – THE QUEEN IS DEAD (1986)

The best measure of a man’s honesty isn’t his income tax return. Its the zero adjust on his bathroom scale.

Arthur C Clarke

In the wee hours of the morning of Sept. 8, 1985, Carl Andre, a successful avant-garde sculptor, argued with his artist wife, Ana Mendieta, who then somehow ”went out of the window” (Mr. Andre’s phrase during his emergency call to 911) of their 34th-floor Greenwich Village apartment. She may have committed suicide, as Mr. Andre claimed, or he may very well have thrown her, since she weighed only 93 pounds compared to his 175. There were no eyewitnesses. A doorman in the street below had heard a woman screaming ”No, no, no, no,” then the explosive thud of Ana Mendieta’s body landing on the roof of an all-night delicatessen. The bedroom from which she plunged was in disarray, Mr. Andre had what appeared to be fresh scratches on his nose and forearm, and his story to the police differed from his recorded statements to the 911 operator an hour or so earlier. The police arrested him.

NAKED BY THE WINDOW, The Fatal Marriage of Carl Andre and Ana Mendieta. By Robert Katz. – text taken from a review in the New York Times by Vincent Patrick. june 10th 1990

From the top of the Pompidou Centre, Roland Garros – the home of the French Open tennis championship, and my home for a fortnight every spring – was lost in the morning mist. Sport is essentially about youth, and about absolutes. Sport makes you feel elated or depressed. The works of Louise Bourgeois, 97 years old this December, make you feel unsettled, repelled. Roland Garros seemed a million miles away.

Faced with a new sport, which is unusual these days, my first instinct is to ignore the detail. Observe and record; don’t get bogged down in too many facts or statistics. So I came to Bourgeois with no prior knowledge of her work, no inkling of the deeply disturbing web she was about to wind around me. Her huge spider, installed on the ground floor, should have been a hint.

Art galleries are not alien territory for me. The US Open brings an annual visit to New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, or the Metropolitan Museum, while the Musée d’Orsay in Paris has long been a favourite. But this was specific. One artist. No escape.

Numerous photographs ran along the wall outside the gallery. Bourgeois the small child, innocent of the first world war; Bourgeois the young woman, with long flowing hair and a sharp beauty; Bourgeois the bird-like octogenarian. As a preparation for what was to come, it had no more relevance than pictures of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal posing at the net before hitting a ball. Oh yes, there she was with Andy Warhol. But she might have been his maiden aunt.

In sport you are always waiting: the great shot, the goal, the end. You are also distanced from the others who watch, the supporters. “Fans with typewriters,” an English journalist once scathingly described Scottish football reporters when they were covering their national team. Sports writing demands, though often does not get, degrees of objectivity and balance. But how can you be objective about art? Sport has rarely spooked me. But Bourgeois did, all the time.

Sports journalists only occasionally get to know the people they write about intimately. There is generally no need to explore the correlation or intertwining of the biographical line and its relation to sporting achievement. In the arts, you realise it is a constant focus.

Watch sport and you think about sport. Observe art and you discover yourself. Spirals, nests, lairs, refuges. Bourgeois leads you to dark places you are not sure you want to revisit. Sport is the toyshop; Bourgeois proffers no hint of a welcome. Even the “je t’aime” embroidered on the pillow in one of her claustrophobic rooms seemed like a threat. Rooms inside cages; bones inside glass spheres.

Outside the gallery, on a looped video, Bourgeois speaks about her art as if she were giving a talk to the Llansilin Women’s Institute. It should have carried a warning: This woman is deeply dangerous. I go back to the comfort of Roland Garros, though Bourgeois remained a haunting and disturbing presence. I’m still spooked.

‘What would happen if the Guardian’s sports and arts writers swapped jobs?’ Steve Bierley, tennis correspondent, on visual art Louise Bourgeois at the Pompidou Centre, Paris, May 31

‘…Fredric Jameson’s famous characterisation of Postmodernism as a culture of pastiche, mourning and somnolent historicism explains a great deal. But it also risks running headlong into a pit of fogeyism, assuming tacitly that the past is the eternal repository for all value judgements…’

Colin Perry, on the material pleasure of film, Art Monthly July / August  2009

er hair is Harlow gold, her lips sweet surprise
Her hands are never cold, she’s got Bette Davis eyes
She’ll turn the music on you, you won’t have to think twice
She’s pure as New York snow, she got Bette Davis eyes

And she’ll tease you, she’ll unease you
All the better just to please you
She’s precocious, and she knows just
What it takes to make a pro blush
She got Greta Garbo’s stand off sighs, she’s got Bette Davis eyes

She’ll let you take her home, it whets her appetite
She’ll lay you on the throne, she got Bette Davis eyes
[ Kim Carnes Lyrics are found on http://www.dapslyrics.com ]
She’ll take a tumble on you, roll you like you were dice
Until you come up blue, she’s got Bette Davis eyes

She’ll expose you, when she snows you
Hope you breathe with the crumbs she throws you
She’s ferocious and she knows just
What it takes to make a pro blush
All the boys think she’s a spy, she’s got Bette Davis eyes

And she’ll tease you, she’ll unease you
All the better just to please you
She’s precocious, and she knows just
What it takes to make a pro blush
All the boys think she’s a spy, she’s got Bette Davis eyes…

Bette Davis’ Eyes, Kim Carnes, 1981