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The Past is a Foreign Country


Who controls the past controls the present GEORGE ORWELL

If all time is eternally present, all time is unredeemable T.S.ELIOT


Transference is the inappropriate repetition in the present of a relationship that was important in a person's childhood. WIKIPEDIA



Once, I was hijacked.

 I’m haunted by the face of a woman at work. When Judith speaks to me, I feel overwhelmed. If she walks past without noticing me, I’m devastated. 

Judith goes on holiday, I panic, because my special person has gone. A special person I don’t really know. I break into her house, curl up on the floor; before I leave, I wash the dirty pots she left in the sink. I’m thirty-one years old.



The room was very ordinary. Off-white walls, a dozen chairs arranged in a circle; an ominous box of tissues on a coffee table.There are seven of us, from a girl barely out of her teens to a guy in his  fifties. I was thirty three, the age Jesus was crucified. He should have kept his mouth shut. 


The first thing I learned was that there’s no such thing as a neutral silence. Constructed from fear, we sat - tight-lipped, polite gunslingers, each waiting for the other to make a move.

 I looked at a spot where the psychologist's face would be when the door opened. When she eventually came in, I found I was gazing about a metre too high. A child’s perspective. We waited for words, words of comfort, words of  advice, words of hope. Silence. Say something, say anything, speak, fuck you. Silence.


 It took about a year before I realised Judith didn’t exist.


When the past invades the present, the intrusion doesn’t produce clear memories; there are no reassuring boundaries, nothing to mark now from then. There’s a sudden emotional shift, something cracks or slips or falls away. Dislocation is followed by disturbance. Time and space are confused. The horizon is important and seductive, distance counts. There’s something out there, something on the periphery. It keeps demanding attention. Click. I'm not illustrating an idea or playing with form, I'm not trying to say anything, I'm attempting to capture a state, a condition.


 Once I was hijacked. Flown from place to place, like any tourist, I took a camera. These are my holiday snapshots.