Chris Sutcliff

Artist Man I am

Archive for November, 2009

19th Nov 2009

Our Street Corner.


8 x 5.5 inches


We steal each other’s wheelie-bins. For some reason our street has one less wheelie-bin than it does houses. So every second Thursday, after we’ve left our wheelie-bins on the backstreet all day and the bin men have emptied them, we play the wheelie-bin version of ‘Musical Chairs’. First ones to get home from work and claim their wheelie bin will have it for the next fortnight, the last one home will have nothing, nothing but an empty back street, nothing but an opportunity to get creative with waste management for 2 weeks until they get a chance to steal someone else’s. Our neighbours paint their house numbers on their wheelie-bins as proof of ownership. To deter theft. So what happens when a wheelie-bin is stolen for 14 days? Simple. The thief simply takes a pot of different coloured paint and slaps their house number on instead. I have never seen even one of these paint jobs cover the old number up. Some wheelie bins have several house numbers on them, so that you can easily trace which neighbours have stolen them and in which order. The most amusing thing about all this is that a quick call to the Council would probably result in a new free wheelie-bin, maybe even ten of them. So, as the problem could be remedied very easily, I can only assume that we are all OK with stealing each others wheelie-bins and tattooing temporary proof of fake ownership on them. Maybe we all LIKE this game. Perhaps that is what it means to be a neighbour. To be as tolerant a thief as you can be to those thieves that tolerate you.

by Chris
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10th Nov 2009

Move Along…

You walk so slowly

Sans haste

And I walk so quickly

Before too long

I am at your back

Surely you can hear me

Chomping at your heels

Unable to get around you

Is it really so hard

To step to one side

And let me get passed

And away

What’s captured your attention so

To belligerently keep your eyes to the sky

And not on the floor

Where you would plainly see

How slowly you are walking

And how close my feet are behind yours

My frustrated foot-falls

Versus your absent shuffle

A match indeed

For a wounded snail

On valium

Thus, with growing irritation

I noisily hurry you along

With my tutting

And my heavy, stunted steps

Wondering all the while

How you came to be so slow

And I so fast

And how on earth

You got into my house

In the first place?

by Chris
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1st Nov 2009

How To Die In Public.

We begin with the set-up, the fix, the sting.

The cross-hairs fall on you and you won’t see it coming. It’ll happen in a crowd and it’ll be swift as the wind like it was for Kennedy, like Lennon, like MLK. Your enemy camouflaged in plain sight by your unseeing eyes. Bold as brass they’ll walk straight up to you in the high street. Right to your face. Big flashy smile oscillating into a joyfully intentional ‘Wow’ shape. “Haven’t seen you for ages” they’ll insinuate with the confident beaming swagger of a well fed dog. “Haven’t seen you ever” You’ll think. Who is this person? Not a clue. Yet they’ve so expertly inspired that thin uncertain smile you’ve adopted to mask the puzzlement your eyes betray. Their grin refuses to falter and it hits you then. This person genuinely knows who you are – Whereas you’ve completely erased THEM from your hand picked history. An embarrassingly transparent attempt to not appear rude suddenly the unsteady crutch of your brittle social automaton. Oh God. Worse still, they’re staying for a conversation. Maybe a few more seconds and it’ll… No, it won’t. At a loss and preying for a re-boot of clarity, you’ll fail to mention your inability to recall name, face, anything. Mustn’t drop the charade. Mustn’t expose one’s fraudulent nature. Mustn’t look like an idiot. Just hang on to that vacuous expression of forced glee. Hide your weakness. Survive.

Finger on the trigger now.

Seizing the initiative they’ll bring up the match and they’ll know you’re a Red. They’ll ask about your Job. They’ll ask about your Dad. Things gets more awful every second. A visible discomfort has you in its clammy grasp. You’re nodding and laughing and exchanging knowing looks with a complete stranger and you go on and on and on like some sort of marionette. Like being polite and accommodating got somehow more important than honest integrity. The façade now the only solidity you have left. You don’t ask them about their team or their job or any people they know. You can’t. The conversation is so one sided you idly wonder when it will tip up and release you from this awkward misery. There is absolutely no way now you can admit to not knowing this person without looking like a self-centred twat that has nothing for old acquaintances but amnesia. Undone and uncovered you fake an appointment and you say your goodbyes. You’ll look them in the eye and wish them well and hope they hadn’t noticed that you never once addressed them by their name, all the while shaking their hand. They’re nobody. And you promise to call this nobody who you can never call and who seems not to have noticed your vacuity. You haven’t lied so much in so short a space of time since you were a child and it leaves a taste in your mouth like worn leather.

Which brings us to the kill.

You’re not ten feet away when your road to Damascus moment happens and you realise they were X. X who you were best mates with for all those years while working at Y. X who mended your bike. X whose sister you got with at the Christmas do. X who could squirt milk out of the corner of their eye. X who made you laugh most days. X who you’ve so easily forgotten. X who you no longer know. X who bares the brunt of deleted memory. Where did that go? All those good times crushed under the weight of your experience and you somehow never noticed. X disappears back into the crowd and back into a part of your life where you haven’t lived for a long, long time. Both of you victims of the same theft. One of many tiny deaths that took you softly as a mothers kiss. Your life like all lives tearing through memory and tearing through time like a bullet. The bullet you use to assassinate yourself. You won’t see it coming.

by Chris
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