Spill Writing

On Place

Close to Hallow’s Eve and the mist is thick and it’s staining the faint street lights, the town at night-time, echoes of encounters, zombies and queens and witches, in public squares, outside the park, anticipating a sanctuary, a trip elsewhere, the noise of parties and it’s a party, double pussy clit fuck fan club and David Hoyle love anarchy and Snapped Ankles (wolfish).


A glimpse into the abyss that has not yet become, or what spills into the city, en masse.


In 1925, two rooms were reconstructed in Christchurch Mansion. One of these rooms, a wood-panelled merchants room, holds an Eldred overmantle, celebrating the exploits of Thomas Cavendish, a navigator who took a voyage around the world in the 16th century. His vessel was called the Desire, and the legend underneath the globe of the world that adorns a panel reads:


He that travels ye world about seeth God’s wonders & God’s works. Thomas Eldred travelled ye world about & went out of Plimouth ye 21 of July 1586, and arrived in Plimouth again the 9 Swptember 1588.


The other reconstructed room dates from 1932, and belongs to from Sir Humphrey Wingfield’s house in Ipswich. The panelling commemorates the marriage of a relative to Mary Tudor in 1515.


I am interesting in this practice of reconstruction, what noise of history, layers and there’s a plastic sheet covering the Mansion because of renovation works, and it;s an exact replicate of the outside of the Mansion, of sorts.


The Mansion was expanded by Huguenot refugees of religious persecution in 1735.


Outside, a group is breaking down wood with pestle and mortar. Elsewhere, a magician uncovers something tangibly tense, identity and being, in a market, in front of the town’s civic centre, close to remembrance Sunday, today, the British Legion are playing bagpipes there (on cultural dichotomies and the specificity of histories and ritual). It’s post-Brexit and the air is thick and the histories are all there, clashing, I remember, she asks, what is it like to be a Nigerian black woman in an English school in Birmingham with a shaved head, and I think, what about being British Indian in a corner shop and there’s music playing from back home or is there and you’re playing Christmas songs and wearing a Santa hat, what is it to be a Romanian immigrant writing about this (there’s still shaving foam and shredded paper in my dunagrees from messy play and a Roma woman is selling the Big Issue outside Sainsburys, and who are we to each other).


There is sanctuary to come.