Talking with Mike ...Thinking about Erlend
          

We could go along the Walworth Road... Does Dave live along here? Ah no , up the other way... oh right...he used to...I'm trying to ...wondering...what you actually saw of Erlend's work... not an awful lot...There was him breaking into a car... crime... But there was the sofa and those things on the wall... the urban anthropologist and sociologist...the small signs...They were all around the walls in specific areas next to specific objects that he'd found because y'know... he was collecting stuff years ago..he used to do this stuff where he'd go out collecting something everyday ...

... He had these pink boxes...Pink boxes...yeah, I don't know why they were pink but emm, the other day I was thinking perhaps it was kind of like an empirical sort of reference, like when you had a map of the empire , the bits that were British were always covered in pink...I don't know if that was his purpose but it seemed to fit it very well...

...'cos when he'd emm finished at Cardiff, he'd done the New Contemporaries and he moved to Halifax... he had a studio at Dean Clough, Erlend, 'cos he'd gotten some work there and ...everyday... David used to say...he'd go off...each day ...for something to put in these pink boxes...like a used condom or just...just... real disgusting sort of dirt he'd used to find...

I don't know how I'm going you see , I'm trying to cut the corner rather than going to the roundabout ...

I'm having one of those days...I just haven't fully woken up yet...do you ever have one of those days? Yeah I had one yesterday... Well you don't realise you're going going going and then when you stop you just fall over

Oh a right turn...this is the Old Kent Road...what we wanted...mmm

Find a way of turning right but they're not going to let us are they?..It's got to be around the roundabout...Driving around London's so gruesome...This is real kind of eh Erlend Territory. I can't think about the Old Kent Road and the Elephant and Castle without kind of eh ...him

..like that shopping centre...he used to make an effort to make things ugly... inspired by this yoke?...not by this no, but even before, when he was at Cardiff...it always reminds me of this 'cos its one of the ugliest things in London and it's completely Erlend's aesthetic...

But you didn't see any of his stories... He used to write these kind of emm...small texts...about em different places around here...Is that what Erl's Tours was to do with? Yeah that's right..But he did actually take people on tours...I was never quite sure 'cos I know that the leaflets...He did them as tours in other countries or in other places...Uh huh
Emm...he did a tour in Holland , between two towns in Holland and the tour was like, kind of eh, disjointed into sort of eh the sound of the Old Kent Road in London so that they weren't actually the tours of where they actually were passing through... So what...as they're going along one road they're hearing about another road? Yeah ...Yeah and other places as well...I mean...I never actually went on one of the tours.. but one was in Holland and one was in Liverpool and both times I wasn't there...I was never sure if they existed or not...I think they kind of hypothetically existed, y'know 'cos there was a leaflet of, like, these different tours you could go on...different ones...like you could stay in the Broadwater Farm Estate... or on the Kinglake Estate where he actually lived himself...so feasibly I suppose these things could exist and did exist... but in reality I suppose they never did..although if you follow through with the logic of the work you could feasibly....if the demand had been high enough then they would have existed...

Well its a different sort of exoticism isn't it? That's why I always got on well with Erlend..I always enjoyed the more obvious like inherited exoticism of foreign places and countries...whereas Erlend's exoticism was concentrated ...in his own backyard...His own backyard yeah...this is it... this is where he lived

And y'know the script things...he used to write it in a Stuart Holme manner The new Tescoes where you could go shoplifting ... "light fingered forays to Tescoes" I think he worded it as...But David often used to be the driver in his stories 'cos y'know he used to write the texts ...and in a couple of them he's called Wilko...

We wanna go back that way now but there's no right turn anyway

He was y'know...it was...normally I'd have no affection y'know for this area whatsoever...it's kind of emm...but because of like y'know...Erlend... and his em... his ways...I mean even when you used to just go to places with him it was always really exciting...

That's a funny looking contraption isn't it? Have you seen it? Oh yeah, it's a public sculptor , public sculpture...Who's that?...I don't know...

Yeah, I think Erlend never y'know aestheticized anything particularly, he was just interested in what things were and why they were...I think I always made prettier things than he did...

This should hopefully take us into the heart Ooooh... The Heart of Darkness Heh heh heh... 'Cos y'know he named his flat the Scum&Junk Hotel...well I used to ring him up and it was called the Scum&Junk Hotel which was one of the sort of fictional venues you could stay at which was of course the only one that actually did exist.. ...and it was really Scummy and Junky

We used to come to a pub round here ...what was it...the P 'n P, it was called... yeah ...near Bagshot Street...I haven't been back here since he's died... v That's the P 'n P then That's the P 'n P The Prince and Princess

He used to delight in taking us there...a complete kind of emm motley bunch of people but emm..always darts matches and feeding you sandwiches

Smyrks Road....its not bad around here sure its not...yeah 'cos its got a melted bit of plastic there from a burnt-out car...That'd be like perfect 'cos y'know... ... as well then for a piece of work in Leeds he got hold of a burnt-out car...y'know when people nick cars and drive them around for a bit and then...a burner, I think its called...and he had one of those in the gallery space just kindof ...against the wall...with a list of galleries and "important people" from the artworld y'know , making some sort of analogy... Villa Street...that says it all...it's funny that isn't it...you turn a corner and suddenly you're somewhere else....yeah its beautiful here....Villa Street...you could imagine some kind of chintzy cottage along here... yeah , a tea-room...yeah , that'd be quite nice, a tea-room ...Ahh with a mad block of flats at the end of the street...I know...look at that...

Ah heh we have a slight problem there haven't we madam? She'll have to go up on the pavement... And take the wall with her... Messing about again but its easier for you to get out and go back

...so the Grey Wall...that's the first piece I ever saw...which y'know really is...I still think about it ...and the reclining figures as well...photographs of him kind of eh...sunbathing in strange places...topless...in a dirty baseball cap...ooh there's a lot of litter around here...I might have to go for a little stroll down there...

I've never been here before in my life...where is it...what does it link up with...? I don't know...it must be somewhere between the Walworth Road and the Old Kent Road... it must link up again with the Walworth Road...

Ah but this is nice ...fantastic with all this litter blowing up off the ground beautiful... 'cos we were going to have a wind machine for the show in W139 in Amsterdam...well, Erlend's idea was like a really high powered one that blew everything so y'know ...well I'd built the tower and he'd built the Booking & Information Office , a big yellow Booking & Information Office , sitting on bits of sleepers and cork raised off the ground with litter strewn underneath and the top of it overhangs, lit with fluorescent tubes , y'know, one flickering on and off and the window...there's a small window built into it with a bit of caging with the bit you put your hand through to give the money or the ride...and Ania had her kind of hut on stilts ...and ...yeah we were going to have this wind machine...and the place was going to be strewn with rubbish...aahh nice...it'd have been very nice...oh a skate box...

There's another video of him emm snowboarding...snowboarding...which was in the transit van in emm.. which was called Gilp...William Gilpin the piece was called...who's William Gil...I think there's a kind of viewpoint where you can go to sort of...aahh...look at those pictures of elephants...there's very nice pictures of elephants on the other side of those boxes...with bananas coming out the side... ooooh very nice...from the Ivory Coast...But well, when you have these viewpoints where you go to sort of look at the scenery or ..right ..yeah...there'd be a designated place and they're called Gilpin Viewpoints...But yeah...just seeing that skate box reminded me of that...and yeah...the Wind from Nowhere which is a JGBallard book ...which is like when the world gets taken over by this huge wind that moves dust from like the great plains of Central Asia...all over the world...the brown dust from the desert...so ...well... he'd just been reading that so that's where the idea of putting the wind...in a sense... into the space... came from, but we didn't in the end

...so yeah there was this piece of him snowboarding down a mountain in Scotland...and it was inside the tour bus... no, no, I'm wrong it was inside the piece with the Wind from Nowhere...inside the Booking & Information Office

Even tho' I knew the work pretty well...not all of it I saw neither and not all of it I remember... you know how your memory distorts?

Its just so difficult when the nature of the work is so ephemeral and performative... I know... well... there's so little left of it...a few remnants... to show the boards, on the wall... like paintings...whereas these aren't paintings ...these are part of an object...an installation... a whole sort of environment that was built...you know they were meant to decorate, to advertise the Booking & Information Office...the different tours...all the different things you could go and see...y'know its a bit like one of those African kiosks when they have all the paintings of different hairdos...

He liked the idea of creating other worlds, but he'd actually make the other world out of what he actually lived in and dislocate you from what you walked amongst every day...somehow fantasise it and fictionalise it and that made it...in a sense it did bring it to a head...that this is a kindof strange place to live in and its what we're existing in every day...but also I think he was particularly interested in the decline of Britain and the fact that it was such a mess...yeah...and maybe that made it bearable...

Yeah ..its just so difficult to know how to think about it at all...'cos nothing's going to change it...yeah...and it makes you doubt everything else and every kind of system...well...the amnesiacs...that's the only analogy I could find to the way I was feeling...

...but it is like part of your memory going and it's a physical personification of your memory... somebody who's close to you and who's lived through things with you and then when they're gone ... half of it is gone...and then you sort of doubt that it actually happened...cos sometimes it feels like your life doesn't have a sort of progress at all...its almost like a kind of bullet ricocheting off things...suddenly it starts going in another direction completely...y'know its a different life for me now...

We don't have to go to the Elephant and Castle...we can go down this road here...I'm pretty sure its down that way 'tho...not down there...well it's not down there...no its down there I'm sure it is...oh fuck this fucking one way system ...it drives you mad and you end up going round and round in circles...



-Jaki Irvine This piece of writing is taken from a conversation between Jaki Irvine and Mike Nelson.