Monday, 17 July 2017

Behind the wall of sleep

If I ever win something on the Lottery (unlikely, I don’t do it), or come into some inheritance (unlikely, no-one still around with anything to leave), or you're a generous philanthropist reading this now (lovely to meet you!) – there's something, not too out-of-this-world, I'd just like to do.

It's fairly modest: a kind of art project - travelling around Europe photographing windows.  Not any old windows, though; I know what I’m looking for - ones that, soon as I notice them, have a strange, déjà-vu effect, as if I’ve been on the inside of them, looking out.  I’ll be out of harm’s way, in the open air, but I’ll know that, on the other side of their small, dirty panes, up high and out of reach (always up high), all manner of unspoken danger and supernatural wickedness lurks.  I'll know because I’ve been behind these windows many times, in dreams.

The recurring theme (probably a common one?) is that I’m wandering through a building – often an old house with paneled walls and narrow staircases, like you see in creepy 1940s films, but sometimes they're industrial or 1970s office blocks – and I go higher and higher.  Everything's fine until I step into the very top room or space with that window, and then I feel ‘the malevolent presence’.   Sometimes I'm trapped, peering out at a normal world I can't get to.  I never see the source of my fear, just sense something very sinister in the room.  I'm sure a psychoanalyst would have an explanation.  I might not want to hear it, mind.

Anyway, maybe I'd overcome these disturbing dreams by capturing the physical image of the windows themselves? It would be great just to have enough freedom and funds to go travelling with a cool high-tech camera (once I've learned how to use it)  and then I could click away to my heart's content (in between eating linguine in Tuscany and visiting the Louvre in Paris. Perks of the job).  Let me know if you fancy doing the driving.

I s'pose that's what dreams are for, the daydreams anyway... that's where things start, tho' in this case it started with nightmares.

I'm unlikely to have time/money to fully indulge in something pointless like this, though. Who does?  It's a shame, isn't it -  all the things we might do if only we could just suspend normal life for long enough and take off with no other concerns.  Not major life changes or ambitions, just 'projects' - things that really are possible, but need a bit more than you have.

Meanwhile then, I took a short stroll locally (before I sprained my ankle!) and found a few high windows, the best I could do with limited time, anyway.  Here are just three crappy, furtive pics to try and show what I mean.  (I had to tell the owner of one that I was photographing a bird on his roof as I didn’t want to let him in on the unspeakable paranormal malevolence in his attic.)

Are they a bit creepy, or is it just me?  I mean, just imagine yourself, trapped behind them, where no-one can hear you scream....

Don't be misled by the pretty gable around that spooky top window 

Even the alarm won't protect from the evil presence in that attic room

The tiny ancient window up there on the left
offers no escape from the terrifying ghosts within

18 comments:

  1. No, it isn't just you...

    I think you should apply for Arts Council funding for your project, pitch it as a book of photographs with short stories interwoven. They can only say no, right?

    Also, have a read of Slade House by David Mitchell. Terrific book... and bad things happen way up in the little room at the top of the house (although I can't remember if it has windows - either way, it certainly has those panelled walls and narrow staircases...)

    When you've got your Arts Council funding, let me know where I can apply for the driver role.

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    1. Ooh, I like that idea, thanks. I'd need to enlist someone to write the stories too... so you land yourself a dual role there!

      Thanks for the recommendation of the book - I must check it out. Sounds like the theme may be rather disturbingly familiar. Maybe it's something to do with growing up with numerous volumes of the Pan Book of Horror Stories, and Hammer films...

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    2. No problem, I can multi-task!

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    3. Good to know - as I can't!!

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  2. I'm with Martin
    Just submit this post as your application

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    1. Haha, thanks CC - very tempted!

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  3. I'm looking at these photos outside, and I think the sun at my back is giving off a strange light that is making these windows seem extra spooky. Like you say, if life could only stop being in the way all the time...

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    1. Ooh weird - let me know if you notice a mysterious face pressed up against the glass in that top one!
      The second pic is a house I pass quite often, and there is something about that relatively innocuous looking attic window which I really do not like at all. It doesn't come across in a photo but, in real life, it really does give me the chills.
      Yes - that thing about life and other plans, you know the quote!

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  4. I shall spend my time commuting on the top deck of the bus examining Windows with added interest!
    Stories about attics and windows , though from the inside looking out, off the top of my head.... "the yellow wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman ( one of the most disturbing short stories I have ever read)and " the Franchise Affair" by Josepine Tey, a Golden age detective story.
    (It's not to late to inter -rail you know !)

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    1. Ah, I love the top deck of a bus - yes, please look out for those windows!
      Thank you for the reading recommendation; you know, even the title about 'yellow wallpaper' is resonant. Those scary high rooms with small spooky windows are the kind that could definitely have yellow wallpaper. I must check out the story, but probably best not read before bedtime...
      Inter-railing would be the best way really, wouldn't it? - let the train take the strain!

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  5. I love the idea of travelling round Europe taking pictures of such windows - There must be a way. Waiting for retirement sadly is leaving too late I fear as the best time for such an adventure would be right now - Start buying that lottery ticket. Funnily enough I usually see these windows as being cute and don't have bad dreams about such things at all - Seeing your very atmospheric pics however has made me think of them in a whole new light. Hope the bad dreams don't start!

    PS - I am missing writing new posts for my blog dreadfully but the cold turkey from that particular activity hasn't really worked in that my head is still scrambled from the hot-desking workplace etc. Think I might have to go for the complete cold turkey from the blogosphere until next month but did want to drop by when I got the email alert about this new post from you. If I have the courage to give up the day job, and win the lottery, you will be the first person I think of for a month of traversing Europe taking pictures!

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    1. You're so right, waiting for retirement doesn't seem very attractive, we want to do these things before it comes to that! It's not asking for the earth, but it just doesn't fit into my lifestyle needs right now.
      Interesting how you see the little windows as cute - and yes I do know what you mean, some certainly are. What makes the others creepy is sometimes hard to put your finger on - it's just a 'feeling'!

      Missing your posts too, Alyson! But totally get what you say - there's no pressure and staying away for a while can also make the return feel even better - it certainly helped me to take some time away from it recently and I've no doubt I'll do so again. It is, at least, a very fluid hobby and only as demanding as we allow it to be!

      Ah, I'd be very happy to travel around Europe with you and a camera for a month! I'd better buy that Lottery ticket too...

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  6. Martin makes a good point about the Arts Funding, go for it! Although I might have to challenge him to a duel for the driver's role :-)
    I often look at funny little windows, high up in old houses and wonder what the point of them is, tucked away seemingly almost inaccessible. I've never been freaked out by them before though - until now anyway! I shall never look at them the same way again!

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    1. Thanks - it is a cool idea about the funding but I think will have to remain a fantasy for now. If I had more photographic experience that would help, but I haven't a clue! I'd probably best hire a photographer as well, erm, that might be a bit damaging to my case, though....
      I hope you won't find too many windows that freak you out but, if you do - please take a snap for me!

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  7. Windows, and mystery doors. Those long unused entrances/exits locked into the masonry, welded shut with layers of paint. Who was the last person to pass through? Is there someone on the other side, who never made it?

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    1. What a great description, thanks Martin. And what a thought to leave with! Hope not to dream about that tonight, though.

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  8. Those pics do have an errieness, the b/w adds to that feeling. Basements seem to feature often in horror films, but attics can be just as creepy.
    My grandmother had a box room upstairs, which was an interesting secret place to my young eyes, although I think it was essentially a storage room of sorts. I'm also reminded of the Cure song The Upstairs Room.

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    1. I must admit, I took the colour out to help with the eerie atmosphere, as they looked more benign against a sunny background in a photo. In reality that second one makes me feel funny though whatever the weather, there is just something about it, I think I've definitely been behind that one in a dream!
      Some rooms do just have a certain atmosphere I think, especially if they're not used as daily living spaces. My mum had a tiny spare room upstairs in her old cottage, with a ceiling that sloped from very high to very low, and it was a storage room too, full of odd bits and pieces, with a musty smell. Mum moved there on her own after my sister and I left home, so we never lived there, but twe both though that room was definitely a bit spooky! (My mum didn't...)

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