Ghost Ship by Dorothy Cross By Michelle Dee
Or why I shouldn't go to galleries on my own.
I walk softly across the darkened exhibition gallery, towards a corner, illuminated only by the light coming from the projected image on screen. I sit myself down in one of the low seats provided. The other seat, beside the one I'm in, is occupied.
A quick glance out the corner of my eye reveals a man, possibly in a dark jacket and jeans, possibly with short hair. It's difficult to work out in this half light. I fix my eyes on the screen. Wonder where I am in picking up the looped footage; near the beginning or the end?
These chairs are a bit close aren't they? Sitting side by side, almost touching in the darkness, and watching the Ghost Ship on All Hallows' Eve at Ferens Art Gallery in Hull.
What if he's a weirdo? Does he come in often? I mean...is he a regular visitor to the various exhibitions? Maybe he takes his lunch break here; likes to sit quietly, mentally preparing himself, for what ever is to come next?
He could be a serial killer; he could raise his arm now, the one nearest me and with a quick thrust to his left he could stab me. I can hear his breathing. Why is he breathing so loud? Oh he's leaving now... no, no he's just shifting position in his seat.
We sit in silence watching the revolving images of the light ship in Scotsman's' Bay, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland filmed from a small boat on the waves, as it skirts around the once forgotten vessel. The luminosity fading in, luminosity fading out, him breathing.
I'm aware of my own breathing now. Is he? Does he know that it has quickened, does he sense my unease, my fear? Is he imagining strange things in his head? His head is quite close to mine. Another quick glance. I'm not trying to catch his eye. No. no, just trying to ascertain whether or not such close proximity to a stranger is something I should be concerned about. Stranger Danger. The words flash up in my head. Why does it look like that the bow of the ship is smiling as it glows? I stop breathing.
I return to thinking about different ways this dark man could murder me in the gallery. From somewhere I hear the tinkly sounds of adolescent laughter. We two are not alone after all. But here in this darkened corner of the gallery I could lie bleeding to death after he has made his move, too weak to cry for help.
Maybe he'd puncture a vocal chord with his blade? If you remove the tongue, a person cannot speak. It could be hours until someone found the pallid corpse: not until a Museum attendant came in to check there was enough publicity material in the racks.
I remember I'm holding my breath. I breathe out, suddenly, heavily. I gulp, pretend to be stifling a cough, he doesn't appear to notice. He can't see all these strange thoughts and dramas playing rapidly in my head. I wish the film would stop so I could turn and say something, or just stand up, as you would when the credits roll in the cinema.
Something makes this experience different. I don't want to stand up and move away from this man in case I appear rude, or worse still that I am incapable of appreciating the work and staying until its end. It is a silent moving image: as silent as the grave...Stop it.
Finally the reel returns to the start and he is standing up, walking off. What must he be thinking? I don't care. I stretch out, take a deep breath and allow the thought of staying a little while longer to tease at the edge of my mind. Who will be the next sitter?
I'm waiting here, sitting in the darkness, waiting and watching the Ghost Ship video installation by
Dorothy Cross on All Hallows' Eve in Hull.
Reviews, Theatre Monday 14th October 2013 - Last Orders by Martin Breathnach at Fruit
By Michelle Dee
Last Orders is a play with community spirit at its heart. Set in a northern town within the confines of that rare thing, the local pub,
untouched by the ticking of the developer's clock.
It's the kind of place you've quickened your pace as you walk past, yet inside, whole lives are playing out in rudely vivid colours, scripted by heavy local venacular.
The new play written and directed by Irish playwright Martin Breathnach,
Reviews, Art Saturday 28th September 2013 at Heads Up Festival at Trinity Church - Cruel Theatre Leaves Critic Traumatised By Michelle Dee.
How had this happened? All eyes on me. Me, casting my eyes about wildly, looking for the great big hole to swallow me up. Immediately I'm transported back,
more years than I care to mention, to the school play.
There I am in my jester's costume, tumbling around the good-looking lead playing the King, and my nerves get the better of me and with each
jolly bell rattle, there's another, slightly
Reviews, Arts Hull Dance Prize 2013 - Big Hit with Audience at Hull Truck Studio Theatre - Thursday 3rd October 2013 By Michelle Dee
Hull Dance Prize 2013, organised by Hull Dance, saw six Contemporary Dance performers/companies battling it out in the
Studio Theatre at Hull Truck, to a capacity crowd.
Hosted by the jovial 'he gets everywhere' David Burns from the popular BBC Radio Humberside programme, The Burnsy Show.
The winners would be decided by an expert panel of judges and receive a cheque for £1,500.
Reviews, Art Trinity Church Showcases Hull Poetry at Heads Up Festival - Saturday 28th September 2013 By Michelle Dee.
They've performed everywhere from the Boathouse to the Hotel Tower Ballroom (maybe not, that was Jake and Elwood), five have taken part in the Edinburgh Fringe, and between them they have amassed seven published works, in a relatively short space of time.
Reviews, Art So You Wanna be a Crime Writer? at Heads Up Festival - Saturday 28th September 2013 at The Other Space By Michelle Dee.
Michelle Dee enters the grisly world of crime fiction, a place where a black inkwell resides at the heart of every writer, and attempts to piece together, from the thoughts expressed by a select gathering of authors, a rough guide to crime writing
Reviews, Theatre City Sketch Heralds a New Dawn for Storytelling in Hull - At The Other Space, Hull By Michelle Dee
City Sketch is a site-specific theatre work that takes place inside The Other Space, a
converted office block at No 94 Alfred Gelder Street in Hull city centre. Unusual theatre, immersive theatre,
interactive theatre is making all the traditional theatre practitioners sit up and take notice.
Just as audiences want to interact with news and entertainment online, so they want to be part of the story in theatre.
Reviews, Art Breakthrough for Community Art in Hull By Michelle Dee.
It does feel like something of a breakthrough; Community artists gaining recognition through having work displayed in the
same way countless established artists have before them. I am of course talking about Hull Art Top 20 Exhibition,
showing at Art Link on Princes Avenue until 24th August 2013.
Reviews, Art Rhythm is a Danza! By Dark Clerk Photos by Philip Rhodes.
I'm shouting in a gallery, I'm shouting in a gallery, just one of the many taboos that dancer/performer Ellen Turner broke at Danza! in Hull. Ellen delivered an outrageous finale, to a rip-roaring third annual Danza! the Contemporary Dance event this year gravitating from Fruit to the Live Art Space at Ferens Gallery. Whereas live music in the city and theatre is enjoying a popular resurgence, dance is still under-represented in the city.
Reviews, Books - Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory by Mike Watts Reviewed by Helen Mort
Mike Watts' second collection is darker than his debut, dealing with relationships, sex, debts and the difficulty of chasing your dreams while still making ends meet.
But despite the gravity and grit of the subject matter, the poems always have a kind of exuberance to them, and energy that's almost infectious.
Reviews, Theatre Michael Black's New Play Pride Debuts at Adelphi - Tuesday 18th June 2013 By Michelle Dee
'No-one will love you - you will be alone forever'
The new play Pride by Michael Black conjures up images of the barbaric treatment of homosexuality in the latter half of the 20th Century; a play that explores issues of societal division, segregation and rejection which are as relevant today as they were then.
It is appalling to think that from 1950 and then for the next three decades, Behavioural Aversion Therapy was being administered to homosexuals in NHS hospitals across the country.
Reviews, Books - Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory by Mike Watts Reviewed by Terry Ireland
Just spent an hour dipping in and out Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory by Mike Watts. Always did like his style - no words wasted, tight and sparse. Controversial at times but always readable.
Really enjoyed. Another good 'un Mike.
Looking forward to hearing some of them performed. Mike is a superb performance poet that I have had the privilege of working with and attending his work shops. I can hear his voice in every poem.
Reviews, Books - Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory by Mike Watts Reviewed by Michelle Dee
Day and Night in the Damaged Goods Factory crashes through life in quick-fire stanzas that whack the unsuspecting reader over the head.
This, his second anthology available now at Waterstones Hull, sees the popular writer flexing muscles, girding loins, easing into the
self-made role of Hull street poet.
The poems are accessible, something you can pick up during a cigarette break and immediately share in a sense of solidarity.
You and he versus the rest of 'em.
Reviews, Theatre Adelphi Club Stages Theatre Double Bill By Michelle Dee
Crisis can strike at any time as the television is so fond of telling us.
It can take many different forms but the important thing is how you respond. Do you have the tools in the locker to manage the crisis to recover; to survive?
Joanna Morris' A Delicate Man explores the unknowable quantity that is human nature.
What is an all too familiar set of circumstances: a family torn apart
Reviews, Art Book Launch - Swear Down by Russ Litten at Pave - Wednesday April 10th 2013 By Michelle Dee.
If it is possible for poetry to rock a room, then on Wednesday Joe and Mike did just that.
It was author Russ Litten's book launch and a crowd of authors, poets, theatre-makers, movers and shakers from the Arts scene in Hull
including local press and radio, all gathered to celebrate the release of Swear Down, Litten's second novel,
but his first foray into crime-writing. The night was held at the popular drinking emporium,