Lost High Street

Lost High Street installed at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Lost High Street production still
Lost High Street video still

Lost High Street

Stereo sound work with single screen VHS video, 11 mins, 2008.

Post-punk spoken word paranoia soundtracks a VHS tourist video. The tourist is on an open-top bus tour around Edinburgh, pointing out the sights, unsure of his own past life, mixing what he thinks are his own memories with misheard fragments of the tour guide’s spiel. The narrative eventually takes a bleak turn as it is revealed that the tourist could be stuck forever on a tour that never stops, an endless series of circuits around a city that may be the capital of a disturbing foreign empire in the grip of cold-war paranoia. The tourist fears he may be dead, killed by the empire’s security forces because of an act of espionage he has unwittingly committed. This means, he thinks (though he is never sure of any of this), that he is now condemned to repeat his final act, the filming of a bus-top tourist video, in a blossom filled, sun-drenched city, forever. Thanks to Jenny Richardson, Jackie Kerr and Hank Williams. Commissioned by Collective Gallery.

The work appears on the Paul Rooney album Futile Exorcise on Owd Scrat Records.


William Sheridan (The Last Great Record blog). 22/12/2018 review of the work.

“…[A] tour de force…” Bryan Biggs (Bido Lito magazine). September 2017 article referencing the work.

Dandelion Radio Festive Fifty of 2017 (Lost High Street reached number 1).

Colin Serjent (Nerve magazine). Summer 2009 article referencing the work.

Beth Ridley (Nouse website). 25/11/2008 review of the work.

Neil Cooper (MAP magazine #15). Sept. 2008 review of the work.

James Clegg (Art Review magazine). Sept. 2008 review of the work.

“…Lost High Street consists of the rather wayward observations and autobiographical musings of a loner sitting at the back of an open-top bus as it tours Edinburgh. Rooney empathises and charms us into feeling the subjectivity of his protagonists. Who else but him could achieve such deep pathos with such down-to-earth subjects, methods and materials?” Robert Clark (The Guardian). 14/6/2008 preview of the work.

Martin Vincent (Metro). 9/6/2008 review of the work.