Stereo sound work with single screen video, 4 mins, 2017.
A reworking of an Edwardian variety song about a worker’s grave that has to be moved so that new drains can be laid for a rich gent’s new residence. The worker, the song goes, will haunt the toilet of the city chap in revenge ‘and only let him go’ when the worker allows him. The video uses found drain-inspection footage that could almost be depicting the journey of the worker’s lost, wretched soul back up to the surface of the world for his frightening, riotous vengeance.
The work appears on the Paul Rooney album Futile Exorcise on Owd Scrat Records.
Tessa Jackson (Constructing Connections art project newspaper). 2017 essay referencing the work.
Jessica Holtaway (Constructing Connections art project newspaper). 2017 essay referencing the work.
Bryan Biggs (Bido Lito magazine). September 2017 article referencing the work.
Single screen video with stereo sound, 22 mins, 2009.
The film’s main character, ‘Bill’ (played by Paul Hilton), is taking part in an advertising company’s focus group meeting, which is using the conference facilities of an English stately home. But Bill also appears to be acting out or imagining scenarios set in a 1930s New York psychiatric institution, in which he takes on the character of a failed jazz musician recovering from alcohol abuse. Eventually, this 1930s world, and the shadow it casts over the present, entirely disrupts the proceedings. The film draws on the English writer Malcolm Lowry’s time in a psychiatric ward at New York’s Bellevue Hospital in 1935, which informed his novella Lunar Caustic. Lowry’s voluntary attendance at Bellevue (he could check out when he liked), parallels the often privileged position that art occupies in relation to real life.
Originally co-commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella with the Bluecoat, in association with Harewood House, Leeds and Spacex, Exeter.
Watch the piece on the FVU watch player.
Sophie Haydock (The Leeds Guide). 28/4/2010 review of the work.
Robert Clark (The Guardian). 26/9/2009 preview of the work.
Bill – Paul Hilton
Jenny – Jenny Jules
Paul – Paul Popplewell
Danny – Danny Cunningham
Emma – Emma Ashton
Rae – Rae Kelly Poppy –
Carolyn – Carolyn Eden
Mark – Mark Jameson
Raphael – Raphael Wong
Director/editor – Paul Rooney
Script – Paul Rooney, with acknowledgements to ‘Lunar Caustic’ by Malcolm Lowry
Director of photography – Bevis Bowden
First camera assistant – Tom Gibbs
Location sound recordist – Ross Adams
Production manager (FVU) – Jinan Coulter
Production assistant – Helen Dowling
Casting – Chloe Emmerson
Casting assistant – Rachael Speed
Filmed at Harewood House, Leeds
Location manager (Harewood House) – Alice Falkingham
Music – ‘Japanese Sandman’ (Egan/Whiting) performed by Bix Beidebecker and ‘Death of Åse’ from ‘Peer Gynt’ (Grieg) performed by Paul Hilton
Acknowledgements: Excerpts from the novella ‘Lunar Caustic’ by Malcolm Lowry. Used by kind permission of SSL/Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc. Copyright by The Estate of Malcolm Lowry. Excerpt from the poem ‘What’s It To Us’ by Arthur Rimbaud.
Paul Rooney would like to thanks Steven Bode, Bryan Biggs, Jackie Kerr, Roger McKinlay, David Lascelles, Diane Lascelles, Nicola Hood, Mike Jones, Nina Ernst, Kerry Harker, Sara-Jayne Parsons, David Allott, all at Film and Video Umbrella, all at Harewood House, Leeds, all at The Bluecoat, Liverpool. Co-commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella with The Bluecoat, in association with Harewood House, Leeds and Spacex, Exeter.
Single screen video with stereo sound, 25 mins, 2008.
In a dark, apparently derelict Liverpool cinema, Tony, an amateur comedian and gumshoe detective, chats with other comics in the ticket queue and the bar. He talks of his recent visits to his past life regression therapist, and tells some of the jokes he has written about it. At various points the other male and female comics in the cinema relay messages to Tony from an unknown and unseen man who is trying to contact him. There is clearly something unpleasant that Tony has stumbled on at some time in his past, something that he is impelled to uncover further, despite the risks. Will Tony’s past catch up with him before he does? Thanks to MUCK collective, Tony Schumacher, Alexandra Jones and Kai-Oi Jay Yung. Commissioned by Tate Liverpool.
Purchased in 2012 by the Victoria Gallery and Museum with funds from The Contemporary Art Society.
Tony Schumacher (The Futurist Cinema website). 2013 essay about filming the work.
Laura Davis (Metro). 12/10/2012 review of the work.
Alex Hetherington (A-N website). 4/2/2009 review of the work.
Sue Hubbard (The Independent). 6/1/2009 review of the work.
Robert Clark (The Guardian). 13/12/2008 preview of the work.