Thursday, 26 January 2017

Making Mochi




In 2011, my friend Rachel came to stay with me and my grandparents in Japan. She took footage of them making the new year rice cakes, or mochi, and six years later I have edited it together to make a short film.

In memory of Ogiichan

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Power cuts are nice

The sky is teeming with stars but we kill it with our light. I never knew this until the power cuts. In the middle of the night when the storm had risen up, gale-force winds cracking against the windows, a wind buffets through the house and I feel the panes expand and contract as though they were sails and malleable like that for an instance, of a ship.

When I arrive in Orkney by ferry, on the island of Burray where we live, what strikes me is the silence.

The lack of hum from the planes and pollution, or sirens and tarmac being sped across by vehicles. It is never silent but how I imagine silence should sound. Underwritten by the purring immensity of the waves and broken by gulls and birdsong in the day.

It’s revealing for a city-dweller like me, filled with hubris, to not only see but hear Nature and how vast and unpredictable she is. Never having to endure frightful storms in the city, ones that blow the power cables out from right beneath you, and blot the street lights out completely. Torches and candles, firelighters and smoke detectors. Grubby coaled fingers. Hushed scramble.

At 1 a.m. I heard a thunderclap so loud that it shuddered through my skin and rose me out of bed. Flick the light switch on but nothing and so there was nothing. In my flimsy nightgown I walk the corridor to the porch where it’s all panes of glass and the sea close by and I peer around the island. Electricity is dead and the sky is lighting up instead.

Sheet lightning is what you would use in a film for utmost dramatic effect, because for once light does not shine up but is a blanket that comes down. Cascading all over the scene in one fell crash, lighting up every crevice and exhuming every shadow. A flash this bright and all-round emboldens angles and crooked edges, flattening out empty land, so to a loner wide-eyed looking out at open space the thought flickers of how frightened one would be if the next illumination defined the outline of a figure standing there, where there was nothing a moment before.

When the storm had passed I stayed fixed to the spot by curiosity and fear. This was silence. The air had been smashed out by thunder. I walked outside to feel the alien calmness, the winds had dropped and I couldn’t decipher the sea. Looking up I gawped at the stars and stars and more stars. Tiny million flecks like a detailed map and brighter larger ones too, they sparkle who knew, really that these lights were there all along dampened by the smog and 24-hour shop.

I stopped. And in the cold I spoke a gasp each time more stars opened up to me. I never wanted the lights to come back on and that’s when I learnt power cuts are nice.


Thursday, 17 November 2016

Let's move to Cumbria! (An ode to Annina)


‘The sea has to remain a mystery.’ She said then evaporated.
I’m flummoxed. They’re married. You tell me now as if I wouldn’t have wanted to marry her and make her a happy wife.
We could have had a country life….
With a cat who catches mice and two lolloping hounds.
Taken long walks against strong winds and seek’n shelter in the carved out hollows of sunken ships, on low-lying beach.
So that we might hide from the world and then burst out in Spring!
Pass’d Winter nights swooning over the fading moon through our slice of window pane, wrapped-up in thick blankets the weight of hay stacks.
Tea at different times of day and different kinds too.
Loose-leafed, ginseng,
nettle, fennel,
Tetley’s. You'd sing.
Think of it - you in the drawing room reading. Me in the living room pleading to be paid attention to and writing.
No babies.
We could have had it all. Moved away from here. And I could've carried you over the threshold with some help from a stranger. It would've been poverty-stricken bliss
(I'd hide the bills.)
But alas, you found her and I found him and we’ll be better off with them.


Saturday, 12 November 2016

Warming thoughts for coming Winter

Cat scrambles up tree chasing after squirrel. 

Her tails whips around the trunk

Squirrel’s tail twitches furiously round and round

The chase becomes a mad scramble. 

Does she catch him? 

Claws and fur.

Leaves.

I have been inundated with books. It’s no bad thing but I need to make time to read them all. No examination coming up. But lethargy is a killer and I always moan that I want to be learning something so I should bloody well open up my brain to all the words. 

It’s autumn now and winter tomorrow. The outside weather makes us all want to stay inside. This happens every year and still it’s unpredictable for me, difficult to commit my heart to. The reason is because it’s unwanted, when it’s getting sunnier and warmer it’s easy to expect it in fact you can’t wait for it. 

I love summer. Friends invite more people out in the summer. We all went swimming in a pond once, no twice. The muddy cold fresh water of Hampstead Heath, leaves stuck to the hair and algae skin. A tiny pool more like a contemporary puddle in the midst of skyscrapers and the new Google outfit, we shared the water with ducks and ran screaming in to a sauna that looked like a barrel.

You can think fondly of those things because it’s life affirming. Exhilarating. But now. Now it’s wet and cold and a political shitstorm so, why would we choose to get out of bed. 

Hole up and read for the winter and eat warm nuts and soup. That’s the life.




Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Childhood memories of transport links


I have always lived near transport links. My earliest memory is of the kalang kalang of a railway barrier, slowly but surely reclining its black and yellow arms to come down across the road so that the people on bicycles and feet would stop. Trains tore passed – kalang kalang whoosh judder kalang ROAR.
I think I thought, in my tiny confused state that we were on the move. Or about to move. I mean to be fair, we did move quite a lot. 13 times in my lifetime so far, and I think I stopped counting at 16.
But as a baby on my bed I could hear the trains on the tracks. That faraway kalang kalang was like birdsong to me but more regular and constant, like a woodpecker maybe. I liked hearing it in the distance burgeoning as I got closer (this is when I had grown older and larger) taking it as given that I could walk to the shops alone, head thrust skyward.
Strolling.
Stations I feel comfortable in are in the middle of nowhere. Like that two-storey flat we lived in overlooking a dank railway bridge made of muddy coloured brick with all the vines and weeds sprouting from the top of it. Placed between deep countryside and a Green Belt that station was a lone platform. Tickets £2 in to town, return.
In the autumnal red and golden brown, I’d cross the bridge with keys jangling in frost-bitten hands to fumble with the lock. Sunset. Bedroom under heaped-on covers I could feel the tremors from the cargo trains as they passed under through the dead of night. I liked vampires back then so maybe there were bats under there or a gothic station master waiting for the red signal that never came.
Screeching.
Imagination never stopped with train stations and all that waiting. The trains went past with regularity and that gave me hope because I knew people were travelling places and I could sit still and be there to listen. Is that strange? I never felt tempted to board one or to escape because that noise of transience made me feel at home.
Amazing stillness, forethought and possibility at stations when everyone else is moving rushing on ahead. I think I’ll wait for the next train. There’ll probably be another one.
Soon.


Thursday, 27 October 2016

Halloween horror spoof


I shot this horror spoof called Halloween at Bromfelde Rd (Part 1). Featuring the haunted housemates who are Georgia Margaret from the dead Murphy, Jesse All hell break loose Lamb, Neil Spade, Louise Demonic Son and it's by me Rimi Solloway on Vimeo. Original score by Jesse Allam and Lou Dickinson. Boo!



Wednesday, 31 August 2016

5 Days in Japan

http://www.akemisolloway.com/5-days-in-japan/

I wrote up my extensive 5 day trip to Japan, co-authored with Aidan Cifford, which is published here.

Enjoy Japan travellers and friends!