Sunday, 18 June 2017

High-Rise

Written by JG Ballard, released in 1975. High Rise is an fictional insight it to the function and decay of a society crammed in to the concrete four walls of a forty-story new tower block development. Where shops swimming pools, restaurants and even schools sit within this new age visionary of luxury living of the Late 1960s- early 1970s.
Where the residents enjoy night after night of cocktail parties and orgies, fuelled with drink, drugs, hormones and lust. Until their high life, life style begins to crumble around then. 
As power cuts, and water outages run though out the building. as the rubbish shouts fill and waist becomes uncollected and the food in the supermarkets and restaurants begins to run low the residents divided by floors turn on each other, conducting raids for food and water, even animals, fighting for space, survival and power. 

( Image No. 1 My copy of the book and DVD )
I started reading this book when the film by Ben Wheatley was released in cinemas (in 2016), for the first time in a while i was hocked on the book from the first page. ( a lot of the time it takes 3 or 4 pages before I get in-grossed)Which meant by the time the DVD came out I had not finished the book and the film had to sit on the shelf until I finished the book.

( Image No. 2 First page of the book. )
The book follows doctor and medical school lecturer Robert Laing (played by Tom Hiddelston), whom has moved in to an apartment on the 25th floor of the high rise complex on the out skirts of London after his divorce on the recommendation of his sister who already lives in the building with her husband three floors bellow him. when the environment around them beings to descend in to madness he then takes his sister who has been left by her controlling husband, and another women in to his apartment to care for, and protect - him becoming more of the alpha male. 
In the film Alice his sister is dead along with is parents, creating a loner character, self obsessed dry man with baggage, Ready to let off some steam, with drink, drugs and sex.

Helen Wilder
“Well, Charlotte's right about one thing.
You are definitely the best amenity in the building.” 

As the power outages begin, sprits rise, and parties in full swing women from find them self attacked and some raped and on of the top floor resents jumps.
In the book it is the Jeweller from the 40th floor. In the film it is one of Laing’s students, Munrow, from the 39th floor. Who was sent for scans after passing out in a class. After he and others insult Laing at one of Royal’s parties, he tells Munrow that they found some thing during the scan, when all was good. Its an attack fuelled by the building. Yet no police arrive to investigate the incident, you can only asume that the body was taken away by a coroner and was not the first to end up in the 10th floor swimming pool.

Dr. Robert Laing: [voice over] 
"One thing was certain, Laing would surrender to a logic more powerful than reason."

You quickly start to see a divide in buildings residents social standing, with families, the working class occupying the lower floors,
The 10th floor homes of a supermarket, bank hair dresses, swimming pool, gum, liquor store,  and a junior school, which represents the first divide in building residents of working class and middle class in the middle of the building. (In the film this is moved up to the 15th floor. squash courts on the 20th) 
The 35th floor again has a swimming pool, sauna, and restaurants this is the divide between the middle and aspiring middle class -between 10th and 35th, and the elite on the floors above. The penthouse on the 40th floor of this world, Anthony Royal. (played by Jeremy Irons) The building's architect, the over seer of the building  and the surrounding complex’s ( and refereed to by others as the ‘architect’) 

Helen Wilder
“Don't worry, people don't usually care what 
happens two floors above or below them. “

The film directed by Ben Wheatley is a beautiful adapted from the novel, capturing the life with in the building.
The book its self could easily have been made in to a two part TV film, to include other other events, but doing this it would have lost its self in its own chaos.
In the book on the 40th floor there is a sculpture garden. designed by Royal as a playground for the chidden. it almost sounds like a sensory garden. This I was looking forward to see, but in the film the garden is Royals where his wife rides her horse. I was little disappointed not to she this, But having it as it is in the film shows how the higher floors see them selfs, better then the lower residence, living with these luxuries.

Concept art, on display At the Barbican Centre. Exhibition: In To The Unknown, A Journey Through Science Fiction.
( Visited on 16th June 2017. )
The film posters and DVD cover echo the architecture of the building and a kaleidoscope design. A kaleidoscope which one of the children,Toby has. As well as the effext is reflected in the elevator scenes.

Laing: What have you got there?
Toby: A kaleidoscope.
Laing: What can you see through that thing?
Toby: The future.

 (Image From trendland.com/high-rises-brutalist-architecture/ )
( Image From www.imdb.com )

( Image From www.irishnews.com )
kaleidoscope: 
noun: kaleidoscope; plural noun: kaleidoscopes
A toy consisting of a tube containing mirrors and pieces of coloured glass or paper, whose reflections produce changing patterns when the tube is rotated.
A constantly changing pattern or sequence of elements.
"the dancers moved in a kaleidoscope of colour”
        early 19th century: from Greek kalos ‘beautiful’ + eidos ‘form’ + -scope.

Chaotic shapes and colour that create beautiful forms. 
It is the event that take place with in this community that create some thing more wonderful then what they already had. Residence stopped going to work and concentrated on their dysfunctional life's in the high rise.


Dr. Robert Laing: [voice over] 
"For all it’s inconveniences, Laing was satisfied with life in the High-Rise. 
Ready to move forward and explore life. How exactly, he had not yet decided."

A kaleidoscope camrea effect is used near the end of the film where Wilder is killed, the event is watch by Toby through his toy. Creating beauty out of chaos and anger.

A human trait, looking for the good and beauty in life and people, searching for some thing better. When sometimes we look to hard and do not see what we have in front of us is what want and or need, missing the beauty in these moments.




( Above 3 Images Are Stills From The Film On You Tube )
( Screen Short From Nick Gillespie's Twitter. )
The Camera Rig Used To Create The Kaleidoscope Effect.
The 1975 novel was first published when the Barbican Estate towers were being built in London (towers completed 1973, 1974 and 1976). Designed in the late 1950s by young architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, spent 10 years in construction until its grand opening in 1982. And was granted Granted Grade II listing in September 2001.
There is a strong influence of these there buildings in the book. A land scape that was not yet completed with its sister high rise’s still under development. These buildings can be seen in the film and its posters. 

Concept art on display At the Barbican Centre. Exhibition: In To The Unknown, A Journey Through Science Fiction.
( Visited on 16th June 2017 )
( Image From TheGuardian.com )
The towers are (east to west):
Cromwell Tower, (completed in 1973 – named after Oliver Cromwell). Shakespeare Tower,(completed in 1976 – named after William Shakespeare)  and Lauderdale Tower, (completed in 1974 – named after the Earl of Lauderdale)
At 42 storeys and 123 metres (404 ft) high. The top two or three floors of each block comprise three penthouse flats.
( Image From www.bdcnetwork.com )
The Barbican Estate also contains the Barbican Centre (an arts, drama and business venue), the Barbican public library, the City of London School for Girls, the Museum of London, barbican conservatory and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The similarities are there but the fiction has never became reality.

Dr. Robert Laing: [voice over] "Ever wanted something more? Ever thought there could be a better way to live free from the shackles of the old, tired world? This development is the culmination of a lifetimes work by esteemed architect, Anthony Royal. The High-Rise has forty floors of luxury apartments filled with every modern convince. Onsite we have a fully stocked super-market, gym facilities, swimming pool, spa, school. There is almost no reason to leave. People from all walks of life are here too. There are many opportunities to make new friends, possibly fall in love. So why not join us? Joins us at the High-Rise."

Monday, 29 May 2017

Forgotten Stories


The repetitive daily routine and commute of five years had left her feeling slightly numb. It had become an uneasy norm to see the same people day in and day out, they had worked out the best spot to stand on the platform where the doors opened and they could enter and exit quick the tube and station. She had become a custom to the pushing and shoving, the man with the over powering aftershave, the girl who would push whom ever out of her way when getting on the tube and would always manage to stand on someones foot with her heels whiles listening to load music.

She had reached a point where she had just excepted that this could possible be it. this was her until she retired, or died! unless she won the lottery or some rich hansom man turned up and married her. Which of all of them the later one of retiring or dyeing suited her reality.
her daily montage of getting up, showering, getting dressed. (flat shoes, heals, boots, sandals, ballerinas, skirt, dress, jeans, suit trousers, jump suit, t-shirt, shirt, jumper, vest top, hoodie) hair make up (if she felt like it) coffee, toast, and out the house, walk to the station and on the tube .
Even the routine of seeing the girls she sheared the house with had become mundane. 
They where once all so close, but now 5 years on they hardly spent time together, they had all made new friendships, leaving  only the occasional weekend night for the 4 of them to spend together, pizza and wine. 

Even lunch breaks had become the same:
Monday, A ready meal form sainsburys 
Tuesday, costa for a hot chocolate or fruit cooler and a toasted sandwich.
Wednesday, The Italian cafe for a panini 
Thursday, Costa
friday, Costa.
The same people surrounded by tourists, excited to be in this crazy city. the regulars sit at tables for one and two or on the stools looking out of the window, blanking every one, lost in their own would of their own imagination, wish the working day over and holiday vacation to start.

Sitting at a table on her own. strangely quite for a Tuesday, still over half her lunch brake remaining and already a finished drink and a almost finished toasted sandwich. With a notebook sitting in front of her and one headphone in as she scrolled through the music on a the ipod in cased in black, looking for something too listen to that might just inspirer to write. Yet nothing.
“This is from the Gentleman that just left”
The girl with blue hair and tattooed arms placed a fresh take away cup beside her, with no lid. As she looked up her, the girl pointed out the window to the at the man walking away, pristine black suit  and shoes with dark blond hair.
“thank you” looking back at the girl who served most days at lunch and first thing in the morning, Her shift ending as she began to leave to return to work.
“I think you have an admire and he’s quite hot.”  the two exchanged a smile as they watched him walk away.
“Well cant be rich and hot cos that would mean that the world would implode or some thing.”
“Quite true” Pick up the empty cup and heading back to the counter
Glancing back out side with a small hope that her admire was still there but he had already beed lost in the crowed.

The late evening tube was almost empty. Two girls finishing off the make up before heading out, a suit worker with brief case and paper listening to his phone, and tourists with back packs and suitcases heading to places unknown.
Out of the darkness of the depths of the earth we pull in to the brightly lit station still five stops till her stop. It seams so far.
The doors open letting the girls off and further down the hollowed out worm that in which we travel. A group of slightly drunk and load me get on, pestering some poor girl seated further down the train.
The odd light flicked on and off above my head, making my eyes feel like they are under attack.
As the train pulled in to the next station of and green tiles and stops, the group of loud men grew louder as a group of girls get on and begin to head down the train closer to her away from the testosterone driven men. The doors begin to beep their “ready to close” warning as the last desperate traveler’s jumped on to the train.
A well presented man stood looking down the open carriages at the group of harassing men. A dark night blue sky suit with black shoes gave the illusion that the blue was lighter then it was. He watched as the train pulled out of the light and it to the darkness of the underworld.  Glancing down at the screen of her ipod wondering weather I should change the album to something less chilled out then ‘ Young Mountain, by This Will Destroy You’ which was starting to make her eyes heavy

A feeling of unease surrounded her like an invisible blanket, heavy. It felt like she had been removed from the noise from the hormonal driven men had been muffled out by a pillow over her ears, even the music from the head phones seamed as if it was playing from a speaker a room far away
Looking back down the train as the lights again flickered the hairs on arms and neck stood up and shock with anxiety for unknown reasons, Apart from may be, her own imagination.
the Gentleman now stood looking down to the back of train.
There was something about him. Then she realised he was the man from the coffee shop. He stood there holding the rail above his head, and the other hand in his trouser pocket. It almost seamed as if his stillness and body was making the train move gracefully side to side. His whole mannerism and look seamed to radiate power.
his gaze remained still and steady, unbroken by the flickering lights.
She followed his gaze down to the other end of the train. A few people sat ignoring each other. (Strangers with no intention of becoming acquainted).
As the lights continued to be temperamental I suddenly saw movement. were her eyes playing with her imagination? Suddenly she realised that standing there were two children around ten or eleven. Twins  dressed identically it what could only be described as circus outfits. Full skirts with puff sleeves and purple, dark pink and gold diamond print.
They stood there silently each holding the hand of a woman in a long green dress. I almost felt as if she had seen her before but Could not think where form, If at all. The three of them just stared down the carriage at him. 
As though they were in a silent fight, throwing angry thoughts and angry words back and fourth.
Pulling in to the next station he walked down the carriage stopping beside her looking down he  smiled. All she could do was smile back with a blush. It was almost as if he was protecting her form someone her or someone from her.
As the doors opened the woman lead the children off their heads turned and watched him as they jumped off. As the doors began to beep he once a gain smiled at her and quickly moved  to the door jumping off jut in time for them to close with out touching him.

“Stupid Kids” Snapped Kelly putting shopping bags on the kitchen counter. Kelly was on of her house mates dyed red, black and purple hair. A Pharmacist, grate for when any of them are feeling ill.
“Whats wrong?” Poring herself a glass of wine.
“There was just two girls standing on the pavement by the gate. As i came if I had to walk around them into the road. Freaky as hell They just stood there and steered at me… I think they were twins, they were dressed identically, looked like they belonged in centre of Camden or a circus.”
“Nice” Taking a sip of her wine. before heading up to her roam, Leaving Kelly to begin cooking her meal.
Her room was on the first floor at the front of the house. once again the street light was out across the rood, leaving the room in dark shades of grey shadows.
Before turning on the light she glanced out of the window, partly be a nosy neighbour. Standing beneath the broken street light stood the two girls, about 15-16, holding hands, looking at the house. After what had happened the night before they freaked her out a little. Reaching for the curtain, she watched as one of girls looked up at her window and brought a finger to her lips in gustier to be quite. her whole body shock, every hair stood up a cold chill ran through her. she grabbed the curtain and pulled it across the window to shut out the outside world. Standing staring at he closed green curtains imagination running wild with what she had just saw. where were they from? who were the? and why were they standing outside scaring every one. Reaching  for the glass of wine on the desk hands trembling she missing and knocked the glass on the floor.

It had been weeks since she had been brought the drink in the coffee. and each time that she had been in there since their had been something else, a coca, a bottle of orange juice and cake. But as of yet she has not  probable seen him. The staff find it funny and cute, they have asked him for his name or where he works yet nothing, his charm and smile is apparently hypnotic, the girls seam almost smitten by him and they forget the answer to what they have asked him. Yet she has not had the pleaser of meeting this admire.
Sitting next to the window with a iced drink and a toasted sandwich. With note book and pen and ‘The Strain’ novel, a book that has been sitting on the shelf for almost a year.
The busy London life of tourists outside in search of Instagram moments with selfy sticks and digital cameras a round their necks.
“Sorry do you mind if I shear?” Breaking from the day dream, looking up to see him standing by the empty chair at the table. Bright Blue eyes, dark and deep enough to get lost in.
“No that fine”. As he sat down I realised that the coffee shop had suddenly become full, all the tables taken , the only free seat was at her table.
Glancing at her watch to make sure that she had not over spent her time and was late for work. No 40 minuets left, it had almost felt as though time was going slower. Most lunch breaks would fly by making the rest of the working day feel as if it was going on forever.
Taking a sip of her cold drink, summer fruits, a mix of ice and fruit syrup, which was basically water and sugar flavouring, Trying not to look at him, even with a hundred questions, Glancing out the window she noticed that across the road looking in the window of a shop was a woman in a dress of gold and black from behind the style looked very 1920s, short black gloves shoes almost flat with a heel no more then 1/2 inch and a black parasol of lace. she looked quite out of place at this time of day, it was as if she was one her way to an evening event.

“she has quite a classic taste in dresses, don't you think?”
“I’m sorry?” Looking at him. His face seamed to smile with out his mouth moving. He nodded as he looked over towards the woman,
“What are you working on. If you don’t mind me asking.?”
“Oh nothing much, just some notes for an article for my blog.” Closing the notebook, self conchase over its contents.
“You write a lot?” 
“A bit, nothing that good”  He sip his coffee, she felt so at ease but at the same time the familiarity of his presence was uncountable and unsettling with no exportation of why.
“So why do it?’
a moment to think 
“Personal pleasure” She smiled, looking out of the window again, the women stood now looking towards the coffee shop at them in window. 
“How many notebooks have you filled up”
“three or four”
“Not all of it is posted on your blog?” a sense of confusion.
“no not all off it is”
he moved forward on his seat placing his cup on the table.
“you should finish the ones that you have not yet finished”
“I’m sorry?” 
“your work”
He confused her even more. What did her know about her. she wondered if one of her friends had set him up.
“I’m sorry… But Do I know you?”
His smile was warm and comforting, eyes that made her heart race.
“I suppose you do.. In a way. Even them”
looking once more out to the street the twins, bother the children and the teenagers stood with the woman in black and gold.
“You should finish the red notebook and the blue.. And the pink one”
Shock and confusion, 
“The unfinished stories you started… You know who I am, and her and them.” It was as if he was looking in to her mind and sole. Yet he did not scare her.
“In a way we have been inspiring you for years, well mainly myself and her. When you haven't really no-test. we have just been there. Humming a tuning,  beside you guiding you to buy something.”
She smiled at his comment.
“So, are the two of you my conscience so to speak. The devil and the angle on my shoulder?” 
A smile of laughter at the idea.
“Not exactly. We are as real as you are. Don’t worry your not going mad.” his words trying to put her at rest, yet they placed more confusion.
“She’s no Angel… And myself. Well I’ve been called many things though time, and Angel and Devil are defiantly two of them. Or maybe I am one and the same? You see, with out realising it you have been playing Devils advocate in a way,  putting our lives on to paper.” 
Still the thought kept going around her head that one of her friend must have put him up to this, but there was one thing. She had not told any one about what she had been writing, Her computer was password protected, And the notebooks she had finished or was still working she kept in a draw in her desk that she looked.
“You should continue with them, finish them” He looked out of the window at the woman, still standing there with the twins, watching them.
“Be careful of her. she might seam nice but she likes a hunt, and the taste of blood. And kids well every one loves the idea of running away with the circus… Don’t give up on the ideas. Our existence.” 
He lent back in his seat, coffee in hand.
“Your making it sound as if you all are not… Well Human” She was starting to think about the stories she had stated and not finished. Pages of notes and doodled ideas, like he had said. Smiling he took a sip from the paper cap.

A circus of misfits and run a ways form their past, or them selfs. A Vampire of the old world with legends surrounding her. And the name of the one known by so many across this world, modern and old, and that cast fear, myths and legend, that caused the death of thousands of women. Whom was the most loyal servant of god him self… Lucifer.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

The Cutting Room Floor.

Scattered cells of inverted colours and monochrome stills. 
Lay over a matte black floor scared with lines and holes 
showing through as concrete white.
With out of focus prints and cut up silhouettes.
Chemical smells lingering in the dark red light.
The echoing tick of the timer haunting the air.
With a tray of transparent fluid slowly.
An image magical appears upon the red tinted white paper. 
Fading slowly from greys to black.
A fading memory, coming it to focus from what seams so ago.
Forever captured on negative film and positive photo paper.

Once close friends and places, that we back then loved and visited.
Now hardly seen or not even seen at all. 
Visited only on this cutting room floor of memory.
Names now almost forgotten drawn in sand of a black and white memory, 
built out of stone on black and white green grass art developed moment. 
Frozen forever in a out of focus black and white dream.

The echoing ticking of the timer that haunts the air. 
lingers link the song we once listened to.
A tune with no lyrics sits in my head.
As I look at these black and white stills
From a a life that seams so long ago.
So many unrecognisable face and place.
amongst those so familiar, 
In these fading memories from what seams so long ago.

Places that once were our playgrounds, change and change again.
Like the faces of once close friends fade to new. 
leaving the friends from so long just a forever frozen, out of focus 
black and white dream.
On the cutting room floor of memories.


© sarah jane patel 2017

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Notebook of a girl. Entry IX

Designer suits and Primark shoes, they sit staring down at their one line life within their hands. I sit and wonder where those suits and heading with those people in them?
The endless Rattle of the underground cars echo in my ear, the hot dry air that fills the ground fills my lungs and every breath dose dry my mouth.
The once cold bottle with drops of cold water that sat upon the surface now have gone and the contents now warm leaving my hand now wet, a sip not quite ease the thrust that is with in my throat.
The rhythmic drown of steel on steel and the rush of air fills the air in this tin can  car that is racing miles beneath the grown of London town.
Hundreds of miles of tunnels disused. As we slow and the suddenly stop the current residence of this tin can tut and shuffle in their seats, Those who stand relax their arms form folding on tight and shuffle their feet, an impatient glance at time on smart phones and shiny watch faces.
Sitting still in the illuminated darkness, you have have to wonder which line the vibrating rattling is coming from above or below? in front or behind?
Looking beyond my own reflection in the window behind a girl in her Primark suit and designer shoes and designer bag, engrossed in an e-book on her electronic device.
Hidden in the darkness, lengths of  cable run. Held to the wall with mettle brackets covered in black dirt. A door locked and bolted with a tunnel number painted on it.
My imagination begins to run wild are far from these designer suits and Primark shoes. far gone are the days of top hats and cravats.
Be hind the door and down the tunnel lined with cables and pipes leading you further in, deeper in to the dark leading to a deserted and forgotten station, used last, last century.
Broad sheets on benches and old gas lamps  still hanging, shrouded in dust and silk spun cloths of spider webbing. discoloured posters from the second would war, hand drawn and painted by widows of the war.
A long disused track conjures a phantom wind,  whirling with in. Thought the ground a distant sound of racing trains coming from above or below? in front or behind? Dust the traces of the  present along the trains deserted river bed, plastic bags white and blue ripped and tattered discarded form the world above.
A trace of the urban explorers and homeless, sprayed on the half white and green tiled walls next to a waterfall that runs ceiling to floor moss and mould, the only  things that grow in the this damp endless night of this world below the city above.
foot prints in the dust along the platform around in circles and back again, from one end to the other. 
Paw prints lead to a bricked up door and away again, what sought of beast walks this Labyrinth beneath the streets above.
I don’t think that it is tame. With blood stained fur and a broken fang, claws long and white. sharpened on the tiled walls of a forgotten tunnel. Nesting in a carriage of a Victorian train with its shining deep blue eyes to see in this endless night of blackness. 
This island of light, illuminated by the flicking strip lights of the modern world, that has unknowing forgotten this would that lays beneath their feet.
A sudden sound and a sharp movement breaks me from my day dream, bring me back to the reality with in this tin can that I am  traveling within, beneath the ground with these designer suits and Primark shoes. Primark suits and design shoes. lukewarm water, and discarded papers. Lost in the depths beneath the city, in winding tunnels centres old, and an endless night. mythical beasts, in a unknown would.
A sudden bight light as we pull in to an island and passengers leave and new arrive Primark suits, and tourist bags, knock off hand bags. switched off form the world, in their on line world. as we retreat once more in to the dark and me in to my thoughts and over active imagination.

© sarah jane patel