It is difficult to explain why I’m fascinated by dirty things that repulse many other people.
An upside-down shopping trolley on the corner of the football field.
A beer can in a milk crate: order in a moment of total abandon.
A single shoe on the side of the road... Sunday church goers passing it without a second glance.
... There you’ll find me... hovering nearby, waiting for the parishioners to clear off so I can investigate and document.
Self-consciousness was something I did away with years ago because I get a lot of pleasure from society’s less-chronicled details and do not wish to water down my enjoyment.
The roots of this behaviour can only be found buried deep in the pitch-black pit of my subconscious, a place on which it’s better not to shed light.
Instead of trying to understand the psychological reasons for my fascination, I find it less unnerving to experience these subculture treasures – through feeling, memory, humour and curiosity.
So through words and pictures, I chose to create a curiosity cabinet filled with scabs from Britain’s cultural underbelly. I do not claim that the subjects of the illustrations in this book are exclusive to Britain – only that they have come to characterise this screwed up little island of ours particularly well. Anyone who’s spent any length of time here will – to their pleasure or dismay – recognise each of them. The accompanying stories are both fiction and fact, attempts to paint a more visceral picture than the items within offer upon first sight.
If you’re holding this book, my hope is that you’ll share some of my appreciation of this filth and maybe even some stories of your own.
If you believe there is nothing funny about a used condom hanging off the end of a stick, then I suggest you put it back on the shelf and walk away.