Stranger On The Shore
Stranger On The Shore is a series of short films by Michael Smith & Maxy Neil Bianco, with an original soundtrack from Andrew Weatherall and Nina Walsh. Collectively, these “video poems” use footage shot in the coastal margins of England to explore the myths and madness that these places nurture and inspire. From Goth-haunted Whitby to the psychic fault-line of Hastings and the industrial interzone along the Thames Estuary, it covers all the right territory and promises to reinforce my own ideas about these places that have always fascinated me. I remember a family holiday when I was about five years old – a week in Blackpool, in November, to see the illuminations. Permanently brooding skies, rotting rollercoasters reflected in the rain puddles, cheap tat behind drizzle-smeared shop windows on the Golden Mile – a genuine nightmare for some, but I liked it that way. It had a mysterious and thrillingly-unsettling atmosphere that overwhelmed my young and impressionable mind, and those feelings return even today when I end up down a Tenby back-street or wander the storm-slapped seafront at Eastbourne. These are the places where people come to have a good time, and generally go home disappointed, leaving a sump of failed dreams to be plumbed by those who prefer ruin over regeneration and horror over heritage.