January 13th – Happy Birthday Bernard

Bernard

The Perceptor was invented by my Grandfather Bernard Jones.  My mother, Liz Whittaker, recollects –
“Bernard was an engineer, worked for Renold Chains as a Precision Chain Inspector until 1963 when he left to go into business opening the electrical shop VAX in Claremont Road. He had always invented things – horlicks mixer, hanging scales, designograph (the prototype idea that led to the spirograph), and once he had the shop he invented the Invertest, the electrical safety testing device that won him an award in the early 1970’s from the Inventor’s Society (Manchester ?) who had a regular stand annually at the Ideal Home exhibition where he showed his inventions every year.

Bernard Jones

His interest in arcane subjects grew in his later years. He’d always enjoyed number, maths problems stuff like that, and he noticed there were mathematical patterns in astrology, cartomancy and numerology (his own pet subject) that seemed to be consistent throughout and could be ‘pooled’ to give some kind of predictive possibility. The Perceptor was produced in small numbers and advertised in Exchange and Mart, that would probably have been around 1970/72 I imagine. There were a few newspaper articles about him back then and there was a particular journalist called Peter Everett who interviewed him more than once and was impressed by what he called ‘his giant brain’. That was around the time when Lily got into spiritualism and more or less persuaded him to go along with her. He was never really a spiritualist and if ever asked his religion he said he was a ‘Pythagorean’.”

Watch a documentary about ‘Bernard and the Phone.’ made for the first Absent but not Forgotten exhibition in 2010.

(from ABNF 2010)
Aspects of the exhibition are loosely based on some of my Grandfather’s research into EVP. As an electrical engineer and inventor he was convinced he could make a telephone that would communicate with ‘the other side’. Oddly enough, he, like me, had a barn full of semi-working and broken Hifi and TV – interesting that we both share a fascination with what might be found in the broken, silent or noisy portions of recorded media. Jacob Whittaker.

The interview was processed and edited to include the audio waveform and a sequence of images derived from frequency analyses of the silences within the audio.

“I remember as a kid, whenever we visited my grandparents, he (Bernard) would take great interest in whatever electronic game or gadget us kids were playing with that week… once taking apart a light up Yo-Yo, much to my annoyance, in order to see and explain how the motion was switching the light on…
…Im sure the technologies available now would have interested and excited his ‘Giant Brain’ “.

thirteenfridays – Lemuria special

The ancient Roman festival of Lemuria is thought to be a pre-christian antecedent of All Saints Day.  Taking place from May 11th to 13th, feasts and rituals took place  ‘…to exorcise the malevolent and fearful ghosts of the dead from their homes. The unwholesome spectres of the restless dead, the lemures or larvae were propitiated with offerings of beans.’ (read more)
MackerelOatcakes
13 Homemade Oatcakes with Manes Mackerel Pate, served with a 13 ingredient seasonal salad – Red cos, Green Batavia, Spinach, Rocket, Little Gem lettuce, Wild Sorrel, Pennywort, Jack in the Hedge, Wild Garlic & Violets dressed with Mustard, Honey, & Olive oil.

BeanPot
Bellona’s Bean Stew, a 13 ingredient stew with Black Turtle beans, Pinto Beans, Cannellini Beans, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Stock, Onion, Garlic, Worcestershire Sauce, Carrots, Celery, Chilli, Olive oil.

PearPudding
13 ingredient Plutonian Pear Pudding – Passum, Honey, Hazelnuts, Plain flour, Caster sugar, Butter, Baking powder, Bicarbonate of Soda, Eggs, Vanilla, Dark chocolate, Cream, Milk.

So having dined on oatmeal cakes (a nod to the Vestals’ ‘Mola salsa’,) Passum poached pear pudding (passum was a sweet raisin wine with honey), garnishes of wild violet flowers and more honey we continued the evening with a short and effective ritual –

Ovid notes that at this festival it was the custom to appease or expel the evil spirits by walking barefoot and throwing black beans over the shoulder at night. It was the head of the household who was responsible for getting up at midnight and walking around the house with bare feet throwing out black beans and repeating the incantation, “I send these; with these beans I redeem me and mine” (Haec ego mitto; his redimo meque meosque fabis.) nine times. The household would then clash bronze pots while repeating, “Ghosts of my fathers and ancestors, be gone!” nine times.’

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Thirteenfridays: The Last Gallery

tabledarkTo celebrate the end of our fifth birthday celebrations, Absent but not Forgotten revisited our Thirteenfridays project, initiated in 2013, in which we celebrated Friday 13th with thirteen themed meals.

Our very first exhibition was in The Last Gallery in Llangadog, Carmarthenshire in 2010 so we prevailed once again on Mick and Julie Ann at the the gallery to host a finale meal for our 2015 events.

We invited thirteen guests to join us on Friday 13 November to enjoy a feast of thirteen. November the 13th is also the saints day for Homobonus – patron saint of shoemakers amongst other things, which is particularly relevant to our location – an ex-cobblers shop.

We started the evening by welcoming our guests in from the cold with a Swedish glögg – warm spiced fruit juices, fruits and nuts and a tot of Absolut vodka: Red grape juice, apple juice, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, star anise, ginger root, almonds, raisins, prunes, orange quarters, sugar, vodka.

We also served a platter of 13 Anti-Christi appetisers: Black olives, green olives, sun dried tomatoes, roast peppers, bell peppers, cornichons, artichokes, baby beets, silverskin onions, pickled garlic, cherry tomato and cucumber.

antichristi1The table plan was determined by a lottery of numbered badges which corresponded to a numbered bottle of home-brewed country wine at each place. During the evening we swapped and tasted each to try and guess the flavours – one each of: Plum & Damson, Elderflower, White & Blackcurrant, Meadowsweet, Grape, Lemon, Elderberry, Lavender, Elderberry & Blackberry, Kiwi Fruit, Blackcurrant, Marigold, Blackberry.

2015-11-13 21.10.05The main course was a thirteen dish buffet of vegetarian and fish dishes:

main

13 ingredient tabouleh – Bulgar wheat, stock, olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, parsley, mint, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, salt, pepper

13 mini egg tortilla – Caramelised red onion and goats cheese and stilton, spinach and baby tomato

13 chilli lime prawn kebabs

13 hallumi & fig crostini – garnished with pomegranate and fresh coriander leaves

13 vegetable, sage and Parmesan pasties

13 ingredient winter slaw – carrots, fennel bulb, radishes, celeriac, white cabbage, red cabbage, red onion, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, dill , Greek yoghurt, mustard,         black pepper

13 ingredient superfood salad – sweet potatoes, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, quinoa, broccoli, walnuts, pomegranate, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mixed sprouts, fresh coriander, avocado

13 ingredient Mediterranean vegetable tart – olive oil, onion, garlic, aubergine, courgette, red pepper, goats cheese, Parmesan, tomatoes, capers, smoked paprika, flour, butter

13 ingredient lentil loaf – lentils, egg, olive oil, garlic, onion, vegetable stock, green pepper, carrot, celery, thyme, bay leaves, smoked paprika, cracked pepper

13 wild salmon fillets with tomato salsa

13 ingredient bean & brown rice salad – Short grain brown rice, black beans, red onion, garlic, red pepper, kidney beans, grated carrot, lettuce leaves, baby plum tomatoes, parsley,  cucumber, caraway seeds, sesame seeds

13 couscous stuffed peppers

13 pieces of rosemary focaccia

During the evening we projected a series of film clips onto the gallery wall which included dining scenes from 13 black and white horror films

insideOur evening spectacular were the 13 desserts all made by ‘Queen of Cakes’ Kirsten Hinks – a truly amazing spread introduced by the ‘Omen’ soundtrack from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Roger (one of our guests) commented:

“I think I ate all thirteen cakes, cracking. What a delightful sugar high. The company was wonderful and the food. I ate a focaccia that was the very apogee of human baking. When art and stomachs mingle…”

dessertgroup

The tradition of thirteen to dinner carries with it a curse – the first to leave the table is the first to die. To mitigate this sting in the tail a 14th place must be laid for an unseen guest – our unseen guest dined in the window of The Last Gallery.

outside

Thank you to our lovely guests for their company, to Mick and Julie Ann Sheridan at The Last Gallery for hosting us and Kirsten Hinks for three straight days of cooking.

thirteenfridays: Elaphebolion Special – A Ghoulish Greek Feast

PsarosoupaParanormal Psarosoupa – Greek style fish soup with 13 ingredients (Potato, Carrot, Leek, Celery, Red onion, Cod, River cobbler, Water, Olive oil, Parsley, Lemon, Peppercorns, Salt)

13 Meze13Meze113 Mythical Meze platter – Hummus, Tzatziki, Thyme infused mushrooms, Dolmades, Tabouleh, Pitta, Cummin roast carrots, Cauliflower & Halloumi salad, Greek beans, Kalamata olives, Feta stuffed green olives, Grilled aubergine with lemon & thyme,
Taramasalata

Baklava13 Bedazzling Baklava

CakeAs a nod to the traditional offering to the goddess Artemis during the month of Elaphebolion we also had 13 slices of Haunting Honey Cake.

thirteenfridays – Lupercalia special

A meal for Friday 13th of February.
Apparently our modern St Valentines day has its roots in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia and the start of Parentalia. For this thirteenfridays meal we combined modern and ancient Italian dishes, packed with aphrodisiac ingredients to stimulate and arouse the spirits!

Spooky Scallops
Spooky Scallops served on 13 Oatmeal cakes with a Roman cumin sauce for shellfish. Salt meal cakes were apparently prepared by the vestal virgins to burn as offerings on Lupercalia.

Lupercalian Lasagne
13 ingredient Lupercalian Lasagne (onion, leek, carrot, squash, pasta, tomatoes, olive oil, basil, oregano, bay leaf, vegetable stock, white sauce & cheese), a classic modern Italian dish with an ancient roman vegetable twist.  This was served with a 13 ingredient Warm Aphrodisiac Rocket Salad (rocket, 13 baby plum tomatoes, pine nuts, capers, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, red onion,  garlic, brown sugar, dijon mustard, 13 chopped green olives,  salt & pepper).

Violent Violet Truffles
13 Violently Violet Truffles – Violets and flower garlands were (according to Ovid) laid as sacred offerings at family tombs during Parentalia.

Frightening Fig Cake
Frightening 13 Fig Cake (13 ingredients – Flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, salt, milk, sugar, rosemary, orange zest, butter, olive oil, eggs, honey, fresh figs).  Figs are a staple of aphrodisiac cooking and we all know how the romans loved a fig!

Rose Petal Wine

All accompanied by a Roman favourite – Rose Petal Wine!

13 aphrodisiac ingredients – Scallops, Mint (cumin sauce), Basil, Tomatoes, Rocket, Pine Nuts, Honey, Figs, Rosemary, Vanilla, Chocolate,  Violets, Rose Petals.

thirteenfridays – Strawberry Moon Special

thirteenfridays
St Anthony is the patron saint of lost things, how appropriate for Absent but not Forgotten that in 2014 his feast day of 13th June is on a Friday.  Coinciding with a full moon, known as a strawberry or a honey moon, a great excuse for a thirteenfridays special.

So cheese ( because that’s what the moon is made of…), fish and bread for St Anthony’s feast day, honey and strawberries for the June moon and our usual thirteen-ness in ingredients and numbers. Blue Moon beers and honeyed mead to tipple.

HaloumiHair-Raising Halloumi
13 barbequed Halloumi Bruschetta with green pesto and basil on grilled slices of french bread.

Kebabs
Killer Kebabs
Barbequed prawn kebabs – 13 items per skewer.

Cod
Creepy Cod Salad
13 chunks of cod barbequed with fresh herbs and served with 13 salad leaves and baby tomatoes.

Cheesecake
Full Moon Cheesecake
Thanks to Kirsten for the Full Moon baked Cheesecake served with 13 strawberries and honeyed cream – totally delicious.

Drinks
Terrifying Tipples

Moon themed playlist:

Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon, Echo & the Bunnymen: Killing Moon, Debussy: Clair de Lune, Feist: My Moon, My Man, The Waterboys: The Whole of the Moon, The Police: Walking on the Moon, Captain Beefheart: Blue Jeans & Moonbeams, Boby Vinton: Blue Moon, T-Rex: By the Light of a Magical Moon, David Bowie: Moonage Daydream, Nick Drake: Pink Moon, Tom Waits: Grapefruit Moon, Cliff Edwards: It’s Only a Paper Moon, Tim Buckley: Tijuana Moon, Ozzy Osborne: Bark at the Moon, Tamsin Archer: Sleeping Satellite, The Doors: Moonlight Drive, Captain Beefheart: Moon Over Vermont, Rolling Dtones: Moonlight Mile, Bombay Bicycle Club: Luna, Andy Willimas: Moon River, Amy Winehouse: Fly Me to the Moon, Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata, Little Feat: Spanish Moon, Neil Young: Harvest Moon, Lykke Li: I Follow Rivers (Live on the Moon)

thirteenfridays

thirteenfridays

What’s in a number?
There seems to be a general consensus that both 13 and friday are individually unlucky so together they become disastrous! this article might explain some of the origins of our fears!

Several stories revolve around food and meals so to celebrate the two Friday 13ths in 2013 (13 weeks apart) we are created 13 meals over 13 weeks each involving the number 13.

The work was documented here from September to December 2013.

The Last Supper

To celebrate Friday 13th and the end of our thirteenfridays project in December 2013, we invited 13 guests to partake in a Lussinatt feast of 13 at Small World Theatre in Cardigan.

December 13 is the festival of St Lucy, particularly celebrated in Scandanavia – the festivities celebrate light in the darkest part of the year – but there is also an older tradition on the same day –Lussinatta, the Lussi Night. On the night of December 13 Lussi, a female being with evil traits, like a witch was said to ride through the air with her followers, called Lussiferda. According to tradition, children who had done mischief had to take special care, since Lussi could come down the chimney and take them away. The tradition of Lussevaka – to stay awake through the Lussinatt to guard oneself and the household against evil, has found a modern form through throwing parties until daybreak.

13invites

Our masked waiters (the lovely – but truly spooky – Nick and Beth) greeted guests with traditional Lussekatter saffron buns and a glass of 13 Ingredient non-alcoholic Glogg – a hot, mulled drink with fruit and nuts (with a tot of vodka for those needing extra fortification!).
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With this appetiser guests were invited to select a small envelope containing a numbered badge.  The randomly selected numbers gave us a seating plan, seats marked by a small numbered bottles of wine placed on the table.
badgenbottles

Thirteen guests at a dinner table is considered bad luck – so we laid a 14th place setting where we projected images of all the dishes created during the 13 previous weeks (each image displayed for 13 seconds).
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Our menu presented 13 dishes, each themed either in multiples of 13 or made with 13 ingredients:
13 goat cheese and fig crostini; 13 mini parmesan and potato pasties; 13 homemade oatcakes with mackerel pate; 13 ingredient salad with spinach, nuts and pomegranate; 13 rice stuffed sweet peppers with cheese crust; 13 mini baked potatoes with sour cream and chives; 13 antichristi (antipasti selection); 13 feta cheese and spinach filo parcels; 13 Cajun prawn parcels; 13 mini lentil bakes; 13 ingredient salad with egg; 13 mini quiche tartlets; 13 ingredient vegetable soup with 13 bread rolls creme fraiche and seeds to top.

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During the meal, whilst guests tried to guess the contents of the mini wine bottles, (each a different variety of country wine), we showed a selection of 13 film clips of dinner table scenes from vintage films.

Throughout the evening our waiters without faces slowly and silently served wine and cleared empty plates, approaching guests with dishes and awaiting their attention – quite disconcerting!

During the evening we showed a compilation of our previous Absent but not Forgotten projects around the venue.
2stills

We asked our guests to contribute a choice of spookily themed music to the evening and we were honoured that singer, Julie Murphy chose to sing us a beautifully haunting song.

Here’s the rest of the soundtrack…

A chance to chat and digest….then cue the Omen soundtrack…it was time to introduce the 13 desserts…

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With the exception of a dangerously delicious 13 ingredient Ice cream (red gooseberries, apple, star anise, cloves, cinammon, ginger, chilli, eggs, sugar, milk, cream, rum & paprika) designed especially for the event by Mari Beynon-Owen and 13 pieces of Cardomon barfi made by Jacob Whittaker, the desserts were all made by the amazing Kirsten Hinks – a truely exceptional feat of baking! They were – 13 Macaroons with Cardigan picked blackberry buttercream; 13 Peanut butter and Brownie Stacks; 13 Mini Chocolate Tarts; 13 Mini Lemon Tarts; 13 Vanilla Ghost Biscuits with raisin eyes; 13 Rosemary Cakes with satsuma icing; 13 Honey and Pistachio Nut Cream Meringues; 13 Profiteroles; A 13 choux bun Gateau Saint Jude; a 13 ingredient Chocolate Cake (Maltesers, Eggs, Caster Sugar, Brown Sugar, Self Raising flour, Wholemeal flour, Butter, Baking powder, Cream, Icing sugar, Margarine, Cocoa, Vanilla essence); a 13 ingredient Ispahan Tart (the evocative name for the taste combination of Lychees and Rose Water).

Shortly after revealing the desserts the waiters joined us for the remainder of the evening while witches could be seen flying overhead…

We would like to thank all our guests for coming to our thirteenfridays Last Supper.  Special thanks to Small World Theatre for the venue, our waiters Beth Guiver and Nick Johnson for their wonderfully sinister silent service, Marc Hayes and Sam Vicary for taking some lovely photographs, Mari Beynon-Owen for the Ice Cream, and Kirsten Hinks for the terrifyingly good dessert trolley!

Invidious Italian

thirteenfridays

Our penultimate thirteenfridays meal –

Riceballs
Alarming Arancini balls – 13 Risotto and Mozzarella balls served with a tomato and basil sauce.

Prawnspag
Spooky Spaghetti with Prawns – Italian style prawns and spaghetti with 13 ingredients – Spaghetti; King Prawns; Rocket; Baby plum tomatoes; Tomato Puree; Garlic; Dried Red Chili; Butter; Olive Oil; Lemon; Onion; Red Pepper; Sundried Tomatoes;

choctorte
Terrifying Chocolate, Almond and Chestnut Torte – A rich dark chocolate torte made with ground almonds, orange, cinnamon and 13 roasted chestnuts, decorated with 13 roasted whole almonds. Served with extra thick fresh cream.

‘What are we going to eat on Fridays after next week?’  Kirsten Hinks

Ominous Oriental

The twelfth of our thirteenfridays meals.
Tonight’s Menu –

Toast
Prawn Toast Terror – 13 pieces of prawn toast served with Soy, Plum and Sweet Chili dipping sauces

Fry
Sinister Stir Fry – 13 ingredient stirfry: Spring Onion, Baby Sweetcorn, Carrot, Ginger, Garlic, Beansprouts, Red Pepper, White Cabbage, Quorn Strips, Shitake Mushrooms, Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Noodles.

Cookie
Abominable Almond Cookies – 13 Almond cookies served with Vanilla Ice Cream and Lychee and rose water puree.