At 8pm the audience, some invited personally, some responding to publicity and others just curious passers by, had gathered in the street.
I could see them by peeling back the edges of the screen material covering the windows.
"How many are there?" I heard Alison ask from the room below.
I scrambled over the wiring, carefully avoiding the precariously balanced mirrors, to the upstairs landing.
"Loads," I whispered loudly.
George sat at the top of the stairs, testing his torch and shining it into the loading mechanism of his projector. Alison emerged in the hallway and peered out through the letter box ot the front door.
"Oh wow, look at them all!"
"Are you ready George" Tony asked.
He came up the stairs. George, by now, was in position at the sound deck, sprawled across the floor in the bay of the upstairs window. 'Fine Tony".
"O.K start the tape".
The music started, slowly fading up. Sampled Islamic fragments.
Repeating abruptly. Hypnotically.
Tony blew a whistle and we turned the slides on 'rood', 'tsae' or 'pu' appeared as the backward captions in different windows around the house. I lay by my carousel projector. Tony's head came round the door.
"Is that in focus?" He said.
"I think so. I dare'nt tweak it too much in case it goes out further".
"Oh that's fine"
Tony walked off slowly and deliberately. He descended the stairs with regular steps. He was slowly psyching himself up. I heard the downstairs 16mm projector start. Up the stairs he came again, He came in and turned the second projector on. A dog appeared on the side window. Tony walked across the room and made the other dog appear. Now, theoretically, all three dogs were dancing. We stayed still, and Tony crawled about from room to room, checkng this and checking that. The music outside could barely be heard now under the rattle of threading sprocket holes and the whirring fan motors of the carousels.
Tony looked in again, "O.K.?"
'O.K." I said.
I'lI give it about five more minutes, then I'll start turning off," he said, more to himself than anyone in particular. I cupped my hand around my lighter to avoid light as I lit a cigarette.
Five minutes later Tony appeared again and reversed the process by turning off each projector in turn.
"Give me about a minute when I got downstairs, then start fading down."
He whispered to George.
Nothing was left except the captions. The whistle blew and we turned them off.
Then clapping started. Clapping, whistling and howling.
Meanwhile, we were busy getting the projectors ready to fill the house with water....
Just after 9pm and five projections later, the show had reached its conclusion.
Each of us had had a go.
Alison had set the house on fire. LuIu had plastered it up. I'd had my romantic fireworks and cocktails. George had finished off with his Victorian entourage shooting themselves, eating flowers and smashing windows.
The audience, the 'pedestrians', were still clapping outside. Four of us had fags going. Tony got out a minuture bottle of brandy. "Shall we turn all the lights on? I know, why don't we stand at the windows and wave at them?" Suggested Alison. We stood at the windows so that our silhouettes could be seen.
"Someone's banging on the door down-stairs. What shall I tell them.
"Tell them there's nobody in, " said Chris, puring (sic) himself a glass of wine. George ran down. It's Anna and Steve," George shouted up to us.
"George, you go over to the pub. It doesn't need all of us to rewind the films," said Tony.
"Is that aliright?"
"Yeah, we'll see you in there".
As George went out, several people tried to get inside the house. George told them we would all be going to the pub. But they kept poking their heads in, looking up the passageway to try and get a glimpse of how it was all done.
When I got home that night, to my multi-projection domicile, I was exhausted, I hadn't realised how nerve-racking turning on switches at precisely the right moment could be.
My house lay dormant for the next evening's show. I checked that everything was unplugged, turned off the downstairs lights and went upstairs to bed. Unfortunately, whilst out celebrating, the four foot mirror that was balanced on my chest of drawers had fallen onto my bed, covering it in a thousand fragments of broken glass.
IAN BOURN remembering October 1985.
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