Today I have had my first day of manning my art exhibition. As well as my artwork, the artwork of my fellow student, Bill Sample, is in the exhibition. His artwork has been inspired by a series of poems by Ted Hughes about crows. For his exhibition, he has painted large drawings of crows, made a number of crow statues and created a giant inflatable crow. The artwork includes some of the lines from the poems. To complement the artwork, he has a CD of Ted Hughes reading his poems, which we have to leave on repeat, playing in the background.

I have been listening to these poems, on repeat, for six hours today. I have been staring at Bill’s black crows, for six hours. I have been looking at black feathers and black eyes all day. I have been touched by the power of the crow. I have been told to find the black beast (the inner black beast within) over and over again. Where is the black beast? Will somebody please find him?

I started off the day fairly chirpy. I ended the day feeling down and more than a little disturbed. The crows are out to get me. They are there, lurking, waiting, wanting to peck and pounce.

So, jumping back to reality now, my weird thought is: can the mind be so easily disturbed by a depressing soundtrack and a dark view? Or perhaps I have a very susceptible mind? Would a stronger mind be able to listen to Ted Hughes crying in his deep, gloomy voice: ‘Where, oh where, is the black beast?’ without feeling changed in some way? Repeated music is a well-documented form of psychological torture. After today, I think that any form of repeated soundtrack does the trick. It doesn’t have to be Brittany Spears.

Apparently, the Meow Mix was used by the CIA as a form of music torture in the war on terror. Of course this isn’t a joking matter. The effect of this on repeat combined with sleep deprivation is hard to imagine.

See how many times you can stand it before your mind starts to go?

He's coming to get me

He’s coming to get me

I have more hours of staring at and listening to crows tomorrow. It’ll be interesting to see what state my mental health is in tomorrow evening. Watch this space. Who knows where I’ll be by Friday?

The Black Beast

Where is the Black Beast?
Crow, like an owl, swivelled his head.
Where is the Black Beast?
Crow hid in its bed, to ambush it.
Where is the Black Beast?
Crow sat in its chair, telling loud lies against the Black
Where is it?
Crow shouted after midnight, pounding the wall with a
Where is the Black Beast?
Crow split his enemy’s skull to the pineal gland.
Where is the Black Beast?
Crow crucified a frog under a microscope, he peered into
the brain of a dogfish.
Where is the Black Beast?
Crow killed his brother and turned him inside out to stare
at his colour.
Where is the Black Beast?
Crow roasted the earth to a clinker, he charged into
Where is the Black Beast?
The silences of space decamped, space flitted in every
Where is the Black Beast?
Crow flailed immensely through the vacuum, he
screeched after the disappearing stars—
Where is it? Where is the Black Beast?

Ted Hughes