I slide open my phone to access saved contacts; under favourites I find Kimbal’s number and press dial. The phone nears on connection and then fails – I lift the phone away from my ear and press re-dial, this time it connects, but alas to a foreign dial-tone: he is on his travels again but still he answers:
Hi Richard how are you, I am currently in a queue for a bus in Athens having being scolded by the police for attempting to hitch a ride to the shore, I’m not island hopping I am undergoing a performative exercise that will result in an exhibition in Manchester at the end of June. It’ll be more like the end of July at this rate. Hi Kim, is this costing me a bomb? No it is me though, I have to pay to accept calls – oh and that reminds me, I have little credit: but how are you? I’m good – I just wanted to touch base on the project we discussed last month forwarding the residency we underwent last year. Oh okay. Well, can we speak when I am back in the UK? Okay. Will call you beginning July. Good luck.
It is now July and I get around to calling again just before my journey to London from Edinburgh with East Coast, after tracking Kim’s location on Facebook I map his current capacity on the road back to London from Manchester. Whether he is on a bus or as passenger in someone’s car I’m not so sure, but I slide open my phone to access saved contacts; under recent conversations I find Kim’s number and press dial – I anticipate a foreign dial tone but it never comes, instead it connects to UK fluidity: it dials, and dials some more. I get to the point of counting the dials as if I am counting the turns in the road as I chase Kim on his bike around South Tottenham. I say to myself only two more rings and then I am done – I don’t like leaving voice messages so instead I draft a text message in my head: a sort of haiku in place of prolonged conversation:
My hotel is near
Greenwich is that too far for
You to come meet me?
Kim answers a few seconds in to the first draft. Hi how are you I am currently on a bus back to London the exhibition went well. Not so bad thanks the weather is shit here in Scotland. I heard the storms will meet me in London on my arrival. Are you hitching? Yes. Okay, can you speak? Erm, not for long don’t have too much battery can you email me instead? Okay.
Email to Kimbal:
I am about to walk down to the train station for the 3.30pm East Coast train to London Kings Cross, I arrive I think around 8pm. Are you around this evening to catch up? We could do with talking about this in person and get our ideas together.
I have to find my hotel first, which is in Greenwich – is that near where you are in terms of transport? If it is lets meet up for a beer and get this ball rolling.
Also, I think we should build a schedule to get drawings and written texts sent to one another – start building up a dialogue and a library of one another’s ideas. How about once every two weeks on the Friday we post something to each other. I will take your address down later…
I will be at my emails on the train as I have editorial work to do, so will catch anything you send back.