The Piper at the Gates

by Caroline Moran 

To find my way.
To walk ... and see.

        Having been immobile and now inchoate. In no particular direction, but with a certain purpose. Arms outstretched, hands holding a tiny box, a trapdoor, a lens. Arms and camera like forked twig to divine.



Their discovery initiating tiny pinpricks.

Is it rebellion against the emails / SUV's / drive-through obesity-burgers / franchise coffee / e!-TV? Is it nostalgia? Sentimentalism? Fatalism? Neurosis?

incipit -- here it begins


Dr. Allan J. Quick Dentist

A piece of graffiti began to appear on proud new multi-story buildings in, perhaps, the 1980s. It said: THIS WILL FALL DOWN.

I wanted them to fall down. Drab, thoughtless buildings -- shallow and cold.

I wanted to help them.

I wanted to help them fall down.

Hamilton's Studebaker Factory


And sometimes they do fall, helped along by giant yellow machines that kick and punch them into rubble. I could do a lot of good with one of those machines.

Herbert S. Mills  King Street East

Revelation may take place when a building falls down -- on the walls of an adjacent building, long hidden. I had no word for them when I first sought them out. Now they are commonly appointed the name ghost signs; but to me, more specter than ghost -- ghost a neutered notion. At least here. At least now.

Residual traces of a People

of Place.

A window opens.

A curtain is drawn.

King Street East

Yes, yes, they are advertisements. They are base pandering to Victorian hocus pocus; the bartering of pills and elixers, but such is not the enigma, not for me.


James Street North



The trouble with giant yellow machines is that they more often than not kick and punch the wrong buildings into rubble. The cold drab buildings release no scent. They become part of a thoughtless background. Eccentrics attract attention, but what is eccentric today? Now?

The media is transfixed by tasteless buffoonery -- taste and manners become eccentric -- and so the giant yellow machines swarm like maddened hornets around that which has stood the test of time. I explore and taxonomize.

Lyric Theatre Marquis  Mary Street

Diapason - a grand swelling burst of harmony. Away from the noise and the machines. In alleys, (this place where I live is blessed with alleys), in courtyards, in places where the paint has peeled. Dowsing for the latent -- a river of continuity that flows through me. The swelling harmony that accompanies discovery. More stigmata than specter.

a tiny box

a trapdoor

a lens

camera a reliquary.




James Street North

Saint Petersburg was founded in 1702. Prior to the First World War, the name was changed to Petrograd -- Peter's Town -- 'burg' being Germanic, and war being more than armaments. The Bolsheviks changed Petrograd to Leningrad. In 1991 Leningrad became Saint Petersburg again. Someone is walking there, trying to find their way.

[Distillate © HA&L + Caroline Moran  |  {from the Greek bios} the course of a life.]



A formula for conjuring

16 Simultaneous
16+18 Not Simultaneous[34]

errors in printing or writing


purify by removing
Purify (book etc.) by removing objectionable matter
remove and purify



erase, omit, (name from list, passage from book, etc.)




cut out (passage of book, limb, organ, etc.); (Bot., Zool.) cut out, notch


So Å0ç9xcÅ0è9s°‰ion

[Papeles varios del reinado de Felipe V sobre temas de hacienda principalmente].
°™S. XVIII, papel, 209 X 150 mm., 179 p.
Ex-libris de D. Jose Duaso.
Copias. En la h. del principio: El 28 de septiembre 1796 se sacÆ de la andana del estante 6". En p. 177-179,
indice incompleto.
Contiene: RepresentaciÆn de la DiputaciÆn de los Reinos de Castilla, LeÆn y AragÆn sobre
los daÅos que causa la junta de Baldos y en demanda de que se guarden sus privilegios: Decreto de 20 de enero de 1717 estableziendo los Tribunales en el Palacio de la Reina Madre...

PEDRO CUADRILLERO: Extractos de las lecciones explicadas por el Sr. D.
Antonio Varas en los tratados de secciones c®Ænicas, teor a general de ecuaciones y Junciones. S. XIX, papel, 210 X 150 mm., 88 ff. En f. 85 firma autÆgrafa del autor. Los ff. 86-88, plegados, con dibujos geometricos.

host signs
spectral reminders

a history
  a culture
Public art: valuable and threatened
Generally painted on brick with lead paint. Having withstood time
Extolling the virtues of products professions  services
of those long dead.

A small number of signs were painted on wood or metal, most however, were produced on expanses of exposed brick.

Painted for utilitarian purposes, but created by  artists who  traveled from town to town to ply their craft.
They  became know as 'walldogs' .

The trapdoor on the tiny box has captured many many more than those seen here, but the editor will allow only what the editor will allow.