Isolation by Rik Mannix

In pastel / pencil


The Noise

I thought I heard a noise. Maybe. Something had woken me. My first thought was to turn over and go back to sleep. Intrigue had got the better of me. I held fast, took a handful of slow breaths, whilst my heart was thundered in my chest, full of possibilities. I awaited the noise, but eyelids were heavy, dragging me back to my slumber.

Then, I was jolted to attention by a loud metallic clang, maybe a hammer onto a pipe, the continued resonation reminding me of a bell I once heard as a child. I sat upright, instantly, swinging my feet to the ground and looking across at the digital clock on the side. The lifeless illuminated digits broadcasting back to me with excessive brightness, I had to close my eyes for them to adjust to the violation. It was 04:30. Odd, I considered that I had been awoken at this exact godforsaken hour on multiple occasions, although it had become a rather more frequent occurrence recently. Maybe it was just me.

I fumbled for an item of clothing to protect my modesty and vulnerability, and chanced upon an unfamiliar shirt that seemed inside out and ill-fitting, but by this point the adrenalin had kicked in and I lost the concern. I wondered if I should turn the lights on, but decided against it, feeling that the sense of hearing is amplified in the dark and it would take a while to adjust to the light.
I left the bedroom, walked across the corridor to the living room. I noticed immediately that the sash window was wide open, the cold night air gently pulling the net curtain as if to invite me over. I rushed over and pulled the window home, then slid across the brass lock to hold it firm. I stood in the darkness, surrounded in deafening silence, holding my breath so that I might hear even the slightest movement. There was nothing, not a creak or a whisper. Slowly, slowly, I padded about the flat, listening intently with every step. My heartbeat grew louder, booming in my ears as my heart raced ahead. I moved to the kitchen, feet so light I did not feel the cold of the floor. I moved to the spare room, again nothing, everything was as still as a painting. I felt a cold breeze against my bare legs, and turned to identify the source of the breeze, it was coming from across the hall. I walked back into the living room. What greeted me didn’t make any sense, the window was wide open. This time the net curtain was flailing toward me aggressively. I ran toward the window and this time slammed it shut. Suddenly terrified, I stepped slowly backward into the kitchen and my eye was caught by the time illuminated on the cooker – it was 04:30 exactly, yet it was at stand still – the dots in the middle normally flashed.
I reached out for the light switch, but it done nothing, I hoped the bulb was out and padded quickly back to the living room and tried the light there. Again, nothing. Panic set in, and I was on high alert. It was still silent; the cold breeze had returned and I could not bring myself to look toward the window. But the time, the time had thrown me. I went back to the bedroom and what greeted me stopped me in my tracks.
The clock was still on 04:30, and I was standing over my corpse.

Recreational Seafront: Mods

In the twentieth century the pursuit of ‘bathing in seawater was no longer seen as therapeutic’ (Brunton, 2008, p173) and visitors to the sea had generally taken to outdoor exercise and by the 1920s there was also a ‘new enthusiasm’ (Brunton, 2008, p175) in the form of sunbathing. Conversely, the health of the body and the tranquillity of the mind seems to have always been an important aim of life, even if the aim of leisure time is seemingly consciously choosing against pursuits thought of as healthy.  Alternative choices of seemingly destructive leisure activities do inadvertently provide some health benefits. A case in point here is the evidence provided for leisure in Brighton during the mid-1960s. The youth subculture of a group known as the Mods had an ‘almost ritual arrangement of their leisure’ (Jones/Danson Brown, 2008, p199) this included an ‘excessive cult of dancing […] pharmaceutical stimulants and participating in […] the increasing prosperity of the consumer lifestyle’ (Jones/Danson Brown, 2008, p199). Aside from the evident health benefits of the physical exercise required for their vigorous dancing, is the ritual excursion to the seaside and the associated benefit to mental health. Considering image The Rock, rear view of the Kid taken from the album booklet from Quadrophenia (Plate 4.4.42, 2008, p139) we see the kid has reached his journey’s end. As the purpose of the image is part of the Who’s multimedia package of the LP, the story and the photographs provided a multi-sensory experience ‘around a central theme’ (Jones/Danson Brown, 2008, p191) of which ‘the Who [themselves] routinely used the term Rock Opera’. Specifically, this image combined with the uplifting and contemplative timbre of ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ (Seaside Music, 2008, Track 9) seems to fit with its conclusiveness and the associated liberation it seems to provide. Following this, the line from the track ‘Only love can make it rain/the way the beach is kissed by the sea’ (Jones/Danson Brown, 2008, p194); the beach has then ‘becomes a place a where the individual is reconciled with his environment’ (Jones/Danson Brown, 2008, p194). The lyric from the track ‘Bell Boy’ a few tracks before focuses more empathically on the kid’s mental health with the line ‘a beach is a place where a man can feel / He’s the only soul in the world that’s real’ (Jones/Danson Brown, 2008, p193). Therefore, the camaraderie of the mod peer group and their associated activities may then not be the main objective; these would be what Epicurus references as ‘pleasures of sensuality’ (Pike/Price, 2008, p33). It is therefore the emotional transcendence of the escape from everyday life with beach and the pharmaceuticals which actually provide the necessary ‘absence of pain […] [and] turmoil in the mind’ to help the story’s protagonist achieve tranquillity. It is certainly not the case that wealth generates the intellect in which to enjoy leisurely pursuits, it may be the case that only a select minority might enjoy reading and philosophical discussions, yet the working class groups who may indeed put the most graft in for the minimum of reward go all out on dancing, which is good for the body and also taking part in drinking and taking recreational drugs. These habits help to contrast the stress and turmoil of daily life and although questionable, both would in moderation achieve a shortcut to a tranquil mind.

Nothing is said about that empty seat

Once, when I was a child

My grandmother told me;

Treat everyone the same


That place us convicts meet,

It’s unassuming, it’s a folding table,

Seats built-in, hard and uncomfortable;

Like the faces that greet you.


Today, nothing is said about that empty seat,

Nothing is said about that missing voice

Like a growing imposing monolith, an imposing testament

That door without it’s card


Some people go to prison for greed.

Taking liberties with things that should never be theirs;

Other people’s possessions, or other people’s weaknesses,

But, some people go to prison for making a mistake


For the former, losing time is a recreational hazard,

The driving force is entitlement, or power.

For the latter, these things,

have no hold over them whatsoever


The biggest cause of conflict in prison,

Is unfair treatment by the establishment,

Or utter, utter, Lack of compassion.


One man was told to chase his papers

He did, every single day for weeks.

Eight weeks to go, nearly home

He gets an informal note under the door





Just, nothing.


Not one ‘come to the office?’

Not one ‘how are you doing?’

Not one ‘Sorry to inform you but..’

Just, nothing.


CAN’T CRY, you’re in prison,

Can’t get ANGRY, you’ll lose your levels,

FUCK IT. ‘Can you get me some spice bruv?’

Time passes


Less pain, time passes,

Less pain, but double bubble,

Debts piling up, threats,

Smoke more, less pain,


Threats, Debts, Time passes,

Out of control, ‘more, I need more’

‘You need to fucking pay up you melt’

Worried, man gets tooled up.


Tension mounts, time passes,

Pressure, time passes, out of control

Hostility, nothing to lose,

‘Come on then you cunts’


……nothing is said about that empty seat

Pinhead’s Reformation

In Hellraiser, Pinhead tells Kirsty “We are explorers in the further regions of experience, Angels to some, Demons to others” – The term Cenobite is in fact a religious term, meaning a professed person who lives as part of a community, for example a monk or a nun.

It’s interesting to note, in the Bible, when god sends an Angel to act out his vengence – the person on the recieving end of the ‘Angel’ may well percieve a malevolent creature. This brings a quote from one of my favourite films, Jacob’s Ladder “Eckhart saw Hell too. He said: The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won’t let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they’re not punishing you, he said. They’re freeing your soul. So the way he sees it, if you’re frightened of dying and… and you’re holding on, you’ll see devils tearing your life away. But if you’ve made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth. It’s just a matter of how you look at it, that’s all. So don’t worry, okay? Okay?” Jacobs Ladder 1990

We see discarded outside the house in Hellraiser, discarded idolatry – not unlike Archbishop Grindal’s instructions of 1571 ‘the relics and monuments of superstition and idolatry be utterly defaced, broken and destroyed’. So, like Edmund Grindal, Pinhead, a hell priest is directly challenging established religion.

In Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, Pinhead is performing a horrendous mockery of the Eucharist from behind the altar of a Catholic church. The priest, in rage screams ‘You’ll burn in hell for this” to which Pinhead responds with a resolute “Burn, oh such a limited imagination”

Although in the ‘Scarlet Gospels’ we head about Pinhead in an awe-inspiring cathedral in Hell, home to the fallen Angel Satan whom he attempts to overthrow -His corruption and thirst for power proves his undoing – Not unlike the traditional Catholic faith in the 16th Century, change is no doubt a neccessity and the ‘hell’ we glimpse in Hellraiser isn’t unlike the personal hell or Catholic ‘purgatory.’

Within the Hellraiser franchise, the underlying themes are heaven/hell, angels/demons, stories of souls cast in hope for salvation or destiny of eternal suffering – all of which are markedly traditional religious refrains.

But, as Pinhead once said “Do I look like someone who cares what God thinks?” – this in turn reflects todays modern society many may believe god exists, but we seldom seem to care what he thinks.


Wolffe, J – Tradition and Dissent in English Christianity

Clark, T and Clanton D – Understanding Religion and Popular Culture