I text him to say ‘I’m outside’ and within moments he was there to greet me and take me into the the squatted former print shop – Colorama. Two people sat downstairs, smoking and chatting. We walked up stairs to the old office area. Someone had set-up a washing line in the hallway. Further down we walked, and then he said, “Here we are, this is my room.” I looked down, and there was the door, like something out of Alice in Wonderland, it was the tiniest bedroom door I had ever seen. Cut out of a large piece of stained wood, that P-ta had built, there was an arched shaped door – just big enough to fit a body on all fours through. He leant forwards and opened the door by pulling an orange plastic crab handle, “After you” he said, so I bent down and looked into a pinkish light. I threw my tripod through the small tunnel and crawled in. Seconds later, I pushed myself up into a boxed size bedroom space. A mattress on the floor, covered with a brightly coloured blanket, and a shrine to the left. P-ta's shrine to fish. He said, “I’m really into folk art, the different objects represent different Gods – some people give them to me and others are ones I have collected – I know as soon as I see something, that it’s right for the shrine. I also collect fish books, books about the ocean. One day I would like to have a fish book library. I particularly like the books from the 1970’s – the saturated colours and the style of the photography.” Tongue firmly in cheek, he says this all stems from his ‘made-up’ religion, Pork Tai Chi. He says the fish represent calmness and the sea represents the unknown.
When he moved here a few months ago, the space was open plan. He decided to make the door the size it is, build a shrine in there and paint the wall pink. There is nothing conventional or practical about this room, but for it’s novelty value, it is great. It feels like a secret cave near an unknown ocean. I can almost picture him stood on a mound rocks, looking out to sea, playing his Shakuhachi.
When I asked P-ta what he would save if his bedroom, sorry I mean shrine, were on fire, he said, “I couldn’t choose which item to take, each one is as important as the other. I would leave everything and go.”