The following is a transcript of a cassette recording sent to us anonymously. There were a few brief notes attached. The audio consists of a call to a late night show on a popular London radio station. The radio station concerned has pulled the audio from their archive and asked PoL not to mention them by name. In the interest of protecting the caller’s identity, we present a transcript in place of the audio. Names have been changed.
Host: We have a Rachel from Kilburn on the line. What’s keeping you awake, Rachel?
Caller: So, this is gonna sound kind of weird.
H: Go on.
C: My housemate is scarily obsessed with a billboard.
C: [laughs] Yeah.
H: Your housemate –
C: I told you it was weird. Like, not a billboard exactly, but those – those boards outside building sites.
C: Yeah, hoardings. She’s obsessed with a picture on one near our flat.
H: And this is – [laughs] right, okay, we’ll come to your flatmate in a moment. Uh, let’s start with this picture, tell us about that.
C: Yeah. So, we live in Kilburn and between our flat and the tube station they’re building some big new development. Luxury flats, you know?
H: Oh, let me see. Sandy coloured brickwork? Patches of colour that wouldn’t look out of place in a playground? They’re popping up all over like something from the Twilight Zone. Don’t get me started, Rachel. Do go on.
C: Right, so…
H: The picture.
C: Yes. Well, you must have seen them, too. Those CGI images of what the grounds of the building are going to look like on an average morning or something. Except there’s like too many people and they all look kind of weird.
H: Always doing the nice things in life aren’t they, those CGI people? Chatting, having a picnic. You don’t see anyone arguing or picking up their dog’s number twos do you?
H: And it’s always sunny. None of the rain and toxic air particles we all know and love.
C: So, this is the thing. It started with her just finding them funny. I mean she always used to find those pictures funny, but this one, it really –
H: You’re going to have to tell us what it looks like, eventually, Rachel.
C: [laughs]. Right, sorry. So, there’s this curvy path next to a grassy mound and half way down there’s this – couple. This man and woman. They’re walking past a tree, towards the new building, you just see their backs. The guy’s on the left, wearing a dark suit, salt-and-pepper hair, turning his head to the woman. He’s holding his hand out in a ‘dispensing witty pearls of wisdom’ kind of a way.
H: I can picture him now.
C: Right. And the woman, she’s turning to him and laughing, you can see a little of the side of her face – you can’t see his face at all. She’s wearing like, tapered trousers, a pale shirt. Kitten heels it looks like, blonde hair. Carrying something like a cross between a clutch and a file folder. And, I mean, these people are CGI and kind of blurry but you get the feeling she’s a bit younger than him.
C: That’s what it was all about for Emma at first.
H: Emma’s your housemate?
C: Yeah. She was like, are they colleagues? A couple? Is he her dad? It was the dynamics of it – and, like, who was being sold what, here? I think it annoyed her, you know? And when things annoy Emma, she turns them into a joke. That’s Emma. She invented all these scenarios for them. It was just fun, a joke. At first.
H: And now?
C: Now she’s just – like I said, she’s obsessed. She doesn’t talk about anything else. It’s like this woman is her best friend. She talks about the guy, too. But this imaginary woman is like Emma’s best friend in the whole world, right now.
H: Do I detect a hint of jealousy here, Rachel?
C: [laughs] Well, yeah! That’s it. That’s why I phoned in. I’m jealous of a CGI woman. Thing is she kind of looks like Emma, similar hair and – But no, I’ve been laughing about it, but – it’s getting – she’s started having these dreams now –
H: Hold that thought! Rachel, this is – intriguing – we’ll be right back with you. You’re listening to [redacted]
According to the notes, the conversation resumed roughly 45 minutes later.
Host: You went awol for a while there, Rachel! Glad to have you back. And it turns out your flatmate has been having one of the dreams you started to tell us about?
Caller: Yes, I – I’ve just come from her room. I got her back to sleep in the end. I – I don’t know if that was the right thing to do.
Host: Ok. Look, you sound – if you’d rather talk to our producer off-air –
C: No, no. I’m sorry, I tried to – it – it isn’t funny any more. She was always such a happy – I…
H: Take your time.
C: [takes a breath] So, the noises started right after we stopped talking. I knew she was having the dream. Where she says she walks with them at night. The couple. And, ok, to me, from my room, it sounds like she’s having a nightmare – all this screaming and groaning. But when I wake her and try to comfort her – she’s just angry with me. Furious at me for waking her up. She – she says she’s happy there. “At peace”. Says all this mad stuff. “The trees are like music”. “It’s the only good place” and – she say’s this a lot – “She’s not laughing. You thought she was laughing, but she’s not.” And – god – the worst is – like, I really hate it when she says this – she says she wants to know what her eyes are like. The woman’s. The CGI woman’s eyes. Tonight she was just furious at me because I stopped her from seeing what this fucking woman’s eyes are like. And – oh, shit –
H: Rachel? She’s – can you hear her again?
C: Yes. Fuck, why did I let her go to sleep again? You really can’t hear that?
H: I mean – Look, Rachel –
C: Ok, I’m walking to outside her door. You need to hear this shit.
[Wailing sounds become audible]
H: Oh, so now we can hear that. Ok. Wow.
C: Yep. London, Emma. Emma, London… Jesus it’s worse than ever.
H: Look, this is – that really doesn’t sound right – if you need to go to her –
[A pause. Wailing still audible, it increases in intensity as the conversation continues]
C: I don’t know what to do. When I wake her, god, the hatred in her eyes. They’re like, black with hatred. You’ve never seen anything like it.
H: If that’s a nightmare then – I don’t know, I’m not an expert but, you need to wake her, Rachel. Look, does anyone else live with you?
C: We’ve got one other housemate but he’s never in.
H: Is there anyone else you can call, anyone in the neighbourhood, because –
C: I don’t see what anyone else could do.
H: I mean, just so you’re not – right, Rachel, what I’m going to do, I’m going to hand you back to our produ –
[Wailing sound ceases suddenly]
H: She’s gone quiet. Is – is that good?
C: I don’t know… I’m opening the door.
H: Rachel –
[Sound of door opening. Static appears on the line]
H: Rachel? Is everything ok?
C: She’s not – Emma? Is that you? Where are you?
C: [static dominant, voice distant] Emma? Is it you? Emma?
[only static audible]
[caller’s line goes dead]
The recording ends there. We have decided to flag this as a possible picto-door – with the huge caveat that the source is ambiguous at best. Very little is known about these breach phenonema, which seem to exploit the fragile borders between perceptions of an image and its viewer’s reality.
We include similar images for illustration only: in so doing we in no way suggest that these examples are of relevance to PoL’s field of interest.
- Candidate: The Kilburn Hoardings Transcript
- Type: Picto-Door
- Status: Unconfirmed