[ extract ] : from a statement by Mike Brookes - delivered within the performance work 'like a pelican in the wilderness'  - 14/10/2000

"...It filled up with smoke first.

Just the faintest flicker through rolling dense tanked smoke, like filthy cotton wool. And seeped through all the perished seals. I could hear the low whine of fresh air being drawn in under the doors and bonnet. And then it took hold. The windows blanked with soot that burnt off clean again before the glass began to buckle. Before creaking clean in single fractures along the lines of most stress. Cracking with a single snap. The sun roof panel slipped down in between the seats in one clear molten curtain, and then caught alight. It must have been of toughened plastic. In minutes the interior was masked and full, a single contained heart of fire, picked up and twisted through the open window spaces, to a peak that blew around in the wind about a metre above the roof. And occasionally it parted, briefly, to reveal the structural frames of what had once been in there. Shell and panels show the spread of heat that passed along the metal work to those reducible body parts further from the flames. Paint and ash. Blisters peel, flake black, and drift away slowly in the wind. Much more difficult to distinguish, once the original colours become impossible to define. The headlights popped, just as you would expect them to. That pressure build until they burst the glass lens in a small shower of splinters. While the bumpers, badges, handles and trim flared and slipped away as the heat reached them in turn, forming burning pools of pungent plastic that marked a broken ring under the limits of the shell; until the tyres caught fire. First one, then another, and another, and then another. They burst and squeal down as if punctured by a single forceful blow. The rush of air feeding its own flames and amplifying the sound and sense to something like a blow torch. The whole shape slumping down, each corner in turn, like I had kicked its legs out, one by one. To sit squatting on its hubs, laced round with only glowing remnants of their wire weave innards. And then it smouldered. Everything left cooling to the mottled pale grey dust of fine ash across its surface.

And of course the smell..."