'How St Rad found enlightenment and denounced 16.7 million colours', by St Mo of No
St Rad was once a very colourful character: he spoke and talked like a film star. When he walked into a room, everything stopped. Friends and strangers both hung on his every word. His character was so great he could wear colourful shoes, clothes and dye and change his hair at will. Before his vision, St Rad could have talked birds from the trees, girls from the convent and men into battle. He wore the most ludicrously stylish outfits with such confidence everyone he met was completely convinced by him. All this had made St Rad a rich and celebrated man: whatever he wanted, he had.
One day, I was lucky enough to be with St Rad when we visited a friend with little or no possessions at his small flat in Walcot Heights. We were offered some drink and sat down to watch TV, and then the transformation occurred. The screen was black and white, no colour: while watching the football game, you couldn’t tell who was on whose team. Such shock and the taste of cheap, barely alcoholic beer forced Rad to make excuses and leave. I followed, apologising to our friend (now Brother Fortnight), who was surprised and upset for this was his special night in. On leaving, I could only see a speck in the distance: Rad was running. He ran all nine miles home. When I got there, rubbish bags were on the lawn full of all his worldly things. He sat in what is now our sacred home, surrounded by nothing but a cardboard box and his shorts, tee shirt and running shoes. There was a noise outside. I turned and watched the neighbours rifling through the rubbish bags. They were excited, laughing at first and then started to fight over stuff by the end. It was then I saw for myself the vision of St Rad: everything around him was black, white and shades of grey. He sat exhausted, the colour of his clothes was dripping in sweat from his body. I collected his sweat and put it in a bottle, now a sacred relic. I then sat down to wash his feet and it was then I noticed the stigmata on his feet. St Rad was now destined to run for the world in black and white and I was to follow him.
Ray Ward (2004)
Ray's installation in the heart of Swindon (Wiltshire, UK) was a temporary shrine in honour of the little known mystic, St Rad of Wary. To find out more about him, 'see relics, taste holy water or even join the order (no pressure)', we visited the shrine last Saturday and our earthly progress is recorded in this Flickr set. Ray told us that this article in Harper's Magazine, 'The numbing of the American mind: culture as anesthetic', by Thomas de Zengotita, 'seemed to touch on many of my ideas for St Rad'.
Swayed by the aura of evident holiness, our senses lulled by the effect of the holy water and overwhelmed by the playing from the altar of 'Like a Puppet on a String' (slowed so much that a visiting child thought Sandie Shaw a man), we joined the order … I suppose we should now be running, too …