Here’s my new short film, Dusky or Grey.

(or non-embedded here)

It’s about some fishermen catching a shark on the beach south of Durban, South Africa, along with some pondering on tattoos, memory, water. Pictures by Jess Nicholson, words by me.

Grey is different from dusky is different from shadowy, sunset, evening glow over the beach. Murky is different from unclear, can’t remember, from swirling, misty, hidden, just under or near to the surface.


Screening in Edinburgh in Dec.

With captions here, thanks to Embassy Gallery:


Here’s me as Chief of Staff at the INS Broadcasting Unit, at London’s ICA in 2004. More recently, in 2019, Resonance FM hosted my series Melissa McCarthy’s View from a Shark; click for further details and to listen to all five episodes. See here for more on The Slipping Forecast, broadcast by Radiophrenia FM.

photo: M. McCarthy. Fons Americanus, by Kara Walker, at Tate Modern turbine hall.

Also 2019, I was at Tate Modern, in splashing distance of Kara Walker’s fountain, as part of Resonance’s Art on Air series, with an hour-long live broadcast called Sharks: New Worlds, new words. You can listen to it here:

In all these suggestions, you can hear the sound – carcharias, denshoc, shirker. A nice crunching noise as the word, wherever it approaches from, sneaks up and devours the earlier names such as dogfish, lamia, requin, monster. It’s not exactly that the roots of the word ‘shark’ are unexplained. We have the opposite problem, that the etymology is swarming up from all over, in a sort of feeding frenzy, with all the sources landing, coalescing, on this sharp-toothed fish.

Like the radio but with the moving pictures, too: in Feb 2021 I reported back to my old educational establishment, talking about how I’d come to write my book (spoiler alert: the answer was, slowly). Four-minute mini-i/v here.

It’s captioned.