Notes from Nowhere

þriðjudagur, apríl 09, 2013

Out of the city

It's the sound of countless birds singing, the muffled middle distance of the traffic's roar, the elevation and light; how apart from the usual world we are and yet this world's utter mundanity, its totally quotidian nature and humility; which moves me. The mixture of idealism (as Greenway) with pragmatism (as sewer), of history in flux all around, most alive in the east of London, for better or worse. The sense of going somewhere, yet nowhere; of being nowhere, that is strangely both universal and completely specific. I feel very lonely yet somehow still connected. 

mánudagur, ágúst 24, 2009


I think perhaps going is love. Arriving is something else.

And what better for the polar explorer when he arrives home than
someone else's heart to understand. Trudging alone toward another pole
of inaccessibility.

Atopia/anonblog has long been concerned with Nowhere, and perhaps that
reflects a childhood in suburbia. Suburbia is he ultimate Nowhere, the
one where more and more of us live.

I have come to an eastern new town to see love and I am sitting on the
green outside her house. It is as quiet as a retreat here.

Apart from the occasional car stereo. But the sounds from them too
end, and again it is quiet.

Where have I been, I hear you cry, my imaginary reader. Where has he
been for the last two or three years. Did he not think to keep us
informed of his movements?

Truth is, I think I've been trying to get Somewhere, and so I have had
nothing to write for you. The last time I did, I believe I said 'I
haven't been Nowhere in ages'. Well, recently I have been back there
and am going there again, and it actually makes me happier. The
trouble is knowing how to stay in touch with it (inspiration?) when
the demands of the day to day world are pressing. And likewise, when
that huge Nowhere/Everywhere that is The Internet impedes continually
upon the senses. Yes, the challenges of a modern working life.

What to invest in, that's the question. A friend who teaches a Taoist
martial art told me his teacher says 'invest in loss'. I still don't
know what it means, but they are words to live by nevertheless.

Invest in loss.

þriðjudagur, október 30, 2007

One Atom Thick

Memory stretches only just
to the last draught I drank of silence.
Parcel string has been torn, but not cut,
and without getting melodramatic,
life is full these days, and rich.
And I wouldn't have it another way
but this,

this moment of repose, one atom thick
a halt in that endless spinning
of an iron and golden wheel
whose spokes bear flames
which are jumped at regular intervals.
Across the city the heavy bell, heard
once, only.

I haven't been Nowhere in ages.

Efnisorð: , , , ,

miðvikudagur, maí 30, 2007


Avocado, watercress, spheres, feta, king prawns; served on romaine hearts. Mmm.

Efnisorð: , , ,

fimmtudagur, mars 08, 2007

Poet of the Hyperreal

Thank you for the input - it brought me to my knees, but helped me so much and inspired so many. I would love to claim I fully understand your theses, but it took me a long time to appreciate that you were a poet of sorts (a dry poet?), as well as a philosopher.. and I haven't yet reread you with the same voracity of that first time..

When I do I will guard against the perils of nihilism, and keep my eyes open for the heart of humanity which I know you must express - possibly simply in the beautiful and not meaningless exercise of sheer intellectual vitality which is my abiding impression of you now.

And whilst I can't really condone those apparently inhumanly insensitive remarks you made, I have to admit that you spoke for a part of me - a part which I hope never does speak for me.

I heard you echoing Bakhunin, the urge to destroy being also a creative act; except one cannot apply that principle to life; for destruction of life is surely as close a negation of creativity as language, if it must exist at all, can allow?

Using this medium now to homage you seems cruelly apposite beyond compare. This false opposition of ones and zeroes, somehow, expressing a spirit which, in your mental world, may never have existed at all; but which your mental world certainly existed within.
May you rest in peace.

We will live in this world, which for us has all the disquieting strangeness of the desert and of the simulacrum, with all the veracity of living phantoms, of wandering and simulating animals that capital, that the death of capital has made of us – because the desert of cities is equal to the desert of sand – the jungle of signs is equal to that of the forest – the vertigo of simulacra is equal to that of nature – only the vertiginous seduction of a dying system remains...

RIP Jean Baudrillard.

Efnisorð: , , , , ,

sunnudagur, febrúar 11, 2007

‘And yet I may'

Somehow in these vignettes I always find myself playing the lonely gentleman observing – observing himself, and the world, but cut off from them both. Once this character practised other lines – soliloquy’s of universality, the building of webs from bonds of care and generosity, the thread of compassion. Once he wrote, as a first resort, not a last. Once he lived with a band of brothers, who he kicked and screamed and railed against, but loved and learnt from all the more for that.

And now, in the thousandth cafe, I yearn to drive, but my car is in another zone altogether. I long to speak, to share excited thoughts and wild imaginings, but my pen keeps such sharing at proxy. My fingers strive to dance, over the naked body of an instrument, or the fretboard of a beautiful lover, but all I give them is this pen with its one point and single colour. It is all I can do to keep from tracing these trails along the walls and floorboards, to contain these entire other worlds of sound and sensuality within this monochrome plane and feel my existence only through the faint glimmer of trust that these rough markings will reach other's retinas later, by magical, digital means.

I look up through the window, to St Paul’s’ and feel that cushion which is time past catch under me, rock me in its arms, a baby rocked by lullaby to sleep. By the eye of a centuries dead architect, by the vigils of a volunteer force, by a whole order of people, like ants worshipping our queen, by a congregation with its beautiful and imperfect faith spread across time, by these am I lulled to quiet exultation.

A tourist boat chugs silently by.
A vapid lovers rock tinnily plays through the sound system.
New shoes make their novel presence known to the hide of my feet.
Gradually the night light motions backwards through its name, even though I will not witness it reaching its beginning.

I thank you for your generous indulgence.

Tom 9/2/7

Efnisorð: , , , , ,

fimmtudagur, desember 21, 2006

A confession

Please forgive me stranger I have sinned
Your car reversed,
my bike advanced
We hit and run

mánudagur, desember 11, 2006

don't suppose..

..the city's got me down yet,

but tonight I am listening to my songs
in order to remember
who I am..

..or who I was.

miðvikudagur, nóvember 22, 2006

the fluid electric

One more dimension -
into a wonderground,
through a hatch in the bridge
the long red carpet.
An unkept secret,
I walk, past a dozen brick arches
built for a team of giants.
And here found humanity,
where once orphans survived,
in the damp and the dark
under clattering carriages
of the early commuters
and away from explosions.
now, the cracking percussion
and invention of utilities
is fused with futures
in the confected sounds
of intelligence, abstracted
- we sit in the theatre,
full of joy, and awed
by the sublime articulation
of the fluid, electric.

written in response to 'not-applicable' collective, shunt arches, london bridge 10/11/2006

sunnudagur, nóvember 19, 2006


Outside the library,
two younger men and an older.
I speak English to the operators
Keep him talking -
what did you have for breakfast today? -
he clutches his heart
and slips in and out of conciousness

He is a cold devotee,
of that warmth
alchohol offers, and rips away -
the hardcore version of my own idol,
the sugarrush.

In his desparate and childlike, frozen state,
he gets under my skin
and I realize my good fortune;
and wonder about how best to help people
The paramedic has seen it all before
and gets him standing, and warm -
these arts of ours don't seem at all relevant,
yet perhaps more relevant than ever.

Humbled I am,
and twice humbled
When I wash my hands.

föstudagur, nóvember 17, 2006


Today may have broken the dam - I started recording my best song
(rather than the most obscure, the shortest, the oldest or the most
recent), and for the first time in ages, played some bass, which I
did for a living for seven years but have more recently kept at arms
length. Its a part of how I am, but I don't want to be stuck with it.

The song in question has the same title as this post, and it is about
the feeling (most often felt on top of a mountain) that even though
and in fact because you are completely alone, you are completely
with everyone - in an essential human way.
Through solitude comes humanity.

I can't mention the song without mentioning Bob, my Up friend. Here's
what I wrote about him before, and I think its still true. He's off
on his own on Sunday, for six nights in fact.

One reason that I haven't written posts for a long while is that I am
more fluent in the medium of song than prose/ poetry. And that my
temperament is such that I tend to do lots and lots of things, rather
than one thing really well. And of course (please let me know of any
good opposites to this), the people who have most inspired me have
been really good at at least one thing. So I have been trying to
focus my energies on songwriting, and that means recording all the
songs I've written that would otherwise die with me, and writing
songs when in the inspired states that I have sometimes channelled
into this collection of writings.

Sometime you can hear some music. But not till its ready!

fimmtudagur, nóvember 16, 2006



I have moved, and I have changed;
and I am coming out of my shell.

So this space is no longer called anonblog.
Now it is called Atopia.

And I don't know whether I will ever write to it or not,
and I don't know what I will write to it either..

It might become a 'what I did today' space.

Anyway, please let me introduce myself,
My name is Tom.
And I am the President of Atopia.


sunnudagur, maí 21, 2006

Entr'acte italic

A cathedral/ in German, 'Dome'/ Pallestrina/ Angels, Genii Loci/
thirty men and women, in bear masks/ naked/ cameras form a semi circle/ inside the police line/ 'do not cross'/ so I cross
Lithe silver bridge/ driving rain/ umbrella ballet/
A ramp connects/ a small family chase/ shrieking, laughing/ me laughing, too
a girl found a 'seat' in a girder/ so could we all/ angels ranged about
The hall is the museum/ no painting, no collection/ could articulate/ this/
and I'm left, overwhelmed, small/ wondering if this obsession/ with spaces and empty form/ is such a good idea
I shop for my sister/ find a tiny catalogue/ of Japanese textiles for her/ & force myself to a show/ can't navigate this heroic remix
after Man Ray's iron/ with nails coming out/ find a little cinema/ at last, the dark/ Entr'acte/ apposite intermission/ this is what the huge hall lacks/ intimacy/ the problem of Mies/ Plato's viewers/ 'd have been blinded in the light/ my eyes relax, but not my ears/
yes, a quiet dark space to be still/ amidst the busy city/ I arrive, only to leave
I heard a song/ that made me cry

þriðjudagur, maí 16, 2006


I keep on seeing wolverine friends walk by. Be they huskies, wolves, long dogs and grey, even a chance fox in the basement - but this was freaked out where the wolfs - I like the word better without the 'v', itmakes it more like them; strong, marginal, spare, knowing and wise but with the scent of danger and wild longings about them - where most of these omen friends seem almost placid - and maybe their wildness has drained into a feral or domestic basin, as so many seem to tug tethers to a man, its true - they are there on every corner, at each approach to nowhere.

What is this? I say 'omen friends' 'cos whilst so many jog by, content and quiet, focused on the way ahead (where to? Do they drag their de- domestised feral men-pets behind them north? To the wild woods? To the creek or the mountain crag where the moon bids them cry out their long wolfy names to the four winds?), they each speak a secret..

The same secret? The same spell of nonsense, quietude, profundity? A wolverine quire conspires to sing a one-note symphony to my quivering ears, to my whiskered cheeks? What is this note, this spell, this secret? Were that you could tell, little handheld, stupid ether, blank void. Were that my asking you this with little pokes of this telescpic stylus would result in some resounding shout a big 'yEs', a flash or beaten pan in the mudflat nights.

As I write (and as I interact with my geo/physical friends, increasingly), I sense a madness, a homelessness of the mind. A space before the question, the silence before the waves move.. The bump in the cycle as the lead wheel overlaps again, a tremulous little hil to climb and fall again. The wolfs are at my door tonight, and tonight I've no question but the wild. Tonight I'm leaving. I'm gone.

mánudagur, maí 15, 2006

a list of recent nowheres

A young girl's bed, right now;
The latest world cup video game,
By the sea,
A rooftop - the moon and skyscrapers,
Family history.
A golf course by the river,
Through a wire railing,
over a bridge crossing.
Driving out to desolation beach,
Naming what had washed up,
Or had been left there.
The nowheres of memory,
And of projected futures.
Griefs abounding,
I am homeless
My home is lessnesslessnessless
I stay in the attic
Above the office
-- artists, healers below
Advertising and retail -
With the speed of electrons
I elope from pretty cages
And with the forces of gravity and magnetism
I smash through your jawbone.
Adorning your cranium,
Your crowning glory,
Your straight hair is sacred
to me,
Your neck, your fingers
The history of concrete
Forgotten heroes
Fallen, still fallible

föstudagur, apríl 14, 2006

The joy of being beaten

Even amongst the dearest of friends, nothing feels quite as humiliating as being beaten by my own blind spots and weakness. Were that I might have bypassed them, given them over to god. But there they are, the trip wire, invisible in the undergrowth, and there's the bloody nose, the scuffed boots. There's my pride, beyond catching now, floating down the river.

No, weaknesses do not dissappear, but like rocks in the river the secret is to know they're there and take the wider path. The bloody nose and the scuffed boots come when you forget you rode these rapids once before, and sailed them all the way on down to the sea.

I can't take my coffee

Recently I had occasion to walk through the city early, just as her jaw was stretching, yawning the way into morning. The lights on the normally gaudy pier were off and I was strangely touched by this sleeping monster stretching out to sea - it was as if a sweet smile on his horrific face placated even the tide. People everywhere were quietly scratching out their living in aesthetic Herculean fashion (Greece is the new Rome, darling) - none more so than the brightly jacketed ones who will sweep the milliard pebbles back to the beach all summer.

A friend is on the journey of her life, and I am with her as she sets foot outside the known into the arenas of her long dreams. I am at the station, the port; I am on the cliff, I board the boat. With her adventure, my feet remember that venturing alone into the new world and my brow resolves to follow that cloud of dream to the end again and again.

I walk through this end- of- the- line city that is even now embarking on its own bright adventure, standing at its own terminal; I walk through lanes of closed bookshops and clothes arcades, and sit amongst the magnificent steady, sweeping Victorian rhythms of the railway terminal and drink coffee to wake, and slowly, suddenly my heart feels like a large brown paper bag, held in the hand and crumpling in it - all seems beautiful and poignant and extraordinary, and so ordinary. And as the city wakes I know, with a quiet pride and a funny sense of embarassment, I just know I can't take my coffee.

miðvikudagur, mars 29, 2006

Blood, disappearance

My world was green,
and bleak like the mountains;
you brought the blood back
Your dress was white,
your heart a-throbbing;
I brought the light in.
I wanted to love you,
there in the morning
you wanted the sun rise.
You wanted August,
with ripe fruit and long days;
I owned only winter.
Had August engulfed us,
I feared for my harbour,
I feared for the stars we pretended I pocketed.
And fears can hold substance, as subsequence illustrates;
my boat now holds water, and rocks, loose in the ebbing day.
Let me say just this,
in cold ones and zeros
to your stained face, your long artful fingers:
I'd shower you now,
with red juice, and white heat;
I'd bathe you in paradigms, so young and trembling,
and embrace all the goodness I know in your deepnesses:
I'd hold my face skywards, and make like an aeroplane,
and hold those warm fingers in a grip so fucking palpable.
If I thought I was up to it, if I thought I could hold you,
if I thought I could give you the good things you wanted;
If I thought we could milk the sweet milk of the evening,
or bandage your wounds with appropriate medicine.
I cut you, I know it,
I only say 'never',
and ever remorse will be my fresh harbour,
will welcome me home like some alien lover,
whose arms are half frozen and blind like material.
I know that you found me and I had my back to you.
I know that I wanted to meet in the garden,
and that I dragged you to unholy places,
and left you like carrion for some feasting predator.
I ask you this, nothing, but please let me give to you
The stars that I pocketed, the fruits of the morning
Hold out your hand and feel the arrival
of honours and flowers of such awful majesty.
Let it be known that this disappearance
is cancelled, it's over, the night is now ending,
and silence floods out through the speaking of bleeding;
and now I would call you as this night comes colder.


mánudagur, mars 27, 2006

The curve in the question mark

Sure I miss smiling with you,
the way your lips make the shape your soul adapts when it flies;
yes, I miss your kiss, that secret of flight where for a moment we might find ourselves, together above some day clouds;
of course I miss our conversations, where the ground would hold us up as statues or as great buildings, where we were the capital city, the workings of the heart, the ancients;
and yes I miss the love, the tender and playful adventures in the snow, finding underground temples, sitting naked round a circle of coals and the great endless exploration of landscapes.

I built a hut in the wilderness and these were our walls.
Walls crumble,
birds fly,
feathers fall.

And earth finds the Earth,
and water the Ocean,
and while one bird is flying by day,
another flying by night,
walls remain
and we are birds now.

We are that Earth and Ocean,
and whether we meet at dawn or dusk
or whether we inhabit great hemispheres known only to ourselves,

This is the balancing point;
the truth of the spheres;
what we mean when we say 'freedom'.
This is the end of the line,
and what comes after.
This is the flow of electrical charge;
magic, and contrary:
the curve of the question mark,
the dot,
the space between.
This is a sentence,
a list, a statement,
a declaration,
a manifesto.
This is the thin grey line that holds open the universe;
The star burning,
the centre;
The hydrogen atom.
This is magnitude,
action and language,
being, doing;
This is both, and neither.

fimmtudagur, mars 16, 2006

I will think of you at low tide

I will think of you at low tide,
when the land under the sea is laid bare to the sky.
I'll shout to the wind the quiet sound of your name,
and look to my back as aloneness descends,
in the hope to see your face, standing behind me, urging me on to great things,
whispering 'yes' with the movement of your limbs.

Like a great oak in a red Devon field, branches wide and low,
giving colour and shelter and acorns for winter,
giving strength and grace, lending the earth your structure
rooted and reaching, encompassing all vertical,
and owning your patch with a fresh air of majesty.

But from today I will turn, to see you standing, here on this mountain,
and there will be a space, a silence, a terrible void where your face was.
I will sit at the sea and ask if this happened,
survey the horizon with a feeling of emptiness.
In short I will miss you, I'll remember you fondly,
when the sun surfs, when the air's cold, when the light is all hopeful,
I will think of you when the tide is low.

mánudagur, mars 06, 2006

Ancient post

I've just been watching my mum and aunt ring the bells in a small Devon church, on one hand impressed and stimulated by the historic, modal form of ringing changes, on the other deeply moved by the sense of place, community and radiating devotion inherent in the sound.

Bellringers have always been a mite removed from the main congregation, spinning their abstract formal web of permutations in sound like a blanket over the countryside. This hidden congregation come early, and leave as the service begins, shiftying down the outer edge of the pews, distracting but tolerated, occasionally even thanked for their service.

Each bell sounds a primary note whose many glittering harmonics do not correspond to a single fundamental, giving the sound an ethereal quality. Together the harmonics create a noise map of heaven - no doctrine but din, no concept, but raw experience.

This early mass medium represents the ecstatic secular English tradition, disguised; you feel it as a sense of drama unfolds, the wonder and adrenaline flow, and as the bells accelerate into each other, bliss ascends, leaving only silence, leaving peace.

föstudagur, desember 30, 2005

Tyre tracks in the snow

I've come for the second time in two weeks to the East country, where skies are always wide and the wide patched farm lands are flat and roll on to the horizon.

Last week I came for a day, broke with my Essex love on the way to another ending, the end of youth and apprenticeship. My love and I returned to the military wasteland by the mudflat sea where we once first kiss trying to resist the return knowing how circles close in on themselves but we were inexorably drawn there, sad and in love, full of hope and care. I taught her to sit the first time and full & of loving kindness we became that very snakes tale. As we left that saceed place, our flats by the shore with the road that goes under the sea into infinity, we found the most beautiful absurd tasteless sublime christmas light decoration, a polar bear by the side of the lane, shaking his sad lonely head as if incredulous that he'd been brought to existence, that this moment was real and sad, that we had the audacity to film him shaking that shaggy head o' light.

This time I'm in the East on retreat, rolling in the snow and sittin', saunas and walks in the fens with other anonymous friends, wellies on and circumnambulating the old bodhisattva, shaking old red sticks of incence at the stars for y'all and playing snowball fights with anyone we can drag into it. Its new year and I fancy a little refreshment here, a little lighten up, I spent the afternoon putting snowballs on top of each other at the bench where the birdwatchers go, five and seven and three but the tall one - daddy - falls over and I make a little row of various heights, as I walk on I get compulsive and leave the whole white- and reeds area with little melting monuments, I feel like andy g. and secretly hope that someone sees these picnicking snowball families before they go the way of all good cloud creations, into the sea.

And this time, unlike last time when as say my youth ended and I had to leave quick in order to sleep the next day so I could make some money so I could get my family some small Christian offerings (not that I'm Christian as such tho' its got a coupla nice ideas - like blessed are the meek), I'm here awhile and its snowing. You ever driven in floating snow? You lose the ground (someone told me its mesmerising but I say this) and all sense of speed- I see why its dangerous- you might be doing 70 but feel like yr doing five.. Anyway I'm here long enough to walk round the village looking for camera film so I can take photographs (to make the snow last), but I dont' get none and anyhow sometimes its better to just look - so I'm looking for the image that sums it all up, I even see kids and parents straight out of memories going on missions with their long buried sleds, but nothing does it as well as what I see on the road, so beautiful and I ask myself 'why.' to no immediate answer but cos its true, and I mean so true of now and the way the world is and what we're doing with our pure 'virgin' snow (is snow the mother of god?), and I'm not getting righteous because I and most everyone I know drives sometimes, but this is Truth written in the snow, and the author is all of us and the canvas is is the whole world and I mean in particular the top and the bottom bits where the snow still is just now. And I write to you about it and I write a little poem too and even take a photograph the next day cos its the best image I can come up with - tyre tracks in the snow - meanwhile I'll carry on walking and throwing snowballs tho' now they're getting wet and roll harder in the gloves, and being solitary and thinking 'bout how I should live my life, but as the poem says, when the snow is gone, the tyre tracks remain.

þriðjudagur, nóvember 29, 2005

Winter come

I wish you could see this beautiful quiet sky with me. Light blues and pinks and a single bright orange cloud catching the sun over the horizon.. Delicate but not kitsch, cold but not unfeeling, grey but never bleak. Clouds accumulating from the sky and the horizon due south, colour slowly ebbing to grey. My dear, Winter, I would walk with you, embrace you, call you on the 'phone, sing to you... I wish that you would stand here with me xxx

fimmtudagur, nóvember 17, 2005


How is it that I remember myself so uniquely, popping out of town on a bus to buy a battery to start the car? Something about the locality speaks of a deep breath; the boarded up bingo hall, the sea not so far. Like an opening, an expansion, as the blue sky echoes infinite, the promise of winter starts delivering. The people, behind the counter, old boys all or old boys to be, cheerful and friendly (and I'm sure equally able of the opposite), unpretentious, unhurried, rooted. A lunch break brings me home somewhere slower than this mad city and my mad city dreams. Oh that my car never starts again.. Or that I ride away more often to places like this once more.

laugardagur, október 22, 2005

MK Nowhere

Having moved into an installation, I have come to work in a Utopia. No- place like this have I known anywhere in my travels, no place have I known so wide and so owned, so busy yet so deserted, so bold and so square.

I have come to work the weekend in Milton Keynes. And until writing those words I had only in the back of my mind the question of what the name of this place means. And of course I see it now, the connotation of poetry fused with liberal economics, the allusion to England's historic mills, suffixed as an old town would be; the synthesis of the pastoral and the commercial in England's dream.

And this experiment seems to work in parts. There are trees everywhere. The post- revolutionary style boulevards are pleasant to stroll, easy to cross under, straightforward to navigate. Parking is ubiquitous and cheap. The malls are spacious and light, the people are friendly. We are in the heart of the country, and the country is singing a new song here.

The centre of this town is a grid, but unlike any old town, there is nothing at the centre of it. Of course there is no vacuum, no void; there is matter, and energy. But where is the monument to a near- forgotten hero; a warrior, a statesman, a poet? Where is the river that brought goods, the manor, the church? Where is our past, our soul, our link with the land or sea, with each other, where are the graves in which we will oneday lie together?

At the compass' point stands an idea, an idea that can be held in your hand. That can be packed in shining plastic or paper bag. An idea that sends bricks and glass into the sky like hills, that sends metal boxes around the road matrix. An idea that whirrs and hums and pulses and flows, that dances and winks and sings and complains. And this idea is only these things, and a countless thousand more. The idea is Choice, limitless and so extremely limited, definitely democratic and consequently inescapably tyrannical.

With no past but its imaginary memory, MK is free, but it can be only one thing. It cannot be backstreets brimming with stories and lives lived. It cannot be people moving in droves in the autumn streets, to the skip of a beat or a chance conversation. It cannot be wild or tame, noisy or quiet, alive or dead. It is not my Brasilia, it is neither that heroic nor that horrendous. It is not even paradoxical. What comes here comes from elsewhere, and what is raised here will fly away. All this town can be is a loose container, a gathered web, a leaking pot. And I have come to nowhere into this place. And to nowhere shall I return.

laugardagur, október 08, 2005

Spirits of place

Turned upside down, burned inside out and pulverised; strained, stressed and stretched to snapping; wandering about blind, hungry and tired; alone, away and overwhelmed.

I've gone forwards into an unknown. Having spent the last three years living with some of my dearest friends, I've spent these last two days moving, into a friends' flat on the hill; while he travels the world, from residency to residency, to who knows where, animating and exploring and meeting all kinds of creatures, human and animal, making his film.

I'm surrounded by hundreds of friendly, fascinated beings. I'm alive in an installation, a collaboration, a living artwork of absence and living, of parallel lives separated by age, degrees, the cold and the autumn.

While I sweep the dust from around the rooms, I see time and life lived; there's paint on the clipframes, tools on the walls, red and white. Pictures everywhere of faces, all either benignly primal or serene and refined; animals, Buddhas, flying insects, birds, dolls, mannequins, dogs and noble horses.

And there's light. Old chandeliers hang from the ceilings, imitating candles and cascading with glass jewels, or boasting five of six possible bulbs, three resting, two proud to shine. Fairy lights dripping down the walls, bringing to mind magic and forests and dew, snow, diamonds, shards of sunlight through a dark, dusty room. Little mirrors stuck in odd places, net curtains bringing luminous transparent light from the quiet tree- lined street outside, the Roberts radio with its little night light. Painted bulbs and yet more drops of snow.

There are crosses, prayer beads, plants, ladders. Antlers, antique picture frames, wooden floors. Huge rugs from Iran, an old set of white weighing scales, an empty birdcage with its little wire door wide open. Outside, a square wooden shed, a pond surrounded by reeds and spring flowers, the silent, forgotten Brighton backs. I'm starting to feel like I could make a home here.

I've moved house to a grotto, a magic place where the winter can come bid me hibernate. Where I can listen again, where I can rest in the shadows and worship the moon, not so much the sun, once more. Where I might read and think and hide away, keeping myself for some later harvest. Learn from this filmmaker, absorb some of what he has made of the world through my very pores, relishing and delighting in the abundance of this place. Living and continuing the work on this installation, re-animating myself while my friend animates the Finland world he's arriving in. And when he returns, I think we'll have stories to tell, and work to share.

Tony Gammidge

laugardagur, október 01, 2005

This dewdrop world

I feel dead to the world. I came to the cemetry on the edge of town - I knew that this is was beautiful place, that if I could open my eyes and my heart, the trees would reach out to me with long slender limbs and bring me into place, into line. The gravestones that speak of lives lived fully or cut off in their primes could communicate in their stony, monumental way of how to live, right Now. Even the squirrels, or the family out to pay respect on their Saturday, the folly, the chapel, or the endless collections of variously redded chestnut leaves, might wake me to the moment and back into life. But I am behind a veil, my heart is heavy, my head is bowed low. I have upset a loved one, a friend is going away indefinitely, and I am leaving my home. How I wish for eloquence, for endurance, for permanence. I cannot have them now, but I wish to lay this sadness down here and sing my fickle friend, beauty, back into my tired life.

'This dewdrop world
Is but a dewdrop world
And yet . .
...And yet'

- Issa

The way conditions conspire together and bring forward these and other miracles; friendship, falling leaves, flight; is a rare constant, and constantly surprising, ultimately delighting and at the same time threatening and resoundingly heartbreaking. I'm sitting on a growth in the trunk of a huge old beech tree under her generous wide canopy, sheltering; within and without feeling the tectonic plates of the seasons make their cyclic frictious meetings about me.

Summer endures a parry of rain from his inevitable successor. Autumn swiftly rounds on him and enters in again with grave intention, locking horns, shaking the leaves from the wreath on Summer's head. Then he retreats, leaving a colder blue, emptier sky. He rounds once more, with a hunger in his eye, and the old senior knows it's time to retire. Ground rising, shaking, the cloud army of Autumn floods the sky and toasts victory with a shower of rain.

Soon summer will be a memory and a remembered hope, and I'll forget the shining intensity of the year's zenith; the chestnuts and the pumpkins will bring me back to simplicity, back to earth, but as payment the fleeting season will ask another haiku for pasts and passing, and some long, strange offering, for the return of that hiding, beaten Sun.

In memory of Albert Thomas Tyler
1845 - 1945
And Gwendoline

miðvikudagur, september 28, 2005

Little rainbows in my hand

I'm listening to Allegri's Miserere at the bus stop in the rain, writing to tell you about it, all on this little handheld. One by one, the falling rain alights on the screen, making a tapestry of lines and drops of rainbows and chequered patterns. Something about the beginning of autumn is just like coming home.

miðvikudagur, september 21, 2005

Five hours in Bergen

'Flying, never landing/ in moto perpetuo/ terra incognito'

To go is to live, but arriving is joy. Huge journeys, migrations, across seas, skies, mountains, hope and despair find their redemption in arrival.

Following a trail of recommendations I find myself in a funky little cafe, all round red melamine furniture, Studio One sounds and Talking Heads, and a friendly young woman named Guro. My petitioniarys are strangely met by this hungover architecture student, working in an empty bar in 'The Wettest Town'. I offer my performance to the Cafe Legal, this one night only, and play her my work as an example. She likes, but we are alone. We drink coffee and talk about music, Norwegian style and social planning, and are interrupted only by a guy putting up a poster for a Japanese band playing 'Naked Rock, Naked Soul' early next month. Naturally I tell him that the group I work with is planning a short tour. Naturally, he enjoys the work, and we swap details.

It was in chatting with Guro, because in her friendliness and openness, in her coffee, I found my arrival.

Later I walk with her through this vibrant city to the Cafe Opera, where the 'best audience in town' gathers for a variety of acoustic artistic entertainment each Tuesday. Yet later, I go to the mountain to find suitable accommodation, but I know that Bergen is not mine tonight, it is too big for my heart. I turn for the night train to Oslo. Bergen deserves my time, my attention. The lights, the architecture, the Kunstmuseum, the seven mountains and seven fjords demand a return. And I would love nothing better than to devote to her another migration, another arrival, another chance for redemption.

Despair and revelation

Its a fine line, but I maintain there is a difference between being a tourist and a traveller.

And I've had it with being a fucking tourist. I found myself on yet another epic train journey, this time to Bergen on the West coast, sitting opposite two brothers from Tennessee. We talked country music, travel plans, photography. 'Scandinavia!' came the knowing whisper, when the German girl in a long- sleeved off- shoulder yellow t- shirt walked by.

There was a familiar tinkle of warning bells when I overheard them speaking about 'doing' cities, countries, using their Eurail pass, I thought, OK, give the benefit of the doubt, it is just a different language, that's all. When they described the landscape as a 'slideshow', I freely admit I was engaged in photographing from the window too. Maybe I was a bit desensitized by then. I met a somewhat joyless couple from Devon. At some point down the line, something happened, and I'm left feeling strangely empty, longing for real connection.

I want to rush up to anyone local, and prostrate myself, 'I'm sorry my Norwegian is so bad! I'm not just a tourist! Tell me about yourself! How can I contribute? I've come for mountains; please may I breathe your sweet cold air? I've come for solitude - are we not all alone?'

But on this, 'the most picturesque train journey in the world', they've seen a thousand people like me before.

And I don't throw myself down on the floor of the well kept train, I don't cry out, I don't even start a conversation with the old guy behind me. I just see a bearded man with a big orange bag, a messy rucksack, and a rifle. He disembarks in the middle of nowhere, in the cleft of a vast wooded valley, and in the emptiness I feel a little spark of life and death. And sit and write my way into another town, wondering how, once more, I will be revealed.


My compartment was one of those where we all, one by one, overcome the barriers of language and culture and find ways of relating. Of course, that means food. Jens and I made sandwiches; Anne opposite shared her flask of black coffee, the older couple across the aisle offered traditional waffeln with skivets of brun ost, slices of flavoursome brown goat's cheese. Touched, I elected now was the time to get that treasured bar of Dark Green and Black's from my bag.

Later a boy toddler and his round mother came sat on Jens' and my table. The chocolate was still going around, so they both had a piece. Boy obviously didn't take to such rich tastes, and ended up with mud coloured lips, going for the balance to the taste that only fresh mother's milk could afford. I offered my napkin.

We played 'talking shoe' to his sheer delight, to while away the long hours to Trondheim. Sadly he was one of those kids who only knows one word, and in his frustration to communicate (with which I felt a keen empathy), invented a seemingly endless torrent of, well, loud noise. I wonder if my ears and those of his mother were physically different, or whether we were of quite separate temperaments - for while I found it physically painful, she spent a hundred miles answering the torrent with occasional, reassuring sshhing noises. The boundaries in our compartment were not so relaxed that I felt able to contribute, which was a shame, because I was fairly sure that one scary face, a sharp sound, might save the quiet for the whole train.

After ten hours with such a variety of company, it was like 'clear clean water for to quench my thirst' to have a sleeper cabin to myself. I wrote and played and thought, and slept only when my head had realized that south, to sleep, was the only way it could go.

þriðjudagur, september 20, 2005


When I got off the bus at a little village at the end of the route, a clean, white Scandinavian Kirk with crisp timber verticals and crowned with a stark iron vane was there to greet me. The bus arriving is a major event in Kjerringøy, Crone's Island. Passengers headed for their four wheel drive pickups and saloons, a few people shuffed in and out of the local store. I just seemed to watch as the time passed in the rain.

I was on my own now, rain continued falling, and I started hunting. Hunting for water, for ground on which to make my encampment, and for some sign that I was not intruding or unwelcome.

The latter didn't take long. On the road a stocky genial man wearing a blue sailors cap greeted me in Norwegian. I'm ashamed to say, nothing of what I've learnt in the last couple of weeks seems to have stuck. I just don't have the ear for it. But his English was good, we talked for a while about the current social scene in Kjerringøy (pron. as 'ksharring-gøy - ø being like the 'er' of doubt) Given the current lack of pub in the place, social interactions round here take place in people's houses.

A little while later and I'm at the coast, having made my way through the surprisingly boggy mosses that sit like fur rugs on the rock flooring. I find a beautiful spot that isn't waterlogged, where the shore is close and the mountains remote, but feel a touch suspicious on noticing the fawn and maroon strings of bubblewrap seaweed sprinkled about the place. In my moments of indecision, I see a man working land a hundred yards away and make for him as he tills for potatoes.

I wish Hugh Grant hadn't done such a bloody good job of charicaturing the awkward Englishman, as its moments like this that I'm sent into paroxysms of self- reflexive parody. He didn't speak English well, which was lucky, as it meant I would need to gesticulate my questions, somewhat absurdly, about the state and prospects of the tide.

'High two morning'
That told me what I needed to know. My charming grassy spot was not a wise choice. I would move on.
It was raining harder now.
'You why here.'
I took this as a question.
'Mountains. I love the wilderness, you just don't get landscapes like this in England.. and I love the sea, and really it wasn't too far at all...'
I trailed off. He looked incredulous. He had stopped digging. He looked at the thick layers of grey and dark grey cloud that littered the sky overhead.
'Not weather good here. Why here, you?'
'Oh, its fine, you know, I like the rain, um, its the elements isn't it, makes you feel alive...'

He seemed shocked that anyone would come here out of choice, out of season, out of love. I changed the subject, didn't want to keep him any longer in the rain he seemed to abhor. We swapped names, Stennor, and I, and I took my leave. When I looked back, he was leaning on his hoe, looking after me, as if I was some kind of apparition, still, incredulous.

Eventually I found the spot, on a half island, which I could just reach because the tide was low. Sea one side, wild western shores and a trail of tiny islands just out to sea, great angular, irregular peaks inland. Yet further inland, ice topped mountains, calling. A bay so full with amber seaweeds, a green beach for a handful of residents' little timber boathouses, the opportunity to bravely ford a fast flowing mountain stream. What more could I wish for...

I made my rice and miso soup, water chestnuts floating, with a side salad of sea vegetables, cucumber and spring onion strips, artfully arranged in two rectangular aluminium trays, shiny and matt, with Strandtinden overlooking the proceedings, gathering and rupturing the clouds.

Two days journey, years of yearning, and here I was at last, on the top of the world, tired and worn but holding a hot plate of food. That night was a test of character, the rain drenching and clattering, the wind running in off the North Atlantic in bursts and gusts. I hung on for dear life and worked with considerable layers of anxiety. More natural shelter might have been a good idea. I mused on how happy I was on the quest to find a place like this, and how perversely unhappy to actually be there.

Midday Saturday the weather abated and I could leave camp. I walked mossy foothills and met small welcome trees waving leaves, photographed flocks of geese in formation, dried my sodden waterproofs in the guest rays of the sun. In the middle of nowhere on the Tarnvik road the breezy silence was made melodic by the most incongrous ice cream van I've ever seen, strolling past. I stood at 67°33" aside Strandtinden, paid homage and turned south for the first time in days or years.

My camp was still there. I stayed out for as long as possible to savour the place. Tomorrow morning I would walk to the village at low tide to get the morning bus. I packed as much possble, and slept early after dark, waking to drink in the yellow sun dawning over the gray mountain in a pure, cold blue sky. Oh, North, this is just the first kiss in our beautiful love affair. x

laugardagur, september 17, 2005


I travelled through the night, after yesterday's epiphany of a journey. I couldn't sleep. There's a major problem with sleeper trains - they're far too exciting. Having passed up and down the train, to know it, beaming like a kid at all the strangers, I stayed up late rewriting and re- rewriting a piece of work that my editors suggested needed it. Having ditched most of it the first time, the process allowed me to see what the piece was actually about, and I went back, keeping all the main ideas, but slashing away over half the content. Such was my excitement, I had to tell someone. The surly Scandinavian woman serving the buffet did just fine, if she was a little nonplussed.

I used to take the sleeper North with my Mum, to see Auntie Joan in Port Appin, Argylleshire. Maybe it was then that the connection between travel, dream and the North was forged in my imagination. Joan died this year, and I couldn't make it to the funeral, but if I had, I would have liked to have rejoiced in her qualities as a woman, her bracing wildness and yet extremely kind and civilised nature. One thinks of her out in the windy highlands, with her loved and ever faithful dogs Jock and Croachan one moment; back with them by a roaring fire with cream scones, homemade jam and imaginative blends of the most delicate tasting exotic teas the next.

However the connection was forged, it persists. Taking a night train is a Big Dream, you enter a journey in unconsciousness, and awake in a new world, changed and refreshed.

I'm sitting in the bus station, Bodø. I saw it on the map, the end of the line, the first city in the Norwegian Arctic. This is where the plan ends - I haven't thought further than this except to dream. Part of what got me out of the rut of home was Bob egging me on, 'Like, totally Bo-do, dude!', as if the city had been named by Californian surfers. Of course it hadn't, and in fact there's a a slight lilt in the pronunciation, like 'border' (stress on the first syllable) but with a bit more 'oo'. The 'dø' - read 'der' - is almost a neglected afterthought.
I spent the last few hours poring over timetables, asking the tom- boyish girl (amazingly actually caled 'Lasse') at Bodø information office questions of the class 'where- to- go' and 'how-' and 'when- to- get- there', and passing the time with a young Swiss lad ironically wearing a t-shirt emblazoned 'enjoy Capitalism' in the style of the Çóca- čøla logo, a punk and aspiring physicist named Philipp. Maybe there was no irony involved, as he proceeded to raise a 1½ litre bottle of the sticky black liquid to his lips and slug it back.
It was good to compare notes with another Northern pilgrim, though. He's going to head for Narvik, and South through Sweden and Finland, a land route I have been considering myself. For a few minutes I thought I should go to a hamlet I noticed, impressively called 'Å', because it's there, but manage to exercise some self- discipline. Philipp and I laughed about whether it was really that tiny (think Ångstromm).

As we parted, I offered myself as crew, should he ever set sail beyond Lake Constanz, in the Right Direction. We agreed to meet, one day at Nordcapp, Spitzbergen or the Pole itself, or in a hometown, however distant it seems right now.

föstudagur, september 16, 2005

Meet the snowline

The tall, pretty girl with young eyes like timeless lakes never rippled, at information, has confirmed that I'm not the average tourist. I like that. I think it was the queries about where in town songwriters from other islands might perform, where to meet the Sami and where hear their music. Better known as Laplanders, apparently they have 400 words for reindeer, but one of their words has passed into international use, but also guides and inspires much of my creative life. That word is Tundra.

Now I have been on the train North, for five hours straight, from already the furthest North I've ever been. Each second that passes pushes back my frontiers; each centimetre I travel takes me closer to the cold, infinite wastes, the closer to absolute zero, the closer to love, death, rebirth.

For hours we could have almost been in a taller, tidal Scotland: but then something changed. First the gray granite streaks gave way to pine and scree steeps, and then to mighty, dense, cold, nameless masses. Around the train I saw short, staggered fences that I thought might have been placed to protect the supposedly ubiquitous elk, but I gradually realized they were designed to shelter us from avalanche.

Then as we went through our first snowline, and the leaves turned the whole land a monochrome like sepia, white and green- grey, I saw that this truly is another world. Oh, North, I have always felt in my skin the small perimeter of my native island. If I can keep my eyes open to you, my heart can at last start to open to the true scope of this big World. I have never seen in my life the number of silver birch that I've seen in the past few hours, yet they represent surely just a negligible fraction of the trees here. I've never been able to imagine how civilisation keeps on burning its midnight candle, never understood where all the physical resources came from that sustain even just my life. I've travelled a tiny strip of maybe a third of your length, Norway, and now, at last, maybe now I can start to imagine.

Nowhere, no blog

So no blog- as- I- go.
More anon.


Honey, you'd love it here.
There's such attention and tidiness; clean lines, good materials, space, light. The people are stylish, but not self-consciously so like in some Mediterranean countries. All the colours are understated; the men look like men wearing black jackets, the invariably pretty women with their hair noir or strawberry ski blond. And though there is marketing, it is not rife and overbearing as in Southern England. One still has the choice whether to look at advertising.

The atmosphere in the streets is undeniably European, with the cafes and the wide streets/ block architecture; yet there's more than a touch of the New World - maybe its the combination of the occasional tall building, the climate that feels a month- and- a- half advanced toward winter, and the strains of, unbelievably, Rod Stewart crooning standards from a nearby record shop that brings to mind that idea of New York in December.

Beyond these comparisons though, the place has an identity all of its own. The baker delivers his bread in stacking chrome baskets. The few pigeons around are relatively polite. The train station provides neat little foldout timetables, the maps featuring schematic- style fjords. There's a large neon art-deco clock, proclaiming 'Freia'.

The air is cool and transparent; the sky is so blue.

fimmtudagur, september 15, 2005

On anonymity

I don't exactly know why, but for the writer of an anonymous weblog I seem to be rather inclined to introducing myself and letting you get to know me.

Maybe its because I aspire to an intimacy with the world; maybe because I'm really using this space as a place I can construct an identity and get to know myself, at the very same time as starting to see this identity as inherently empty of any real existence. All done safely behind a tenous veil of anonymity.

Or most likely, I'm imagining that no-one but the handful of intimates I've told about this page can find, or have any interest in it. Either way, I rather like the opportunity, so thanks for bearing with me..

The whole question of why I write like this inevitably points me to a deeper question, why write at all? And this question I've never come to answer satisfactorily, other than to respod, I can't seem to help it.

Singing, playing, writing, friendship, most things we do, beyond what we must to ensure physical survival, cannot be explained by mere utility. I suppose I have come to the conclusion that creativity is an inseparable part of our being, with no explicit purpose.

At best though, I sense that good writers, players, singers and friends glimpse, in their own life, the merest shadow of a pattern, suggesting a tapestry much larger. Sometimes the events of our lives might have a deeper resonance, with people in general, and by writing (or otherwise expressing) these threads, maybe the patterns might become clearer to others. Sadly, there is no guaranteeing that will happen; but hey, if some little piece of prose does one day transcend its personal origins and become meaningful to others, I think it would justify almost any amount of vague, incoherent, anonymous, public speculation.

We live in hope.

On another Northbound train

I am a compulsive packer. It is impossible for me to go anywhere without at least five journals, a guitar, full waterproof kit, camera with spare lenses and a generous emergency supply of chocolate.

Therefore, in order for me to go on a journey, I have to have about a week to prepare, and get into training months before, if I'm going to be able to carry the suitcase. Today marked continuity with and a break from this tradition.

I don't think of myself as an apologist for technology. But today's change in practice is largely down to my erstwhile companion, my pocket telephone, and a good, human, friend. Instead of taking a compact disc player, headphones and discs, I was able to sideload the new album by Sigur Ros, along with some other old faves; Oraison by Olivier Messaien, PJ Harvey's Peel 60 Sessions, some John Cage, Allegri, and Arvo Part's sublime Tabula Rasa, all onto my little touchscreen. I downloaded a copy of Joyce's Ulysses from the Gutenberg project and sent myself an email with all the information needed for my major creative project. Whether or not I will justify these resources by use remains to be known.

And this morning, my best friend Bob, enthusing, beautiful and generous hearted as ever, lent me his extremely good wilderness equipment. This man was the first I ever felt comfortable being completely quiet with. It is as if there is some deep river in his soul that, if you listen closely enough, will refresh the World. When I had been living amongst the Modernists, he reawoke my heart to the beauty of the music of my youth. Bob was there when I was way down and he showed me a way to live, he is there with me at the top of every mountain. And he understood and shared my yearning for the North, just as I understand and share his desire to genially converse with, to know and love reality on her smallest and largest scales.

We rejoiced in the design of these things- that- make- you- warm, and that fold up small, because of their reliance for insulation and compactness on that great universal, the air. Sometime later, with me excited and anxious, stalling for time, he conveyed, with his barren silence, 'Now is time to go, friend.'

I left the house, to grey skies and rain, seeking to venture further North, not knowing how the climate will welcome me, not knowing what I'll find when I swap the map of those wild western shores for the territory, not knowing whether one day soon I might awake in those lands where the Sun sometimes never claws his heavy head up over the horizon, inside the Arctic Circle.

þriðjudagur, september 06, 2005

Just like honey

I have two beautiful and talented blood sisters.
And Honey.
She didn't like me at first, but to be fair, I was trying to chat up her girlfriend. Since we got to know one another she's always been one of my very best buddies. An honorary sister.

We summered years ago in treehouses, full of energy and ideas, to assert our love of the Land, helping to put off the building of two roads in Weymouth and Guildford. She looked great in a harness, knew her knots and dated some strange, if charming characters, in her orange British Rail-workman's coat. I think one of them was Septic. I mean that was his name. Yes.

Back then she was 'Punk Honey'. But as time wore on we both matured a little, and although she now espouses a love for the Telegraph and Kenneth Clarke, I love her more every day. ( To be fair, she adores good food, and responds to charisma. And she just so happens to exhibit both in abundance.) We've had an uncomplicated Platonic relationship for long years, and she has grown to be one of my closest confidantes, even where 'affaires du coeur' are concerned. And I've learnt much from her timely tell. She is also the only person whose creativity I trust anywhere near my haircut!

More recently she's inspired me with the presence and tone of her writing, even to the point of making me want to write regularly for the first time- here. Her words are like birds, singing sweet, clever and strong; singing of life and all the good things of life; destined to fly to lands far and yonder. Honey always tells a ripping yarn, and her history of blarney exaggerations has mellowed, but intensified, to the point where now, they merely make her point fairly, succinctly, emphatic and poetic.

So it seemed quite in keeping with the spirit of our long sweet friendship to sit by the river's edge past south of Southeaze a couple of Saturdays past, chewing satisfyingly crispy hunks of French bread spread thick with salty, buttery Chaumes (a name to delight her if ever there was one) and sipping orange juice in the aching late summer sun.

After what seemed like years of waiting for this moment, feeling uncomfortable wearing this thing I call my head, at last she turned to me and confirmed that my hair looked awful. Relieved, I enjoined her to behave once again in the manner fitting my 'official hairdresser', and found for her a tiny pair of scissors on a new penknife. She looked at me disbelievingly.

'You want me to cut your hair with those?'
'I've been waiting for this for six months! We must seize the day!'
'It'll take all night. No way'
'Way. What if I promise to blog it?'
'Hand me the scissors.'

Just like honey.

Each tiny snip was as a bon môt; sensitive, expressive, knowing. Needless to say, the emergency scissors lasted only half an hour. We realized the sun was setting, balancing on the ridge of the glowing downs, and sending the cobwebs in the reeds into wide coronas of light. We made for home, half my poor head renewed, half awaiting attention, which Honey duly supplied in town, along with a rather excellent, leafy, sorrell, lentil and fennel salad.

I could write for weeks about all the adventures, meals, inspiring and entertaining conversations and moments of beauty we've shared, but she does it all so well I'll leave you to discover her yourself.

miðvikudagur, ágúst 31, 2005

London bridge is falling down

Forgive me, but I've got a good feeling about this. I think it might work. Even the danger signs have been taken down. Sure, we will all, always, make mistakes. But for now, I'm happy with a loving hug, the sense of possibility and the knowledge that we both feel it.


We're both tired from traipsing. We've been talking for hours and I feel like we could carry on. She's sweet and clever and she looks fantastic. At Oval station I buy her pink spray carnations. Lost looking for the Clapham Road she kisses my cheek. Somehow now mapreading doesn't seem so important...

All has to end

'You're on the Gravesend, I'm on the platform. Sixteen, sixteen, tell me a coach no. xx'

A change of plan already, no longer Greenwich Park, but, a world away, New Cross Station. The change takes me walking past the new Goldsmith's College Arts building, all glass and burnished chrome,

with a hat like Tapies' cloud. I came to Goldsmith's once before, applying for a place to read Music. That same day I met a girl I liked and we went to the park by the station. Things were going well until I told her I had a girlfriend. Then things went strange. Fair enough s'pose.

'Maybe three or two or four definately with heat and people see moments x'

We're a little giddy with kitchen sink romance, industrial contexts. Maybe its more beautiful in the everyday. Who needs the mystery of a Greenwich park rendez-vous when you've got each other in your raw humanity; who needs well-kept beaux-arts when there's peeling paint or a brutalist housing estate?

Get on the train..

'I'm on the second from the front but there's no way back! Pop yr head out at St John's x'

More anon.

To Greenwich

Gatwick airport, East Croydon, London Bridge, The City - I know these lines like my shoelaces. But today is the hottest until next year, I'm told, and London seems to ache like she's been at sport, and she has. This is the time of cricket and walks by the river and gently shortening days.
Oh, the times of our lives.

It is still strange boarding trains and going about life these days since the bombs, but if I seem nostalgic its because these two atmospheres, the nameless anxiety and the pride stirring are well known mental paths from my youth, like the days of David Gower and the Superpowers.

Is it me, or is this one of the times that all the thousand pretty ones come out before their winter retreat? But these days I'm happy to celebrate with words, for today I meet my sweetheart, after a long year, in the wilderness, in the centre of time. The sea, my maritime love; the wide river, and a picnic for two. I'll let you know how it goes...

þriðjudagur, ágúst 23, 2005

Song for Nick

The bell,
The train,
The bird
The stillness
Maybe England's dream
Died with you

The grief
A memory of a smile
A shadow of a time
A land and quiet
Your attic's long vacated
The flowers still testify

With fingers long and graceful
You reach beyond your short years

This English Garden

dogs and ducks and fox and hurry!
the trees are tall, the water's warmer
you take your time and wait for an opening
it comes and you wish you had taken it

up you climbed to the top of a hill
survey the scene and slip on black ice
the waters warm and you are bleeding
we'll package you, and spring comes round

all bright and gay we sing the seasons
spend all your wishes on a bigger bible
a repertoire of words so magic
they beat the hypertext into the last century

like insects and oil and dust and sandcastles
every songbird does end its sweet song
every raven, every single crow
(was) once a blackbird, was once a songthrush

This English garden I tend towards ignorance
but a pond, and a rat, a pool and a water snake
A water feature and a gentleman
come a-walking down the terraces green

You would not know it, but they're just behind you
they saw you bleeding and ran to your rescue
Now we'll send you home in an ambulance
Bon appetit! Sleep well! Ta ta! God speed!

mánudagur, ágúst 22, 2005

Walking the West

Doolin, the late hills awash with blue clouds moving fast, the atmosphere here silent yet celebratory, stark and homely. A culture whose ancient continuity endures, sentimentalised, even perhaps Americanised, but not yet reanimated, alive still as those sage hills awash.

I walk the mile between the three excellent public houses with my instrument in my hand, happy to tread this ageless way once more. I reach O'Connors on Pier Road, perhaps one of the best venues of this old and yet youthful music, where my friends are whiling away happy time playing misère ouverte and sipping smooth, black and white drinks.

There is already a full circle of world class musicians around this little table, I watch and listen and learn. Eventually, the players go their long separate ways, (one Flautist named Michelle used to live here but is now visiting from Oslo). Two players of fine, stout and strong black wooden flutes laid with played in chrome details discuss tunes and happen upon the ones they know in common. I hold my ears open to the harmony their melody demands, the rhythmic nuances, the possibilities that suggest themselves. My fingers strain to keep up at first, the music new, vital.

Then we start to settle in, a rhythm develops between the three of us, the flutes chasing round each other like vines growing together for the light, the chords fresh and sparkling like sunlight throught this fast flowing wellstream. Sometimes the vines catch the light, and cast their ornate shadow across and along the stream.

It is already late. We say our good nights and I'm off again round the coast road, with my friends in our hired car back to our Burren retreat. Not many more hours left on this Island for now, but I'll come again soon, and drink deep from this timeless spring once more.