Monday, 10 November 2008

day one part4

That evening the music continues. We travel underground to Kings Cross Place, get lost in a dark, harsh hail storm ; a shower of ice and hard snow that blows us from pavement to road. We fall into a pub called the Driver Bar to escape the weather and eat a sticky sweet salad and chips and an upmarket burger with nice mayonnaise. The barmaid is blond and friendly and trendy and wants me to taste gin and cucumber and I sip my drink and  watch men in suits, looking smart, drinking beer with curious male camaradery. Later, we slip through glass doors into a huge open space with chocolate brown poofs shaped like mushrooms. Our tickets are booked to see an experimental music concert, part of the Multiplier Series, curated by composer graham Firkin. ' ..... with three oustanding ensembles exploring single instrumental timbres, The Veya Saxophone Quartetn Elysian Strings and duo  Parkinson Saunders, performing music by French hard hitting iconic composer Louis Andriessen, English purist Howard Skempton, American pioneer Alvin Lucier and the rhythmic persistence of Joe Cutler and Firkin himself'.
We sit in cabaret style clusters and in front of the stage are huge piles of silk cushions in fushia, burnt orange, green and turqouise blue. We are invited to listen and lie. The music envelops, shakes and shudders; brusquely changing moving, waking. I am an intrepid explorer of this new territory, and my ears are delighted by what they hear.
When we leave the concert it is snowing outside. Huge white flakes are tumbling from the black night sky and gently coating the grey city pavements. We grin and make our way back to our hotel room.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Day one part3

I unpack, make home, place and space, settle and nestle myself and my things. Tops and skirts are hung in wardrobes, fabric is unfolded. This is my first task whenever I arrive somewhere new. I appropriate. We go out again and eat under a church in a crypt where dead bodies lie. We sit on high chairs in a sandstone room and taste roast potatoes and pumpkin bake and hot gammon sandwiches. The dead may turn in their graves, but perhaps they enjoy the smell of the food and the idle lunchtime banter. Upstairs in the church we stumble upon a midday concert for the vicar tells us the church, St Martin in the Fields, has an open door. We sit in the pews and listen to the soaring, roaring black and white sounds of the Messianen Quartet for the End of Time . The notes quiver in the sepia light. I watch rustling leaves through a stained glass window. What bliss is this....

the first day part 2

We then catch another train to our hotel. Emerge from underground onto Oxford Street - submerged by the throng of walking, talking, smiling, snarling, eating, crying, limping, striding, lonely, happy, dirty crowds of people. Feet hit concrete; sand, conglomerate gravel, pebbles, broken stone and slag in a mortar matrix. Our lungs breath in the fumes with joy, elation. We are free in the city. Anonymous. We have unacknowledged names. Our hotel is hidden behind a shop, opposite a haunted building with ragged curtains and smeared windows. The hotel has a doorman with a shiny black hat and a gleaming smile and a turning, swirling door. We enter the international, excuse me madam, just this way, may I take your bag, hotel. Our room is number 771. The mirrors on the walls of the lift glitter like diamonds.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

the first day

The first day we left early and I hated saying goodbye to my children and felt wrenched and torn. The sky was bright blue and the air cold and crisp. We jumped on the first train and our journey had begun. Travelling over and through- eating into time, savouring seconds and minutes. The underground is dirty and gritty and grey. Skins are the colour of ashes; tinged with diesel fumes and intimate with pollution. The vibration shakes our boney segments, quivers in the spine. We are unfathomed city walkers, we wear our country customs in our smiles. We stop at Euston station, jump from our train, meander in an unplanned fashion. I visit where I spent many teenage days, in this building, sitting waiting; watching for my train  after reckless weekends with Z;. Camden market, pubs, cigarettes, smoking dope, raiding divine fridges late at night. Later, now, he and I drink black coffee on fat stinking purple sofas. The station smells of old cooking oil; rancid and sweet. I kiss him as he photographs the trains. I smile and our telephone rings...