March 17th, 2003

2020 lack of vision

abruptly to London 1 [ part 2 deferred ]

I phoned my sister from the bus; she was in the supermarket. We spent ten minutes duelling, her inexplicable signal loss vs. my uncanny ability to end a call with my (otherwise fairly untalented) cheekbone but eventually managed to arrange a meeting place. Some days I stop when I'm doing something and think, bloody hell, I'm communicating through the air with a handheld communications device, just like they used to in science fiction which is probably the fault of the bracelets in Blake's 7. This wasn't one of those times. So we arranged to meet on the balcony at the Tate. Yes, I do know there are two of them. Yes, I do know the sun doesn't reach them on a windy afternoon in March. Well, now.

Out of the tube at Blackfriars into sunshine, much brighter and more real than the light I'd endured next to the snoozing lady on the bus, light which had me pulling up sleeves and stretching fingers in luxurious vegetable pleasure of sun and feeling myself thicken and grow stronger, like a primrose in the spring. In the centre of the bridge a man was filming something upriver and there were blimps outside the Tate, ducking and diving like stunt kites in the hard wind, and I remembered that it was Comic Relief and me with bright red As they were faster and therefore more nimble, I struck a straitish line and trusted them to do the dodging. By the grace of the crowd, I passed without inconvenience to anyone, not the sparkle-haired office skivers, not Lady Godiva in a red t-shirt, not the guy with the really nice blue wig, not all the virtuous. earnest clowns with red noses painted on, because this year's noses were so safe and elaborate that they wouldn't stick to your nose. Outside the Tate, tourists were posinq with a partly deflated blimp, casualty of the high winds, like hunters showing off a kill.

I stepped out of the cafe and onto the balcony, and discovered abruptly why almost no-one was out on it. Cold March air in the shadow of the tall chimney, and real hard wind that whipped the hair of escapee schoolgirls and tore the crumbs from my muffin and flung them in the faces of older boys, out there too, compulsively smoking. But I didn't have to wait for long; just time enough to get cold and go in twice (once for each balcony) and to put the finishing touches to the script for next week's strip, Ripley on the Tube.

We were here to see Beckmann, hardly on my top ten list, but I was here after colour, following a disastrous attempt to put a colour layer on this week's strip, and Beckmann certainly had lots of ideas about colour. Also weird fish, sly birdies, and naked men slyly glancing at each others' huge parrots. Elle loved it but it felt a bit too much like work to me, put me in mind of the man who caught me reviewing Lady Windermere's Fan, and said, I was wondering if it interfered with your enjoyment of the play; I'm a surgeon, I often find myself looking at people in anatomical terms.

When our eyes were stinging and our brains aching we stumbled back to the tube (pausing only to spit in the general direction of the lousy selection of postcards) in search of peace and shadowy goodness at the V&A. What we found was the less than soothing Tale of Hamza, elaborate, lurid and exquisitely detailed court illustrations of the lives of Islamic Hero-kings, seething with giants and devs and dragons and magic three-eyed purple horses. They also do story-telling, on biq silk cushions. Who wants to go back for a proper look? It's free!

Then I would maybe have gone home, but Elle grabbed my undirected addled picture-stuffed head and stumbled me back to her place, where her neglectful husband has been leaving her abandoned a bit lately (he works in the city, diddling the stock market, and recently his time has been divided between working, drinking, and wandering around grey-cheeked and hollow-eyed) and proceeded to cook for me while firing off txts to other teachers fishing for jobs. Predictive text is giving her bother. It suggests "faking" for "Ealing" she says, chopping the peppers so she can pretend she's making real sauce and not just automatic pasta and I blow red wine (label in Sicilian it must be good) through my nose.

And get home late and very drunk.
  • Current Music
    bowie - five years

the walk home/auntie jeremy yet again

Walking home this evening just after sundown humming Belle and Sebastien because I couldn't get my minidisc loaded fast enough I nearly walked into two boys wearing t-shirts, one pink, one blue (just like the sky) and in my shock at their bare arms didn't notice until they were well past me that they were holding hands. They had matching artful scruff haircuts (one brunette, one blonde) and navy blue bags of books from Blackwells.

Going past Corpus Christi, the moon peered out from around a ridiculous tower, huge and pale and ghostly-white. The cobbles were seamed with shiny foil confetti.

Walking over Magdalen Bridge, the last pink had drained from the sky, leaving it bloodless white, a tree of white blossom, two white cranes guarding the horizon, and over it all the flat white disk of the moon.

At the bottom of Cowley Road, the sky had darkened to luminous blue. Someone had trailed long garlands of plastic pink flowers out of an upstairs window and I remembered an old green record shop that had been there years ago.

As I turned into Randolph Street, the sky was deep deep blue and the moon was shiny white over the half-built mosque. In the still evening, the birds were singing so loud they mixed with the music, and though Damian was right behind me I never heard a thing.

mysterious mondayMy nephew has a name now! In this week's strip, I receive a txt alerting me to the arrival of little Tobi Miro Pitt (though he wasn't named for another good week). I saw this frog but I'm not sure ... he has so many aunties, won't he have enough toys already?
  • Current Music
    bowie - ziggy played guitar