The “sleeper” train the next fading night is a misnomer. We stand and watch Arsenal’s signature well-meaning collapse with hyperactive fizzy beer and quiet homes and hopes that long since died. I traipse through the labyrinth underneath the House of Lords being guided like royalty, someone important. We sit on stools and eat godly wraps in Soho. The tube is beautiful. The hail is beautiful. The number 91 bus from King’s Cross to Trafalgar Square reminds me that this is some of the best skyline and mad urbanism extant. The people walking into the pub after the second, definitely-not-as-good-as-Glasgow bout of mbv’s astonishing onslaught, look amazing. The main attraction are incomparable to everyone other than themselves.
I stand and hold my head up among the noise. To Here Knows When cannot be described; it will not be.
These have been a miniature sample of what I know I will need to be reminded of someday, but nevertime soon, some of the best times ever, bittersweet, joyous, London, half-home. Home now. Words aren’t flowing, they are just fragments and look awkward, but they don’t feel such. And sleep might be the most potent tonic of the lot.
Edinburgh does a certain kind of chalky, milky afternoon sunlight better than anywhere else I’ve seen yet. It’s a different consistency of illumination; it’s fragile, frail, it isn’t warm but it’s still warming.
Getting out and underneath this kind of light is as much a jog on my memory as smell, or taste. It’s an inverted sponge for recollection, a watery trigger. I might as well be back in the summer of mbv, 08, just inside the door of a sweltering Clock Café in Leith as Rob St.John plays a stifling set (Paper Ships), sleeping every morning well after dawn, pound pints, badly pretending that I still enjoyed clubbing, sitting in a back garden ten minutes’ walk from my house with bits of my hair lying around on the porch, baking away.
It took me a long time to realise it, but I got that summer all wrong, when things reached a level of short-lived perfection that my life hasn’t managed to see again (Camden, Roundhouse, June.), and then started to fall apart so starkly quickly that it might have been taken for a joke. I see it now, I see it as clearly as the light is meekly blinding that I was dealing in opposites, totals, and I was wilfully looking in the wrong places. It was the people that I thought were perfection that were dreadful, and the times themselves that appeared torturous that were the right, pure, whole bits.
The city’s starting to freeze. Not bad in here, mind. I can hear Bark Psychosis, vaguely, drifting through the walls. It’s still, still.
I polished off Beckett’s Waiting For Godot last night for the first time in a long, long while. I don’t really give a toss about the post-modernism or possible veiled homosexual allegories or political ‘heroes’ using the text for inspiration as to the nature of the human condition (Nationalism, usually - yawn). Absurdism should be able to stand as exactly and just that. Beautiful absurdity, too.
E - “Who am I to tell my private nightmares to if I can’t tell them to you?” V - “Let them remain private. You know I can’t bear that.”