I was given a blast of Red String, I won’t say it’s tied me up, cos that implies possession or pain, or devouring, none of which is occurring. Wrapped in red string is perhaps more suitable, and apt for this week; a woman wrapped, softly in red string. This shade , I imagine.
What is happening in fact is that I finally have an excuse to write a letter that I’ve been wanting to write (with the small chance of me doing / reading anything with any real focus or merit right now being another excuse).
Prior to sitting down to do this, my red string spider friend had suggested that I make a card for “somebody special.” I smiled and knew that I’d already decided to write a letter to South London.
Now I’m doing it, I realise it’s actually also to friends, family, place & the things that link them. Isn’t it always?
Where to begin?
After 2010 Par LDN.
Dear S. LDN
6 months after 2 final weeks in Paris spent drifting, wrapping up loose ends in my head and pencilling new ones on a piece of paper around the word “café,” I’m back.
Apt that it was written in a bubble, as that what I’ve been in since returning; a bubble which occasionally bumps into others- one called “College aka MA in WTF with New Extended Family” and a smaller one named “The Overground aka Norwood J-CP-New Cross-Dalston-The Wick.”
Funny how they all interact, these bubbles, just like the 3 ecologies – environmental, mental & social. Which one is which in this instance? It could be debated; undoubtedly all are all; yet there’s “Café” announcing it’s the environmental – where I spend most of my time, being, talking, doing, thinking, listening, tasting, sensing. (working implies wear & tear.)
Between a large long wooden bar and a mirrored Palace. It’s a curious position.
I’m faced with anybody you wish to send into the room; truly faced with them and repeatedly, be they – looking for the studios next door, or neighbouring book palace; delivering parcel or object, on a defined quest for chocolate cake, recalling the going-ons of the time since the last time I faced them, the going-ons of the triangle; flirting gently, sadly with palm glued to forehead; comically (“FYI: I’m snorting a marshmallow up by nose”) or cloyingly with questions about the meaning of l***. Sometimes, it’s business meetings, sometimes bleeding fingers picking heart strings, with stories of x’s; with those in search of counsel, those willing to counsel; those who buzz.
But most simply South LDN, I’m faced with serving you a drink.
It all starts with a drink. That, or directions. (“Through the car park, up the top of the lane and then right or left and then right,” / “It’s just here, I’ll show you.”)
I’ve lost a thread or two.
Another ecology. The mental. The masters. Hmmm. Sometimes it looks like this in my head
sometimes like this:
& this .
Occasionally, it’s some old dead white dude called Ranciere (fuck.off), sometimes agonism, sometimes anarchism (wanted, needed); the Heygate Estate:
Sometimes New cross & Deptford; a football head man un-selling you tea or hot chocolate at a free café (below) ;an un-customer-customer called “G.” who has “a very massive sound system,” clashing, subtedly with “A.” from Iran who came here for his girlfriend whose teenage daughter got pregnant by a man that A. eventually got in a fight with & thus ended up in prison.
It’s Coco, (the café cat), sitting at the end of the bar, gently, her head in nature; Donny Sunshine helping to build a den; making me long to learn or even be Italian, pondering life and sound, affirming & testing my “capo” abilities; Christina, listening and questioning words with a look of confidence which earns her the title Auntie; Youngheehee giggling, Isa walking through Soho telling a man to Fuck Off, leading us astray, to Haringey (O Hai North, there you are). It’s the others, less present (so far).
The social? Well, that’s a large part of the last paragraph; the bubbles overlapping. And Hackney:
and scraps & pubs of Crystal Palace triangle:
There’s something missing, no? A fourth ecology?
There’s some behind me. “Organic” rum, gin and vodka, Breezy’s black cherry bourbon, JD, brandy, absinthe. I tasted a stronger absinthe at Numidie a few weeks ago, willingly spiked with hot sugar and dark, black in fact. I didn’t realise until some time after that it had kissed me before knocking me over, leaving me with a headache & laughter in my core, 16 bruises and wanting more. I didn’t intend on that rhyming, I promise.
How complicated it must seem to others, but to me it’s one of the simplest existences we’ve had so far, LDN. Freedom and space to fill and only one night of boredom in 6 months:
+ one or two wobbles, one leading to a wobbly map and the other to affirmations:
Express the mind
Don’t get stuck
Instincts are not to be ignored
Anyway, this was meant to be a l*** letter to you, South London. I don’t know how to write l*** really but it’s all here, somewhere.
P.s. Quote of the day: “I love my wife! Why would I buy her a Valentine’s card?”