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Posts from the ‘parks’ Category

Autumn Self

My autumn self is walking
Not knowing where it is going
But feeling
The outstretched arms of orange trees
The empty expanse of a damp cold field
Reaching inside to a place that is tender
An aching seed of shaky surrender that says
This is it then?
This isn’t half bad
Or half good
Don’t try and be the one you think you should
The gaps between things are trying to tell you to slow down
Stop even
Breathe in the Saturday afternoon gloom
It’s only going to get worse after all
So why not start small?
Admit that success is a tiny fire in the heart
Nothing more
Nothing to roll over and die for
And this dull absence of everything you want
Is simply the vacuum from which all is created
Even as long as you have waited
It was only ever the beginning
Of endlessness

Wandsworth

On the eve of my big trip to the States I take a walk to my beloved common to say goodbye to the ducks, and feel genuine sad joy at leaving them, knowing that if I return there are some reliable sources of happiness awaiting me.

Back home ostensibly packing, sifting through notebooks decorated with unsent letters to old non-boyfriends, inexplicable cartoons and provocative notes from dharma talks, I find a poem I must have written by the pond in Winter.

I just keep breaking through
more walls
falling through floors
a hard no becomes
soft gel mush
weeping waterfall
proximity of dogs is bewildering
missing you
in the perfection of a duck’s beak
the cold clear evening
never to be shared
and still believing
in love like a wise warrior fool
clinging to the skimpy
edge of a crescent moon
reclining into dusk

Wandsworth Common

If This Were A Film

If this were a film
You would show up at my door
Sweating slightly, awkward and humble
Love in your eyes like a big panther that doesn’t know where to put its paws
You would stutter slightly and ask to come in
I would look surprised and somewhat preoccupied, with an air of suspicion
Aloof and yet totally open, like a glass lake
You would say something funny, not that funny, but funny enough to make me smile
And on seeing me smile your face would break out into its glorious grin and I would have no choice
But to just dive in
We would take a walk in Regent’s Park
No matter that it’s 40 minutes away by train with 2 changes
In films you can get from A to B without really travelling there
And so it would be with us
Talking and strolling I would soften
As it became clear how far you’d come
The trials you had endured just to be there
You would listen with curiosity and a grace that comes with almost losing everything
I would see the whole person for once, no longer blinded by fantasy
And the audience would feel gently reassured that we had earned each other
Despite our differences they could see it working out
(Whatever that means)
The film would close on a subtle shot of you looking at me
The way you sometimes do, with a kind of blissful bafflement
Content not to know
Eyes half-closed in complete surrender
The credits would roll
The crowds would leave the theatre with cheer and humour –
‘Did you see his face?’ and ‘She was mighty strange’
‘I wouldn’t have put up with that, would you?’
But deep down feeling some common glow
That for some people, somewhere, scenarios like this
Really do play out, it’s not all completely hopeless
And maybe they too could see the better parts of themselves
Unfettered by the grinds of what is considered to be reality,
Learn to forgive in public, buy oranges, tip waiters, make implausible journeys,
Love wholeheartedly
If this were a film

 

 

Image by Bruce McAdam from Reykjavik, Iceland 

Longing in Berlin

Longing in Berlin
In some strange way, belonging
to my longing
In Berlin
Ich verliere mich
auf den Strassen, am Ufer,
durch Baustelle
Hey miss, one kiss! Kennst du
was ist bisou?
Yes I know, und ich warte
auf den Kuss eines anderen
Bis dann I am
Running in Berlin
Half an hour, cross the Treptower
Into the Plantenwald
Peace, says the guru,
Cannot be found but through love
Und bei dir hatt’ich beide
Deswegen bin ich hier
Diving in Berlin
Into the deep blue green unknown
of the present moment
Dirty and profound
That’s where I make my home
just now
Thrown out of my own story
Strung out by the search for
paper glory
Suddenly am Fluss
Wide, wet, open, growing
to the sound of my overflowing
heart, I am singing in Berlin
That’s my thing after all
We are creating, he says,
This world we are living in
Breath by breath by word by step
by look by text by laugh, my love
I am dancing in Berlin
I’ve found a place
I can be myself
Broken open genuine
Living breathing laughing
Crying waking loving dying
Losing bruising
Choosing to be here
with everything that brings
The joyful sad belonging
To this endless crazy
Longing in Berlin

Bog-handling, and other end of year musings

This Winter I have walked through many bogs. Some I entered deliberately, others I just sort of ended up in. Today I went for a walk to wash my boots in the stream and on the way back found myself in yet another bog. This led me to contemplate a few bog-related matters.

1)   There will always be another bog. It is fruitless to hanker after a bogless reality.

2)   I do not especially mind whether I am in a bog or not. Some people are having the time of their lives in bogs. It really doesn’t matter.

3)   The word ‘bog’ is pleasingly simple and direct. Everyone knows what a bog is. A bog is not trying to be anything other than itself.

4)   Bogs don’t last forever.

5)   Nobody is going to save you from the bog. I realise now that many of the songs I have written up until now have actually been about bogs. For example the song ‘Save Me,’ on my EP released earlier this year: heavy mental boggery. ‘Skin,’ also on the EP: all bogs are subject to change.

On the way home I noticed I had also been formulating some new year’s resolutions, inspired in part by the National Federation of Fish Friers. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. walk up more hills in the rain
  2. create things just for fun
  3. stop giving up being an actor
  4. cultivate camaraderie

    “Bringing the fish and chip industry together since 1913”

  5. come up with a good way to describe your music to people at parties
  6. stop worrying about how to describe your music to people at parties
  7. stop lamenting the fact that you are a crazy perfectionist and find a manager who is able to handle your turbulent genius
  8. love and be loved, make love, give love
  9. dance more
  10. expect less

Happy new year everyone

X

Zigzags

Hyde Park at Sunset

Hyde Park at sunset - the best cure for depression

Tonight I went to see a performance of a brilliantly funny and quite dark German play called “The Ugly One” by Marius Von Mayenburg at the Drayton Theatre in South Kensington. On my way I decided to cycle through Hyde Park, which was extremely invigorating and totally blew away my hangover from last night, as well as its accompanying depression.

Zigzag Road

They built a zigzag road!

 

 

 

Then I came out of the park onto Kensington Gore and turned down into Exhibition Road, to discover an exciting development had taken place on the road surface: zigzags! I am a big fan of zigzags, which tend to feature quite a lot in road markings. It’s one of the main reasons I started driving. That and the green filter arrows. Arrows have a lot in common with zigzags, come to think of it. And both of those owe much of their appeal to the humble triangle, which I am also totally crazy about. More on that at some point, no doubt.

Dogs

I think I’m ready to talk about the traumatic dog-woman experience.

Firstly, a word about dogs. I don’t hate dogs. I don’t hate them, to the extent that I wrote a song entitled “I Don’t Hate Dogs.”

I didn’t think it could get much clearer than that, although it seems some people remained suspicious, possibly owing to the double negative. Whilst it’s true that I have some personal issues with canine intimacy – namely an intolerance of slobber on the face, certain timbres of bark and the smell of wet fur reminiscent of mouldy washing – I love animals. Dogs included.

However. Dog-owners are another matter. Owning a dog is a responsibility. It is not kind to let your dog run riot and maul people’s picnics, just like it’s not kind to let your toddler masturbate in public – they don’t know any better.

On a nice hot afternoon, I was sun-bathing on the common, obsessively photographing trees (see below) when my tranquility was interrupted by a mad dog chase which seemed to centre around my blanket.

A lady nearby with a pushchair was strolling alongside, proudly absorbed in telling her dog what a good girl it was as it chased and fought another dog leaving me caught in the crossfire. As I sat up, slightly bewildered at the prospect of being thunked by colliding dogs, she looked at me accusingly and asked “is that your dog?”

I responded that it was not my dog, but that if I were to have a dog I would learn how to control it. This did not go down well. And I admit I did sound rather pompous at this point. What I probably meant was “the reason I don’t have a dog is precisely because, like you, I probably wouldn’t be able to control it.”

“How rude!” squawked the lady, “This is a dog-walking area! If you don’t like it go to the dog-free zone!”

I remained polite but firm. This was a public park, and those with dogs have a responsibility to keep control of them or to have them on a lead. I believe this is actually the law, although I didn’t bring that up, for fear she might hyper-ventilate.

“Besides, it’s dog-walking time!!!”

I am sensitive to the need for dogs to be exercised, but must it be at the expense of other park users?

She appealed to my sympahetic side: “He’s only a puppy, give him a chance!” I relented somewhat. I was being a tad harsh perhaps. But will she still think it’s cute when the dog is ripping a child’s face off?

“You need to learn some manners!” she spat, incredulously, appalled at my audacity in telling the truth.

As she huffed off, I considered my response. I was shaken and felt concerned – had I been aggressive? No, self-righteous maybe. But when there is an important point to be made I always feel a responsibility to make it.

Besides there was something alarming in her outlook on the situation. The attitude that I’ll do what I like, and if other people have a problem they can fuck off. I am afraid that I do relate to this – it’s something I felt a lot as a teenager, and even now on my grumpiest days – but I try and keep myself separate from members of the public at these moments.

I’m not averse to a bit of a provocative behaviour. But the motivation is important. The motivation in fact is usually quite blatantly evident. If it’s about me and preserving my little kingdom, it tends to look ridiculous. I cringe inwardly when recollecting moments in which I have acted upon this very impulse. If, on the other hand, it’s about shaking people out of their comfort zones and making them think, it can be exhilarating, sometimes terrifying – possibly even helpful.