February #SmallStone

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A day of believing the hype: buds on trees, blue in sky, windows open for fresh air, energy to have friends over for lunch; I will make something of this paper, I will make something new and feel good about it. One day we’ll have a space in the city to dance in.

a gift of a morning teaching young children how to play with words and have fun. I can’t remember a better one. I wanted to go home and tell my mum.

a Gordian knot of resolve and frustration. Is this it? I hope that one day I will pull the rope free of the bind and move on into a new space.

an ancient woman in Frank Thomas bike boots throws chunks of bread at a wall on the corner of a street in Tooting; shouts toothlessly, picks up a scrunched up ball of paper from the scattered bread. Pigeons lined up on the crumbling wall above, look down on her quizzically; I look away, remember my last trip here was to buy material for my wedding dress. Fourteen years passed with no reason to return, till I pass through this afternoon, on the way to somewhere else.

attempt to embrace clods of shit, look at them through kaleidoscope, they disappear into space while you count stars before bedtime.

calm descended on the house this afternoon,  the year starts to form its shape, a few hours removed from worry, watching the storm from a safe spot, for now.

controlled demolition/ invisible construction by sleight of hand/ mute communication of desperation. Concrete boots  contain the gift of a straw to keep breathing. Just.

dog blanket and smoke stink bus, see inflated rain coats billow through smudged windows on the way to the hospital; told to come back when its worse. Walk past the Turnmills site and remember those nights, then- and now move on to cramped, joyous poetry night Wa Dem Do replaced Super Sharp Shooter again.

flash fast blue- the halcyon shimmer lives here in dull space between petrol-choked housing estate and grid-locked no-dream dump. It dives and soars between land and water, brown and grey, never stops its journey; finds fish in the future but now hungry, sight fogged in silt flood churn

homeless at home still bites occasionally, Hokey cokey weather sunshine boy’s bike ride blows away frustrations, surprise marigolds greet me with their seventies upholstery colour scheme. What are they doing here now, in the flood? The river rushes on.

 I could burst like a balloon any moment, cause a flood, ruin a scene, spoil the moment, drained forever, a fool, a failure at making a judgement. I don’t trust my heart. I walked away from home, from a chance of connection. Rationalised away in fear of discovery that: I am right about myself.

increments to normality: rolling pastry, roasting vegetables, appreciate eating. Still no patience with a recalcitrant son; Atlas is holding up my To Do list, but he can’t do it for ever.

 investigating frustrations and paralysis in space; time shifts, un-sticking personal tectonic plates; but I hold onto frustration at the table instead of letting go and trusting you will work it out.

lapping black mood buffered by experience : a mindful voice says in the middle of darkness- there will be a different day, where you don’t feel a mess, a failure, a vague fuddled weakness. Counting the good things in each day is the light to guide along the path.

my body is telling me to rest, all the warning signs are there, thumping wheezy chest, heavy head and grumpiness – these are the times I am desperate to do more – when will I learn to listen to my trusty vehicle, instead of pushing it to breakdown before recovery?

planet rendered to its marrow, assets stripped; inhabitants gleefully minced ; lungs compressed, water putrid.                       Investment mansions, inherited mansions, empty mansions, festooned  mansions, derelict mansions.                                                                 Luxury penthouse apartments built on sites historically reserved for the discounted, decanted and leprotic. Stink of polish, lilies, ordure and meat remain in great halls of tastefully accessorised cannibals; fuck plastic, eat oil.

small stones become cairns, dams, bridges, buildings; given time who knows what we can construct with present pebbles.

ten of Stones. Home . Building minus blocks . Anaglipta walls concave in . This is not my house

the alley became a pine forest, carpeted in burnt needles, rippled over the fractured concrete and sludge. Needles shored up against subsiding pebbledashed fence foundations, pooled in front of the wise woman’s cottage, a patchworkof of greens, moss cavey home for She Who lives at the edge; a  garage door in need of paint.

the invisible pugilist plants another right hook, uppercut, avoid the rabbit punch, least-expected sucker punch; no Tomato Can. Throw in the towel, dancer.

walk of word games; blue angular sunshine; white blossom rockets into the sky. Spend the day on the big push through undergrowth, searching for permaculture; community vision through a telescope to my one good eye.

we wish on the silver sliver of moon – I won’t tell you in case it doesn’t come true – I wish for good health and a return to my regular run – we run alongside the park railings –you point out lines of symmetry-trace them accurately in metal.

what is love for – what does it do? I realise I have no idea any more for myself. Few hours I felt real attraction.  Inhabited Home again briefly, as a person I recognised after a long absence, in a place I recognised as a life, after all those years.  From wandering alone to knowing the coordinates of the whole city, with company. Mutual; I hesitated, mute.

Club to Catwalk at the V&A

VandA1editA night out at the V&A to raise a glass for my best mate’s birthday, take a trip down memory lane at the Club to Catwalk show, and do a spot of dressing up in vintage 80s fashion. Perfect!

My best mate Mel and sister Tania both turned up in their John Crancher skirts. I had intended to wear my black John Crancher shirt, decorated with the same distinctive print of generously-endowed dancing devils in gold, but after two forays into the loft couldn’t find it. Instead, I opted for my skull shirt from Artificial Eye, an infamous label in the long-gone but still missed Kensington Market.

L’Anarchie, John Crancher’s shop was also in Kenny Market, and although none of us could remember much about the shop itself, apart from the fabulous clothing, we did remember where it was (ground floor on the left hand side).

The show had some interesting exhibits, especially the section upstairs with its Body Map, Rifat Ozbek, Pam Hogg, Vivienne Westwood designs and outfits worn by Adam Ant and Toyah. As an old Goth I found the ‘Gothic’ section a bit staid and sanitised, and the exhibition as a whole felt too static, despite the excellent video montages and soundtrack. It didn’t achieve the edginess, experimentation and exuberance of that time,which the recent ICA Subcultures show had in buckets but it does have the actual clothes!

Unlike the ICA show the V&A were strictly enforcing their policy of no photography, or even sketching of the show. Understandable – you will have to go to see what I am talking about, and as I didn’t take a notebook I can’t rattle off a comprehensive list of designers.

The sign of a good show is that your expectations are confounded in some way, and what the three of us had forgotten, apart from the stereotype of legwarmers and day glo etc (yawn) is that there were a lot of BAD CLOTHES in the 80s- terrible jumpers, ruched shiny cocktail dresses, overblown detailing and questionable tailoring. We had a good laugh about the reality…it’s amazing what the memory filters out.

If you went to Kensington Market, then crossed the road to window shop in Hyper Hyper, or hung out in the Great Gear Market, this show will interest and delight you. Also- I’d never experienced the V&A on a Friday evening and would recommend it- the atmosphere in the museum was great, and the addition of a bar and dj definitely helped!

ICA Off-Site: A Journey Through London Subculture: 1980s to Now

I got in there and wondered quietly to myself if they would mind me having a little dance – Metal Guru was playing loudly from a screen at one end showing Michael Clark dancing…lots of Leigh Bowery…vitrines full of all kinds of delights to pore over…Body Map…John Maybury…John Crancher…Shoom…if you grew up in the 80s and were the type of person who enjoyed exploring the black labyrinth that was Kensington Market, then this is a show for you. But be quick, it ends on Sunday. It was lovely to have an indulgent wallow in nostalgia but also a strange feeling seeing fliers for clubs I went to and clothes I bought being displayed as influencing what happened next…Getting old dear…

I went for the memories but came away with gaps in my knowledge filled, and with new names and places to check out, and most of all the feeling that the vibrant, creative, risque, risky, exciting, new and most of all FUN world I knew back then and and grew up with (I was 13 in 1983 when I first went to Kensington Market and the Kings Road) is not completely gone…the threads which weave the post-punk years through to now.

It is not exhaustive, it is not meant to be- the curation is excellent, the vitrines act as useful vessels and the connections between past and present are well made.

Here’s some pics… there may be some more writing to follow in another post.

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