63. Monday afternoon.  Lunch at St Pancras.

Back when lunch was allowed.

I had an idea of what to write earlier but my mind is blank now.  I’m feeling that I should start to contract, withdraw, and recluse away for the duration.  Home, vegetables, films, painting, writing.  Staying at home, early mornings, cycling, going out at night to photograph and film the world, the city, the river, the emptiness.  I feel I’ve written and mused on this a lot, but don’t move on far from the thinking stage.  I will now, there is a new motivating factor.  This is a little like the theme of Jean Paul Satre’s Nausea, the lead character spends his days roaming the streets of a provincial French town, feeling he doesn’t fit in, anxiously dwelling on the novel he is meant to be writing.  I can picture the grey streets at dusk, long shadows, fading light, lone figures scurrying home to warm yellow glowing doors and windows.

This year is one of repeating cycles.

London will be into another emergency state soon.  I will have to be more cautious about spending too.  I’m uncertain about pay and national assistance stipends, whether I have to “actively look for work”.

People here have loud confident annoying voices.  They’re full of their own importance.

My mind is still blank.  I think I need to allow time to let all the complex thoughts diminish.  I’m not in the shop this week, then after that I’m back to once per week – I haven’t told him yet but it’s happening.  Maybe a day during the week, then I’ll have weekends free.  It’s funny that I should want or need weekend time, given that all days are the same, but I don’t care.  I’ve spent decades working “non-standard” hours, but now I’m inclined towards self care and using time for rewarding pursuits.  I think I feel that days during the week should be productive and structured.  Social constructs like that are terrible things, but we can’t exist in a society without being impacted by it.  Impacted, impinged, invaded, violated, compromised.  But roll with it.

A bag of compost should be arriving today.  I haven’t given attention to the plants for ages, for too long.  Watching things grow, respond to light and water, is rewarding, theraputic, calming.  I may plant some of those spring wildflower seeds in those tin buckets from the street.  They might grow inside if it is warm enough.  Finding items in the street is sometimes rewarding.  We’ll have to get used to self sufficiency soon enough.

I had an idea about doing spoken word river, London, landscape, history, photography, film podcasts.  Maybe with Danny, we talk about all these subjects and more, are natural, can pick up dialogue from nowhere, it would be something fun to do, creative, independent, may even be of help with my practise obtusely (or not), spoken word, performance and general media existence.  What if we got arrested for recording in a new, not yet invented tier 8 of lockdown, where lateral radical thinking and speaking is forbidden.  Just a portable recorder and a mic or two is all that’s needed, maybe put on recorded ambient sound underneath, or slowed down Leonard Cohen.  It would be good to include visual content too somehow.  Videos on youtube?  Print matter?

Today’s writing has been incoherent, I think I’m experiencing that post-activity euphoria when stress-fuelled adrenalin stops.

I read an article in The Guardian earlier about the stereotypes leaving high earning, high pressure jobs in cities to set up businesses elsewhere – Margate, Ilkley etc.  It was written in 2019, so just before everything changed.  I still think the ethos holds true though – save, plan, research, find the market, and go.  I still have to refine exactly what, but books, beer, vinyl, film, art.  In St Leonards maybe, or elsewhere.  It’s a shame other countries are less accessible now.  Glasgow could be possible.  Scotland flirts with devolution from the UK, understandably, who wouldn’t?  If it happens they could rejoin the EU.  It does look rough in parts though.  Faded grandeur, we could compare it to 1970s New York with the sandstone tenaments.

I got a book yesterday, old photographs of Hastings, mostly from the victorian era.  Oddly I recognise locations but have no detailed knowledge of the street topography, so can not reliably place locations.  My memory is not reliable, the pieces don’t join together always.  They’re all there, but recall can’t be depended on.  I expect this might be semi-permanent.  Previously I’d find this frustrating, I used to like to think I knew everything.  That’s not possible anyway, but now I have to be content with my mind wandering where it wants to.  I’m more into wandering myself now.

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