It’s snowing steadily again, and settling in the ruts formed yesterday. The sky is a dirty yellow colour. The day is peaceful so far. A layer of snow muffles the sounds of people and traffic, in the same way that people put foam rubber or egg boxes on walls of recording studios. I’m listening to everyone’s favourite Dane Sandi Toksvig’s Hygge programme on Radio 4, the first guest is Grayson Perry, him with the vases. He’s not so bad actually, maybe he’s more mellow away from the competitive posturing of the art school world. Mr Perry is 60, Ms Toksvig is 62. I’m quite young then, in comparison. I find it shocking when I find out people are significantly older than I’d imagined. I always think of people as being the age they were when I meet them, so Harry is 20, James 30, etc. I haven’t met Ms Toksvig. I have met Mr Perry but it was hard to judge through all the layers. He was talking about Walthamstow being called “Awsomestow” a few years ago.
Afternoon, still snowing, and now it’s getting dark. I went up to the river, shot some film, walked a bit, then came back. At times the sky was a dark grey, as if heavy with precipitation. It gets like that when heavy rain is imminent, so I suppose it’s the same with snow, only when it falls in freezing air the sky fills with impenetrable whiteness, almost tangible. Walking on icy slippery surfaces is tiring, the leg muscles are under constant tension. I ache all over now. Perhaps I have neurasthenia, like Virginia Woolf. Perhaps a lack of natural light doesn’t help. The marsh is dark for much of the year. On the way back I saw the favourite postman, speaking of calf muscles.
I’ve forgotten what it was like to go out to places every afternoon, to dine, drink, observe, think and write. I should find a different thing to do, or just different places to go, a hygge-like log cabin place or a cliff side cave, warm, soft lighting and with a view of nature and water, maybe near a little village. I wish Tom Dychoff’s “Let’s move to…” column would return. It is a good support to my location musing.
I have moments when I suddenly think about how my father is interpreting the world. I’ve just seen the end of a TV programme where someone is wearing a mask, for other reasons. Does my father understand why people are wearing masks now? Does he understand why he is where he is? He has no recollection of his own house. Can he relate the present to the past?
I sometimes feel the same, I can’t comprehend or process external information. I probably need some more of that CBT. I find it all terrifying though.
Wednesday afternoon. A flip dark chill winter bastard though dry.
I’m feeling quite barren and incapable today. I’ve got on a train, not sure where to go but felt the need to go somewhere. Too late to go far, so I got off at Blackfriars, walked for a few minutes then got on another train back. Passing the same rooftops I feel numb. None of it touches me at all. The sun is out, the air is cold, the snow is melting. Southwark, Spa Road, Greenwich, all places I have or had loose ties with, but don’t care enough for. Back gardens full of detritus. I don’t want to see it.
The train up here was full of rancid whores. The city is going to pot, disease and desolation are setting in. Alongside Deptford Creek is a construction site, something huge and industrial is being built, with a mass of pipes, tanks, and deep concrete lined pits. I don’t know what it is, I may find out one day. I’m interested to know but not now, not yet. I’m numb to the surroundings now. It is as if time and interest have been paused indefinitely.
At Westcombe Park the houses have very tall aerials to see over a high ridge of hill on the south side of the railway line. I don’t know what’s over the other side. I think just more of the same.
There’s been an article in the Daily Telegraph about Princess Anne’s living room. I should dismiss it as a pointless waste of journalism, if it can be called that. I should be using it as an example of news media dumbing down, how people are being fed feelgood propaganda about non-news, whilst veils are drawn over real issues. It’s always been like this though. One has to choose media sources based on one’s sensibilities. How much raw reality would you like? Secretly I’m interested in her living room. I like looking at other people’s houses.
Back home again, that rare brief time when the sun shines through the kitchen window and warms this corner of the room. Paint is expected tomorrow, that can be the catalyst for improving the room, tidying, defining purpose. The kitchen can go yellow, the cupboard doors a blue maybe. I could fit new handles too if I really felt the need. It won’t make me like this place more though. The flat is functional, the area is soulless. I need to be somewhere else, with people and purpose.
There was another fall of snow overnight, the sun is out now, but the air is still cold. Paint is arriving this afternoon, otherwise I’d try to go out somewhere. Not having anything to look forward to is the problem. I started to feel more positive earlier. I’ll shower then take the recycling to the cess pit. I’m trying hard not to fall into routines again.
Paint has arrived. I’ve been to Sainsburys and back, feel excessively tired at this time every day. Is it the lack of natural light? I imagine Berlin is darker and has more regular consistent snow. I’d feel very alone there.
Passing Crystal Palace TV transmitter aerial. That’s all that’s left of the palace to see from a distance, there are some stone steps and other remnants, and a beautifully decorative but now redundant subway to a long-gone railway station. The subway is opened once a year for people to go in, admire, and come out again. There’s more snow lying on the ground here than in London. It’s still quite urban here, but maybe people aren’t moving about enough to generate heat to melt it.
The man sitting opposite is rugged, with mid brown wavy hair, beard, a green coat, pale blue jeans, muddy trainers. I could do with buying some clothes. I don’t know when that will be permitted again.. I wonder where he’s going to, what happens in his life. I like imagining that there is a set of us discretely, furtively travelling without purpose, defying the rules, silently yet frivolously avoiding the law enforcement, which doesn’t really exist, but we are allowed to pursue our practise, as there are few of us, and we don’t affect other people. We are the free ones.
Bright snow on the fields, sun reflecting, the suffocating Redhill suburbs.
There are people in the rear of the carriage laughing carelessly. They don’t belong here. Trains are queuing now, there are still landslides everywhere taking weeks to be dug out. There’s been a moorland fire in Devon too, in spite of the snow. That seems odd.
I painted a wall yesterday evening whilst listening to a zoom talk from the Catalyst Club in Brighton about odd Brighton related things. One of the speakers was from my past, a music promoter. Another was an awkward psychogeography-involved artist filmmaker, he reminded me of Simon Amstel’s actor boyfriend. Zoom things are better if you don’t sit and watch attentively. Treat them like podcasts or radio 4, just have them on in the background whilst doing something else.
My hand is too painful to write now. A symptom of something, I suppose.