Sunday afternoon. It is dark and grey, the vibe outside is one of Soviet-era hopelessness. Dark grey sky, dark grey concrete buildings, shortages, delays, only potatoes to live on. The last thing is a slight exaggeration, but food supplies do seem sporadic, mysterious fake-sounding brand names appearing on tinned goods, and fresh fruit is scarce. We could all get scurvy. I’ve realised I shouldn’t be such a brand-snob, but I’ve become conditioned over decades into only buying familiar items. Advertising gets into our heads, however much we talk of being above it. I’ve talked for those decades of growing vegetables myself. I may have to. Even if I don’t have to, I think it would be wise to have a thin security layer of self-sufficiency. I brought those recycling boxes from Croydon, I should use them. If I ever get away to somewhere Mediterranean and free I’ll need to be able to grow produce. Even somewhere not Mediterranean but rural in this country would enable some level of self-sufficiency.
Monday evening. An odd sense of finality, lurking in a darkened tavern with beer, and an air of making an effort to pretend to be normal. To be allowed in we had to agree to eat fish finger sandwiches. In years to come people won’t believe or understand such Kafkaesque puzzles. On the way home I read about two fires at London railway stations. Real fires. I’m listening to Bob Dylan’s New Morning from one of the surfeit of bootleg albums containing alternate masterings, with an absurdly upbeat camp horn section, most incongruous, in both the context of Dylan, and the context of now. This time last year it was normal to see real live brass bands playing at busy railway stations, bringing festive cheer. Now, the concourse at London Bridge is almost deserted, the few people about are scurrying to get home, furtively, almost knowing that by being out they’re acting immorally, clandestine. The LED lighting is harsh, display screens show Orwellian safety messages, trains are less frequent, so more time to linger uncomfortably. Bob’s excitable horns jar with the foreboding stillness and make the whole situation laughably absurd. I can only listen to music when the state of my mind is right for it. Now, quite spontaneously, is that sort of moment. This scene might make a good ending of a film about disenfranchisement and escape, with people being freed and dancing, the scene transitioning to somewhere far away, with warmer colours, open space, and a slow sunset. I’m tempted to buy a new full frame camera for land based film work. What with I don’t know, but I’ll put it on the list of things for a new life in the future. I’ll save money if I grow my own vegetables.
Tuesday evening. Home from the Palladium, seeing a pantomime with Harry. All very nice, amusing performances, David Mitchell and family in the audience. It does feel special, exciting and emotional being in a theatre after so long thinking of them in an abstract distant way, seeing and feeling it working. I’ve missed it more than I let on. There was an emotive speech at the end given by Julian Clary about the sadness of theatres all closing down again tonight, after being allowed to open just last week. After, we walked the twilight streets around Covent Garden and down to the Embankment, talking of old times, watching lights flickering as the trains passed over Hungerford Bridge. Then home again. Another two railway track fires somewhere around today.
Friday afternoon. It’s been dark and windy all day. This area is not designed for winter. No colour, the concrete streets form wind tunnels. I only went out to Sainsburys. I’ve completed all my pre-Christmas social contact now. The bookshop is my only other reason to travel from this place, and that will surely come to an end soon. There are complicated tier systems to control behaviour, with plenty of logical flaws in the detail. Another railway fire today. It’s most odd.