I am currently sat in Burnley library, on the edge of two epochs in my life. Behind is the chaos & adventure of India & all that led up to it. Ahead is a future of focus & CONCHORDIA. Right now, tho’, I’m in the middle of buying shoes & sorting out the phone I found in Abbu Dhabbi airport with a new sim card.
The journey to England consisted of long waits – ten hours at Chennai & 6 in Abu Dhabbi – & drunken flights being fed by proper fit hostesses & watching movies such as The King’s Speech & Made in Dagenham. In Abu Dhabbi, with not having any sheckles to speak of, I did a sneaky move on a coffee shop sandwich. With hindsight it wasn’t the best idea, as I’m sure you lose a hand or something for stealing in these sandy desert kingdoms.
We finally arrived at Heathrow as the sun was setting on the hottest British day of the year – 20 degrees. I guess when you winter away there’s a sense of mission accomplish’d. Arriving at the airport was not funny for Charlie. Way back in Hampi he’d set his bag on fire by throwing away one of those Indian matches that are really difficult to blow out. On that occasion he just about rescued his passport from the flames, tho’ it was covered in black plastic crud. Anyhow, it was enough for him to get thro’ Chennai immigration, but at Heathrow he hit a snag of suspicious looks from the border guy. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, cos the police call’d over to look at said dodgy passport were waiting for Charlie anyway! The long arm of the law had flagg’d his flight & the cops arrested him there & then on charges of drunk-drug driving & failing to turn up at court. It was mad watching him walking away with the cops.
Suddenly I was alone again, the sun just setting & me back in Britain after a long poetical sabbatical! In comparison to India the streets were practically gleaming, so clean & so, so empty. Then I did what I always do on hitting London – go & see Cliff. On the way to Leytonstone I was sat on a train thinking, wow, I was in Chennai that morning & all the folk there had probably had one of theose same-same days that mark modern existence. But not me, I’d just had an epic mission, & though I was arriving with nothing to my feet, my head was full of the future of music & theatre & poetry!
It was good to see Cliff, & I joined him & half of the Gallery on a trip to the seaside. There were three of their bands playing at the Tubman in Hastings for this guy Mikey’s birthday. They were all on acid (which I didn’t partake in) & Cliff was personally funding his bands – & mine – tickets, beer & drugs. Quite a feat, considering there were five of us for three days. I sang a few songs at the beginning of the gig, but I did my own thing most of the time. Hastings was gleaming in south coast sunshine & very attractive on the eye. I found myself partying with a random family – the daughter was doing ketamine with her mum –, studying Homer in the local library, & scrambling into the castle for sunset. It was rather apt, actually, for it was where William the Conqueror first set up camp before the Battle of Hastings – I feel a tad like him at the mo, bursting with energy as to my new art form, Conchordia.
From Hastings we went back to Leytonstone for a night, from where I set off next morning for the north. The journey involved a lovely early morning hike along the Thames – a great way to reaclimatise the psyche with my own land. At Victoria, it was the one-pound megabus to Manchester, & the X43 to Burnley & at least four portions of proper chips n curry. Then, in just a couple of days, I’ll be on a another megabus to Edinburgh, my duvet & 6 months worth of videotaped Eastenders!