Monday, 16 November 2009

Diary of an unborn writer # 37 - could it really all be music?

Life's moving in confusing streams.

There are connections made and unmade.

And most of all a warming, satisfying lull in the pit of my stomach that insulates against the swarm.

I found myself on Sunday night with my arms around a girl I had fallen asleep thinking about the previous week (entry #36 for those with close attention!). Andrew Bird was on stage holding a violin, the second time a maestro has made it into an entry this early. He was magnificent - like a court jester tipping his toes on electric pedals, looping violin threads and in a suit. He had no shoes on, just socks so he could accurately loop and swoop layer upon layer of strings, plucked or played, though I am not sure if he played a Stradivarius. No one was around to tell me this time

Except B. a little bug in front of me and swaying to Andrew and his support act Jesca Hoop -a damsel of lightning her self. Our cups of red wine resting on the stage and blowing the smoke from our joint into the feet of the crowd to avoid detection in the smokeless venue, lit up by lights and music, Andrew's charm and the notes he plays covering everybody in a satisfying silk.

Andrew was the end of a successful weekend. Successful because it was chaotic and exhausting, involved deep interactions with around 45 people, wine, women and a great deal of joy. I was in Edinburgh - the Mother - whose broad arms from Calton Hill to Arthur's seat (the left) and the Pentlands (the right) embraced me for five or more errant summer's and I dare say some Winters too but we spent those mostly alone and in doors and you never did come round unless I called. There have been a few experiences in Edinburgh and the ghost streets murmur up the names and yesterdays and chorus song of forgotten lovers - on this trip you met 3 - and drinks with old time friends. Warm whiskey in the belly, heart full and futile with conversation. These kinds and their crews you gave up hoping for, for a time - the you that is I, I'm playing with perspective, it hangs looser like a thread - but now back in front of you, their cares, their pleasures merge again in your own, and you find yourself moving from Doctor's pub (where your ancestor's name is written in brass) to the Royal Oak. The belly of Edinburgh where few dare to tread. Your rocking along Infirmary road and a muted jazz trumpet beckons you through the half open door - packed wall to wall with four copies of the Declaration of Arbroath (which made you chill to admit your English-hood) hang on shapes that revealed the tobacco stains when they took the pictures down four years ago for the ban. The ban that drove conversation and the smokers out on to cold streets, except on busy nights like tonight when the band sits in a corner, guitar violin and muted trumpet and you're handed a whiskey glass (painfully loaded with ice) before you make it to the bar and the room goes silent as a man begins to sing the lines of Galway shawl you've heard in the passionate, raw, shrill voxicon of that room a dozen times before.

The evening blurs and you merge with it to return to your host's house for cheese and bread before the plane trip home.

A sleep, a dash and tram ride and you're at B.'s house. The night unfolds and Andrew is sublime and he turns the two of you in to each other and out again. She takes the tram home and you head back to Braam. This is new, this is easy and like the weekend, flows in an undertow of melody.

Could it all be music?

No. The next 9am sees you back at your desk. The grey penetrates the gold little by little and you pour yourself a third cup of coffee to survive.

It's warm.

Today will be OK.

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