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Friday, 20 February 2009

John Hand 2009

Hello Gombert!

This February 4th I 4qated in Bendigo, Australia, feeling very connected with everyone else involved in this, the coolest of tributes.

I was in a Come Dance With Me mood and ended up choosing the end of its first chapter. I find it incredibly haunting. And it's how London is in my head, even though when I was there it never got close to snowing.

'I'll leave you to it,' he said, and his footsteps walked away.

When I came out the lobby was pretty empty. I got my things and went outside. The air was cold and seemed heavy with snow that was almost ready to fall. I walked across the forecourt, under the arch, over the road and hailed a taxi. Piccadilly was full of lights and traffic, with a lot of blackness around the lights. When we turned into Park Lane the cars rushing through it looked as if they were emptying London; soon there'd be no more people, only driverless cars hurrying into the night. The trees in Hyde Park were pale under the lamps, with cold black shadows. Bayswater Road stared at me as if I were a foreigner. When we got to my place in Notting Hill the street was deserted, the lamps were dim. I'd left lights on in my house but they looked like lights in an empty house. I could hear a helicopter quite close, then farther away, then close again. My cat Stevo came out to meet me and we went inside together. Before I closed the door I looked back at the street and it was like a photograph of something that was gone. I shook my head and locked the door. I didn't think I'd be phoning Elias Newman.

from Come Dance With Me

I could read that a million times, and probably will. It wasn't till I was copying out the quote for the 4qation that I realised Christabel slips into "we" a couple of times! (Part of the fun of being slow.) It's so incredibly sad, somehow, but so incredibly alive. Typing it out just now has made me all jittery!

I wanted to leave it in the toilets of the Bendigo Art Gallery, because the quote actually starts out with Christabel in a toilet cubicle at the Royal Academy, but for technical reasons I ended up leaving it atop this nearby poppet-head lookout:

Russ' work certainly does deserve to be up near the heavens, rather than in some toilets.

Happy birthday Russ! Thank you Gombert for making this work.

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