This month’s diary includes… fireworks in Tenerife, a Dark Night of the Soul at the Globe theatre and a posh art exhibition at a City citadel
Tuesday 1, Los Cristianos, Tenerife
The fireworks last night were surprisingly spectacular in a very non-grand way. The one I hadn’t seen before was like a missile aimed at shooting down enemy aircraft, zooming horizontally at a slight incline into the sky.
This is where the world is today.
Tuesday 8, Tenerife
On the return flight, before takeoff, we were asked not to consume anything containing nuts, or to spray perfumes or use nail polish. The reason was passengers with allergies. I asked Jane whether the sandwiches she had made earlier in preparation for our flight home breached this request. She said she didn’t think so. I told her I could not remember whether or not I used cologne this morning.
Thursday 10, Hackney
Just tried to add a Reminder to my calendar and by the time I opened the window in which to type the note, I had forgotten what I was trying to remind myself about.
Saturday 12, London
The Melanie version of ‘Ruby Tuesday’ is a revelation.
Tuesday 15, London
With Headway and St Luke’s at ‘Modern Couples’ Community View and art workshops at the Barbican. That’s me in the middle wearing a flamenco hat and scratching my chin with a large paintbrush.
Thursday 17, Hackney
Further to SD’s story about his ‘nanny’ Rose (20 December 2018) and her petty thieving activities while in charge of the young SD, he told me today about Maria, Rose’s successor, and her young daughter Anna. Maria and Anna would go on to become SD’s mother and sister.
Saturday 19, London
It was never about Europe, apparently.
Rachael and Lisa did a slot in Dark Night of the Soul at the Sam Wannamker Playhouse. Their performance was called Souled Out. Pauline McLynn (Mrs Doyle from TV’s Father Ted) was another star turn. The whole thing was a tragi-comedy juggling act and female retort to the previously very male exploration of the Faustian thing about selling your soul to the Devil. It put good and evil, morality and ethics, dilemma and conundrum into the pot and shook it up. Left feeling that all of life itself is some sort of Pact.
Sunday 20, London
I have just spotted an unintentional, accidental half-baked metaphor in my last City Matters column. Towards the end of the piece I explain that I am filing the column from the island of Tenerife and go on to draw a couple of similarities with London. One is the north-south divide, “and bang in the middle is an active volcano,” I state, describing the alien landscape of Mount Teide. It never occurred to me at the time that the City is a volatile, strange mini-state within London, remote, rock-hard work and potentially dangerous. It is also constantly renewing itself, which parallels a volcano constantly renewing the earth’s surface.
Tuesday 22, London
My notes for a talk with two large groups of physios at St George’s University, Tooting for Headway. I used the visit as an opportunity to pop in to see the Bridges crew: Heide, Tess and Chrissy.
During the training talk, one of the students asked me if I was Liverpool or Everton, a reference to the text in my painting ‘Surrender’. I asked him to guess and he chose Everton. I asked why and he replied, “because you are quite humble.”
Wednesday 23, London
Rachael and Lisa came to the coffee and chat at the community centre and it was amazing to see the ease with which they slipped into chatting with people such as Naomi, Lela and Brigitte. It must be part of their skills in getting their ‘Verbatim Theatre’ scripts together.
Thursday 24, London
SL at Headway has written about her brain injury. She used to work in business in the City and it is nice to see in her writing that she has somehow managed to turn the bullet-point list into a form of poetry.
Monday 28 January, London
A bit of drivel for Headway award entry.
The voice of brain injury isn’t an especially loud one. It is soft, reluctant, cautious even. Those who have been affected by a catastrophic life-changing event, don’t shout about it too much. They are best heard in their actions, and it is in what the members of the Headway East London community in Haggerston do for each other that has the greatest impact. Just recently one of them spoke at the bookshop Pages of Hackney about the agony of deciding whether to undergo brain surgery that might OR MIGHT NOT relieve his condition. Every two months, a whole team of them prepare and deliver an evening of freshly cooked food and fun for the Headway Eats supper club, attended regularly by up to 60 guests at Headway HQ, Timber Wharf, Kingsland Road. And art by Headway members, made in their Submit to Love studio, can be seen all over Hackney, most recently at vfdalston, where member Tony got to show off his unique typographical skills.
With a lot of love, Headway does Hackney proud by taking what to many looks like an insurmountable disability and turns it into something super-special, something worth shouting about and something worth sharing.
Thursday 31, London
Got to attend a posh exhibition of S2L studio art at Rathbones, an ancient capitalist investment outfit at 8 Finsbury Circus in the City. The views from the 8th floor were spectacular and the evening was well managed and enjoyable, and I discovered from the CEO’s speech that Rathbones started in Liverpool. I helped Cecil sell his Tower Bridge picture to an unsuspecting punter called Elizabeth, who fell, as I knew she would, for Cecil’s obvious charms. Jane bought my brain picture for £120. I think it was a pity purchase, so I agreed that the money should come out of the family account. The group picture here shows me and Michelle posing with some Rathbones people and the Many Faces of Eve collaborative painting, for which I wrote a mini-essay in the exhibition leaflet.