Archives for posts with tag: Shropshire

Afternoon Chair

The days are long, hot and sultry.

After the NYC winter the Californian sun seems unrelenting.  One glorious day folding like melting fudge into the next.

91 degrees today.  A rare winter storm this weekend.  That’s what they say.

My Russian friend makes thick black, sweet coffee.  We sit on her verandah overlooking the sea.  The dogs lay on their backs in the sun.

Anthony calls and talks my ear off.  His brother is in NYC with Amelia enjoying his birthday.

A 5 year old boy shoots his 2 year old sister with a gun recently purchased for him by his father.  I find a website devoted to pictures of white children/babies holding firearms.   It reminds me of Somalian and Iranian militia children holding semi automatic weapons.

Here it is:  Kids With Guns.  I just checked and unsurprisingly ‘kids corner’ has been removed since yesterday.

These people, so it seems, are waiting for the government to come and change their lives irrevocably.

Part of me sympathises with those folk.  The high minded elite looking down upon them scornfully.

At 8pm I take the car into Venice and meet Anthony at a gallery called Obsolete.  Amanda Demme’s vernisage.

There are large, moody photographs of old men and young children and homeless people and people of colour.

The rather beautiful photographs are printed on textured paper.  Like canvas.  It is distracting and tacky.   It’s a problem.

We eat meatballs and salad and fresh almonds.

A tribe of scarified women in their 60’s huddle on a $100k sofa and gossip.  Their surgeries performed to be seen.  What’s the point of spending that much money on plastic surgery unless you can see it?

Amanda introduces me to Sara Gilbert and her other.   Many people are wearing hats.  Wide brims.  Beaver rather than rabbit.

I am wearing a midnight blue velvet suit and red shoes.

A young actor greets me with a hug.  He asks me in that way what I’ve been up to.  He knows.  I tell him anyway.  “I read about that.”  He exclaims.  “You’re the real deal.”  That’s the difference between the gays and the straights.

Straight people know I’m a fucking hero.  The gays, huddled around teacher are fucking terrified of me.

And so they should be.

Outside we meet Joaquin Phoenix.  Anthony made a film with him.  I have not seen him since before Heath died.  A flicker of recognition but no more.  He looks like he is made of pale green wax.  He is stick thin.  He looks like a Shropshire farmer.

He said to Anthony,  “I hear you’ve been making sober calls.  Don’t call me.”   We laugh.

It’s funny.

After the show we have dinner at Gjelina with two art collectors.  Pizza and pudding.  Everybody at the table knows someone else in the restaurant.   We receive.  I forget to stand for one grand dame.  She stares at me frostily.

I know what she’s thinking.  She’s wondering if I left my manners in the jail.

Whenever I return home I am relieved.

Leaving the distractions and the doubt behind.

Cruel thoughts, many miles away.

Whitstable, it takes me a day or so to crawl back into my own skin.  The scale of the town needs adjusting to.  I feel like a giant towering over the small, clapboard houses.  I cannot fit into the tiny shops.

The vitrine has not changed for many years.

The town has kept its original character.

Good and bad I know everyone on the street.  Now I see people who I knew formerly in London.  Gallery owners, actresses, commercial directors.  They strut around thinking they own the place, which of course, they do.

“What are you doing here?” They say.

Last week I was dwarfed by skyscrapers in New York, today I am shrinking rapidly into my Whitstable self.  No coyote to eat the dog, nobody to distract me from my task.

The children sit at their desks on tiny chairs in the same infant school where I learned about the autumn leaves, the saints and the sinners.

This morning we walked the grass paths on the freshly mown downs.  In the thin sunshine the skin on my arms and hands looks brown and weathered.  The fierce Californian sun, long forgotten.

Tomorrow we are driving to Dorset.  Past Stonehenge, to the sea.  Staying at The Bull Hotel in Bridport.  Traveling the well maintained motorways.

I may just keep driving.  I have everything I need.

Just head north through Bristol to Wales where I want to walk Offa’s Dyke.  Find me a B&B in Clun.  Eastward from the unspoiled Welsh counties to Shropshire.  The Stiperstones, this earth is my grave.

Fried eggs and thick bacon, marmalade.

Northward again through the black country.  Cheshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire,  Cumberland to the borders.   I love you England.  I love you.

I bought a pair of secondhand, brown velvet trousers and an ebony cane with an engraved, silver knob.  I found a dark green cashmere and silk scarf, channeling Fanny and Stella in Burlington Arcade.  It is cold enough to wear a beautiful hat, an autumn gown.

I am willing the winter moonlight.

I don’t want anyone else with me. This is mine.

I could not be further from the madness.  England!  Where my heart lies.

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