Thursday 1 May 2008

The sun and the mirror ball


It's a sunny day on the av Republica Argentina in Barcelona. The sun is shining in the window on the mirror ball, scattering disco glitters across the crazy floor tiles. Listening to The Atomic Grind show's Park Slope Mamma.. they know how to rock a line like

I'm gonna buy you a spirulina bagel

Yes they do.

I have not yet left the house and it is 8 minutes to four and sunny sunny warm outside, and in the sun room with the glitter ball in it. A number of possible explanations glide by my pretty vacant mind like passing pigeons dropping liquid poo on the washing line outside the window, then passing on. I need no explanations for sitting around, listening to

You're from New York city I'm from Rotherham

I used to listen to that first Arctic Monkeys record at high volume last autumn, walking through Park Slope, kicking the leaves, turning the Arctics off just as I reached the door of a couple of cats on 2nd street, who lounged around a heated-just-for-them heavily carpeted sedate, comfortable and dark apartment, fed and watered them, petted them as they went thunk and hit the deck, cleaned their litter, read another couple of pages of the Edward Gorey book I was falling in love with a little bit more every time I went there.

B is for Basil assaulted by bears.
B es por Basil atacado por osos.

I have a friend in New York who says the best way to learn a new language is in bed. She learned Pharsee and Hungarian that way. I learned Danish a little that way, but honestly, mostly hard fought in random conversations where the ball bearings were pulling the conversation always back into English, until I found the perfect forum for speaking only Danish, with 80 and 90 year olds who hardly, if ever, left their apartments in Nørrebro, many of whom were considered to be demented, but sometimes had plenty to say, that is, those ones who weren't just sitting cross legged in their smoke-oranged armchairs, holding themselves in ever tighter when I came in to clean, to make them lunch, to give them that afternoon's pill dosage, to say hello. Those ones were being kept alive, reluctantly hunched on the edge of life, smoking it away.

Then there were ones like Violet, a sprightly 96 year old who could not see very well and whose Danish was so playful and sophisticated I could hardly understand her, but she always seemed like the sort who was about to give you a wedgy at any moment, loved to chat, very cheery kind of woman. I helped her to bathe once. I always loved that. It was such a lovely, intimate thing to do, something that always made them feel good, and you know, it was also just very pragmatic. There was never any embarrassment with the Danes about being naked and 90 in front of a total stranger. I loved that about those people.

As I google randomly, everything I get is coming through google Spain. I've moved from the Beatles White album to Abbey Road to Beck Mutations to (now) Joni Mitchell Court and Spark. I deal in dreamers and telephone screamers...

F is for Fanny sucked dry by a leech.
F es por Fanny succionado hasta secarse por una sanguijuela.

Somehow the Spanish doesn't sound as rhythmical.

A pretty girl in your bathroom, checking out her sex appeal...

I feel like going outside. I have had two cafe con leches and the day is good and slinky.

It's four in the morning the end of December
I'm writing you now just to see if you're better
New York is cold but I like where I'm living
There's music on Clinton street all through the evening

I have a friend from Raheny on the north side of Dublin, who I met in my very first week of college when I was 17 and he was a very old 19, and who seems to be the subject of two epic songs in my life... The last time I saw Richard, from Blue, and Famous Blue Raincoat. I can't put my finger on why, mentions of deserts and dive bars and New York and peculiar triangles cloudily alluded to...

Apparently there was an overdose by the Tompkins Square dog run, with a very dark, disturbing, sunny photograph by Bob Arihood, who has been taking photographs of life in the east village for 25 years or more now.

So, if you would like to brush up on your gothic spanish, perhaps you might want to check out this lovely little thing...

Meanwhile, I'm off to follow the Barcelona labyrinth of dreams...

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