Friday, 12 April 2013

Lit windows / Summer psychogeography

Today, confined to my bed, I discovered among my drafts this fragmentary text, which I think dates from early June last year. I don't know what prudishness prevented me from publishing it, so... here goes. Welcome to the blogosphere, old fragment!  

I spent a pleasant afternoon in the park today - a picnick with my wife and her class mates. An Italian guy who looked like Bob Dylan on the Desire album offered my five-year old son his kite to fly with, and my son learnt to fly the kite for the first time ever.

Summer evenings have always exerted a strong pull on me, even when they are as cold as today. Since becoming a father I haven’t allowed myself many of these evening walks (except during my stays in Japan, where circumstances are different). Going out for a restless stroll tonight I felt very clearly what is so special about these evenings – an atmosphere of slight, but socially accepted inebriation. Don't get me wrong: I was technically sober. This atmosphere is present not only where people hang out, but also and perhaps even more intensely and poignantly in the deserted cobble stone streets. There I discovered today, in an unexpected place, the strangest shop... a place that was both, it seemed, a parfumery and an antiquity shop. What made me stop was a lightly dressed porcelain lady in an old-fashioned hairstyle who was holding a guitarr. A Western Enoshima Benten? Peering through the window I discovered a landscape of the most glorious kitsch that made me think about Aragon and Benjamin, my beloved gods. Diving like Li-Po into the river to fetch the moon, my heart soared through the window and its labyrinthine streets. In the dusk ahead a tram turned its headlights around and starting racing towards me – looking like some steam punk machinery from Teikoku Shônen or perhaps the cat bus in My neighbor Totoro. Flying onwards, my feet stumbling through the air, I ended up in a maze of geometrical red brick houses, vaguely reminiscent of an expressionistic painting, from which from some reason I felt that Alice's Queen of Hearts might emerge any moment.

My head is as full of kitsch as that shop window. But who cares? The night is beautiful. I love cobble stones. And these dour black facades surrounding me, like towering adult strangers gathering around a poor kid who has lost his way... Looking at these shadows with their rows of stately windows - behind which people live! - that were gently showering me with soft light, perhaps some diluted version of Tinkerbell's fairy dust, I felt these windows were like kind eyes looking down at me. Totally lost, not in but outside thought, all I knew was that I love to feel myself walking. I love this air, I love to feel myself breathe.

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