Field Notes Three: All the continents, not much about home.
“Not entirely trusting this page to remain attached, I shall write nothing of consequence on it.”
Trawling through eight months and six continents worth of notebook. Words written on the top of Austrian mountains; in Quebec hotel rooms where founding members of Godspeed offer clean towels while New York free jazz troupes rehearse outside my door; in Tangier where a café owner tells me of his previous life as a tenor saxophonist touring the provinces of Britain, and young hustlers train their kid brothers in the art of the graft. There are directions to the flat in Buenos Aires of two marvellous people in love, no longer together. Take the blue line to Plaza de Miserere. There are shopping lists for beans, cat food, soy milk and Jesse Ball’s new book (eventually found in a Shakespeare & Co in Vienna, where I was actually looking for a guidebook for Venice but the only one they had was Venice: A City for Lovers, which did not seem appropriate for my mood). There are notes for a play. That’ll happen. Somebody’s paying me. It’s about war.
There’s a note that I want to buy the replica FIFA 1954 World Cup referee’s jumper from the shop in Singapore Airport (it wasn’t there on the return flight). Directions to barbecue pits in Texas. Notes frantically scribbled at a David Mamet lecture at UT and further lines from Ricky Jay’s minor character in The Unit (“you’re alive.” / “a fault I share with all but the dead”).
The words “DMX (’penis be out’)”, which can only mean in some hotel I’d been watching MTV news (though this story seems to be from much earlier in 2008, earlier than I’d even owned this notebook, perhaps DMX was just on my mind). Then there is a fragment of a conversation from a Canadian uncle, “the strange thing is that he likes the ocean”. Followed by notes on fisheries strikes, my grandfather’s fingers, and the legacy of Joey Smallwood. In a café, somewhere in Canada by the page number, a dreadlocked guy at the next table frantically searching for information about David Icke as the scion of John D Rockefeller Jr.
Thoughts on illness. On hospitals. On love and the ways it breaks. On freezing hands at the edge of the Mall in DC on January 20, “I was there” moments caught mostly in sound bouncing back off the buildings. I will tell my grandchildren, when they ask, about looking up the speech on the internet later, and agreeing that it was quite something.
Notes from the Venice Biennale, futile attempts to try to capture thoughts on so much art in so little time. Ends up just being the names of artists. Maybe I can google Pavel Pepperstein later and re-feel whatever that thing is that strikes you the first time around.
Addresses for gigs. For bars. For friends. For bands. Hotels and train times to get me from one pocket of not-home to another. Other than the odd photograph, the only evidence of what the hell I’ve been doing.
I thought I’d lost my notebook the other day. I’d left it on the floor of a client’s half-height office after writing down a wireless key.
Realised I’d better start writing some stuff down. Now that I’m home.