Thursday, March 23, 2006


The bubble of the dream burst just as she was about to say the word to me. I came up to the surface of the waking world in anguish, knowing I would spend the rest of my life chasing for that woman, for that word, for that insubstantial ghost of an instant holding the promise of the explanation, the meaning and the purpose..

Sunday, March 19, 2006

in somnis (May 2005)

In my old house in Catia, there was some sort of weird party which I couldn't quite figure out. Rather a ceremony than a party, people were concerned. There were glasses of champagne and formal evening wear in between the walls with crackled peeling paint of my old house. I can't remember who proposed bringing the entity, whose name I didn't hear but I knew well what it, or he, was about. Or perhaps didn't even know, but the foreboding and the chill in my spine told me something reason wasn't quite getting. I turned to Rosalexia, my companion, and said to her we better be near the front door where we could escape.

Then the hearse arrived, with a sort of garish pink plastic box with what looked like fairy lights. But I knew it was the entity they had summoned that lay in there. There was a small hostile crowd gathering outside and someone threw a can of beer at me. We went the other way, to the grocers' at the top corner. it was busy there, with Mrs Gloria back behind the counter -how many years since I had seen her. I turned around and commented on this to Sam, my companion (funny, 'dI thought it was Rosalexia just a short while before). We bought some drinks and sweets, under the unfriendly gaze of the other customers and the Andino man that had the newstand outside.

We made our way to the house somehow. We had to look. And yet, we knew our place was not there and it was dangerous...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

an old dream of Catia ....

The streets were familiar but , all the same, I didn't know exactly where I was. It must have been Catia but not my old neighbourhood, rather the bits of La Cortada or Gramoven or Pro-Patria where we weren't allowed to go as children, because they were 'dangerous' (i now believe this really meant 'lower class than us' or something of this sort).

There were several parts to this dream; in the first I seemed to be wandering in Casalta, making my way back from somewhere. I saw Bill Clinton being led into a house, a very small crowd of onlookers outside at a certain distance, mostly children, commenting -they didn't seem to be aware of who he was, only the fact that he looked foreign and 'gringo' and, perhaps, important, with an entourage of body-guards and people in suits. I went into the house unchallenged and spoke to him, while his minders seemed to get restless and I was thinking of that poor Brazilian guy shot by the police in the London Underground..

After a short while I left and wandered towards Calle Colombia, skirting around the block where Jose's 'Pre-Universitarian Institute' was,and around the Shopping Centre which seemed somehow to be undone,or perhaps not yet built, but somehow never got there. I got lost and couldn't figure out where I was; it was an even poorer neighbourhood and I was confronted by a group of young men, who asked me where I was going. I told them I was on my way back from a gig and looking for a friend in that neighbourhood and needed to retrieve my violin from him (and thinking at the same time that it was a very, very stupid lie -I can't play violin for toffee and could very easily be found out -these guys wouldn't take kindly to having the mickey taken off them). They pointed me in the direction of a house on the steep street ahead, a house that seem to be built like a staircase, in different levels that ended up at each end on the street above and below.

This is where I met her. She opened the door and let me in, seemed to recognise me even though I was sure I'd never seen her before -she thought I was a friend of her brother's. She gave me food and we talked for a very long time. I liked her, I liked her a lot but I knew she was out of my reach. With a pang in the heart I explained to her that I needed to move on. I asked her again where I was. I was not in Pro Patria as I sort of imagined: she showed me a map in which I recognised nothing of the Catia I had lived in for so many years. She pointed at the extreme left of the map, near the sea. That's where we were. I had no idea, I don't think there were buildings anywhere as near the coast when I lived there. And this was many miles upon miles of dangerous slums away. How do I get to where I need to be, then? She pointed at a place that seemed to be in the middle of the map. This is where you want to go. There is no easy way at this time of night for you to get there. How about a taxi, I said. A taxi? Here? was the answer. My urge to leave was growing in the same proportion as the attraction for this woman with a soft voice and almond eyes. I needed to get out of here....

She went to get something and ask her brother how I could possibly leave the neighbourhood. That gave me the opportunity. I calmly grabbed my things while she was in there in those rooms, put my shoes on (why had i been bare-footed in a stranger's house?) and shouted a thanks and good-bye as I went out and closed the door behind me. There were two taxis outside, with fiery letters on the side and illuminated signs on top. But I hesitated, as I didn't know whether I had enough money, and they both left. There I stood, in the middle of this place, without any clue of how to get out and knowing full well that it was an extremely dangerous place, for anyone, but in particular for someone with long hair dressed in a foreign fashion. The street was empty. I started to walk on the high pavement, not knowing where I was or where I was going.....

(August 2005)

so far away

It was an indoor market, with a maze of stairs and escalators. I was in Venezuela only for two days, would leave the following day. The girl at the hippie stall selling pendants and necklaces and new age stuff smiled, I smiled back but was a bit shy to talk. Suddenly I find myself telling her I live in London and am only here for a couple of days, finding everything strange -the country has forgotten me, I have forgotten the country, its smell, its flow and ways. Time was beginning to ebb more quickly, I would need to pack, do stuff. But the girl smiled. London was so very far away...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

truth, justice and the American way...

Watching those old episodes of George Reeves' 50's television Superman gave me an intense longing for something that I wasn't sure what it was.

I don't think I ever thought I was Superman. I was too weak, too aware of the many ways in which I couldn't fly, I wasn't as powerful as a locomotive and couldn't leap tall buildings in a single bound, I was shy and slow and very afraid of standing out. But it was part of my dream. One evening my dad came in to tell me that Superman was dead. He seemed to relish the news and find it very funny. I said, how could Superman be dead? Bullets bounce off his chest, he can walk through walls and change the course of mighty rivers. He killed himself, my dad said. Then I was confronted perhaps with the first intimation of .. perhaps not mortality, which normally would not exist in any meaningful sense in the mind of a six year old, but of the world being wrong. Of our heroes being fallible people, as full of weaknesses and contradictions as ourselves. Of the world itself being made wrong, unfair, based on the dialectic of the survival of the fittest, of my own dysfunctional family in the periphery of the Western world, what 'truth and justice and the American way' really meant for us out there in the wider world... all that would be in the future, but perhaps the first tear of the curtain may have been that night when I was 6, with my dad reading out an evening paper headline about some b-movie actor in California killing himself.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

down the wash-basin

difficult to get up so early, tear away from the beautiful dream that still calls you as you put a heavy, clumsy, blind hand on the alarm clock, sit with your face in your hands and tentatively look for things in the dark, do i really have to do this and go and face the world at such a time of day....

Monday, March 06, 2006

no dreams

.. just floating downstream towards the darkness. The day now gone takes time to shred into pieces and dissolve away, I still half wake up to the thought of things I should have done today.

Now I am walking around the dark streets at the back of Avenida Sucre in Catia, which I hadn't seen for many years. It feels dangerous, I can make out dark shapes moving in the dark, in alleys and doorsteps. I don't know why I'm here; I'm going back home, I tell myself. And then it dawns on me. That house I grew up in was sold many years ago. This is no longer home, home is far, far away, on an island in a distant sea. I walk towards Avenida Sucre, see a 214 bus go past, shiny and gliding like a whale but red and lit inside. I won't be able to catch it.. How do I get back home?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

first awakening

Stopping for a few minutes after a busy, busy day... the last pupil, one of the very, very few that I wish sometimes didn't turn up, didn't. Mixed blessing: I need the money. I love this guitar teaching thing, it is only very occasionally that I dread a lesson. This was one. Tired. Then I remember the chains of dreams that I was having last night, in which I was, again, back in Venezuela, trapped in different (and in a couple of cases, interesting) ways, unable to come back to the UK and my 'normal' life.

A building of glass and metal and red clay, in which I start by looking for my friends and then realise I'm lost and cannot find my way out. Will miss my flight back to London. It is, on the other hand, a beautiful, almost infinitely complex building (how can one dream of something and see it and make it up as enormously complex?).

Waves from my now distant land break against the waterline on the edge of my waking life, perhaps I long for that land more than I'm aware. If it is so, it is a waste of time, of course: the time I lived in Venezuela is gone. Much of it was sad, miserable and wasted as I searched more or less in the dark to try and find myself, build myself from scratch from the intense, creative but also scared, shy, ignorant kid that I used to be.