Yé Ye | 爷爷 | Grandpa

He was a lone traveller, a truly gentle man, who had nearly lost all his teeth. He sat at the back of the bus, hardly spoke, and often wandered away all by himself. When he did speak it was a dialect that nobody could understand.

 

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April: Postcards from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strasbourg

Edinburgh – 03.04.16

The clock reads 02:59AM and my train is at 07:33AM, but my mind continues to reel round between my temples the pages of music that I don’t know, and my heartbeat is running away. I have tried every corner of the bed. I’ve crooked my back into countless different angles, spread my arms out under the pillows, listened to the radio, gone to the toilet, drank water …

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March was quite grey

Wales

I was in a place where the wind cocooned my head, limbs and body like a giant spinning, unforgiving frenzy. Air was charging into my ears and whipping the fabric of the raincoat against my cheeks. It heaved and pushed the water, forward and upward, roaring out platoons of white waves that swamped the length of the shore. It even pierced the thin layer of water on the sand, impregnating it with galaxies and galaxies of bubbles. They obeyed the wind and performed their wild orbital dance, alone, in clusters, slaves to air and gravity.

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A Fortnight of Chocolate Sprinkles

At last! A winter that has the guts to eat away my skin, give me my first cold sore in years and push tears into my eyes as I move through the air. December, you were comfortable and tepid, but truly disappointing. I visited the Christmas Markets in a blazer jacket and scarf. There was neither ice nor snow, nor hail nor sleet. Not a shade of white in sight. The streets settled in bog-standard grey.

And look at Apeldoorn this morning…

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A Letter from Strasbourg

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I want to congeal in a glass case a piece of paralysed Time. In this Time, I will freeze more time, and continue diving into its heart to unearth more sparkling seconds. I want to keep all the milliseconds of taste, emotion and movement, to preserve textures, smells, the angles of the cobbled streets and to dance the rise and fall of the road ahead.

Looking at this glass, admiring it like my own little taxidermic creature, I’d also like to glitter it with something called Joy and Freedom, which I’d describe as a warm weightlessness that overcomes me when I grasp the rhythmic, tonal complexity of a perfectly pronounced French word, fluid and honest in its execution, watch it grace my mouth and tongue and transport a fragment of ‘me’ into the atmosphere that will, at last, be understood and appreciated. Or when the humour and sweetness of friends combines with the delights of French food, Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet and a fruity coffee. Or when, on the way to class, you suddenly can’t help but stand up on the pedals of your bike and sing to yourself, and imagine the old bicycle wheels spinning in a stereo like a cassette tape. Continue reading

Reading week: Hemingway, Burlesque, Halloween, Food

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My neck and legs are in agony and it’s all my fault. I can’t even look down at a book without flexing and feeling a sharp twang behind my head. Did I sleep funny?

Oh yes, I do remember. It was the hair-throwing head spins, one slow and two high-speed rotations in the routine. How many times we did the routine, I haven’t a clue. A dozen times maybe.

For all my life, ahem in the context of orchestral warm-ups, I’ve been advised to never tip your head ‘too far back’, but ‘just enough to see the ceiling’. Last night I went so far back I could have thrown my head out the window and into London Bridge station. Who’d have thought that a burlesque class could put such strain on the human body? Continue reading