sitting here, in the awkward armchair that you have to wrangle your entire body into just to get comfortable, with hot cocoa & a big, drippy candle that shines like a saint’s aureole in a crivelli painting. the latter are wedged onto the outer rim of the small table that overflows with books, a pile of train tickets, & one dead printer. i’m listening to valse des fleurs, waiting for that cello like a twisting ribbon of melancholy to come and stop my heart. it’s getting dark, & it’s raining.
in the living room, LYCRD & ANT BOILER & i, trying to make a blanket fort because it’s my fake birthday & i’ve decided i want to make a blanket fort. architecture, however, is difficult. nothing works. we are also quite hungry. eventually we flop down on the carpet, throw blankets everywhere, & make a picnic on the floor: strawberries, canapés, crumpets with marmalade, party rings, yesterday’s carrot cake. it’s two p.m, dim & cloudy; we drink black tea & violet gin & recite doggerel off the top of our heads. i recieve presents in a lordly fashion; we light candles and sing happy fake birthday to me. i am fake-twenty-one and life is good.
outside, it’s raining.
waking, in the pure, sumptuous darkness of a caravaggio, from a dream of long corridors where the walls glowed & winked with precious stones. i woke because the rain is thundering against my skylight, weirdly magnified in the small, dark space of my room, with a dull occult rhythm like a staccato chant against sleep & the quietness of night & anything soft in the world.
wandering along the riverside, past the low-browed tudor houses, past the beautiful, dilapidated victorian factories at the edge of the city, up into the cathedral grounds. thunder mumbles softly somewhere, like a lullaby and not a threat, & it starts raining… i jam my book (poe, obviously) under my arm, start to run… take shelter under a huge old weeping willow behind the cathedral, watching the reflected topaz star of an old streetlamp waver in the glimmering pavement.
i call a dear friend, & we talk for half an hour. but when i hang up i still miss her terribly.
a BLM protest, shouting into the rain that surrounds us like a muffling blanket, clapping with numb fingers, huddling under my umbrella; i have been here for almost five hours, a volunteer steward, & the umbrella has become for me a sort of black planet in the gloom. it is all that stands between me & total, bone-numbing cold. i may well have hypothermia. i excuse myself from my making-sure-the-public-wear-masks duties & buy a small, overpriced, yet delicious chai latte from the nearby cafe. it doesn’t really do much to warm my fingers. but despite the cold, despite the rain, despite the fact that it has been three hours since i was able to feel my feet, i’m not going to leave, because we are shouting & we are clapping & this is important &— crucially— this is not about me.
trees in the rain, some green & lush, some purple, funereal, dolorous. the ornamental pond shivering & shivering, larded with gemmed water-lilies. fire-gold koi flash, sleek & muscular, in the watery depths. ANT BOILER, behind me, one patent pump squelching. the air is blurred & soft, as though we’re already living in an old film, or a photograph where everyone died a hundred years ago. it’s raining, did i mention. did i mention that it’s raining?
that was yesterday. now my candle’s almost burned down, because writing this has taken longer than it should have. five months longer, in fact.
since i last posted, i have finished my degree, recieved an offer from my dream MA course, written a novella, ploughed through a shitload of antibiotics, & read. mostly read, to be honest. i think finishing my degree has perforated something in my brain & now all i can do is lie around in my dressing-gown rereading de quincey & the secret history & moaning to ANT BOILER about how desperately i want two snow-white pet rats called mervyn & vladimir.
i’ve watched some films too. kiki’s delivery service. fire walk with me. interview with the vampire. dead poet’s society. & i tried to watch this john hughes movie about molly ringwald’s birthday or something, but i got bored because it wasn’t quite good enough & it wasn’t quite bad enough.
i think my favourite bad film at the moment is byzantium. i wish there were more bad films like that in the world. saorise ronan, vampires, ancient greek mythology sort of shoehorned in. johnny lee miller as a sort of lestat character, sitting up when the bare-breasted chambermaid opens the curtains & roaring ‘CURSE YOU, WHORE! GIVE ME THE DARK!’ Lofty Redhead and i had to take a twenty-minute respite at that point because we were laughing so hard.
i am marooned, by the way. i have not seen Lofty Redhead, or my Dear Friend, or any of my family, since febuary. i have exhausted norwich’s offerings in the way of atmospheric walks & i am quite, quite ready to go north for the summer. what a strange time it is for everyone. i feel quite melancholy.