What departing really means is that everything that is significant now loses its importance in the future. It is the nature of change that things one cares about now will become less relevant and drift from the centre towards the edges of one’s life. Once I’ve left the stream of London, the city will never be the same again. It will become a stranger and one day I might even wonder what I’ve ever found so appealing about this place. It is most likely that soon, I will never find MY London back. It will be a mere piece of memory, getting smaller and smaller.
No man ever steps in the same river twice (Heraclitus) – and no man ever steps in the same city twice. How much I fear what is going to happen.
I would give everything to go back to this night five years ago when I arrived in a shabby hotel room in West Hampstead right by the tracks of the overground, nervous, anxious, exhausted, having spent a day paralysed in the armchair of a home I didn’t know that night would never be my home again. I didn’t know that night that I would exchange a home for a whole city. I didn’t know that night what the city would mean to me very soon. I didn’t know I would have to leave the city five years later without having offered me a home or any permission to stay other than as a bohemian.
When I first visited Germany after I had moved to London, I survived the tediousness of Bremen by singing the then recently discovered songs by The Libertines. I proudly went through the streets thinking that I had the London feeling in my head which wouldn’t leave me wherever I went. I cant’t tell how much I am hoping it will ever stay with me like a suitcase I carry with me through the world.
“There must be some kind of way out of here,” / Said the joker to the thief, / “There’s too much confusion, / I can’t get no relief. / Businessman they drink my wine, / Plowman dig my earth / None will level on the line, nobody offered his word, hey” / “No reason to get excited,” / The thief, he kindly spoke / “There are many here among us / Who feel that life is but a joke / But you and I, we’ve been through that / And this is not our fate / So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late”. Jimi Hendrix: All Along The Watchtower
Life is only on earth and not for long. Taken from Lars von Trier’s latest film Melancholia.
While he writes, I feel as if he is drawing me; or not drawing me, drawing on me – drawing on my skin – not with the pencil he is using, but with an old-fashioned goose pen, and not with the quill end but with the feather end. As if hundreds of butterflies have settled all over my face, and are softly opening and closing their wings.
But underneath that is another feeling, a feeling of being wide-eyed awake and watchful. It’s like being wakened suddenly in the middle of the night, by a hand over your face, and you sit up with your heart going fast, and no one is there. And underneath that is another feeling still, a feeling like being torn open; not like a body of flesh, it is not painful as such, but like a peach; and not even torn open, but too ripe and splitting open of its own accord.
And inside the peach there’s a stone.
Margaret Atwood: Alias Grace
A little bit of warmth makes everyone feel good. Let’s say a proper good-bye to the old year and start with fresh hopes in the new one.
Good times for a change / See, the luck I’ve had / Can make a good man / Turn bad / So please please please / Let me, let me, let me /Let me get what I want /This time / Haven’t had a dream in a long time / See, the life I’ve had / Can make a good man bad / So for once in my life / Let me get what I want / Lord knows, it would be the first time / Lord knows, it would be the first time. The Smiths: Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
Being a street photographer is a wonderful thing. Not only does it put a smile on your face at any time, as if you don’t manage to come across as a harmless and lovely person you may encounter hostility or aggression. But it also puts you in lots of situations in which you have to interact with people, with strangers. You need to be prepared for that people who notice you taking pictures of them or subjects which are not sights may react on you. Such happened with these kids who live very nearby my own home. They were watching me through the window taking photographs of their street before they left their home not quite knowing whether they wanted my attention and be photographed or whether better making fun of me. So they were partially posing and partially running away; a wonderful game for both sides and some audience passing by. And it gave me some candid images of these kids.
Everything smells of parting. I am walking through London’s streets with the same passion I walked through them when I came here but can’t help thinking: For how long am I going through these streets? Is this the end of an unrequited love to a city that has been inspiring but never very welcoming? A city that has put every stumbling block in my way possible? That kept me thinking from the beginning: Can I stay here? Will I find a way of living? And has never had an easy answer to these questions.
And if I leave, will I find the same in other cities’ streets? A man, walking through an urban forest with a guitar just like Bob Dylan? And this is just one example…