“A landscape haunts, intense as opium.” Mallarmé
We drift in circles around each other. Threads untangle in the memory flashes of an uncanny landscape.
The slow arduousness of that coach trip ,the impossible yearning. Stranded up North, I saw our first encounter played out in such vivid clarity. The frantic kisses, the most alive sequence, I just watched it unfold, plotting and dreaming, face pressed to the window.
In Wooley Edge services I yearned for the whorls and spirals of the labyrinth, smearing red lipstick in the fluorescent glare of the mirror.
First ragged boundaries of Edgware. Drill holes in rock, ravines gouged out in the cliff face, envelopes of blocks opening one on top of another.
The coach stops at Golders green station, a melancholy nexus; then an ecstatic bundling rush with a hip flask of rum to the heath. London sprawls under a canopy of ruptures and livid blooms. I’m so tuned in to the desire , it scuttles all over me, little shivers of pleasure, bursts of erratic joy from shoulders to finger tips.
The ancient pathways are hazy with smoke as I drop down to the glowing windows of the Vale of Health. I search in the November dark for the traveller site behind corrugated iron, briars and hawthorn. A crew of skinheads smash up cars, defying the dead time of the Barrat estate. Caravans and trailers are reconfigured as mobile architecture. .
To desire placelessness is to defy authority.
Bouts of extreme violence fuel my infatuation.
The covert symbols of chance encounters are visible on the heath. The city becomes cinema, signs oscillating and shimmering. I find scattered rice and hearts chalked on stone. London is a character in flux, vivid and psychoactive .
Jack Straws castle. I run through the back , blush up face and backcomb hair. Stop for a drink and conjure images of Wat Tyler and an enraged mob smashing open prisons, beheading judges and lawyers.
Jack Straws castle is now a weather boarded simulacrum dating from 1964, you can sit in the ‘turret bar’ and survey the ‘spectacular views of the heath’.
I look down imagining knots of disorder and crave my place in it.