Oh to be a fluffy cloud drifting ‘cross the sky, meandering in the blue above this dark and troubled land. Moving slowly with the breeze, no particular place to go, drifting, shifting, water vapour condensing in the air, if I was just a fluffy cloud I wouldn’t fucking care.
Doggerel. But it’s calm, don’t you think?
We all need a bit of calm amid the horror and the delirium that stalks the world like a vengeful wife with a grudge.
So have a lie down on a sunny afternoon, just look up at the sky and remember: this is all there is, so enjoy it while you can before the coffee-coloured world of tomorrow sweeps you away in a tsunami of stupidity and ignorance.
Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
I am retribution.
I like the dark, I dance in the night, I listen to Chopin and read Byron, Poe and Dante by lamplight. Sometimes I laugh out loud. But I rage quietly. I wouldn’t want passing strangers thinking I’m weird.
The hands of the clock spin faster and faster (yes, I have a clock with hands because I am educated and I don’t need a clock wot sez 23.15) and here we are again, it’s another day. Fuck me, what happened to the one I was enjoying? “You’re too slow chum, speed up and race towards your final breath, you’ve had your go on the swings and you’re taking up space you old cunt.”
If ever there was an era when youth was wasted on the young, this is it. What a feeble bunch of whining trouser shitters the young are today. “Ooooooh, I’m offended!” they chorus at anything and everything. Good. Be offended and fuck off back to noddy-land you miserable, weedy cunts. I will offend you at every opportunity and watch you drown in the spittle from your cocksucking lips as you declaim your spluttering outrage at no-one in particular. Yes weedy millenials, fuck off and cry and take your coffee-coloured world with you. Cunts.
We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.
The nightmare of the Brutalists is anything that isn’t made of concrete, has curves and decorations and exists for beauty. Something like this, perhaps.
Here is the Cathedral of the Resurrection of the Monastery of Новоиерусалимский монастырь – Novoiyerusalimsky Monastery, or New Jerusalem, in the town of Istra, about twenty miles from Moscow. It was almost totally destroyed by the Nazis in 1941 but has now been fully restored at enormous cost and it is an incredible restoration. The work carried out by Russian, British and French craftsmen with rare skills is staggering, the beauty of the completed Cathedral is jaw-dropping. The Monastery was originally built in the 17th century and it was intended to be the Russian version of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, inside there is even a beautiful version of the Edicule.
Had this partly destroyed building been in London it would have been demolished and lost forever. The site would then have been used to build some ugly excrescence made of concrete because that’s progress and architects are the designers of our future and the future is made of concrete, glass and shiny things that are the new utopia.
Or maybe not.
This photograph was taken on a freezing winter day when the temperature was -10c but the light was quite beautiful, in a melancholy way. The camera was an Olympus XA3 with Kentmere 400 film, developed in Ilford Microphen.
All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players;
Who is writing your play and who is directing you?
Write your own script and perform it on your own stage, don’t just repeat the lines you’ve been fed by people who would pull your strings and make you dance.
This is the National Theatre in London. Designed by Denys Lasdun and constructed from raw concrete – béton brut in French. It is a Brutalist building not only in material – béton brut – but also in appearance and intention. It is brutal on the eye and the soul in that it is designed and built with minimal decorative enrichment because humans are only part of the machine that is modern architecture. It is functional, utilitarian and bereft of humanity, as are the architects who design such inhumane carbuncles.
Under the darkling empyrean, the sun retreats from winter’s freezing kiss, leaving just a radiance before the pale moon stares down like the unseeing eye of a slaughtered horse. The Oak tree, now in winter sleep, oblivious to the changing days, will wake again in spring’s embrace with new green clothes to catch the light and draw the water from the earth.
In the quiet squares and gardens of London in winter, the sky is etched by the delicate lacework tracery of plane trees. Here, Georgian terraces stand in stuccoed ranks, pillared porticoes and panelled windows, facades of a more elegant epoch. St Saviour’s waits for those that pray, spire piercing heavens’ eye. On a winter day in cold grey light, London is a beautiful sight…if you know where to look.
Out here on the remote eastern edge of England, two thousand years ago the Romans built a fort to defend the entrance to the river Blackwater. When they left, the fort fell into ruins. In 654 St Cedd built a church on the ruined walls of the Roman fort, St Peter-on-the Wall. This is the last part of that Saxon Church still standing and it is still in use, the door is never locked and people still come. Meanwhile, the setting sun pours out its nuclear fusion energy towards the decommissioned Bradwell nuclear power station behind me. Windmills spin out energy torn from the wind and the turbulent North Sea pounds against the sea wall. This is a powerful place in many ways, a fusion of power, spirits and all that has gone before.
Between the sea and under stars, storm clouds heavy overhead, distant thunder echoes roll, heaving waves beyond the shore, sand reflecting sun’s last light, on the beach alone tonight, no ships sail by, no birds will fly, alone below the gloaming sky, the distant figure travels by.
Imagine that what you see has never been seen before, imagine that everything is a memory of what began before you looked. Imagine that what you see began as something invisible. Here is a window, it lets in the invisible so we can see the light. I have seen the light.
The silence of late afternoon is music to the eyes, no bustling crowds or barking dogs just the languid song of birds and bees. From somewhere over rolling hills the silvery chime of a distant bell marks the hour and passing time. Before us lies the quiet path toward a green and pleasant land.
The Ancient Stones stand silently in quiet places and fields of green, they keep their stories hidden underground, while the rain falls quietly under heavy leaden skies. Across the land a tower stands, its history gone before. The ghosts of men from deep below the shaft walk the land around the Dolmen. The myths unfold as the rain whispers its secrets onto a small umbrella.
The rising of Beatrice towards the light, enveloped by its veil of such radiance within which nothing could be seen. Towards the Paradise unknown, the celestial rose of light so pure, a vision brighter than the stars, defeating eyes, denying sight, to Empyrean she rises, to Paradise.
Above the streets of London the dark wings come home to roost. The freedom to fly is not ours, we are earthbound and heavy, so many eyes cast down in despair. Look up, look up, look above you, watch the sky and look out for hope, as dark as the day seems there is always light.
It’s snowing again.The winter light illuminates the room with soft diffusion. She gazes out at the quiet street, lost in dreams while the cascading notes of Horowitz playing Schubert’s impromptu in G flat drift around the room like snowflakes and sad smiles…
Looking out towards the sun that never comes. The winter light illuminates the frozen air with a softness that makes everything still and quiet. Inside we sit and drink tea, eat pastries and listen to Schubert. We are illuminated by the sound of light.
Mirror of Memories reflecting old light from some forgotten place. Evanescent time.
There was a storm outside. Rain lashed the window, wind tormented the writhing sea, the electrified sky was on fire. Here – in this forgotten room – the walls absorbed memories, the camera captured light, but time left and closed the door.