Brighton beach

I’m standing by some French windows looking out at the sea on the marina in Brighton. Yesterday at about this time I was doing the same thing in the equivalent place in Hastings. If I’m gonna pay £300 and six points for a fucked up old car I’m going to fucking use the damn thing. I’ve been Bunberrying, or as close as can be achieved at this stage of lockdown. Careful visitations. Talking about work as well as just … talking. I even transported an instrument that needed transporting. Multitasking.

Last night I was singing gypsy folk in a living room, playing classical guitar and looking through a very beautiful and extremely worn deck of Ryder Waite Tarot Cards. Now I’m here, on another living room, with cats and Thai curry. Outside is the sea, the sea. Last night I could hear it as I slept, smashing the rocks of Hastings all night as I dreamed. Tonight it’ll be here again somehow, this sea, just a bit further west crashing onto Brighton beach. The wind is up. The fog is down. It’s primal.

I have to be back in London on Saturday to do The Tempest, and I’ll have to go get the snake from Hampstead as well as my laptop. That obligation will likely propel me back into the vortex tomorrow, but it has been a healing thing to just get the fuck out of town for a bit.

This situation has brought out the worst in a lot of people. People are febrile and angry, driving aggressively, bristling at strangers. Yes we must be careful. But we can be careful without unpleasantness yesno? I’ve still got my industrial gas mask and I’ve lost layers of skin on my hands. It’s tricky of course. Everybody’s baseline is different.

For now I’m gonna take in the sea air, breathe and relax. Just for a little bit, London feels like an unpleasant memory of elbows and rage. I still love it there. But it’s never felt more like time to get the fuck out. The last two nights I’ve been in places with space and high ceilings. The things I love London for – the cultural vibrance, the happenings, the spontaneous community – everything is shut or fettered. Everybody is renegotiating connection like shell shocked trauma victims. The loudest voices are either telling us we have to live in bubbles forever or that it’s all made up by Mesopotamian demigods and we should be licking each other.

I can’t see an end to it yet, that’s the hell. So the bars are suddenly weirdly open and everybody is either packing themselves in and consuming as much as possible or standing well back in astonished horror waiting for a second wave. Theatres have no plan outside of a nice big bag of money which might be considered to be a plan but is unlikely to convert into gainful time use for the majority of people I know for the short term.

So I threw stones into the sea in a gale for ages without getting my feet wet. And I feel good for it. Calmer. A little bit more alive perhaps. Glad of a car. Glad of good people in my life. Glad of the sea. What’s next, life?

It’s gonna be ok, somehow. But right now it’s the mangle. Let’s stay kind and stay connected. Eventually this’ll just be a stone into the sea.

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Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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