Arriving in Brighton late last night I stood up from the car into the darkness, tired from a post audition mission. Immediately I felt the wind slam into me from my right, buffeting in from the channel – in from the huge ancient sea. To my left the windblown buildings and the window behind which I’d sleep. To my right, darkness. Behind me the empty road.
I stood and looked for a while. Just wind and wavesound. Crash and rush, the cooling engine ticks, late night birds, my breath.
There’s true darkness out there, at sea. I always think of my grandmother: “The sea is in your blood!” That’s what she’d say. Her father drowned somewhere in that expanse out there, to the east, dragged down by his new boots. Her husband, grandpa, was on the Atlantic convoys and the South China Sea, and went down with The Repulse. Dad was fucking with the sea, on lethal cigarette boats going as fast as possible and somehow not dying. He was world champion powerboat racer a few years running – including the year I was born. Lucky. For the stories, he almost copped it a few times. That was the knife edge he was happiest on.
It’s unforgiving, the sea. You fuck with it at your peril. That’s what drew dad to it. I get it.
We humans haven’t turned our colonial eye to it despite the projections of underwater biobubbles from the 1950’s onwards. Too lethal. Nature’s domain. We are still just visitors on those terrible wonderful waters we left so many centuries ago. Sometimes we’re playing, sometimes we’re playthings. We don’t get to choose which. Very few people have slept a night under there and come back up. Just that quiet ordered compact breed who make submariners.
Cold out there. Looking out into the black, there’s the lonely blinking red lights of a wind farm. Unmanned. Unmannable. But recently sanctioned by our glorious leader as part of the isolated nasty future he dreams of. We’ve got wind and wave. We can have power in our island and screw everybody else. It’s a nasty reason for a good thing to get promoted.
I’ve spent the morning with the sea ever present. It somehow helps me think. A sabbatical in The Isle of Man is looking more likely the more I think about practicalities, especially when I remember how much clearer I feel when that wind blows over me.
For now I’m going to get stuck into the lanes, dig around in charity shops, and wait until Lou has finished work so we can go for yummy yakitori.