We will wake to Samhain. The beginning of the dark half of the year. We will start to huddle together in little groups and burn fires in the dark to ward off whatever might be out there on the edge of the forest. How better to have seen it in than with my peculiar new colleagues, with a large group of oddly dressed strangers, and with friends old and new.
Like a psychotic behatted Pied Piper, I swept a motley group of witches and weirdos up into the darkness of the heath for Halloween night. It’s the edge of something as close to ancient woodland as you get in London. Screech owls and foxes. Tree roots and doggers. Actors dressed in fabulous costumes they made themselves, hiding in the bushes, about to haunt you with a sad tale, or try to rob you blind, or assault you or spook you. At the head you’ve got me in my wild mood hurling energy and noise at your face. Lou was up from Brighton with two mutual friends and then I had two of my North London local friends surprise me. Really lovely to have some familiar faces.
The Heath was settled in Neolithic times – a good view down to the plains below, plenty of springs. Drinking and hunting. Bad soil though – it’s too sandy. Agriculture not so good. You’re never going to have decent crops. It’s probably why nobody ever bought it. 2% of London’s green space. Enough of it that you can get reasonably quickly to places far enough from the roads that you might forget the fact you are in a metropolis.
As I walked through the dark paths with my strange crowd walking behind me I found myself thinking what an appropriate way it was to see this night in. Trailing through the urban woodland with alcoholic ghouls in tow. Hellboy and skeleton woman. Alice, Mad Hatter and Edward the very excitable dog, a witch and a wizard, John and Emma, Victorian gentlemen, women in hats, lots of people just in their Sunday whatever, and the inevitable joyless bespectacled literal minded prat in a waistcoat with no sense of playfulness, coming right up close to me to mutter his barbed little comments. Maybe it was a Halloween act – pretending to be somebody with no soul. More likely he was just a joyless prick but apart from them remembering him as I write and memorialising his heavy joylessness, he didn’t affect me at the time other than to briefly wonder what was wrong with him. I even complimented him on his silk waistcoat but all he managed was a monosyllabic noise. Didn’t like attention going back on him. Just wanted to undercut others. I hope he finds love.
Now I’m in Brighton. The car was ready at the final pub and we all bundled in and struck off more or less as soon as the walk was over. It’s a long drive and late already, especially with the hour changing. Sunday roads though. We more or less teleported to Brighton.
I’m gonna sleep well though as after leading the group it was my right foot orchestrating the teleportation.
Only one more tour, but I’m glad of it as I wouldn’t have wanted to have had to rush off on the last show. I like the guys who I’m doing this with. Good that I get to see it off with one more night with them. And a meal beforehand.