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The city and home

May 10, 2015

The wonderful photographer Ming Tang-Evans sends me inspirational things, all the time! He recently sent me this clip on Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama. Lots of great stuff, but what resonated with me was the idea of the City, and of course what is home and belonging. 

 

This reminded me of the piece of writing that I did (originally in 2007), which is what kicked off the thought process taht lead to my PhD, see below - as re-worked for my PhD

 

Although, first, the Diado clip:

 

 

LONDON & ME

(This is part of it as a piece of music, by Alejandr Pelaez) 

 

Leaning against this railing I can hear the music from the bar behind me pounding out… drums… bass… sex and sweat, the sound and taste of summer…

 

in the city… 

 

back of my neck getting dirty and gritty, been down isn’t it a pity doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city…

 

So many people everywhere…

It's my own hideaway, amongst the throngs, my indulgence, running away… if I go on my tip toes I can see miles of people stretching out, moving, shaking, so many colours... The smell of last night is still on my skin, beer, smoke, perfume. I had the quickest shower getting change routine this morning before being dragged out again to… here… I love the smell of my new detergent… with my eyes closed it all mingles together with the smoke of the bbq round the corner. 

 

God It’s hot, the sweat is dripping down my stomach and my tattoo is itching from the tag in my shorts.

 

My dad doesn’t have a tattoo; they’re for rough types. That’s what he got taught at school. My grandmother does. So does everyone else from her generation back. And now my generation, its like tattoos skipped a beat. I'm part of the lost generation, and the skin doesn't quite fit. Your cultural history is traced through your surname in the western world. My father chose his, ours, when the missionaries chose to call him a name from the bible.

 

I came to London like the missionaries went to the jungle. I came with arrogance, I came with confident, like any runway who has no idea where they are. To impart my knowledge, to change the world. Boldly go where no man has gone before. And so I donned my loincloth like they all do. Vintage boots and top shop jewelry.

 

My eyes are so dark, but my skin is so white, that really, I could be anything. If only I spoke something other than English; Arabic, Italian, Spanish with a Mexican accent! Or even my native tongue. Then I could really disappear, be a complete chameleon…

 

Why am I here? I sometimes forget. The chaos, the busy streets, the dirt and rubbish, all the grey buildings. When I close my eyes I catch a scent, the spice from the curry houses. I feel 6 again at the open air market on the riverside… it's so close, so familiar I can taste it. The salt from the sweat on my upper lip is almost as comforting. I'm thirsty. And hungry. Finally. 

 

The salty taste on my tongue is lingering and I just want to lick my whole arm to get more. Suddenly the noise and the movement and colours all become one and blur together, its overwhelming. But something feels familiar, the smiles, the faces, the jumble of buildings, its my jungle just different shapes and colours, less green, more noise… my river is a stream of people… [laugh] A deep breath and I'm home, its ok again. Just relax, close your eyes and let it all seep into my skin.

 

But I'm pulled back into reality and from my own little space; a friend of a friend I met 10 mins ago, wants to know where I'm from, because he's confused. I talk with a slight twang, I know the history of the British royal family as if it's my own, but my eyes are so black… my answer is always the same. My version of the classic whore's statement of I'll be what you want me to be… "where am I from? That depends, where do you think?" Where do I come from, who knows… Maybe my identity is about where am I going…?

 

Well, you never know where you could wake up tomorrow morning

 

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