Another early rise, though not as early as the flight that brought me here. Eleven nights in Marbella, and 21,000€ including the taxi from the airport. One new-ish top third of a face, recovery periods of days, weeks, fortnights, six weeks, months out to a year. Slow, slow, slow. Slow time. I look like me, but me that I recognise more. I feel like me, when I close my eyes and touch my forehead. Already a year just to get to here, already the fourth attempt on top of a lifetime of turning off hoping so I could ride out the disappointment of those previous failed attempts and the ocean of need to do this that preceded all of them.
Finally fucking did it. Finally fucking was able to do it. Alhamdulillah.
3:30am up and off to Flughafen Schönefeld, cheap easyJet and exit row seat for 3 hours to Malaga, taxi pickup to Marbella and further on to Puerto Banùs, 3 hours being scanned and having consultations while squalls blow in and beat the mountains behind the town into a dark haze, back to Marbella for a museum, because of course I do, fall asleep in an apartment by the marina early-evening, up again in the darkness for another pickup back to the airport, another flight and exit row seat, and Berlin’s loveable bus and U-Bahn home, 36 hours later. Yes, I did go for a ride after. Yes, that is the Matterhorn almost dead centre, flying over the border of Switzerland and Italy.
Flying into Tegel from Brussels yesterday evening, north of Berlin. I sat in 20-F, the sun coming in over my right shoulder, as we cut a giant curve from the Berliner Ring to turn back west, I sang, “… As we moved out of the farmlands into the grid …”.
These lyrics. How she sings them. Just my regular reminder to self that after 24 years Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville is still one of the best albums ever.
The last time I really saw a good chunk of mountains out the window from a plane was at night crossing the Rockies north in Canada on my way to Beijing. Since then somehow I’ve alway skirted them, or not had a window seat. Window seat today, and straight across the Suisse Alps in their fattest place, coming out slightly west of Bassano del Grappa, east of which is a superb fault line splitting the plain in a pair of parallel ridges.
Berlin Tegel to Bologna, one of my favourite big city airports to a city and country I’ve never been to before. We had pizza for dinner. It was not very good, yet also very good as much food can be when it’s evening and the previous meal was breakfast. Dasniya, Jorgos, and I are here for Parsifal, joined this time by Bonnie, who is in the apartment above us. Tomorrow is our first day in the theatre, though we’ve been rehearsing since the second week of December. Blogging in the coming weeks will be attempted. In the meantime, photos taken through thick, variously tinted, scratched, greasy, dirty glass.
Much packing, organising, turning off of fridge, plants watering, courier arriving, eating the remainders of the fridge. (and so on.)
A taxi to the airport, Tegel, with the quickest checking and through customs I’ve ever had, then waiting and sleeping. More sleeping on the plane. On the runway waiting. In the air, over Germany then Belgium. Possibly Luxembourg also. Dark greyness and haze, thickening as we descend. Barely does the ground become visible and focussed before we land. The night of fog. On the train into Brussels, and then to Gala’s.
We are here for the next two months. Making Shibari in La Monnaie for Wagner’s Parsifal.
(Happy birthday Gala. Shall try to write more for your enjoyment.)
I arrived in Berlin after some hours from Frankfurt on the train, easier to pass this way than on another flight after days of moving across hemispheres. And then on to Vienna and circling Central Europe.
And now, two years on, I find myself… well, much has happened and it seems to be my home. I met someone that first jetlagged week in north Berlin, watching her hang, and in yoga. Later, in the first destitute winter, terrified I’d have to go back to Adelaide because I had no money, helping with computer things, a website and other assistances, coming to class in early spring to learn to tie another or self in ropes.
Now just finished three days of Yoga and Shibari in Brussels with her, Dasniya, and saw her off to the airport, staying with Gala, somehow returning to dance and managing to have a livable life here.
I suppose I should celebrate. Two years in Europe—currently one of the better decisions I’ve made.
Around twenty minutes before the decent would reach its terminal conclusion, I fell asleep, the Airbus landing, front or side wheels making ominous thunk-thunk-thunk across the apron, the usual rattling of the grounded can, a cessation of metallic, nagging engines waking me up. Slightly late. I buy chocolate.
I fall asleep again between Nord and Gare du Midi. My suitcase handle is broken. James says I can buy a cheap carry-on at Muji. I stumble through breakfast with Gala, not seen since April. She says here is my first home. We walk through the city, becoming familiar now, on my fifth visit (perhaps sixth?), fall into a bookshop, fall out again, an urgent need to sleep stalking me, overcomes me.
For some time now I’ve been thinking of photographing the dancers around me, friends, people I know from class also, but friends first. The thoughts of how, portraits perhaps where they dwell, or in rehearsal, or in that liminal moment coming off stage, departed from but before returned to self.
I recognise each of my friends, and other dancers by their feet. I can see a pair of feet from ground-level and know to whom they are attached. So it seemed only fitting I’d photograph feet. It turns out to be difficult.
Gala’s feet I have known – along with the rest of her – for six years now. I’m sure I’ll come up with a better photo in the coming days, but…