Quote

I was flying into Chicago at night Watching the l…

I was flying into Chicago at night
Watching the lake turn the sky into blue-green smoke
The sun was setting to the left of the plane
And the cabin was filled with an unearthly glow
In 27-D, I was behind the wing
Watching landscape roll out like credits on a screen

The earth looked like it was lit from within
Like a poorly assembled electrical ball
As we moved out of the farmlands into the grid
The plan of a city was all that you saw
And all of these people sitting totally still
As the ground raced beneath them, thirty-thousand feet down

It took an hour, maybe a day
But once I really listened the noise just fell away

Stratford-On-Guy, Exile in Guyville, Liz Phair
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.

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BER-BOL

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.

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berlin to brussels … again …

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.)

two… zwei

Two years now. And it was yesterday.

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.

arrive…

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…

between berlin and brussels
between berlin and brussels
gala – foot and other foot
gala – foot and other foot
gala brussels, june 2010
gala brussels, june 2010

SXF – BRU

This evening I wander west again, europe no longer under the baleful eye of Eyjafjallajökull, though I do find volcanoes pretty, and somehow all my favourite holiday destinations – Kamchatka, Patagonia – seem to involve ice, mountains and eruptions.

Brussels! Gala! Hans and Anuschka! Others also! A week to eat chocolate, perhaps find a good physio (because Berlin seems to hold an inverse relationship between quality of health care insurance and practitioners), hopefully some dance even. Not quite a holiday, not quite going to work.

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mel-adl: the detritus of cyclone isobel

An ominous bruised horizon, warnings of thunderstorms and a deadening, electric heat tense to snap, I was hoping for a funpark joyride of a flight with plenty of turbulence punctuated by occasional vertiginous, stomach-voiding drops in altitude. Nothing of the sort. The sky though became progressively shrouded, even at twelve thousand meters, in a vague diaphanous white haze, plunging deeper into a hadean, thuggish gloom, but all the while descending across South Australia, the sun cutting a feeble, jaundiced glaze through sweltering up-wellings of the guttering cyclone Isobel and its conjoined southern ocean trough, it was anticipation disappointed.

Wet when arriving, and stormy with fecund humidity, I continued my series of extraordinarily strange dreams last night, then this morning, dehydrated and woozy dragged myself into class, on a Saturday, with Gala, taught by Gabrielle. So once again, I am with old and very dear friends in Adelaide, and seeing again new ones from Crush and my other adventures in the murder capital below the Tropic of Capricorn.

Before I left Melbourne, I had one last destruction of language and faces at The Wall with Emile, who is off to Europe before I return, and is very happy with his new airport fascination. So here for Emile are some more photographs of runway aprons and other fun impedimenta of economy class.