March 24, 2009


“Nightflight to India from Gatwick”

On the bus from Hartlepool, Durham place names – Fox Holes Loom, Shot Rock, Running Waters, The Rift, Fence Houses, Shiney Row and about four Sunnysides, High Sharpley, Fallow Field, East Batter, Law, Esh Winning, Dere Street, Pity Me, Nevilles Cross, High Stoop, Stoney Heap, Co-operative Villas, Hobson, Anfield Plain, Stanley and Coalburns. The lads loved it down the pits, only the less fortunate left above ground. Surreal flashback: In Jarrow, 1964 a double-decker pink plastic teapot, halts outside the Leam Lane estate mini-skirted girls, obviously models, jump out and one of them bending over offers a packet of Tetley’s teabags smiling.

The Thames river defines the scale of English proportion. Trivandrum plane over Victoria swoops in for Heathrow over the former primeval river and the swamp now a Battersea Park lake. Train to Gatwick from Kentish Town for nightflight to Kerala: Thinking about Hove. Worthing on the little bus: the bustle of Worthing at the pier. Two teens get on exploring the stage of a single decker bus swaying with retired ladies. Through West Sussex resorts with lagoons in between. Cycle north to Ditchling Beacon, Lewes and along the River Amur back through Peacehaven. On the flight meet someone connected with Battersea Park athletics and Shimla. On camera see the empty arabian coast knowing Desert Storm was raging inland with news of sand storms. Cross the Arabian Sea and land in Trivandrum.

Behind the smiling skull of India though lurked a life and death reality so obvious, so clear. Christian festival one evening. Sincerity soaked the air, draped in the rich Indian colours of red, orange, yellow and blue. Trinkets and garlands around the necks of girls so beautiful only God and Gravity could have been here perfecting them.

Kovalum: A lighthouse dominates the town. Approaching in a taxi from Trivandrum, the lighthouse the only protrusion from the jungle of palms. Like on a postcard the lighthouse beam sweeps the Arabian Sea. From balcony watch the caste of walk-on parts. At fish landing fish wives wait, chewing a dark terracotta narcotic, to go in to character. Roadside model women break stones. India is a triangle: Three religions! Hinduism embraces creation, use and decay without flinching.

The boxer model record producer wrestles with a jackal on the beach oblivious to Rabies. He said ”You are swaying between Life and Death”.


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