I wrote in a blog post a couple of days ago, that I had a sense a tipping point was coming. I knew that if you keep people suppressed for too long the pressure builds and fuses blow. I knew it and felt it deeply.
I have seen very few people during this lockdown and yesterday I went to visit one of those on my list, a dear magical friend, Theresa, or Tree. She is so special to me. We only met last June at the FILO at a Hexagonal gig. My darling Louisa was there and I didn’t know Louisa only had months to live; neither did she. Tree was outside with us and we sort of sparked as we met. There was an instant bond. It was as though Louisa passed her the baton.
Since then we have seen each other a few times and had such great evenings together before lockdown and during this time I have met her for ‘physically distant’ occasional walks along the seafront. Yesterday the atmosphere in Hastings was light and joyous by comparison to recent days even though there are still one-way systems in the shops.
Last night she cooked me a meal as a late birthday present and we drank wine and danced. As we were talking over the meal, I heard the sound of distant bells and pots and pans being jangled for the NHS in her neighbourhood. It always gives me an eerie feeling of obedience and acquiescence. I have even joined in once in my own lane but the houses are so distant from each other you can’t see anyone else but there’s just this strange disembodied sound. I still get that feeling that we have entered a strange parallel universe where people bang pots and pans every Thursday and wear masks. It’s like some weird performance art piece.
After a lovely meal I felt so happy and the wine made me feel trippy. We went into her art studio and all the paintings and her palette were glowing luminously. The paintings were like neon and I took photos of them and the painting table and some of Tree. I thought that there must have been something in the wine, or the fact that I hadn’t had any wine for nearly three months, but I couldn’t believe the intensity of the glow and colour. I woke up at 4 am after sleeping on her studio sofa, and it was already light and drove home. Such a joyful night.
Today it seems I was right about the tipping point. Riots are springing up across America due to disgusting police brutality towards George Floyd in Minneapolis. A CNN news crew were filmed being arrested by thug cops. This is of course not the first time. America has racism running through its very core. I remember the Los Angeles riots back when I was living there and that was the weirdest experience of my life at that point. As the riots started I was driving back from a period of time painting in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, and drove over the freeways above south central LA and downtown, and fires were burning on either side. For the next few days plumes of smoke rose on the horizon all over the city, a curfew was imposed, much like lockdown. We escaped Los Angeles and drove up to northern California.
I no longer share any political thoughts on social media at this time as people tend to contextualise others’ thinking into reductive boxes. Real conversation is an art and my talks with Tree are food for my soul. When we talk there is a sense we are co- constructing and mutually working towards an understanding of things together. We both love music, art, dancing, singing and playing with ideas. I am so glad I found her.
She wrote this recently: ‘I am a human being. Flesh and blood. Microbial life sustains, evolves and devours me. I am the product of millions of years of ecological, social and biological evolution. I am a weapon of mass destruction.’
We talk a lot about the microbiome and the need for human contact with the earth and each other to to sustain, strengthen and grow our immune systems. About the importance of community, about the fear of death and the pathologising of life, how we are formed and evolved through viruses and how we download information through human and soil contact.