Monday, June 25, 2007

Could I live here

Awake now since before 6am, I am in the midst of processing the past few days. Prague is a possible place to explore living in for a while, I had considered Paris but I am of the sound mind that Paris was the canvas for my mother’s adventure. Also my birthfather has laid claim to that city. Knowing all of this I had decided to allow a place to speak to me and possibly become my next destination once the tour comes to its natural conclusion. I write now of my experience of Prague from sweet memories as I sit in my hotel room in Budapest.

May I begin with the most important tip I was given. Walking is the only way to fully immerse yourself in the old section of Prague. Knowing what I know now would’ve saved me having to buy a pair of Adidas after naively setting off in a pair of flip-flops. Cobblestone streets are everywhere and truth be told you won’t want to stop exploring. I must have walked more in Prague than anywhere else in Europe thus far. I was on my own which may have been a blessing as I go over the events of the last few days. By being alone, Prague itself became my companion. Isabel had invited me to go with her and her trusty camera but I wanted to be a tourist and she needed to be a photographer and we both knew those can be two very different journeys. I’ve been giving Pips her space. We’ve known each other for so long that words aren’t really necessary. I can feel her and I know that she is on the hunt. When she’s ready to formulate all that she has been collecting there will be a knock on my door usually before daybreak with room service in tow and a dissertation of information. But until then she stays in the shadows gathering clues and clocking every player’s move. As for Santa….well I’m blowed. Pardon my French but what other expression can cover it? Gobsmacked, utterly speechless. A jaw dropper. We walked into the hotel in Prague and suddenly Santa stopped dead in her tracks. Across the lobby was a tall dark handsome staring back at her. Suffice it to say that Santa has not been seen since, not even in Bratislava. Word has it that the two of them are flying into today. I honestly know no more than that.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Once Step Closer

The last week has been beyond taxing as far as the traveling schedule goes. I watched quietly from a distance as everyone wrestled with the demands. You gotta figure that in a group of so many people there are the obvious professional travelers, they are ones that take to it no different than a duck to water and then of course there are the white knuckle vodka drinkers that are praying from the moment they walk into the airport to the moment they walk out of one. Out of the posse, I would say we’re all relatively decent travelers. With Santa it’s always about her bag limit, with Pip she wants to fly the plane, with Isabel there’s never a drama. Tori has to travel with her mom hat on and I, well I’d rather not be around so many strangers. After the Oslo show Santa went off with Isabel to explore the Norwegian coast. Apparently Isabel had some friends that have quite a spread there, so they drove spend the night and then would meet us in Berlin. The idea of Santa in the countryside is a 7 on the 1-10 shock scale, however, I have been noticing some pretty odd behavior form her lately. The party girl that glimmers as the lights of a city rise appears to be in a more contemplative mood. Oh of course there’s a passion for all that is alive and breathing and sensual, but there’s something else there now, a pinning that’s just me, that’s just conjecture on my part. A strange occurrence went down over the last couple of weeks. Essentially some pro footballer mentioning no names and that would be soccer for those Americans reading this just flies in to take Santa to dinner. How they met up I don’t know, probably at one of Nef’s crazy gatherings. As much as I can tell, it’s strictly platonic from Santa’s end. The last time he came in and took her to dinner I heard her door open at around 11 in the evening. I had been doing some research on my computer and something in me just decided to look. I don’t consider myself a snoop. I try and mind my own business, but I just had to see for myself if this guy was flying in because he was getting a whole lot of something that she wasn’t telling us or if the platonic show on her part was really for real. I heard a pertly click of high heels go past. I quietly opened my door and there she was all by her lonesome, happy as a clam, going into her room. Now as we all know, some girls pop up to their room do a quick spritz and the gentleman comes knocking within fifteen minutes with chilled champagne. So fifteen minutes goes by and of all things, my phone rings.

“Clyde would you like to pop in for a nightcap?”

I acted surprised, “are you on your own?”

“Of course I’m on my own silly.”

We had our nightcap, after a few sips I gathered up the courage. I said, “Santa baby a star footballer does not fly in more than once, bearing gifts just to be friend-sies”

“Clyde I swear, hand on my heart, I am not leading this geezer on.”

“What have you told him then,” I asked her.

“Well, I’ve told him that I’m not in a place to start a relationship and I’m not sleeping with anybody that I’m not going to have a relationship with.”

I looked at her with my hands up in the air, “And…”

“And he says when you are ready, I’ll be there. I’ve told him I may never be there. I’ve also told him that it’s best if I don’t see him until we’re back in London because there’s a lot to deal with.”

I looked at her and said, “Because we’re closer to St. Petersburg isn’t it.”

She was noncommittal and waved me a goodnight. We leave Deutschland and begin entering into Poland, once step closer to Russia.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Black Forest

A picnic had been prepared by us with everything we would need for an overnight sojourn if required. Isabel and I drove; she had been here before. She has been anywhere and everywhere particularly if a wolf pack has ever traversed a particular terrain. Isabel, I’m convinced now, is a she-wolf disguised in human form. Some humans are closer to animals than to people or I should say, more trusting of animals than people. Laws of nature are ingrained in Isabel. She had seen that these iron miniatures in Vienna had caught my eye. I was compelled to purchase a few specific creatures from an out of the way art shop. Leaving Vienna she said, “we need to get you into the forest Clyde. Nature paints as well as any of your respected masters”.
With that statement she was exacting her plans into place. The Black Forest if I hadn’t been before I’m certainly am now convinced is alive with stories, or tales, or legends. Can legends be real life happenings concurrent to this modern age, but always on replay if you can cross dimensional space? I’ve been pondering. On the way into the Forest, Isabel informed me about the many editions of folk tales or fairytales that the Brothers Grimm had compiled. They had been compiling since the early 19th century. What I found noteworthy specifically was that the brothers were linguists. They stumbled into this gathering of stories, which are now read slightly less than the Bible and Shakespeare. With all of this historical information being explained to me on our drive, I wasn’t positive where I was being led…after the picnic and sufficed to say with Isabel’s picnics you can’t pinpoint which herb or which root or which mixture of both is affecting you. For the most part it can be subtle- for the most part. But then there are always those times when you feel as if you’ve walked into a painting and the painting comes alive, well this was one of those times. There I was in a waking dream state and the Forest was holding all possibilities open for me. I’ve never had a fantasy of being on a game show, any kind of game show where you can pick to experience what’s behind a curtain or what’s behind a door or how much money is printed on the inside of the box. The idea of getting it wrong makes me hyperventilate. But here I was watching Isabel’s long graceful arms reflecting the moon in the full light of day, forming an arch and pointing to different paths that I could take in the forest. I asked her “Can you tell me what each path holds for me?”
“No Clyde I can’t tell you that.”
“Why not?”
“Because I don’t know what each path holds for you. It depends on your choices at every turn.”
I looked around; there were seven choices. In retrospect I believe now that there were seven tales, or stories that I could have walked into. I walked onto one and then something in me thought- I need to choose a more complicated path. So I crawled over some fallen wood, silently Isabel followed me and I looked at her and said, “Can you tell me the path that I didn’t take”.
She smiled and said, “You chose not to walk into the story of Snow White and Rose Red.”
I was disappointed I must say I’ve always loved that story.
I looked at her and said, “Can I go back and have that one”.
“Do you really want to?”
I said, “No I’ve chosen this one”.
“Alright then you will know soon enough.”
Within about fifteen minutes or so, there was no doubt in my mind that I had walked into Little Red Riding Hood. Hour after hour we got deeper and deeper and deeper into the story, watching it all happen before our eyes. I began to consider with every step the word Predator. This word gets used a lot in the animal kingdom. It is a word that when I say it, I don’t see animals. There is a specific set of eyes. I didn’t see the wolf for one moment, as anything but a representation, a human predator and that face will be different for each person that walks into this story. With different twists and turns on the path, I began to figure out that my choices would play out different versions of the story. I never knew how many versions there were of Little Red Riding Hood. As I approached the final chapter of the story, I heard the trees whisper- there is nothing to be afraid of, girls will become women, and no predator can stop that. Many hours later Isabel and I sat under the stars talking about the experience. She reached out for my hand and then took both of them, looked me in the eye and said, “You made the strongest choice you possibly could Clyde. You didn’t walk the victim’s path. Do you understand how you took control of the situation”?
I looked up at the darkness of the sky, the trees were still swaying, there was a warm breeze. We were staying in a little town within the Black Forest. I had chosen a version of Little Red Riding Hood that I had never heard before. You don’t know what you’re choosing until it is upon you because you walk onto a stone or around a tree and all of the sudden you’ve walked into the next dimension of the fairytale itself. How Isabel finds these worlds, I don’t know. But once you’ve made your choice you can’t walk back through the portal when you cross over into another chapter of the story. Then the events play out before your eyes. In this way you are a participant although you’re not one of the characters themselves. Little Red Riding Hood was in front of me at all times, just by inches. And she couldn’t hear me, but I could hear her as well as all the other characters and creatures. In this version, my little red riding hood saw through the wolf’s disguise, tried to escape by tricking her grandmother with the excuse that she needed to defecate and did not want to do so in her “grandmother’s” soft bed. The predator grandmother allowed my little red riding hood this quick release if she promised to come back instantly, while tying a string from her devouring paw to the little girl, around little red riding hood’s wrist. Clever Red slips the string over something else and got away.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Use of Light

I had needed more time in Paris so until recently I had stayed on. After having played my first show, I had to come to terms with the reality that I’ve waited my whole life to express certain emotions about certain events about certain people. After this show, it was agreed that I stay in Paris and process this intersection of feeling. Not until I immersed every chakra of my whole being as I walked through the Musée d'Orsay did I begin to consider my real father. Not my stepfather or as Pip calls him, my step-monster, but really consider my birth father. He was an artist. Yes he is still alive. No we have never met. My mother had come to study in Paris from the States. He was married; she was feeble and ill. It had gone on for so long. A small group of painters had moved around him. It was she who was a model in several of his paintings that I have observed from afar. There’s not a lot to tell really. She got pregnant. He couldn’t leave his wife. She fled back to America, never looking back. She remarried when I was 12; at 13 I moved in with my Gran and with my Granddad- to this day, the healthiest choice I ever made in my life about anything. I understand him more now. To watch people look at his paintings, I see him through different pairs of eyes without the rejection. I’m beginning to get to know him by studying how he works with light. There’ve been so many visual artists in my life and I wonder if that’s because I just wanted to be close to him. Not for long, not to be the center, never that. This morning it was early as we drove into Vienna. I had slept with art books that are filled with masterpieces. Isabel encouraged me to learn about my father as an artist, not as my father as a man through the eyes of my mother. Not as a father that never knew his daughter. This is a beginning of an unknown relationship. Now how I was privy to such an intimate scene that I’m about to write of is a mystery, or was it fate. Through friends of Gran in Paris, I was invited to a family evening. I watched a little girl try and play the piano; no it was more like an electronic keyboard. The names of the notes had been taped to the keys. Someone had been trying to teach her. What a great idea I thought, although sticking pieces of tape on Tori’s Bose with the keys written out even for the most precocious little girl in the world, would probably be the right idea but definitely on the wrong keyboard. Still, I filed the thought to tell her anyway. She’s always up for a good idea even if it’s not one she applies to herself. So here I was, enthralled by the teaching methods and the little girl, Sophie. She got mad. I mean really upset. She threw herself on a chair nearby hiding her face, she started to cry. A happy quiet kind of man sat down at her small keyboard coaxing her back to it, no lie. This patient human sat with her and sat with her, ignoring the party, ignoring the grown ups- Sophie, Sophie we try again…go glower. Let’s start slower. We need a metronome, oui. But Papa …And so it went- back and forth, encouraging her with kindness and gentleness they began to make progress. She was still upset and I smiled. I woke up today in Vienna, smiling again with a new patience and many art books studying a painter’s use of light.