Posts tagged life
Posts tagged life
“We’re kindred spirits, you and I. We see the world in a different way. I mean, look at all these people. Just stand back and drink them in. All you can see is how happy they are, all drunk on tonight. Good food, good music and good company, and that’s all they need, and isn’t that beautiful? Everyone so full of themselves - not in a self-righteous way, but full in the way that you feel after a moment. These are those moments. Look at everyone dancing - it’s the people that make times like these, not the way society’s run, it’s purely the people. They’re all young and beautiful and so full of life and energy, they radiate a light that only people like this can experience. Not everyone can see that.
And of course, once the food has been eaten and the wine is flowing freely, people get emotional. People cry and people argue, but people laugh and that’s the most important thing. People laughing like they will never laugh again. And the tears and the tantrums suddenly aren’t important, because it’s moments like this that you realise the saying is true. These are the friends we will keep for the rest of our lives and more.
I mean, I’ve got friends at home who I have known for eighteen years, and yet these people in this room, dancing on this stage, feel like true home to me. I could be anywhere in the world and the knowledge of moments like these would make me feel I belonged.
That’s why we fit. That’s where we fit. In the place that nobody is the same, you don’t have to be a certain way to be one of us, you juts have to have the passion and the drive and the unbidden longing for life itself. Even if people don’t think they have it in them, it’s there. We can see it. Why else would there be nights like this, if people weren’t head over heels in love with this part of the life they were living.
It’s moments like these where you can stop for a moment and watch from the sidelines, and be so happy you can’t put it into words. You don’t quite understand why, but there’s something there that puts a smile on your face and makes you want to dance like an idiot and hug everyone who’s in the room.
And maybe it’s the alcohol - that certainly helps - but maybe, just maybe, these are the times of our lives.”
It’s been a while.
The wheels have finally stopped rolling and the curtain is ready to go up. It’s show night. And you’re nervous.
It’s understandable really. You spend months travelling with these people and you still don’t know their real names, and they don’t know yours. But does it matter? Here in this madcap world of fake faces and smoky taboos, the truth seems overrated. It’s all about what’s on the surface. What lies beneath is something best left untouched.
You seemed to slip quite easily into this rolling life. Nobody asks questions, nobody expects that much of you. It’s just one of those things. You get the sense that if you were to leave, no-one would care. Not that you’re planning on leaving. There’s nowhere else for you to go.
You lean against one of the trucks and scuff your shoe on the dirt, staring at the mismatch of tents, the fairy lights softly glowing against the ever encroaching night. You can feel it. Something in that night, something waiting. As if the whole world had taken a breath and was waiting for release. A hand touches your shoulder.
She looks at you with laughter in her eyes and you can’t help but smile back. You nod. Your mouth is dry. She grins and pushes you towards the main tent.
“Come on then, pretty boy. Time to earn your keep.”
It’s been a while.
- It’s always bastard raining when we come here. Pure fact, that is. The weather doesn’t agree with us.
Inhale/exhale. Smoke curling through the deluge.
- Do we have to wait?
- Yeah. Nobody’ll come out in this.
Cough into a fist. Shake head.
- Stupid bloody weather.
Cough. Cough again. Can’t see the eyes. Silhouette. More smoke.
- That’ll kill you, you know.
- Thanks for the warning.
- Doesn’t it worry you?
- What? The smoking?
- No. Death.
- Death’s nothing. You can’t be afraid of nothing. You can be afraid of dying, that’s fine. But death? Not at all.
- You can be afraid of nothing. What about when you can’t see your hand in front of your face, and you’re stood on a bridge and there’s no way forward and no way back. You’re surrounded by nothingness and it’s one of the most terrifying things in the world.
- But you’re afraid of what is in the nothing. You can’t be afraid of nothingness itself. You need something to set your fear against, it needs to lean on something. Fear needs support, it needs a purpose.
- What are you afraid of?
A silence. Inhale. Exhale. Tap the ash off the cigarette.
- I’m afraid of failure. I’m afraid that one day someone will turn round and tell me that I’m not good enough and I have to go. That someone else can do this job better than I can. I’m afraid of having to go back to my parents and say “You were right.”
- You know that wouldn’t happen.
- Yeah. I don’t know. Maybe it would. I’m only twenty, William. There are people out there who have trained in this sort of thing. At the end of the day, I’m just a thief who knows how to network. And then there’s the show.
- The show must go on.
- Rightly so. Come on, we’ll shrink if we stay out much longer.
Door opens, door closes. Cigarette dies in a puddle of rain. Eyes watch in the shadows.
I want to write music. But it’s one o’clock in the morning and I have no piano. The formula is in my head, and I think that will last till tomorrow, but I cannot be sure. I want to sit at a piano with a notepad and pencil and no shoes and just write and play and play and write. I want to write about love, loss, laughter - all the cliches.
It’s been too long since I last sung. I need to sing. I miss my voice. All it seems to do nowadays is talk and discuss things about theatre and politics, all it does is order drinks over the bar and make small talk with customers at work. And underneath that is my true voice, the one that sings with soul, the one that I love and miss. I want to sing again. It makes me feel alive when I sing, it’s the one thing that I can do without feeling self conscious because although I can’t hit the high notes, I know I can do it. I have my own style, my own voice. But it’s getting lost.
I want to sing and sing with someone else. I want harmonies to send shivers down my spine, I want the lyrics to light up the air around me and I want to feel the almost unbearable lightness that comes when you close your eyes and let the music carry you away. I want to feel the room explode with emotion, and it doesn’t matter what that emotion is. Emotion is the fuel of music, emotion is what we need in our lives.
There is no better feeling for me than standing in front of people and singing, and seeing the look on their faces. That’s the thing about being backstage - people are amazed when you can perform. And I want to do it again.
Scrap that. I need to do it again.
Tomorrow, I’m going to get all my stuff done, and I’m going to take my clarinet onto campus with me, and I’m going to go into a piano room and write some music. I need to sing again. I need the music.
People join us in many ways. Some just show up carrying suitcases, their faces both hopeful and resigned and thinking “Is this what we’ve ended up at?” Others we find on the wayside of the morning, in the shady time between night and sunrise, sitting with dead eyed stares and only nothingness for company. We don’t take just anyone. The skills come in time - great if you have them, doesn’t matter if you don’t - but what we look for is that need. The longing that you get in the pit of your stomach that you cannot quite explain. You have to yearn for it.
People join us in many ways, like hitting the ground from a skyscraper. You either jump, or you are pushed.
Curtains down, and it’s back to our warped version of normality. Wiping away the layers of make-up and lighting a cigarette in the same fluid movement, knocking back paracetamol with vodka shots to dull the ache behind our eyes. We tell offensive jokes to thicken our skin, and laugh until it hurts. The air is electric, everything is powered by our own energy. We come alive in the night time to lose our minds and we never endevour to find them again. Someone starts to play music, a fire is lit, and we tell stories of the worlds that we should have been born into, worlds where people could fly and animals could speak and the pavements didn’t need to have cracks for people like us.
And in a ball of light and shadow
He fell to earth. I found him.
I claimed him as my own.
Wondering at the lightness of his frame, the grace
With which he fell.
More like flying, I said to him.
He never spoke.
And as he slept, I watched him.
Chest rising and falling, heartbeat
Like a bird. Only softer.
The fluttering of a wing.
He whispered to his shadows about being lost
His tears as cold as his eyes and just as full of question.
When he awoke, he told me he needed to return
But he didn’t know how.
He didn’t remember how he got to earth.
He didn’t remember anything.
And I sat and cradled his heart in my hands
Wondering where he had put mine
When he stole it
His bore two black scars
From where his wings used to grace his back
Used to carry him through the clouds
Through the dreams and nightmares
Upon the stratosphere
Before I took them.
Ripped them from him whilst he slept.
He will never get them back.
I took them in exchange for my heart.
They wrote their dreams on paper
And hung them from branches for the world to see
Declarations of love, unspoken apologies, confessions
All hanging amongst the leaves of the wishing tree
And we laughed and smiled and rolled our eyes
At some of the words that were written there
But certain notes made us catch our breath
Struck by the gravity of what was written there
The fields were filled with people
Surrounding our wishing tree
And when we closed our eyes at night
The branches were all we could see
Hanging on strings taut and tight
Because of the weight of the words
And the power contained within them
That if spoken would not be heard
If there had been any doubt before
It was all written away
By the wishes and dreams we collected on paper
In every hour we stayed
They wrote their dreams on paper
Entwined them in branches for all to see
And we couln’t have asked for anything more
Than what they gave to our wishing tree.
And in the morning
Will it feel as real
As the night before.
When you’re sober
And in focus
Will he still fill your head
Like he did before.
When you say it’s just one night
And there’s festival lights
Will you still get the buzz
Like the night before
And when your friends make a joke
In the days that follow
Will you still laugh it off
Or will you not be as proud
And not laugh as loud
As you did
All those nights before.
Everyday I pretend
I’m someone else
with a different name
in a different place
with different friends
a different face
Because if I face up to what I really am
I’ll realise my life is insufferably normal.
Maybe that is the main illusion
Maybe I am one of these characters
And my real life
Is all pretend.
I hope so.