Saturday, August 6, 2011
the gorbals, 2008. photographs by rosa b.
Of course, this is not the first that I have pried up the corners of anonymity. Cautiously. An ill advised act of self sabotage, I am inclined to believe.
The faint waft of marzipan. Imagined sulfur.
The forensic evidence - provided by my now wife - is of your sibling from a period sometime in 2008. Or 9. Broadly coinciding with the first phase of 'regeneration' which prompted my wandering out onto the bleachers. Driven by the starting pistol in a convoluted demolition derby. At first glance, it appears to capture the no longer quite so young bohemian in pensive mood. Hangover is by far the safest scenario; the attempt to memorize a shopping list, windows ablaze, the greenhouse effect. Nothing of substance can be seen through the fragment of glass between lower face and shirt cuff. A bottle. A four storey blur down on the street.
On the whole it is a quite flattering representation. I have come across much worse.
The second photograph in the above series of three opens a window on the universe we inhabited until September last year. The third, by its nature, is more easy to document with confidence: a little after 9:30 AM, July 1st, 2008; south west as the crow flies, shot from my kitchen window. They did not bother to evacuate us that first time. The building rumbled up through our feet, the panes rattled.
When it was done, I may have curtsied like a fighter in the tenth round. Glass jaw exposed. Weaving back to my stool after a mandatory count.
Our very diluted Hiroshima.
We breakfasted and dined on dust. Teeth rudely pulled. Marveling at the cavities.
Three from the tombs, midnight to six.
For lack of USB support, nothing was uploaded.
Our camera - my wife's camera, to be precise - met its end sometime over Christmas that same year. The result of a tumble, I am told. Did it fall or was it pushed ? The former, I suspect. We did not replace the camera until very recently. Either way, that the flash card survived is some cause for relief. Perversely more robust than those undeveloped spools of old. I have allowed too many memories to wither and fade. In and out their can. The fridge. A stretched canvas paling over sprockets.
Twelve years ago, when I stepped out of the elevator onto the 22nd floor, I was of a mind to establish a dark room of sorts. In two minds, more accurately. The walk-in cupboard never proved inviting enough. The electricity meter jostling for supremacy from behind the coats like drapes.
So it is we resurrected something of the path between Bridge Street and Partick, and several stops between. The stuttering trajectory of a clockwork orange.
Ripened. Squeezed. Poured.
Well. The temptation largely prevails to bombard one and all with snapshots of Milo. My youngest son. To blow the lid for good. For various reasons, this unsettles me vaguely. I might ask him, of course, to waive all rights; I might take a wobbly grin as tacit consent.
Tottering without guile as I ink his little thumb on a plate of pureed tomato. For the record.
For better or worse I have resisted the urge.
Some time last year my wife encouraged me to apply to the Creative Writing Programme at Glasgow University. Much of the material which formed the basis for my portfolio submission was culled from pieces originally published here. It is quite some time since I have dabbled in academic circles. A quarter of a century. Their offer of a place took me a little by surprise.
So did the announcement that my wife was pregnant. Those routine demands of a baby. A move across the city, fortuitous though it was.
I deferred until this year. I accepted a renewed offer.
Well, wait just a second. While I am elated to have at least secured the opportunity, the end result is far from a foregone conclusion. Not even here is funding at postgraduate level a given. The not insignificant cost of tuition fees.
All the thornier when one is seemingly unemployable, a burden on the public purse.
Am I boring you yet ? Is that cr@ss enough for you ?
Still. I have determined to somehow do it. This may be my last stab at turning things around. I have applied to an assortment of trusts, of course. Those ones for which I am even shakily eligible. The activity of drafting 'begging' letters fills me with dread. Some days I have embraced it quite enthusiastically, some days I am given over to crippling anxieties.
A general proclivity to fall in line with the great economic downturn of our times.
I mention this merely as a means of belatedly lancing the boil. To spill my cards out on the table.
I have never been much of a one for poker.
The wise money, granted, may predictably ride on those who play their diamonds and spades close to their chest. Red and black. The short odds.
Frankly, I am sick and tired of the yellow.
Better to let it all hang out. Better to deck the empty bleachers with steaming crimson coils.