Back once again! Thanks for caring enough about what I’m up to to give me your valuable reading minutes. This post will have a new song from me, inspired by a study of apocalyptic literature (FUN!) and making a rookie error identifying some wildlife in Devon. But that’s to come – first, something you might’ve seen on the front of the papers.
Last Wednesday morning, my partner and I went down to the docks, sketchbooks in hand. Half an hour’s walk from our door takes us to the platform from which a famous and controversial statue was recently torn down, and ceremonially dumped in Bristol harbour. Now Edward Colston had been replaced.
Taking everyone by surprise, the platform now featured a sculpture of Jen Reid, one of the protestors demonstrating on that day of creative iconoclasm. Forgetting civic protocols, the piece itself looked beautiful, powerful. A black woman from Bristol, in beret and black jacket, stood proudly where a slave trader had been for centuries. Yet 24 hours after the likeness of Ms Reid appeared, it was hauled away again by the council.
I’m glad I got to be there to see it, draw it, to see people be interviewed and take selfies (one black family I’ll remember, included a tiny cot-carried baby, and two daughters beaming to have their photo taken with the statue) before the shouting matches started, and before Marc Quinn’s art had disappeared again.
All things are beautiful in their time. It’s just… can that occasionally be longer than 24 hours, please?
As promised earlier – a song. It’s a nearly-finished arrangement, and as is often the case on the point of sharing something publicly, I hate it right now. So am sharing through gritted teeth. The question at its heart: are we going nowhere? Though it certainly feels that way, I can never cave and create a song entirely free from hope. So maybe it’s about the blessedness of being exactly where you are, rather than wondering about being elsewhere or patiently pinning all one’s expectations on a breakthrough. It’s got a tiny, tiny bit in common with a Christina Rossetti epic poem Aurora Leigh, whose most famous verse goes
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.
Give me a shout, and let me know what you think. And as you’re keen enough to read right to the end, I’ll let you know about that wildlife error. It didn’t concern the redwing, who we recorded in Redland where we live, and whose cries appear in the Fledgling song. No, while walking along the sea front in Torquay, I mistakenly thought I saw a hummingbird and chased it around a cliff path. Pretty speedy it was too. As you think I *might* already be aware, they don’t live in the UK. But they have some tiny impersonators…