Saturday, 23 February 2013

A natural fortress

As I walked from the Northern Line to the Central Line at Tottenham Court Road this morning I could hear an amazing violinist playing Grapelliesque jazz music. I reached for my wallet. 3p in coins. Insulting. Should I give him a fiver to celebrate his excellence? Bit indulgent, maybe? As I got nearer, I could only see a keyboard player, which confused me, until I realised, with horror, that this amazing violinist was actually a really good sample on a keyboard - for the first time in my life I'd been duped by modern technology. Oh the shame...

Penny and I have just spent a long day on the White City Estate and have met a string of absolutely fascinating people. 

The estate itself feels like something of an oasis; a fortress nestling between the metaphorical (and in some cases actual) walls of the West Way overpass, Queen's Park Rangers and the BBC buildings. 

QPR were playing at home today, and the estate echoed and shook with the sounds of the match. The roads were closed to traffic. On every corner, a hastily erected stall sold programmes, blue and white scarves and burgers made of horse meat. The local cafes were rammed from 10 o'clock in the morning.

We met a calypso-loving bandana-wearing Trinidadian who describes himself as "Indo-Caribbean." A card carrying Hindu with his own bedroom temple, he speaks with a strong Caribbean accent, is bearded like a Rastafarian, yet his parents were Indian Christian missionaries. Go fathom! 

We went to a support group for black and Asian people with HIV. I was overwhelmed by their friendliness and very touched to be invited to join them for a meal. More excitingly I got to eat my first ever plantain. I genuinely thought it was going to be disgusting: like a sickly fried banana, but it was actually more like sweet potato and a rather wonderful accompaniment for the hot spinach curry which it accompanied. 

If I needed six or seven souls brave and interesting enough to tell an individual story through song, I reckon I'm already half way towards my goal, which is an exciting place to be at this early stage. 

In a week's time I'm going to go full time on the piece and won't be coming up for air until July. Wish me luck! 

No comments:

Post a Comment