The train tracks are singing
The train tracks are singing to me
I have never heard them sing like this
I put my headphones in
I put my head phones in with nothing playing which is the closest I get to this city
I leave the theatre and
I put my headphones in with nothing playing and the streets look like they’re lit by par cans and fresnels
An old man whose beard furrows into his hat sings as he passes me and it sounds French or Italian.
A sign in a shop window lettered like ‘keep calm’ reads ‘love is only mad-‘ but I can’t read the rest of the message
Petals of blossom filter down through the air like sunlight and confetti
I have my headphones in with nothing playing and I listen to the city. This city that never feels like a place I would be, I feel small and successful. A man sat on the floor with a tin in front of him reads a book through gloveless fingers
The eyes of a young man or old boy linger on me, brown eyes and corn rows I glance behind me and he turns and follows.
He’s following me along the street, I see it in the reflection of the Wetherspoons and another young man old boy glances at me then talks to the friend and I hear him say ‘she had headphones in’ as I walk on
It is only at Warren Street I realise they probably wanted me to buy them some beer at Budgens.
I wonder if I would have done,
I feel bad for feeling threatened by them. I feel like If I hadn’t have been wearing headphones and they had asked I wouldn’t have known what to do and probably would have done something terrible like make them promise that they’d do something to make up for getting drunk tonight, like call their grandmothers, or read a book I could recommend them.
Or go to the theatre. I could buy them a ticket to go see the play I just saw. I would explain to them who Kate Tempest is and how I feel now like I did after I saw her raise her voice with poetry of broken hearts and broken people like myths and heroes. ‘It’s mostly about mobile phones, and cities’, I would say, ‘and how capitalism is on the floor, bleeding and we are black, black, black with its blood’.
And they would let me buy them the beer and give me fake email addresses to send the ticket references to.
It takes me to Pimlico to finish the thought of what I would do about a thing that never happened.
I’ve been trying to remember who described contemporary technology in the city as cultivating a new ‘alone together’.
I think it was maybe Graeme Miller, but if it wasn’t, if I start by looking there, I think that’s the way I’ll remember where to find it
I think “I’ll look it up on my phone when I get to Brixton”.