Central London in July – during the day – is like the sordid, illegitimate offspring of Lang’s Metropolis and some ill-mannered and dreary tourist. It’s a sea of mundaneness teeming with a quite pathetic commercialism. However, if you traverse these same streets when the masses have evacuated in favour of their comfy beds – quite a different cityscape reveals itself.
Your skin’s shade is different,
But feels the same to touch.
Your words sound strange,
But you express them the same.
Your eyes look unusual,
But they still bare your soul.
Your parts are dissimilar,
But you feel the same way.
Your attire is odd,
But it still expresses you.
Your customs are peculiar,
But you still seek acceptance.
Your desires are different,
But you still desire love.
You have Gods,
But we both seek meaning.
Your differences are many,
And yet minor.
Your similarities are immeasurable,
And yet paltry?
Why is it that some forms of entertainment are weighed down with pretension whereas others are devoid of such esteem? I recently went to see a production of the opera Aida and it was a noteworthy performance. The stage was beautifully crafted, the performances, at times, were magnificent and the orchestra impeccable. In short, I was captivated by the performance. However – as often occurs at such events – I was bewildered at the crowd’s almost senseless applause at any opportunity.
You cross off another day of life on your calendar thumb-tacked to your grey office cubicle. What’s left? Forty seven days until that next sun holiday? No, those days are gone. You’re nearly there now. Forty down – years that is – and just five more days until you finally get there.
Your retirement home in Tenerife. A nice little villa by the sea. It’s ok, your spine has long since adapted to that office chair and that hip won’t pain in the winter months there. What winter? You’ll be in the sun.
The final soulless hours evaporate and you’re there.
My creativity has been like some sizzling foam on rocks recently after what can be described as little less than a tsunami of creative endeavour. I was working as a teacher trainer in Uganda and during the same period I drafted my entire screenplay in a mere five weeks. My aim being to get a rough cut together that I could then mould and polish later. My sanity then required a few weeks away from the screenplay – getting back to life as normal – and for my sins have now decided the time has arrived to return to it. I’ve received a great deal of feedback on the piece and am now in the process of sifting through this feedback and theoretical and academic frameworks in order to see how I can sculpt the raw clay I’ve produced.
I awake as the morning sun flows across the room and pools on the concrete floor. My eyes, though unaccustomed, still welcome the light after a night of darkness. Darkness which was broken only by the piercing light of the torch I used to read. In a house without electricity sleep patterns become dictated by the movements of the sun and the high equatorial-moon. I brush the sleeps from my eyes and my morning routine begins.
Poverty. Chaos. Laughter. And happiness. These are probably the best four words to sum up my first week in Uganda. I came to help with teacher training services for some community initiatives here and have found a new place in my heart.