Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Journey to the past

Seeing death drift around beloved ones is never easy. My uncle may live a few years more, a few months more. He’ll have an appointment with the doctors to decide whether or not he’ll be operated. But at the age of 80, it’s unlikely that he will come out stronger and cured.
He’s already taken his decision. However, we are all searching for alternative solutions to strengthen him. Medicinal plants, ayurvedic remedies, acupuncture…There must other ways then this lethal operation.
So we met, my parents and I, at my uncle’s place. I hadn’t come there for at least ten years. He and his wife have always lived there, as far as my memory can take me, a modest one room flat in the outskirt of Paris: two beds on either side of the room, the old wooden dining table in the middle covered by a big glass plate, a big closet against the wall where he stores his most treasured belongings and walls covered with his paintings. As a child, the miniature size of the flat already struck me. There was just enough room to circulate around the table.
The sight of the flat today devastated me. No wonder he has got lung cancer. It was impossible to breathe, so stuffed was the room. Piles of letters, boxes, jars, more boxes, pamphlets, books and souvenirs from the many pilgrimages they made even a few years back. The air mustn’t have been renewed for centuries.

He showed us his sketches. Some of them were quite beautiful, some of them were average. He’s going to prepare more to show us next time. He took us to a room next door that used to be his workshop – and now more of a storage room, and exhibited a large sized painting.
If the sketches didn’t leave the strong impression I wished they’d have on me, these big paintings were on the contrary, very compelling, especially the more abstract ones that were inspired by dreams and wanderings in nature. He’s created a particular shade of blue that I find beautiful and that he’s used throughout his work.
"This painting is for you to take."
My mother was deeply moved. My father kept silent, but I knew he felt the same.
"When I’m gone, the rest will be yours as well."

I scanned a few sketches and put them in my computer. I don’t know what this book will be. We need to see the rest of his work. I guess his earlier production might be more interesting.
It will take more time than what my parents think. If we want to do something worthwhile, the object has to be thoroughly conceived, with a precise direction. To do just a sketchbook to give away to friends and acquaintances will be pointless. This man has lived a unique life, filled with joys but also lots of frustration. He’s an excellent writer and has penned wonderful texts and poems.
The enthusiasm aside, I just wonder how that can happen. It’s such an amount of work. And this shade of death makes me feel uneasy.


It’s so good to do nothing. As Nicolas said to me, I am two months ahead of my own schedule. So that’s a wonderful opportunity to take care of me, reconnect on a deeper level and enjoy the time. Nothing is never really nothing anyway. I nurture myself with positive thoughts, good food and enjoyable activities.
My ideas become clearer. I feel joy in me. The creative dragon will soon come back to me.

I have been in touch with Talvin Singh lately. At first I didn’t believe it was him, but then, why shouldn’t it be? We’ll try to hook up next time he comes to Paris, or when I come to London. He’s got 137 songs waiting to be mastered! And I have only 4 for the new album, some of them I have written some time ago already!

Butterfly Rider
The Blessing
Battle of Wits
Well Battle of Wits is only in my head. I still haven’t recorded anything yet.
I have bumped into a drummer girl, Tatiana, who knew me from the time I played with Michèle Atlani. Last century, that was!
I don’t know why, I feel I want to work with her. There was a positive vibe emanating from her. Of course, I still have Musoso in mind. But he’s stuck in the suburb as a family boy, still afraid to leave the nest and tell mama he’s a grown up now. 25 years old! That’s no baby, no mo’!

My fantasy is that Talvin Singh played the tablas on a couple of my songs. I had that wish back then when I was writing Circlesong. Allon Conway had met him in London and given him a demo of mine, but the story froze at that stage and was left there, somewhere between two clouds. The wish still persisted and I see no reason why it shouldn’t happen now.
Well it’s full moon tonight and my mind is running wild.
But I haven’t felt that serene in ages.

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