The next instalment of the Aye Write! experience involved a visit to the Highland village Kilmacarra with Karen Campbell (my WoMentoring Project mentor), a conversation about the merits of communism in the former East Germany, a trip to buy hammers with Emily Pankhurst and a peek behind the scenes of a circus in the world after the waters have risen. Mr D and I were moved to tears by a South African poet and writer and delighted to be introduced to a one-eyed dog. We tasted several whiskies (of which I, unsurprisingly, liked the most expensive) and just managed to stay on our seat when Hector Bizerk lived up to his name on the closing night. I also re-lived part of my roller-coaster youth with a member of the Jesus and Mary Chain (all that was missing was L, my brother and a litre of cheap cider).
We left Glasgow on Saturday night electrified by the whole experience and drove to Lanarkshire to take a well-known walk with the sun on our faces (thanks E) – in other words, to hang out and make music with the JJs, a collection of friends from around Scotland who get together to share music, food and laughter; the chilled-out antidote to Mr Bizerk.
When we arrived the beat was bouncing along Copperhead Road. We walked into a communal hug and the queasiness of car sickness immediately subsided. For the next few hours I chatted, giggled and sang along, whilst Mr D imbibed the musical moonshine. Around 3.30am, we crashed out in Happy to the sounds of a whistle flirting with an array of stringed instruments and Bankrobber by the Clash, played earlier on a mandolin, still snared behind my left ear.
The following morning we left in sunlight and arrived home in a hail-storm. A brief interlude before returning to Glasgow.
In the midst of all the music and words, another friend had contacted Mr D:
‘We’ve got a couple of spare tickets to Nick Cave, you want to come?’
‘Nick Cave, fancy it?’ I raised my eyebrow. ‘Thought as much.’ And so, on Sunday, we picked up N and A and once again headed into the Glasgow night.
Nick Cave strode on stage and divined his audience. A stick-drawn conjurer, he wove words around and through his music. Chaotic guitars, frenetic fiddles and the intermittent toll of a bell, rumbled and rose, crashing into the music fleeing his piano. Theatre, I said. No not theatre, drama, said Mr D, drama in the truest sense of the word. Words tumbled into the crowd, dashing off the lights, tripping over the edge of the stage. Walls expanded to make room for the sound.
Nick at the piano. Spot-lit. The opening bars to that song. We’re up in the balcony, as high as is possible to be, with an uninterrupted view.
I don’t believe in an interventionist god
My body becomes air. I am weightless. The words and music intertwine; lift me. Eyes closed, I fall from the balcony into a field of unharvested swaying arms.
And I don’t believe in the existence of angels
Hands suspend me, fingertips skimming my clothes. I am without form.
Into my arms, o lord
Into my arms
On the way home in the car I am all out of superlatives.
Music and words; a heady cocktail from which I went to bed drunk and woke with best hangover I’ve ever had.