Clouds In My Head
Winter Is Icumen In
After last year’s glorious summer there was a hope that this year Britain would enjoy the same, but to gamble on the weather is to have your hopes smashed. Here’s the Met office on why it felt like the British summer was flushed down the drain; ‘The perception of a summer of bad weather was felt most keenly in London and the south-east. London’s rainfall was 48 per cent above its long-term average for summer. As a result, these areas have also seen significantly less sunshine than usual – between 25 and 35 per cent fewer hours than average.’
Now autumn appears to have been bypassed so that we can go straight to winter. I watch forest fire footage from Australia and feel envious. I see abortion protests in Texas with blue skies above the protestors and think, ‘Not a single cloud. Wow.’
It’s been a blow to those of us who have become hyper-sensitive to light. My relationship to the diurnal cycle heavily affects my writing. While there is fierce light I can think clearly and work; I went to Barcelona to write ‘Oranges & Lemons’ and finished it in two thirds of the normal time. Now Brexit has limited the period of time Britons can spend in Europe, and any kind of international travel has become a Kafkaesque nightmare. The travel of the past – weekend hops to Amsterdam or Paris, Friday afternoon meetings held in Nice simply because it’s nicer – can’t return unless we were to – gasp! – rejoin Europe.
I dread winter in the UK. London is an indoor city that turns the eye upon itself. It doggedly stages outdoor arts events with a kind of desperation, as if the arts must go on no matter how uncomfortable the experience. I’ve sworn never to attend another open-air ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in the month of August. ‘I might see young Cupid’s fiery shaft quenched in the chaste beams of the watery moon.’ That’s because it hasn’t stopped pissing down, mate.
Friends who went to an outdoor screening of ‘Orlando’ last week got rained upon (to be expected) but found the event ruined by the drone of police helicopters monitoring another ludicrous ‘Extinction Rebellion’ protest, where anti-capitalists, anti-vaxxers and anyone bearing a grudge wander about without any plans for their new world order.
With thoughts of light I sit here unable to clear the endless grey clouds from my head. I remove a leaflet concerning side effects from my box of meds. What are the main ones? Inability to concentrate, confusion, dizziness, forgetfulness, inability to walk steadily, think clearly or write.
Once I could write anywhere, with any amount of noise and disruption. Now it seems I am a prisoner of chemistry. Perhaps it’s just another form of writer’s block and can be overcome. Time will tell.