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All Day Standing

I hadn’t fancied it when they’d said who it was going to be last week but he was a joy. A real joy. So articulate. Words just tumble from him but not a in a jumble. He is careful how he chooses them. They resonate, burst like bubbles in my head. Gorgeous, gorgeous man. He’d been working on his list of discs for 60 years he said. And what a collection, Doo Wop, Ella, Elvis, Doris Day and Sinatra. His book was ‘Against Nature’ and his luxury ‘a boulder of opium’. He has that northern, Salford-esque fatality – ‘Desert Island Discs has all the finality of a suicide note.’ But what a note. His eloquence was halted when talking of the cessation of his heroin addiction. He came off it for others. And seems sadder for it. But he is writing again and loves what he is doing – ‘you have to be idle to write (poetry)’. What can I say but God Bless The Radio!

I passed a board outside a small hairdressers in town. It had been sign-painted with a list of presumably what was on offer, cutting, dyeing etc. But in between the prosaic and the expected were two other entries. One was ‘Listening’ and the other ‘All Day Standing’. You see, even in this wee, small town there is something to stop me in my tracks.

Has the drizzle stopped yet?

I didn’t sleep well again. Well, I sleep in between, for I dream. I know that. But I wake over and over again. Is it the humidity? Is it the heat? Is it my bladder, or my headaches? Who knows. But no more doctors. Not for a while. All has been shaken up, stirred-up. It’s been too much.

I need sleep but I also need to write. Just to keep ploughing on. Keeping it alive. Tea now. Then work.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.