The Violin-maker

Dad dying

It was dry as I walked. Punters were pouring out of the Pier Pressure nightclub. The air around the entrance stank of warm beer and sweat. Two girls were huddled around a van, talking to the driver and passenger. They hung upon the door, their heads pushed into the opened window. One was wearing a floral cotton dress, a parka and a tinsel halo.

He said he was a violin-maker now living in Berlin. He’d sent an email to Bob Harris, saying how much he enjoyed his early morning Sunday show. Thanks, Bob, he wrote. A violin-maker. I keen towards people who make. People with craft, with skill. With skilful hands. I make facsimiles, copies of things. I’m a fake-artist, a fakery of jiggery-pokery. It’s OK. There is some beauty in it. It’s about ideas. Things don’t have to function or work. They give a sense of something, they act as a reminder. But I think it is the cause of my lack of certainty. Where am I going with this, with that? What is it for? What is it’s purpose? Maybe there is none. Maybe it is just about filling out my days till it is time. Time to go.

I think about my parents. Their lives, so full, potent, at least in our eyes. And now, poof, up in smoke. Gone. So what is the conclusion, to live well here, now? He says, I do. The worth surely is in the being. The being it. I am a maker because I make. What I make is neither here nor there. It is enough to take myself to the page, to the bench. Isn’t it?

I walk in the dark. I round a corner and two men walk in front of me. They startled me. Did I call out? My body pumped with adrenalin. A curious feeling. Then it subsides. It’s OK. You’re safe.

The sky is a pale greyish-blue. Morning is not yet here. Birds sail into the wind.

There was an ambulance last night, parked just beyond the Quad. It stood there for over half an hour before a body was wheeled towards it on a stretcher. The body was sitting, hunched over. The rain poured down. A woman in a pink dressing gown hovered.

Is it just decorative or does it have worth, meaning? A crow caws. Follow it through. Do it all, he says. Yes. Richard Branson on the radio. I just say yes. Have a blast, he says. Yes.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.