Wednesday night. I ventured out for a much-needed night in the Big Smoke. The rain was coming down hard and heavy that night. As soon as I strode out of the underground, pushed out into the evening at Piccadilly Circus, it was like putting on a favourite jacket. Comfortable and comforting, baggy and worn, conforming perfectly to my shape from a lifetime of use. Slipping London on over my shoulders, the cold shards of rain whipped at my hair and nipped at my skin, pinching me awake. The air was twitching with vibrating umbrellas, jerking from the onslaught of the rain. I hate umbrellas. Never use them. I like to feel the rain on me, and I always like to be able to see the sky, and get a good sense of the world around and above me.
Striding down Haymarket with water glancing off the leather and soaking into the denim, the superhuman slap-and-pop funk of the Brothers Johnson’s Stomp thrumming in my ears, it was one of those moments of inexplicable perfection when everything feels Just Right, a serendipitous confluence that leads to The Way That Things Should Be.
Five minutes later, and I was drying off in an auditorium in the ICA taking in Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s Mirrormask, a whimsical confection that riffs on everything from Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz to Labyrinth, highly-stylised but lacking the human hook that makes you care about all the intricate and beautiful design work that’s gone into it. An interesting experiment, not without its charms, but I always felt that I was looking at something, and not immersing myself in it.
But the rain and the night and the city and the Stomp? I dissappeared into that like Cleopatra into a pool of luxurious ass milk.
(Do you have any idea how much fun it is to type the words “luxurious ass milk”?)