Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tableaux, Soho by Windowless Consultant

What does he think I do all day? Doesn't he realise that the number of windows is decreasing, guess that there are fewer managers by the day ready to pay outside consultants to advise on displays of goods for a diminishing customer base to walk by?
My schedule, from a six-day week full-on, has shrunk to the odd morning here and there, leaving me these afternoons, sometimes entire days, to wander, dreaming up, I suppose, displays without windows, planning tableaux in the absence of props, scribbling in notebooks fallow of paid project increasingly unkempt ideas.
The streets, I notice, are the same places as they have ever been, but it is the feelings they emanate that have changed. Sometimes it would seem that when they shut up the shops the windows spilled out, leaving the display sprawled unrecognisably on the street.
It's hard to say exactly how it happens.  It was Berwick Street today, wind and sun combining, sight hard to believe in. It's as though suddenly things appear to attempt to reveal something about themselves.

At these times I find myself trying to look beyond them at what they're trying to tell me, but realise each time it's what they are that's the message, but that realisation doesn't by any means close off the problem - rather it prolongs it.
The message would appear to be some sort of question leading off from them and back again. It appears to leave them with both a diminished and a heightened substance. They appear both more real and less.

Something about things noticeably changes, and yet remains the same. There is a sense of imminence - that it has not yet happened - and also of finality, that a threshold has been crossed, but also that that threshold, the change that comes with crossing, is into something not perceptibly different.
I sit in a cafe and I look at the staff, the customers.
I listen to the noises. These are all the same as they've ever been, and yet they all hold something so different about them it leaves me frozen. It might be said that the sound of the voices smells differently, the smell of the coffee sounds differently, the feel of the floor under my shoe looks differently. These things would all be true, but only in the most general sense that they always have been and always are, that what appears seems to be a slipping of things, the floor lifting, twisting, the whole cafe, the tables, the chairs, the cups, the drinkers, waiters, jugs, cakes and all sliding out onto the street, falling through the air and, staying, hovering where they are. Or as if that is about to happen: that they are about to slide out, about to stay.
And that people do not react, other than me, frozen here, is unaccountable. That, in fact, is perhaps the strangest thing. 

That is what it is that means that it seems that it's not just that it has happened, but also that it's about to happen: because the change leaves everything the same it can only be that things, people have not yet reacted, things, for example, not yet picked up off the ground and begun their flight towards the front, the exterior, the street. 

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