From Suburbia to the Centre, and back again #amwriting


Planning a move is exciting, and also threatening. So much can go awry, the unexpected lurks at every corner. We have inhabited this parcel of suburbia for a long time, longer than we originally thought, for sure. And, now, we are about to leave this bit of the funny island for  the city of Faust, right in the middle!

We found, hopefully, the place, where to live, to dream, to love, to write… and to wander. More than a room, with a view. All the signs are there: the path through the urban, and ancient, gardens, the waterfall, the dark, deep waters of the canal… the bikes everywhere.

Not far is the river, the few remnants of the old wall, the new shiny skyscrapers: the fight with the Devil, who’s alive, and determined. The new book has a title, and a hero, more mature, a little bruised, and loving it. There is a diary to keep, and the photoblog.

In the meantime, we still have the city of Moloch, to enjoy. Later, we’ll be back. Peace.

Image: Engelbecken (Angel’s Pool), Berlin Kreuzberg, © 2016 Honoré Dupuis


Hope #TheDailyPost


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

You said the change will do us good. I was not so sure, but now we have to do it, no turning back. You may well be right: the city of Faust may be  just what we need…

What we need to revive the flame, to forget the past, to erase certain memories…

And then we will walk, hand in hand, along the tree-lined streets, past haunted dwellings, as if nothing had ever happened, just a couple of lovers, taking in the Spring air, in a city that saw so much worse…

… than a couple of murderers on the run…

Image: House 3 Providence RI 1976, © Francesca Woodman

Contrast #TheDailyPost

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


They say it’s a young city, and here I am, an ancient dinosaur, in those worn out jeans and leatherwear from another age. And the rucksack! Mended so many times, colourless, blended with its owner… Yet I love the streets, the smiles, the laughter, and I keep dragging along my old boots, and this silly cap, when in fact I no longer belong to the living. I am a mere memory, less than a tramp, like the thought of a traveller from yesteryears, a small cloud, perhaps.

In turn, they love me, keep telling me their stories, their pain, their discoveries. Priceless. Yes, I admit it, I feed on those tales, on the dreams of the young, on their attempts at happiness, renewal, transformation… No, please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t prey on them, I just listen, maybe risk a question from time to time. And later I write down everything: the hopes, the loves, the fights. Sometime they ask me to take a picture of them, usually, the two of them, and I never fail to let them have those pictures: small fragments of time, in the city of Faust.

Of Fred and Sarah, #quote from Julian Barnes “Levels of Life”

Sarah Bernhardt photographed by Félix Nadar 1865The next evening, he watched her performance, came to her dressing room, and saw many of the same faces. He made sure to pay proper attention to Mme Guérard: having been in foreign courts before, he knew to recognise the power behind the throne. Soon – much sooner than the fiercest optimism could have imagined – she came across, took Barnaby’s arm, and bade her coterie goodnight. As the three of them left, the scrimmage of Parisian dandies took care of not to appear put out. Well, perhaps they weren’t.

From Julian Barnes, “Levels of Life, On the Level” (© Julian Barnes 2013)

Image: Sarah Bernhardt photographed by Félix Nadar 1865

#DailyPrompt: All or Nothing?

Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” — Sylvia Plath

TemptationWe met in one of the new high tech shopping centres that opened in the city in recent times. I could not help noticing her, a tall, attractive red hair, with the most remarkable angel face, who was looking around the same cameras I was interested in.

But it’s her who started the conversation. She enquired if I was a professional, presumably meaning “photographer”. At that instant I was looking at the new Nikon, an amazing masterpiece of optics and electronics, far too sophisticated for my modest talents, and priced well above what I could afford. I told her so, she was amused. Her crystalline laughter surprised me.

She said she was a model, which was plausible given her looks and body, although something in her poise, and her choice of words, made me wonder. We chatted amiably about cameras, modelling, art and finally she invited me for a coffee just over the alley, a shop full of glass, leather and stainless steel.

“You know,” she said as we settled down in uncomfortably deep armchairs made for another species, “You can have that camera if you want…” She was serious, and I misinterpreted her words. “O no,” I replied, “There are more important things I want about now…”

Again I was disconcerted by her smile, enticing and a little too provocative for my taste. “I meant you could have what you want, all that you want, and maybe I can help you see how?”

I froze: once again I had been fooled, almost by surprise, the devil adopting the form I would be most likely to let close to me. I was an idiot. I looked at my companion straight in the eye, seized the little crucifix that I never leave behind, and of course, (s)he had disappeared.

I wanted nothing, other than forget this encounter: Satan is everywhere, spying on our desires, waiting for his time to strike, in whatever form. I want none of it.

All or Nothing?

#FiveSentenceFiction: Dazzles #Fifty

All flesh...I try to concentrate on our work: you the model, I, the painter.

Yet what goes through this mind, what dreams are born and destroyed, what illicit fantasies stimulate this imagination?

What pain tortures this body?

For art is the opposite of love.

Art is the dark killer of illusions.

Image: Saori Taira, via Tohjiro

#FiveSentenceFiction: Enrapture

For Elsa de B.

The square is crowded with tourists and workers on their lunch break: this is the very centre of the city.

Since I am waiting I take pictures, the ridiculous blue cockerel on its pedestal, the pair of Dutch students who want to interview me, the Chinese visitors on the steps of the National Gallery.

The city always amazes me, its dreadful traffic, its half-concealed violence, but also its awkward charm, its tramps, its grizzly beauty…

Yet I am waiting, a little anxious, unsure even if I could conceal it when I see you.

And then you are here, your beloved face a revelation, your smile an enchantment, and in your eyes the promise of eternity… and time stops.

Trafalgar Square 1 Trafalgar Square 2 Elsa

#Writer’s diary: Thursday musing

Yesterday Well, the past month has been interesting, with plenty of events and changes to keep us on our toes. Since I got locked out of my WP account for the best part of the last two weeks I did not share much of it! It was perhaps better that way. From June 21 the weather changed dramatically here in London and it got seriously hot. Running was only possible early morning or at the gym, we couldn’t sensibly run later in the day by temperatures approaching 30 deg. (Cent.)

I had a chance – two chances – for photo-shoots, and then the opportunity went, which incidentally left me short of someone to work for the photo-book I planned earlier. You can see the pics here, and there is – somewhere –  a post about the book.

The novel progressed a bit, but not as much as I would have hoped, being freed for a while of “flash-distractions”! Travel planning took the bulk of the leisure time Gorgeous and I had in the past three weeks. In two weeks time we will be off, to Holland, the Baltic shores, Eastern Germany and finally Berlin. I invite you to follow me on Instagram for snapshots. Otherwise watch this space when we are back. There is work to do, although I’ll give The Page a break. The synopsis for the photo-book has to be rewritten (new ideas, and most probably a different face…), and of course there will be plenty of pictures.

I won’t do many posts during August. Normal work will resume at the end of the month…

By the way, Nina sent me this (King Crimson):


Long ago and far away in a different age

when I was a dumb young guy

fossilized photos of my life then

illustrate what an easy prey I must have been

standing in the sun, idiot savant

something like a monument

I’m a dinosaur, somebody is digging my bones

ignorance has alway been something I excel in
followed by naivete and pride
doesn’t take a scientist to see how
any clever predator could have a piece of me
standing in the sun, idiot savant
something like a monument
I’m a dinosaur, somebody is digging my bones

when I look back on the past
it’s a wonder I’m not yet extinct
all the mistakes and bad judgements I made
nearly pushed me to the brink
it doesn’t pay to be too nice
it’s the one thing I have learned
still, I made my fossil bed
now I toss and turn

I’m a dinosaur, somebody is digging my bones

Daily Prompt: Opposite Day

If you normally write non-fiction, post a photo. If you normally post images, write fiction. If you normally write fiction, write a poem. If you normally write poetry, draw a picture.

Opposite In your eyes I see the fire, and I,

must keep my soul steady and cold

for your judgement I fear

as much as I seek your presence

and you may enjoy mine…

The opposite we are,

as the walls of the Roman stadium are

to the bright steel and glass buildings

of our cities…

Yet the river flows and

I cannot detach my mind

from the dream…

Is it yours?


#FiveSentenceFiction: Locked

Vilde Tobiassen: Uncertainty, 2013

The first time your fragile beauty enchanted him, beyond what he could imagine.

Your hair, your thin body, those eyes, he marvelled at how nature could create such a jewel, and through the glass, the dream came alive, independent, obstinate.

You haunted his nights, by day he walked the streets, your image overlaid on all others, the slow torture of his obsession nestled in his heart.

The second time you were all tears and despair: you told him of your failures, your face the glow of a Vermeer, so vulnerable he thought, as he kissed you.

You agreed to meet again, and he knew then he was now locked in your dream.

(Inspired by Carol Ann Duffy’s poem Pygmalion’s Bride, and by you, my model)