Lyrics are personal collective memories: looking back at my rear garden in London, Islington, Angel –
An Angelic Conversation with a bit of Syd Barrett’s hell of a catchy tune
Once upon a time, I dwelled for a while in the City, in a building which I always pretend to recognise on a Canaletto painting of the Thames, in the Saint Paul’s parish, near another Wren’s church, St Mary Somerset, I was faced by the Tate Modern, transported by the Millennium Bridge, rocked by the river tidal phases. Later on, I moved from the City to Angel, Islington. Nearby, CamdenPassage offered a bizarre medley of real and invented trades for antique and collectables, cliche, kitsch, strangely cosy, a permanent feast of memorabilia, far beyond the Milanese stiffly regimented vintage exegesis, shiny happy people laughing, meet me in the crowd, along the Long Road and on down the Causeway do they still meet there by the Cut. Manna from heaven for me writing at the time about nostalgia. I was so intrigued by the bustle around those relics and remnants that I even advised a homeless who lodged at night under a canopy of the market to give it a try and to improve his conditions by becoming an aide-de-camp for those old folks of more or less alleged antiquarians with all their cardboard boxes.
As a boy he had been in Florence, a hint of a well-off childhood, also his manners suggested such a past, intertwined with the warmhearted hopes of a future life in Australia, maybe he could someday enter the travel agency at the corner of our simple but dense angelic conversations two Camel long. The (Islington) green was greener, the light was brighter, when friends surrounded the night of wonder. The Angel’s wonder. She was long gone, long, long gone. Why for so long she’d been gone.
The landlord of my flat there was an Irish architect whom I solely met on the locus of points between the doorsill and the stairway to my first-floor haven, with him emerging from the right-wing chamber of his den and trespassing in the carmine the carpeted vestibule for getting in the other more sinister aisle of his pied-à-terre consisting of the two rooms with windows zealously obscured by atramentous rubbish bags that he refused to utilise more properly. The hoary debonair Methuselah had adorned the companionway between his deck and the superior ones with quaint framed etchings depicting faced spiders grinning like a Cheshire cat, eccentric engravings which could be conjured together only from Kubin in person, a gentle harbinger, as I later fathomed, finding twice unequivocal tarantulas in the shade cast by the wardrobe shutters in my bedroom as I fitted the shelves looking away fingering and flat working the gift paper. He certainly always loved to be quizzical – and for sure still does, according to Google maps, dated July 2021 where the everlasting censored windows now reinforced with steel still exist. The whole house smelled of roasted paprika, sweet and spicy, comforting like Rescue remedy by Dr Bach. The old man prodigy’s refrain to me recursively repeated that the Italian melody is almost the same as the Gaelic, and he always passed the litmus test with every evidence he was able to articulate whispering within euphonic undertones in my passing by ears. That early 18th
hundred-century house was a marvel for other facts too, being home for a fox which used to jump onto the window sill roughly every night after the witching hours, and from there mesmerizing me lying in bed, then leaping away for meeting its mate, as I later understood, they were a duo living in the wild bewitched rear garden. And I stood very still by the window sill.