I’ve been in Hong Kong nearly two years now, which means it’s about four years since I left London for Brighton, and a full seven years since I left Suffolk to begin my university career at Queen Mary in the badlands of Mile End. Seven years. Seven dirty great hunks of calendrical time spaffed up the wall of memory, some fragments sticking, others coalescing, some not really making the journey at all. Odds and ends splishing and splash-slapping all up my brain, making me me, for better or worse.
I guess it’s pointless feeling gloomy about the passing of time—you may as well worry about rain or beards or bears or somesuch—especially if you’re happy with how the time’s been spent. Nostalgia always has a whiff of the weep about it, sure, but as long as you can lid it up all tight with the rest of your suppressed anxieties, then no harm done. And there’s always high-speed international air-travel—one more log for the anxiety pyre—to bring you closer to that homeland feeling, in map-wise terms at least. Feeling geographically proximate to old, sepia imprints of yourself or selves as you popped about from place to place—from pub to house to beach to school, from shop to car to park to pool—is always pleasant.
In a similar vein, I was listening to music just now and my voice blared out of the past and right into my ears: waves crashing in from over nine years ago, dashing out memories of hospitals, Avent, gig seating and Steve in Witham. Sprigs of time mashed up in binary, careening down my ear-holes, slipping and skidding about, trying to take hold in some adequately remembered narrative of my past. Our music was misguided, perhaps, and very often artless, but so well-recalled that all inequities of style and substance melt into warm goo. Sepia-folks now in Southampton, London, Weston-super-Mare, Bury St Edmunds, Seoul and Hong Kong, teaching, managing, studying and practising, and all held hard like Ambered insects in some memory-sense past just waiting to crack out and start moving to music.