Sunday, August 20, 2006

melancholy neon, silk road food, exercise by the Thames

A neon installation on a white wall in the White Cube gallery in Hoxton Square in London consists of these words in neon letters:
And if I don't meet you no more in this world
Then I'll meet you in the next one
And don't be late, don't be late

We eat mezze and shish kebab outside a restaurant in Old Street. The restaurant is called Shish which is turkish for the skewer on which meat and vegetables are grilled. The menu is drawn from the countries through which the 2000 year old silk route between Europe and China once passed, and whose local cuisines have influenced one another over the years. I savour the food and, not least the names of the place associated with the silk route: Trebizond, Tabriz, Nashapur, Samarkand, Kashgar, Xi'an. Never far away are James Elroy Flecker's words: "
We travel not for trafficking alone:
By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned:
For lust of knowing what should not be known
We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.

From the pedestrian bridge over the Thames, (St Pauls Cathedral on one bank, the Tate Modern on the other), I watch, on one of the beaches which occur when the tide is low, a solitary young man in a green T shirt doing some exercises; he leans forward and slowly rotates his torso, while breathing in the muddy air of the river.

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