Busy schedule this trip – Oxford, Cyprus and Parliament in a little over a week : ) Visual feast to begin with at the Bodleian and the Byzantine studies institute in OXFORD showing hidden gospels of the mountain monastery at Garima in Northern Ethiopia.
Airports – and Heathrow particularly – not my favourite place. Now sun is setting over high snowed Georgian mountains and Black Sea, acres of sheep wool rolled over the world, keeping it cosy. I’m 10cms from minus 70 degrees, three sheets of plastic from my window pressed face.
On the flight my thoughts turned often to Syrian refugees, making a similar journey in the other direction. Overland with kids and all they’ve left – across wine dark winter seas indifferent to their success or failure. I want all the world to find happiness, thrive and flourish, laugh, love, linger. But knowing that they all have not, and in my lifetime most likely won’t, cannot be allowed to diminish the joy I feel, as the brilliant sun falls softly into gunmetal grey weather. Like those Kurdish dancers filmed dancing their celebration in the Calais Jungle, joy is the thing that will carry us through.
Arrived in Nicosia, sleeping just down from the UN buffer zone. Workshopping and performing while the beautifully distorted sound of a rich voiced muezzin called across no man’s land, from the red flagged mosque that once was St Sophia’s cathedral. Into NIMac, a gallery that was once a power station. Round the back, red lights on the houses and hobo hipster bars, beat nicked and seductively subversive.
UN buffer zone, Cyprus – old warm limestone, air filled with sound, recent war zone, inhabited by hipsters and downtown gentrifying wannabes. Streets shared by painters and prostitutes, quiet in the late hours, winter sky.
All kingdoms smashed and buried in the sky
To express the feelings of a chair when we sit on it
Farewell to Cyprus with a performance at the the marvellous BOOK CLUB… coffee, acoustic music and a treasure house of volumes. It was lovely playing, but I had really forgotten the joy of browsing a collection as an exploration, with no fixed purpose, meandering through Orwell, Henry Moore, DaVinci and a star atlas. Exquisite place.
Buffer zone Book Club
Playing bouzouki here is like coals to Newcastle
The secret of liberty, said Pericles, is courage
Books, music and along the street the brothel dog…
Back to London for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Music, chaired by Nigel Adams, discussing music and young offenders. Impassioned words for Lord Ramsbottom, a real sense of engagement with the ideas from Lord McNally and useful input from the manager of Muse. I contributed ideas on the profound importance and value of music, expanding on ideas from Wittengstein and Zukerkandl and others. A very positive session I felt.