Well it’s been nearly 3 months but I’m finally going home.
It feels like an age since I set off for Kolkata.
Whether that be the more obvious example of Kolkata and its steamy other or trying to live in a posh public school or standing outside a caravan on the Portobello Road and talking to 50 strangers a day whilst wearing a bowtie. Often its meant being trapped in language- or out of it. Whether that be the smiling, nodding, incomprehension of a Xhose speaking South African or the strangeness of talking to people you have never met on the street and desperately trying to sound like your not selling something. (if only because you are not). Nothing has been usual. That has often meant nothing has been easy. But then that’s never a bad thing. My head is so full of new. So full of stories, that actually its time to go home because I’m not sure there is any room left in my head. I go home gloriously for a full two weeks. Two weeks of planning for Slung Low’s new show with the Everyman; 2 weeks of site visits for the new show Mapping the City in Hull for iMove; 2 weeks of meetings with funders and men and women of ideas. 2 weeks to put a plan in place for our home The Holbeck Underground Ballroom so it might be useful to even more people than it currently serves. That’s a pretty good two weeks.
Crucially 2 weeks at home. Then to Liverpool for an equally crucial 3 months. But something occurred to me tonight as I walking home to my rather lovely digs in Elephant and Castle.
I make a short (very) introductory speech at the beginning of the Knowledge Emporium’s presentations. I was thinking about it on the way home. There is a section when I explain that the 1000+ people who have written in the Knowledge Emporium’s Big Book of Everything that We Know have “made an offer- an offer made in good faith and from a unique perspective”. It occurred to me that’s what this long 11 week road trip has been. Me bungling around the world and country standing relatively silent whilst a magnitude of magnificent people have made offers, in good faith and from a unique perspective. And I have had the unbelievable good fortune to be able accept all of them. Each story, smile, trip, entry, meal, bed, guiding hand. What an absolutely brilliant way to spend 3 months. Saying yes. Saying thank you. And tomorrow I get to drive Slung Low’s very own airstream caravan- complete with installed sweet shop- home to Leeds. After some mad dashing around and rather brilliant figures juggling by producer Laura Clark we have- as the determination was vaingloriously declared on here and Twitter- bought the Emporium. It will be a thing of greatness for Slung Low I know. Expect to see it trundling around Yorkshire soon in all its shiny glory. And more than that- more than even our very own 1960’s caravan- more than my head full of the memory of it all- more than India, South Africa, Festivals and Sweetshops- more than that… I get to go home. And the greatest luck of all is that waiting there for me is this: o lucky man. It’s a wonder I ever left home in the first place. But I am very glad I did. Alan
Notting Hill- but not for long. PS: for those that don’t know me personally the above is a picture of my wife Lucy and most excellent hound Billy. He celebrated the 4th anniversary of being our dog on Friday. That is why he is wearing his special celebration bow tie. He wouldn’t normally wear that on a week day.
I see also that- a la Frank Sinatra- he has undone the bow and is wearing it in a casual style. This detail allows us to be sure that the photograph was taken after sundown.