Even with the blinds wide open it’s impossible to tell if it’s day or night, night or day. And this is how it is. This is how it’s been. The temperature drops, I go about the house turning on the lights. At the kitchen table I squint, my fingertips hovering, hesitating, I struggle to find the right keys. I lean in towards the screen, purposeful at last, closing in… to find only the ghostly image of my face reflected back at me: blank, poised, in between. Lingering here on the margins, on the fringe, something emerges from the burning white, coalesces into words, gains conviction, even makes sense TO ME.
Torrential rain. Harder, louder still. Faster, if that’s possible, as though until now a damn of cloud held back the flow. “It’s so hard to know…” Then off like a faucet. A timpani of hail, icy rhythms skipping off the steel dome of the burner in the yard next door. Even with the blinds wide open it’s impossible to tell if it’s August or December, January or May. “It’s so hard to know what to wear…”
I park up beneath the arches. The trams aren’t running. I’m not bothered about a drink. I pay by phone until 8 a.m. the next day. Outside breaks squeak and cars pass with the sharp smack of rubber displacing deep gullies of water. Diversion. Lane closed. Tower cranes. Lift shafts exposed, each vertebrae hollow and hard, a skeleton slowly composed, rising from the shadows below. “When will the city be finished?”
After the film my mind is racing, the rain has stopped, the cars now intermittent, the roads still slick, tyres on the wet just brushes on a cymbal, shimmering, fading away. Mamucium’s battlements are silhouetted behind us against the black blue sky, the August December, the January May, the viaduct, the hillside, the day night, night day. “When will the city be finished?”
It’s warm enough to walk with a blazer unbuttoned and Deansgate gliding by, your arm in mine. “So hard to know what to wear…” We circle the car three times then abandon it. I pay by phone until 8 a.m. the next day. Forthright, instilling a sense that we know our own minds, we stride up closed lanes and return dead-eyed stares to the empty concrete sockets of office blocks under construction. Lingering here on the margins, on the fringe, we teeter on the edge of the sinkhole, daring each other to look deeper. When will the city be finished?
Dir. Antonioni (1962)
31st August, 2015