September 18: idlers

Ouside the flat where I live there is a spot much favoured by idlers. they come at night and position themselves there just outside my bedroom window. It is on a corner, so it is a spot where there is no parking, which explains why the position is free at night and why the idler places himself there. There is no denying that there are drug dealers afoot in the area who might undertake their transactions in an idling automobile, ready for a quick getaway, but mostly these are just regular guys doing what a lot of regular guys do, getting out of the house at night, going into their favourite space, which is their car and driving off to another alien spot (outside my bedroom, as it turns out). Here they keep the engine running. For comfort? That warm throb must keep them happy. One is wary of confronting the idler by night. Who knows what kind of idler he is? And any night encounter is risk-laden. This nocturnal activity is an index to the life of the common man (it is almost exclusively men). They have to get out of the house, even when they should be tucked up in bed. The house or the flat is an oppressive locus. It needs escaping from. Once we found someone asleep snuggled up to the throbbing engine. Often they sit there listening to their music. Very existential and all that but I just wish they wouldn’t end up doing it five yards from my bed.

September 4: proximity

I am preparing to go back to the physical reality of working with other people after about six months on screen. For me, this can not come a moment too soon. I shall surely grumble at getting up earlier and travelling on public transport but, on balance, I am happy to go back. I am maybe in a minority. Many people enjoy the virtual contact with others and will try and retain it, perhaps permanently. Notions of personal space and intimate space have stretched and perhaps elasticated for good. This proxemic sense has either become more or less acute depending on your point of view. In the Renaissance the art of body arranging was infinitely more refined. Their dances were a codification of hierarchies and allegiance.But equally one would think nothing of sharing a bed with another man. Montaigne always shares his bed with Henri de Navarre (the future Henri IV) whenever he is in town, just as a gesture of friendship. Personally, I do need physical human transaction, though I am not what you call a particularly touchy-feely type. I put this down to having shared a bed with my big brother when I was a teenager, whiuch might put anyone off.