Outside Morrisons in the midwinter mist, the old sax player stands against the wall of the undershop car park – that makes the entrance so welcoming with its reek of stale exhaust fumes – a series of mute grey frames with him the only image, playing snatches of tunes that sound a bit like Coltrane’s version of “Favourite things” (1) drifting through the attenuated traffic on a very tired Edgware Road. Coltrane’s version is cool. Julie Andrews, it isn’t. A necessary historical corrective to a false impression of how dominant the cultural challenge that took place in the sixties was is that the best selling album of the decade wasn’t Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but the soundtrack from The Sound of Music. The fifties lasted until about 1977 in most places.
A young woman in a hoody and a half mast mask waves wildly at someone drifting slowly and invisibly upwards on the escalator.
My graffiti spraying neighbour has now painted the letters “WLM” on another white van; showing the respect for private property so characteristic of the right wing. This is more obscure than his last effort – which was “Trump Jesus”, as in the slogan chanted by the fascist mob at the Capitol building on January 6th, “Trump is President and Christ is King!” Because you can just see Jesus smashing his way through windows with a riot shield wearing a horned hat and carrying flexi-ties, a Glock and a Confederate flag shouting “Hang Mike Pence!” in my brain, since about 1974, WLM has stood for “Women’s Liberation Movement”, but I somehow doubt that that was what he was spraying. Googling it throws up more possibilities, but nothing obvious. “Windows Live Messenger”? “Weak Localisation Model – physics”? “Women Loving Men”? “White Light Motorcade?” That one sounds implicitly Alt Right and supremacist, but turns out to be a band. Maybe he’s taking a turn to culture, but the mystery remains.
Although a little out of season at this time. I’m signing off with a happy gesture of solidarity for 2021 from the cheerful snow people in Ash Tree Dell, who look as though they have joined the Red Front.