So Sunday night was the Thames Festival. On the south bank the whole riverfront was packed with people and stalls and buskers and more people. It was exciting just being there, it had hit the critical mass of people required.
There was a parade departing from just under Waterloo Bridge, and this was a great thing to behold. Rank on rank of people all decked out in river-themed finery and shining lights, lots of children, cultural groups dancing and making music, enormous uncanny creatons floating past. We danced and clapped the whole time.
Then the fireworks. Tugs darted about on the Thames letting off gouts of fire into the night as ominous music rumbled almost beyond notice, and bodies crowded in until the first blast of light and crack of sound erupted. Explosion upon explosion, delicate shivers on the membrane of sky or thunderous bangs slapping down to earth, trails of shimmering light and flashes too bright to watch, it became something I felt in my body, in the way my heart was beating.
I don’t know that I’d ever really understood parades and fireworks before this, not really.
I’m staying with Elizabeth and Roland. Elizabeth was one of the Todman St flat founders back in 99 and I haven’t seen her since the end of that year, so it’s been a tremendous chance to catch up. Roland is a genius character, too, and it’s been great getting to know him a bit. They live in Lewisham, which is south of Greenwich, which is south of London. It’s about a half-hour into the middle of town. There’s foxes at the bottom of the garden but I haven’t gone to look just yet.
Tomorrow I go to Rome.