Different Skies
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ArchwayTakahiro Goto

Boy, do I miss Archway. Even sitting here on a sofa (which Archway didn’t have), next to a working fireplace (which Archway didn’t have) can’t beat the grey area between student life and real life that the conglomeration of Archway represented to me. You walk right up to the entrance, and there’s like, 23 different types of Moss and Fungus growing all around you, typical for a badly cared for front yard in London, but did I mention the miniature green sofa with yellow stars? It just sat outside in the rain, and sunned itself in those summer days that didn’t feel like forever, but trickled away like precious sand in a dry hourglass. So before I diverge into describing how comfortable the front yard was, let me move onto the jangling of keys, the feeling not of home, but of community. The doorway embraces you, because it’s so well ventilated. An ever-moving landscape of constantly changing conditions places you in the peculiar situation of feeling safe in a place most chaotic. I felt awesomely at ease there, sweetness, if only you could smell the kitchen! Remnants of spice, dirty dishes, and the grassy air of a wild unkempt garden wafting fetaciously past your eyes. A table we found in a skip, held up a tiny lamp wherein a red bulb was attached. At night it was tradition to just sit in the dim redness while sipping whisky or hot tea.  Wine bottles live near the rice cooker, under the shelves where the universal plates live. Or next to the greasy spice rack, yucky, overused yellow tins with scrapes and dents, red wine for pastas, white wine for fish and cream, olive oil for everything else. Just try to cook something here, it was next to incredible. The resident doctor found it hard to withstand the chilli, but he normally scavenged for food in the middle of the night after his shift, or in the morning, where he would begin with a description of the leg he sawed off no more than 4 hours earlier. Yes, an air of satisfaction is often found hanging in the kitchen, like a piece of decor, but other places in the house, everything represented the more sinister and seedy sides of the mind. Like the toilets, piss spattered when men don’t have an aim. Downstairs for spider mothers and their egg sacs. Upstairs for the light house, sheltering a tiny coloured vase. Walk past the poster of Spiral Jetty and you find yourself at three entrances to three different worlds, all stationed before further stairs take you up into, well, space. An empty room sits up there, for the unlucky souls hovering in limbo (a lone mattress and white table rest here permanently), check, before you move onwards that your passport is with you, the ceiling is plastered with images, and every surface is a city of small ornaments, including a miniature aquarium. Fish not included. A small window overlooks the garden, over to the neighbouring well manicured lawn where a red macaw was inhabiting for two hours. Before they caught it in a shirt. Great, you might think, this place is a zoo, and quite right if you ask me, there are enough water divets to generate an eco-system of pondlife and we recieve some frequent visitors of the feline and canadae (fox) variety. Multicoloured clothes pegs straddle a plastic rope, weak and used only for small garments, or the occasional beating of nasty, carpets. Come down! Yells a voice from downstairs, come down! Come and eat with us! These Chinese fireballs! If only they could do something other than cut your hair and throw paper everywhere.  Sometimes you see them sitting idly in front of a computer, using excel, but other times it’s like being in a port village 100 kilometres away from the Yellow River. We were very international there, people from every country and every career would pass through like pilgrims on their way to their next life. The best thing we did to entertain them was to throw easy parties, governed by the guitar, and occasionally an entire band. Massage trains would rumble by when tired and tipsy. People would sit on the stairway, or lounge between dream and wakefulness upstairs on a roll up mattress, idly viewing movies about prison breaks and dwarf colonies in a surround soundscape. Lights of different colours illuminated books on shelves. Tranquilizer darts can be found in the attic, malicious little things have me down and under the sheets, that chair, round the bean bag on the ground, next to what could have been an immaculate piano. The piano of unknown origins. Did it come from Dave's piano shop or did it come with the house? It was missing a few keys back then. Cut to a scene in a park, it's about three years later, and my headspace is filled with new japanese junk. A few train wrecks, all imaginary. Sitting atop that pile of stuff, from Archway to Redman's, to Limehouse then Kentish - I'm a serial filmer you know. I filmed stuff, the sort of stuff that belongs in an archive. All that, plonk it on the top thar, stave off the flies with new food, new ways, and new goals. I am going to be alright, we’re the friends of alright, we're all going to be okay. I whisp to my whiskers, as I traverse over the crevice I call London, where deep below I can still hear us devils make soup out of common days. Seriously, how did we do it? Seize the day and smelt spice into meals and air into song? I had myself a dream recently. The london heap that was once Archway had grown into a behemoth landscape, enough water to fill the Thames, new landmarks sprouting. Hold the thought of a clear, crisp, map of the city, this dream was none of those. Imagine instead, a deep range of tall hills, lush grass, lonely farms, a windmill here and there, blanketing over the lot an intense fog. Bergs upon bergs, we all filed along the hilly paths as we would on the London underground, in a rush through the bush though at a snail’s tempo. I can't hear anyone, I can't see anything. I finally reached a noisy restaurant as night fell, and my girlfriend was waiting for me at the table. We spoke little as the noise around us perpetually jackhammered the plates and cutlery. Suddenly I was falling towards a fork that decided to take a dive off the edge, and before I knew it my body was breaking the sound barrier. From within I heard a voice tell me that I must reach the fork, or be slammed on the ground at a speed yet unheard of in a London food parlour. I skimmed my arteries to slow down time, verily I tapped the fork to spin it as though in outer space, to have it land squarely in the palm of my hand. I was falling slowly through the ground, literally through the mantle, I got my fork, so all was well.