One of the few things I remember about my first days ever at school was two guys in my class making a big castle out of little wooden bricks. They made a pretty big castle. I remember it because I destroyed it. I remember the crestfallenness of my two classmates’ faces as we all surveyed the ruins of a well-constructed castle, a big pile on the floor.
I also remember counting to 20 as a nursery class, all in unison, counting the numbers of the world.
I don’t ever remember drawing the drawings I have in a big heap in my bedroom. How I learnt right from the beginning to elevate our thoughts into scribble. Thereafter we learnt how to elevate scribble into lines, to draw our faces, to draw things. At some point we learnt how to shade things, how to make things look like they’re covered in light, to draw three dimensions.
I saw a girl on the train writing in what looked like her diary, I couldn’t help feel struck by the meaningfulness of what was contained in her book, I imagined every of her insecurities written out in urgent questions to the inanimate Tesco ring-binder, I felt this chestnut-shaped wedge at the back of my throat, some mix of sympathy and love and urge to make everything better, answer all the imagined little questions in the book.
And so I felt similarly, albeit with more musical empathy than train-ride sympathy, sitting on a very tall stall at my local pub, watching Mark Wynn splutter out his contents in a stream of magnificent monologue. Some backbone of mild rhythm and a medium of familiar chord schemes, originated with his streaming mind, swilling and splashing, spilling off the stage. Often, when he was into it, it felt like he was in his own world and we were looking over his shoulder, seeing what he was seeing, observing his state of scribbled capital letters, writing to himself, helping us to a helpless sense of fascination and affection.
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