As with knowing the name Katerina means ‘Pure' - I also know that here in Athens, I wouldn't know anybody without the introductions Woozy and Marlene have given me. From knowing no one, I’ve been spoilt, duly bestowed with an introduction to a city tribe of special souls. Specifically in the art and more creative arena’s of this town. While nothing is ever exactly the same, but Athens today, feels much like the international convergence of free spirits, that New York was infamous for in the late eighties. While maybe more War-hole, than grieving Warhol. More anarchist than gangster, more shrugging old school...
None so akin with this description, as the annual ‘Xemantilotou Family Garage Gig’ Katerina Nikou took me to yesterday afternoon. In a life time of partying, this was the best kind. A gathering of generations, in the scruffy spit and grease of a garage, with a barbecue, a sound system and a shed load of that lethal Ikaria wine. Ffs…
Kicking myself for not taking my camera, because this was a remarkable posse of the well-weathered. Wonderful faces, lined with hardcore knowing and decades of rock’s habits; no plaster cast guises, fickle fronts or hipsters, this was a true soul gathering.
Yet its hopeless really, cause it’s all in Greek. However, good music transcends all languages, rhythm has no passport; all men are happiest when singing and dancing. It is like this, and this was how last night was. A wildly easy party, with the best gathering of weathered and practiced musicians taking the stage. Strumming out loads of British Classics.... Joe Strummer really remaining the Ugly Kingdom's greatesteat advocate. Anyway somewhere within it all, in the spirit of it all. I shared three really sweet encounters. Each still lingering in my thoughts, still poignant and precious this morning.
I live uprooted. Sometimes you need messages from angel's to ground you. It is like this in my head.
So at some point, I’d pulled up a chair, beside some old boy sat to the left of the stage. Anyway this toothless member of the hardcore and fucking lived it, example of a world that first recorded Leadbelly. A one eyed Greek leprechaun, this character, this sprite I found myself sat next to. There, trying to communicate with, amidst the decibels and no shared language, Ikaria wine and loads of spliffs going round.
While our senses are all we can properly call our own. It is as it is as is our Western way, we are 'the wasted population.'
This our love to party. Again the British being reknowned for it, both at home and abroad. Ever suppressing the uglyness of it all? Better wasted than straight, it is like this, removing ourselves, easier to be out-there than contend with the stark, ugly reality of it all. It is the escapist mindset for sensitive souls, with thanks to Pascal Escobar and the CIA, today, the common association is 'without drink and drugs we don't know how to have fun?' And here I am, such a product of my country, just another fucking waster???
Too aware my addictions have really fucked me up...
Anyway so there I am, with this twinkling, one green eye of a man, and yet there was something about this man, that made me feel like he was looking straight into me. Like he was a man far wiser than I, who knew something I would never know? I wear no veil, perhaps its easy to see into me? Laid bare time and time again, I come pretty naked in my truth these day’s. He was just some stranger at another party, an encounter...
With a laughing, one-eyed Greek...
Anyway, he said something I didn't understand, but took my hand. Then with the other, he began stroking my head with the other, again muttering something I couldn’t decipher. It was all weird, yet this is the totally normal type of thing that happens to me. This however felt poignant with kindness. His hand laid on my head, the music, what was it? Yet, beginning with my feet tapping fervently on the floor, I was conscious of the sensations running through me. A bit like distant light in the mist. Something streaming through me.
Difficult to explain in the idleness of words. What is real? Yet following what must have been ten, fifteen minutes, sat there with his hand on my head. He leant forward, speaking very slowly, directly to my ear, announcing in my own mother tongue “I-have-just-opened-you-up.” It felt like the truth, yet only now had he spoken English? Who was this toothless one-eyed old Shaman?
Yet he felt like a spell breaker. Certainly, I've felt cursed over the last few years. Cloaked in that fog of sadness, where nothing seems to touch us. I’ve felt bubbled in it for ages. Really in it, and up against all the negative electro-magnetics, stuck in a cycle of it.
I need resoration, I need to break the cycles. As is unlocking a cell door.
Fuck knows what this man did to me last night, but it was something. A couple of hours of sitting there next to him. All the crazy coming and going of other’s, amidst what was becoming a legendary party. Yet between him and I, it was just peaceful. He didn't speak to me in Greek or English, adopting only silent gestures. Funny, sureal, yet did I know, did he know, I don’t know; but between him and I, it was as if some invisible and silent, cellular level energetic exchange was realigning something. Honestly, this is how it felt, like it was all divined by some Universal force far greater than I, as all meant.
Really, I don’t know what happened, did anything happen, why does anything happen? Its all the delusion in the illusion.
All the Ikaria wine of an energetic exchange?
Some old shaman going around doing good? He didn’t stay late. That left eye of his, twinkling with neither push nor pull, only warm affection as he bowed his good bye. I'll never see him again, but I will forever remember this encounter.
I get it. I respect the power of the collective, and am always drawn to those that channel peace. Very sensitive, I need opening up to the stark vulnerability of my senses, too good at ignoring them. Building a steal wall around them to protect myself from controlling narcissist's. Its not a healthy defence mechanism, but it is the one that I've been using for years. A steal barrier, between the world and my heart.
In a state of closed not open, where is joy; the joy in dancing?? For this is what I did for the rest of the evening, everybody was dancing, the music was sublime, a dervish of pure exuberance and unconscious abandon. I haven’t felt so free, so unhindered for such a long time.
Then dry mouthed, falling off the dance floor gasping for water. Some other stranger came up to me, I’d guess probably in his seventies, wealthier and fitter in his Gucci shoes, than the good Shaman. Anyway standing in front of me, speaking initially in Greek, but when I’d apologised in English for not understanding. He’d continued fluently. “Watching your beauty on the dance floor, was like tripping, you're exquisite.”
Like fucking tripping, come on! All these old men hitting on me! Yet it was a comment given really kindly, he meant it. Having ‘just-been-opened up’ it is true, I was perhaps aware of a radiance; sweat and wine? Still this was nice; his eyes brimming with seeming sincerity. This wasn't a man expressing anything beyond what he’d felt compelled to express; an uncomplicated observation. A gift, a token of words?
A message to remind me of something?
I thanked him, said something about being a writer, and how a beautiful compliment was like sprinkling light on the grist. Here, now writing exactly as this whole crazy evening in Athens was.
Yet he’d continued, ‘Know it, know you're exquisite; you need to believe it…’ And then, I don’t know what happened, someone grabbed my arm, to compliment me on my array of silver bracelets. When I turned back, he’d gone.
Just another encounter.
The third, was with another '...exquisite dark woman.'
I'd struck the conversation. Noticing the tattoo on her arm; I’d wanted to know what it said? Her reply, a kismet. Her tattoo, the lyrics of Lynard Skynard’s ‘Simple Man.’ The tune I gave my son on his 21st Birthday.
It means more than a lot to me. There, with another mother. this tune tattooed down her arm? Really cool, and bonding in my mind, Her 1963, my 1967 similar perspective, what else would a mother want for her child? As I stood talking to her, aware of a less ordinary evening. Conscious that life itself contains many stages, ever aware I've lived many lives. I've had my youth, now my twenty-four year old son takes that mantle. And, well I'm in this place, attracting the old, that are now really not so old.
Ffs. Its all warping. This is my middle-age, and still, I don't know what next, or even what it is I wish for myself?
I've survived fifty years on this planet; its 2018 and really, I'm just a fucking mess.
Yet how punk, and embracing to find yourself in some gararge gig in Athens, dancing with the great, the good and the pure hearted. Getting older, yet wiser, noting that there is always a trilogy at play in life. With eyes wide open, last night, the spiritual exchange, the more surreal to my mind; the exchange with Shaman Leadbelly, was a comedy. The funny bit. The man that told me I was 'Exquiste...' This the tragedy at play, as I like so many women, struggling in the struggle of it all; we forget our godess. Our gentler feminine power.
Certainly, me and mankind need to raise our vibration by dancing more.
Yet as for the fellow mother with the tattoo. Well in the undercurrent of the how, what and why of how my mind is presently ticking. Its Christmas 2017, I miss my son, he's in London, I'm fuck knows where?
We haven't spoken in over a year.
Subsequently, you can see that at the heart of this trilogy of encounters. Just as the stage is set in my life, and as it played out last night in my head. Out of these three sweet exchanges with strangers. The last is the fucking farce, the one that cuts the most.
This lingering question as to my mothering skills?
The bit I still don't want to talk about....