London Tales – Feeling Old and in the Way. Betty Blues Belter.

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 An extract from The Singers Tale   

Nothing like feeling old and in the way. On a crowded high street, a gang of girls are walking towards me – straddled across the pavement like an impenetrable wall of young women. I stand my ground or I could be swerved into the gutter? They show no sign of seeing me. Closer closer. As if I am invisible, not here. What will I do? ‘Perhaps I should lie down and you can walk over me to save you the trouble of giving way?’ Said me to myself & I.  ‘I am a nuisance, old and in the way.’ Girls laughing chatting with each other, filled with the enjoyment of their own wit. I stand my ground – avoiding the gutter – refusing to be elbowed out of the way – with my bag full of vegetables – fruit – two pots of red geraniums and a loaf of bread.‘Hello? ‘ ‘Excuse me?’ Louder. They do not register me until almost nose to nose I stood still, not moving left or right. 

‘Where did she come from?’ ‘Mad old bat or what?’ ‘State of her?’ Shrieks of scorn as I pass, they barely part the line they make across the pavement. ‘Look at that Hair.’ I am madder than hell, shaking with indignation. Move on ‘old gal’ move on you’re in the way. Fuck off and die Da ya get me? Understand what I’m saying? Know whatI mean? I am dismissed, sneered at and pushed aside. They are still laughing at the audacity of their own words of ribaldry. 

Some people are in this world under the illusion that only they are important- only they have right of way – the only pebbles on the beach – At the centre of all things human. Bikes on the pavement bells furiously ringing, get out of the way. Loud phone calls on trains – do we all need to know about their lives? Legs splayed and elbows on both armrests on Bus and Train, with no intention of giving room, giving way –  

‘My space mate, I was here first.’

Backpacks swinging this way and that. Oblivious of a mound attached to backs, twice as wide as the people they knock flying. Meandering along bustling streets, eyes and thumbs busy on Phones. Annoyed if you are there, ‘How dare you to be in my path?’ Gossiping on crowded high streets, in exits and entrances on the Tube Train platforms.

Excuse me? Again. Excuse me?

Surprise and a reluctant move an inch – no more. The lack of a queue – courtesy kindness Push shove – ‘Thank you Gov?’ No! Old man or old woman, pregnant girl, boy on crutches ‘Out of my way, me, me, me first.’

 Gonna have a dance now that I have vented my spleen xxx  For every Areshole there are lots of lovely people.

Make way…  for  The Chimaera. Strong Singer – Betty Blues Belter

Echidna bore Chimaera whose breath was raging fire,  terrible and mighty, swift of foot and strong. And she had three heads:  

One the head of a fierce-eyed lion, the other of a goat-

the third of a snake, even a mighty Dragon.

In front, she was a Lion, behind a Dragon,

In the midst, a Goat, breathing the terrible might of a blazing fire… Hesiod Theogony.

Strong Singer, when in possessed sings as if she has three or more heads.

She grows in stature: becomes powerful & omnipotent.

She sings as if she is in control of her domain, and sometimes she has many tongues. 

She strides and struts within her lair. Betty Blues Belter 

 and Clara The Clown collide and conduct a full frontal assault as a one, three or more, headed being.

When Strong singer appears, I am left feeling drained, but exhilarated.

I feel as if my body has been occupied by a much more commanding and forceful presence than I contain. As if fury and frenzy were bubbling just below the surface of Strong singers voice. As if I am in a battle with my many selves. Seeking to gain control and create some sort of truce in order to be creative without losing my control.

Strong Singer has very red hair is hard of muscle and swift on her feet.

She flashes fire from her eyes and is capable of a quick retort when she feels misunderstood. She is a Lion and a simmering snake.

A Dragon breathing flame. She is old and young, timeless and formless.

Constantly changing shape and substance. She goes into battle for me, fights my corner.  Speaks for me.

Sometimes elusive. I cannot find her when I need her.

She only appears as a performer.  Perhaps it’s just as well. I feel she could do damage!

She hovers on the edge of danger. She dwells in a fiery place, full to the brim with her anger and passion. She frightens and intoxicates me. Strong singer.

Photo Val Wimer

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