November 2010


In the run up to Brazil, as the days have got shorter and colder in London, every Monday I’ve been going to my friend Flan’s house and sitting in her beautiful attic studio, surrounded by canvases and beautiful smears of paint. She’s been painting my portrait.

After four weeks of delicious coffee, chatting, dozing in the winter sunshine: a portrait. Paint on canvas and: me. Now slotted into the pantheon.

In less than two weeks, I will be lying cocooned in the sounds of the Brazilian rain forest, in a circular temple of green mosquito-netting and gravity defying wooden beams, elevated in an ayahuasca state.

Two weeks before (sometimes, two months before) these journeys, my body and mind start to be full of backward reflections. Shards of the future pre-shadowed in the now. Things slow down, I become more inward, often more infantile. It’s like I’m regressing towards that small door that I know I have to go through. The small brown door in the bottom of that dank-smelling cup.

This film will come out next year. It looks beautiful and it seems to articulate what Aya is about. I haven’t seen it — but there is a wave coming. And this looks like the shiny flashes at the crest.

As always on these adventures, I stop being able to read prose. Sounds silly, I know but in the run up and during the trip, all I can make sense of is poetry. Emily Dickinson seems to be everywhere at the moment:

Presentiment – is that long Shadow – on the Lawn –
Indicative that Suns go down -

The Notice to the startled Grass
That Darkness – is about to pass -