Monday, 31 May 2010

A summer's day in Tallinn May 2010

Then we go to the market around the corner where the Georgians and Azabaijanis and Russians sell their fruit and nuts and out of date canned food. I bought a packet of peanuts that should have been eaten in 2008, they tasted quite wrong.

Triin and I played a bit of music by the entrance of the market in the sunshine. The Russian drunks danced a bit. We played a bit of jazz but I feel much more connection to the people when we play Russian music and we actually earn more money that way too. I feel like a duke box when we play the American jazz but the Russian music really connects with the audience and many people smile and talk to us. There is a poor guy with a long beard whom I played a happy estonian song for. He looks like an Old Believer: barefooted and treading slowly, eating scraps of food left in the market and sharing his bread with the pidgeons. He does not care what other people think but seems to want to do nothing but good to the world and live like a bird. He gave us a russian magazine about healing plants that looked really interesting and I offered him money but he refused saying: "I dont need to buy anything."
I reflected about him for a while. And later when I saw the young estonian girl zooming along the street on a motorized soap box think that is popular these days, I wondered if my friend would do that, just for fun... unlikely somehow but I could picture his beard in the wind and a smile on his face. Maybe it is silly to think that, he probably loves his walks with nature.

An old sailor came and talked to us as we were packing up, he told Triin all about his rollocking life. He played violin and one night at sea he decided to learn a classical piece and he practiced it until the dawn and since that day all the crew called him Paganini so that became his nick name. He left the navy and joined the house of composers, a soviet kind of trade union and worked there as a secretary for years and knew many of the Estonian composers that Triin had to study about for an exam so she got a lot of inside knowledge there. I smiled when he talked to me not understanding a word he said but he did not mind.

I went back to triins place and watched TV - I was very tired. Triin cooked me a lovely meal with the food we had bought in the market and I cried a lot as I watched a programm about a Welsh choir. Welsh music has always touched me very deeply and I get very emotional about it. Maybe I missed my homeland, or I wanted a homeland to miss, anyhow, I felt lost and confused but the music was very beautiful and it make me want to come back one day and write songs about our valleys and hills and try not to feel like a fraud.

I left the house and sketched the street outside the market. The market had closed and I drew the big chestnut tree with the leaves all flying like hundreds of green flags in the wind. The road was empty and bare and and in the distance the factory chimney stood proudly. The grey housing blocks were still and clean in the sharp sunlight. My little friends came to talk to me: Erik, Ahmed and a couplle of others. They are russia speakers who live near Triin and we play soccer together a couple of times each week. They are all under 14 and very social with me but not so nice to Estonians sometimes. I offered to put them in my drawing and they patiently sat and chatted. They have a very free life walking around with their friends most of the day in the summer when the sun shines.

I played some music outside the old bookshop in the centre of town opposite St Nicholas church. The clouds above are fantastic. Tallinn truly has great clouds in the sunshine, real puffballs, rolling monsters in the sky beefing up and booming and crashing and such solid white you could drop a ton of lead from above and expect to see it bounce bounce bounce. After a little music I cycled to the community house where I also often sleep. There was a movie night going on. I painted a bit, getting ready for my exhibition, in fact I painted until the early dawn. At 3am a neighbour came by and asked if he could come in and he chatted to me as I finished my last painting. He has 6 children from two wifes, both divorsed, and is a writer. His daughter had her 7th birthday party today and she is such a lovely girl called Sissy, one of my best friends here. People here really are lovely but maybe a bit precautious for me. Too careful somehow, but the Russians provide my rougher entertainment if I so desireth.

The Russians are so open and although they are isolated from the world somehow they are also intelligent. I get a lot of practice talking to them. Estonians all speak good english it seems, so I find it harder to enter their mind word-world. Still trying to get there!

It is 2am again; the sky is a deep blue like the bottom of an exotic sea and in the distance a strip of white is shining where the sun is leaking over the horizon. I am going out on my bike to Triin's place through the empty streets clean from the sun and the wind and the silence. Going out alone at this hour and this time of year is a spiritual quest. The long days of sunshine steal your weariness away. Triin is cooking me a cake for a midnight feast and maybe I will paint a little more when I get there.

My soul is relaxed from a long day but not tired. My mind is as clear as a glass of green tea but mostly because it is not thinking about anything too much. The girls are all so beautiful here that you stop feeling attracted by beauty alone, since they are all so healthy looking.
What is most important it seems to me is the mental connection. That is definitely one of my priorities for falling in love, like Benjamin Zephaniah says: 

Sure I want to touch your body
Sure I want to touch your body
Sure I want to touch your body
 But first I've got to touch your mind!

And now, without any carnal feelings at all I will ride out alone on the streets under the theatrical orange street lamps across this flat town full of so much miraculous beauty, so beautiful at times that it feels like my mind is going to burst as I contemplate it all. 

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