Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Angel of the Northern Line

What is this Angel made of Tin?

A character from The Wizard of Oz, rendered useless by his joints, rusted fast by his own tears? No, Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn’t, didn’t already have. Was he a horse with no name, or one of a whole different colour?

Or is it the mythical beast hidden deep in the North American Forests, the Squonk, who weeps himself into oblivion? A dying race: have you seen his tears? Hardly a Major Dude, I can tell you.
Perhaps, it is the lonely man in the Bleecker Street CafĂ©, in whom Joni would long to place another heart with her ‘neues liebe.’ There’s a sorrow in his eyes, right enough.

But what sort of heart? Un Coeur en Hiver that even Ravel’s Trio for Piano, Violin and ’Cello couldn’t penetrate?
Oh, that Norah Jones could melt this cold, cold heart, this too, too solid flesh! Or Joni, with this flame you put here in this Eskimo, in this prisoner of the fine white lines of the freeway.

And what is this blog?

Joe Bloggs, the ubiquitous man-in-the-street?
No, that’s Bill.
Is it a whetstone for the Tin Man’s imaginary axe, or a millstone to pull him under?
A sleeve to place his heart upon, an oiling can to release his squeeky limbs (Oh, let me be useful; let me help, let me love, let me BE!)
Or a ticking clock, his heart? Surely he’s done his time!
Not so, it seems.

Then let it be a plaque; testament, not,
no not, to what I have written, but that I have written.
And having donne that, I have more.
If, as I say, I am a writer, it is all of the above.
And more.

But maybe you misread the question: What is this Angel made of Tin.
Do I mean the photograph?
Or the girl?

In Closer by Patrick Marber, the photographer claims to take pictures of strangers. I would like to do the same, but you can never be too careful these days. Many years ago, ascending the long escalator at Angel Tube (after its re-vamp when they separated the North and South platforms) I spotted this extraordinary-looking person and dared to ask if I could take her picture. I figured she would look great standing next to the Sculpture which I knew was up on the station concourse.
She let me take just two shots; I kept the second, this is it.

Then she vanished from my sight; into the streets of Islington.
Who is she? Where? What if someone should recognise her?
Would she be flattered by her photo, or want to sue me?
Ah – the joys of an anonymous blog!
I didn’t even ask her name.
Maybe it began with ‘A.’