Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Day nine

Jacqueline arrives, raring to start drawing life under the canopy.

Duncan Anderson comes over (long white hair and beard, the one who said I made him look deranged on Day Seven). 'I've lost my soul,' he says. He points to his shoe. Oh, sole. It's peeling off.

'This is the canopy of lost souls,' says Jacqueline. I hear it as 'canape'. I automatically start sketching him but he moves on. 'No,' he says, 'you're gonna capture my soul. I'll have nightmares.'

I scratch my forehead with the tip of my pen. It is a double-ended brush-pen. 'You've just drawn on your forehead,' says Jacqueline.

Kilimanjaro, whom I drew yesterday, wanders by, disturbed. 'Someone tore my picture last night. There was a fight.'
'Stay for a couple of minutes and I'll do you another one.'
'Not now, I've got some business.'
He goes to have a bitter row with someone about a supermarket trolley.

'I'm the same age as the Westway,' reflects Jacqueline.
'You're holding up better,' I say. 'And you aren't covered in graffiti.'
'Give it time,' she says.

My phone vibrates. An email from Woking Freecycle. Wanted: a franking machine, drum parts. Offered: stick insects, Trivial Pursuit. Taken: a wormery. It all speaks of home and safety.

Yesterday's heatwave has given way to biblical thunderstorms. 'What I like about this time of year is that people don't know what to wear,' says Jacqueline.

A girl in a yellow crash-helmet, flimsy flower-print dress, bomber jacket, wooden wedge heels and a yoga mat protecting her lap sets off on a pink scooter through horizontal rain. Another client from yesterday, Egbert, turns up in a black hoodie with cannabis plants emblazoned on the back, a herringbone tweed jacket, a striped shirt and a Haile Selassie sweatshirt. The rain is practically opaque.

More thunder. Egbert addresses heaven: 'I hear you. Thank you. Rastafari Jah. Lion of Judah.'

My friend Oliver turns up to sit and talk. His beautiful angular nobility eludes my chalks, not for the first time. I wonder if I should practise on his identical twin whom I have never met.

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