Since my last entry I’ve been thinking about different types of loving communications:
The synchronicity of writing in my last blog entry about hearing via phone call of Dudu Pukwana’s death, when here in Gracia decades ago, then reading the news on the internet of the UK Black Lives Matter demonstrations, commemorating the fifth anniversary of the death of Mark Duggan. The deaths of an older man dying and someone young being killed might seem unrelated – but I remember talking with Dudu at the Jazz Cafe of apartheid South Africa….and now across the UK this week people communicated via social media, to demonstrate together to remember Mark, plus all the other deaths of black people in police custody, and the uncounted deaths of refugees in the past year. Communication to remember injustice – and the loving mourners in the shadows of the news.
But there are also small, live, loving communications between friends and family, sudden emails, and texts, responding to this blog, and to arrange meeting up with an old friend in Girona. Hours later we meet once more by the bridge on the edge of the old city. Bridges are a classic metaphor for meetings across cultures, and for meetings of minds.
Since being here I’ve been hours at my desk, but also I’ve been having interesting breaks with the other artists, bridging conversations between our art forms in the evenings. Yesterday Danielle and I went to see the new film about Miles Davis at the Verdi Cinema. Looking forward to it, then absorbed in the fragmented portrayal of Miles, and then finally disappointed by the very Hollywood story, a white lead tacked on to a story of black lives, to sell a movie …. I wanted to know what happened in between what was imagined of his life: how was it possible for his first wife to give up her art – and what did Frances do afterwards? The usual thing, female characters function in relation to male characters. But there were magical moments communicated in the film too, of Miles and Frances in love, Miles with other musicians, and Miles alone.
The film reminded me of seeing Miles Davis back stage at the Montreux Jazz Festival in the eighties. He played to a packed auditorium, then as I made my way back stage to meet my friend Steve, who was playing at the festival too, I saw Miles alone in the wings. Perhaps it’s in my imagination, although it feels like a memory: Miles was deep in thought, then perhaps he heard my steps in the darkness, he glanced up at me, I smiled, and then I heard my friend’s voice. Miles was gone when I turned back after meeting my friend, but I held the image as we headed off into the night.
Chance meetings, arranged meetings, and different sorts of loving communications imagining future meetings: the image I am sharing with you here above is from a bar near the cinema, a record of yesterday evening post-cinema, but also a promise of future drinks and films and communications…
Namita Elizabeth Chakrabarty