Diary of a Separation (London, a song-free city)

People don’t sing in London. I mean, spontaneous, on-the-spot singing. Yes, we have buskers and God-worshipping, corner-invading street preachers who break into religiously-driven ditties. But the art of humming a melody without caring what one’s voice will sound like is non-existent in such a big metropolis.

I’ve come to realise that there’s a big contradiction within me; I seek solitude during my waking hours, yet, I crave a woman’s warm, naked body next to mine when sleeping.

How do we keep the gaps in diary entries in modern life empty when we are always trying to fill them up with our various gadgets?

Start-struck doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt today when I attended a talk between Miranda Sawyer and Michael Stipe at the ICA. Doubly star-struck, I should say. I love Miranda as much as I love R.E.M. Michael was in town to promote a book of photography, an art form in which he had already shown a lot of aptitude before going on to become one of the most famous frontmen ever. He was funny (with a fine, dry wit to top), engaging and humble.

I cycled to the ICA from East London Radio. Although it is only the start of September I can already feel the weather changing and autumn arriving. As I got on the towpath on the Hertford Union Canal the signs were there: a rain-dimmed early-evening light (even though it was only half-two in the afternoon) and a mist-choking, metallic-feeling nippiness that forced me to zip my top all the way up.

London-based, Cuban writer. Author of “Cuban, Immigrant, and Londoner”, to be published by Austin Macauley. Has written for The Guardian and Prospect.

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