We're done! The catalogues have arrived at last, all 1200 of them, blocking the hallway, and I am in the middle of assembling and packing my installation. Paul leaves for Venice late on Friday evening. The rest of us will be taking our chances with the ash cloud.
Adnams have sent their complimentary gift of champagne and beer. Most importantly the film, The Swimmer: a true story is edited, rendered, and ready to go. The colours are finally and exactly what I have been searching for in all these months; hand tinted by the editor. A lowering greeny-blue. I am speechless with anxiety but there is excitement too, buried in there. Finally it looks as though this event is really going to happen.
'Of course!' Paul says, surprised. 'Did you doubt it would?'
I have been rehearsing with my Tamil dancer who will be performing live on June 3rd. For reasons of safety we will not divulge her name on the credits. We have been watching the Royal Ballet's version of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet together. Lady Capulet's lament at Tybalt's death. A powerful piece of theatre.
I want my dancer to listen to the Prokofiev music very carefully even though she won't be dancing to it. I want her to look at the western gesture and expression of mime. I want her to absorb it into her limbs and let it affect the way she moves. Then, I want her to forget all of it and concentrate on the dance we are creating together. This way East and West will meet unconsciously and with originality. The Prokofiev music is harsh, full of unexpected rhythm and violence. A sawing of violin strings, the thud of drums. In Sri Lanka drums play a part in many ritualistic dances. The devil dance, for instance. Our dancer will understand, but on this occasion she will dance to the soft gasp of the sea overlaid by the sound of faint crying. She will dance a lament.
'What is a lament?' she asks me
And then she looks it up, both in her German, and Tamil dictionary.
I plan to have her dance behind barbed wire, shredding flowers, carrying a winding sheet. I notice she is interested in the open palm gesture of Lady Capulet, tucking it into her own movements. I say nothing and watch, entranced. She is a beautiful dancer with expressive eyes.
Then I remember something else.
'Paul,' I ask, 'have you bought the barbed wire?'
'Of course,' he says without taking his eyes off the dancer.
I get a phone call from Jane Basham, the CEO of ISCRE. She has found me a solicitor who might be able to help with the container lorry we need for the Suffolk launch. I ring the contact.
'How many do you want?' asks Jonathan Ripman from Gotelee's law firm in Ipswich.
'Just the one!'
It's not a problem, he tells me.
We will park it beside the Martello tower in Aldeburgh and the film will be shown inside it.
Now all we need is a generator.
And erhhm..a grand piano to park on the beach?
Andy Wright from Suffolk coastal is on the case. This is truly a Suffolk production.
Paul's has imported his sound on the film. The Venezuelan waltz played through the speakers of an old radio, the deconstructed Schubert, falling, drop by drop, along the water's edge, the call of the curlew across the marshes. All these things saturate and breath new life into my images. Elsewhere in the catalogue he has written:
I read The Swimmer as a listener immediately fascinated by the intense quiet of Eel House …I can hear an oystercatcher a long way off just as if was pacing the mudflats at my feet. …The light is fading from the sky but I have to follow my ears. I move closer to the source of the sound taking several steps forward and sinking slightly into the mud-mu feet are wet but I'm at the source. I stand still for five, ten fifteen minutes, listening.
We watch the film together seeing, and hearing all the months of hard work as it knits together. Only now, at this late hour, does the true power of the whole emerge. For both of us it is a moment like no other, ephemeral but permanent. Paul would call it a moment of stillness.
Tomorrow when the sun is once more briefly in the wintry sky
for a few short daylight hours
the river will flow again like a ribbon of mercury.