The tourists and passers-by may only trample it during the day, but I wander along the South Bank like Cillian Murphy waking up from a coma in 28 Days Later, when the zombies have emptied the capital of its inhabitants. Zigzagging in the fading drunkenness, I dance, I sing, as soft colours horizontally warm up the sky. I breathe in the morning air, a petrichor that belongs only to the unholy hours when the commuter rises early to catch his train, crossing paths with the unfortunate reveller who couldn’t afford a taxi to reach his fresh sheets, for it is the product of the morning dew, not the rain. I was once told that petrichor is Greek for “blood of stone” and that it is actually ozone from the atmosphere combined with components of the asphalt. For me, it’s more like a natural shower. My hair and clothes reek of various scents of tobacco, spilled alcohol, and cheap perfumes that my night’s blunders sprayed themselves with… blunders, because I am alone, admiring or enduring the sunrise from the balcony of the National Theatre. The city awakens and mesmerises me in one of those rare moments of tranquillity that precede great battles.
South Bank (2023) 81x65cm
Mixed techniques on canvas