Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Travelling to Florence, June 2012

From Evernote:

Travelling to Florence, June 2012

Saturday, 16th June 2012

Traveling from Liverpool to Pisa

Fleeting breaks in the rain laden clouds allow glimpses of sunlight. Never touching you

Catching words and never finishing sentences

Take off, fast furiously moving along the slotted concrete surface, tiny lines and ridges give grip to the tyres.

Mountain ranges hazy cloud drits in blush haze among white cotto woo fluff.

Anvil shaped threatens arks a point of deluge ad noise,
Turningi corners, sun stream broken by the wing shadow
Ruffled air shudders under us
Funny how it seems more at our feet than above, yet it is all around

Clear views, well, hazed and vague by the blued misty blanket
Odd gatherings of cumulus seem lonely and solitary

A darker ridge of risen land appears, lengthening the distant view, leading the eye to a further place


Shine it gleams back, surfaces flicker and glow

Sunday 17th June 2012

Moving onwards
Passing others in close proximity
Bells overload the ears
Hammering echoing fluttering feathers as pigeons invade
Beggars blatant direct eye contact, standing directly in front of you

The silence of the bells and a man starts the group laughing, they had approached during the bells. Appearing silent and quiet,

Voices are loud as the group listen
Attentive, captivated by his voice

This facade remained empty with stones
We call it the new gothic style
The most famous example is in London, the Parliament house

I am sorry to tell you these are copies. They were removed because of a terrible flood.

This is the richest town with libraries with museums

We have lost with the mud a thousand something's

Grazie seƱor, the beggar wanders past

It is part of our western civilisation . . . 

. . . so we are at present very grateful . . .
Two of the ten panels were detached because if the violence of the water

And now they are in the Cathedral museum

And they portray the first ten episodes of the stories in the bible

A chuckle from his personal story and the group moves on

Standing still, people filter past me. Spontaneous applause from a group on the steps catches the wandering people by surprise and for a fleeting moment heads are turned in the same direction.

Sun still shading the space

A beggar approaches the tour guide; he is very clear; No, No. She chastises him and wanders away.


a lady stands, hoping the space will remain between her and the camera held by her husband.
Frustrated she huffs
A bike rattles by
And you wonder what holds it together

lunch at the street side pizzeria, Italian men in groups and singles eat behind me.  The street temperatures are diminishing but still overly hot. 

Monday, 19th June 2012

A terrible night of laying still listening to the air conditioning and pondering while I was awake for so long.

Contemplating the day, walking with blistered feet. Do I take my sound recorder which now looks ridiculous with the accoutrements to give a clearer sound, to remove all handling noise. Should I take it?

They walk around, holding the mike and the flag, leading the group forward, divulging information they believe to be true and yet maybe they seek to confuse, or even lie. To bring untruths into the story. They have a lot to retain, and imagination perhaps elaborates the story they tell. Personality coming through.

Sound recording I can hear the lady because I visually know where she is, her voice to my left is clear as my ears selectively choose to block out the passing noise. A blue fan shows the group the leader. A man sings, not listening to what she delivers at all times.

Then another starts asking questions of the group, she is not miked up but helps to explain something, hands gesture and move around. A lady points directly across my face as she talks to another in the group further away. A seller stands directly to my right and tries unsuccessfully to capture attention. He moves when someone else takes an interest.

Another arrives, standing almost in the group and appears to see a sale, he doesn't and he moves on.

The bells suddenly peal, turning heads to see where the sound comes from. A lady walks by so close that her sleeve catches my iPod and she turns. We both apologise, spanish and english layer over each other. I move nearer the door and a man leading a group extends his pole to reach the flag up higher. His group of ten or so move on, hardly noticing his gesture to help them identify him.

I sit on the steps, cool marble is welcoming, the campanile shadow hangs over the doors

It is hot already, my back drips with sweat. Beads running over slippery sun-cream surfaces.

A moth walks by. Damaged wings or just tired it crawls along the pavement slabs. A lady nearly stands on it but just misses with her shuffling feet. It walks on, the odd flutter reveals an orange underside. Cigarette fumes completely fill my nostrils. Conversations in Spanish. 

The moth has managed 6 slabs away from me now.

Then 7 slabs and feet still approach and pass. I can see and anticipate the inevitable, not wanting to see, but wanting to see.

It pauses, still, resting and it is finally scuffed by a lady 

and it is the end

Flags vary, tied on scarf, wooden bat from game, formal recognition of the tour company, or just hand made or a wooden twig, broken from a branch to make do

Holding the head mike in front of them
Where is the speaker?

Telescopic sticks seem popular
Silk scarf testing on the end
Smiling delivery
Informing, not telling
12:15 one jogger goes by, heavy footsteps plod and thud on the slabs

Hands gesture to locate other buildings, part of the story they recount

This is all old, shocked open mouthed immediate response from those who know. Those who don't listen,

Beggars never ending walking, cup with few jingling coins, half hearted jn the heat of the day

Lunch is delivered and off they go away to eat

Returning back to the hotel in the building heat, bodies glistening now. Doors are closed, keeping heat out and cool in

5.20 pm
Music bar, tempting menu.

The waiter provides ice and lemon in a glass for my last drops of tap water. Feet burning in the baking heat. It will be about 30degrees now, cooling as the afternoon wends its way to evening. I spot a lemon hanging on the tree in a pot in the garden and try to catch a good image. Blue spots seem to be splattered on lots of things in the garden and the lemon is no exception. It is hard to catch its good side.

Exploring familiar places still reveals the unknown, the previously unseen, missed and possibly new altogether. Yet it feels wrong in some way. I should be off exploring new places, unknown streets.

Photographing found objects, not taking them. Could I do the same with caught words, forming a new narrative as I progress through the spaces I choose to meander through.

But the words won't go together into a sentence, caught mismatched and disparate from each other. No new narrative, just words misheard, mis-spelled, wrong, confusing

Multiple street signs on the same street guide me and misguide me

Wrong information
Belief and trust
Value systems
Surveys which reveal untruths, purporting to be honest enquiry, to gain an understanding of someone else's response

buongiorno, duegorni Monne

Etpoi finite domaine scrivo si sinistre omallee

Benebene, lattee ora

Tuesday, 20th June 2012

Walk from river to Palazzo Davanzati

Hot, baking hot beating sun. Overwhelming heat bakes bare shoulders, dust settles amidst layers of cream protecting the skin
Merging into surfaces of grime and heat, baking together

The loggia is cool, welcoming. Conversations between the staff at the desk, counting, reading together to solve a problem perhaps

Three arches, three doors, three ceiling holes for pouring hot oil give explanations of past lives. A space given for public meeting. Palace front. Gate. Door. Markers of a boundary, yet not between public and private, a passageway with stages of bounded space.

The cool interior provides welcome respite to the heat of the day. Echoes of voices mingle with quieter sounds of the street. Visitors leave, yet there must be someone near a doorway

Building noises. Wall echoes to something being moved against it. How to describe it is challenging. A motorbike goes by and singing voices interject.

Prego, you have the ticket? Two people arrive and two leave

The lady returns to her desk, the ticket wasn't issued, perhaps they already had one.

Phone off earlier to stop interjections

Echoes of voices, yet the space is still and quiet. Imagining it's busier, noisier past of welcome and retreat. Unwanted visitors doused with boiling oil or water

Threatening, huge doors to hold back the crowds

Streets around different now, wider, open and spacious replacing the crooked, narrow medieval patterns. Voices must have filled the air, shouting and screaming. A visitor leaves, feet scuff the herringbone floor as he passes through the glass doorway use to keep the head away. Another marker of different spaces.

Huge wooden display cabinets lit to present pages opened. Blurred vision restricts the view, yet parchment and ink marked surfaces reveal previous visitors to this place.  
Perhaps important, the most important? Do they change the pages often, the pages turn to reveal a sort and we only hear that which they choose to show us. No more, no less.

It gives an impression

A fleeting glimpse
A passing blur of snatched memories caught up by cameras, words, sounds that stay in your head.

Smells, sensed proximity to objects and history. Awash with tradition, age, beauty, heritage, history, the past dragging us down, bearing weight on our shoulders and climbing into our heads.

Can we exist outside the past? How is it possible to explore any place without hearing the traces of lives gone before. And we crave it, we seek it, we yearn for more.

Baptistery 2pm
Sat on the Duomo steps. No one joins me in the baking heat. The marble holds the warmth of the morning, still warming for the afternoon.


Return to the hotel, H goes to the church to record last sounds

I have my case and laptop to download images. Time is on my side. We leave here at 5:30pm, we have an hour and a half

 My photographs copy to my hard drive, leaving traces of themselves on my camera too. No point cutting them loose when we have to send them through as hold luggage. Too risky

Air blown mechanically generates a soft movement. Eyes warm and sleepy, skin feeling dust lawn, desperate for a shower and no respite until I am home tonight.

Halfway through the copying, then sound files. Then listen to the sound; think it has worked.

Tour guides; hand gestures exaggerated, big full of flourish, holding mikes, talking clearly but quickly, carrying their tour marker.  Leading the way with the group flowing behind like weeds caught in ebb of the tide, cling to their rock, their leade

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