31st January 2017, Kensington, London.
A wrought iron gate. A path through a mature communal garden square. Well tended shrubbery, comfortably prosperous foliage. A black front door, neither neglected nor pristine. A warmly lit, intimate living room in a modest red brick Edwardian cottage. Books, bric-a-brac, some daffodils, a well used sofa, nothing fancy, some art but not too much. A man in a chair. The chair he always sits in, moulded to his contours. Not doing anything, not speaking, not looking at anything, only smoking. Round tortoiseshell glasses, grey suit, green cardigan, sky blue long sleeved knitted three button polo shirt done all the way up, navy blue tie, navy blue and white silk handkerchief in the suit pocket, gold watch, brown leather strap. The room and the scene could be 1959. A man in the winter of his life, grey suit, round glasses, smoking in the glow of filament lamps. Until the eye goes down to the hems of the suit trousers. Neon socks, a modern textile. Slip on trainers, sleek, ergonomic. The cyan tones of a California swimming pool, the sound of freedom and a bigger splash.
“England in January. How do you cope with it?”
“I try to laugh at least twice a day. That helps.”