Its early morning in Chennai – 8.30AM – & its my 153rd & final day in the sub-continent. My plane leaves tomorrow morning at 4AM, so we’re hoping to be at the airport for tonight – we can watch the Spurs-Real Madrid champions league match in a bar there to keep us awake. By now I’m totaly India’d out & looking forward to getting home – Eastenders & some proper chips n curry awaits awaits. Still, its been a pretty cool do.
A few days back I was in Calcutta, when India beat Pakistan in teh world cup. I was watching it in this mad wee political party office – for the vibes – & after they won they ‘war’ the streets of Calcutta exploded into life (not bombs); 5 guys on a single bike streaming past, the flag of India fluttering behind them – groups of young lads running down every street cheering their head off , & the massive jam of people & cars & people on cars down Park Street, screaming & singing & all sorts. A proper awesome display of ecsatsy, like a squat party without the drugs.
Just as we were leaving Calcutta for the thirty hour train ride south – I had my wallet stolen & Charlie got Dysentry. The dream is over eh? Honestly, I woke up to Charlie pathetically hanging off his sleep bed with his undies round his ankles & an Indian mman hovering above him menacingly wanting to chuck him off the train. The dysentry had floored him -literally, pinning him to the skanky train toilet while his entire body gushed fluids. He was so weak & confused that he sat down on the wrong sleep bed – stinking of shit in his undies remember – right on top of menacing guys wife. I soothed the situation & once we got to Chennai got him sorted. I’d had dysentry before & knew what to do, y’see. This is Charlie’s version of events;
THE LEAVING OF CALCUTTA
By Charlie Fairclough
We left old Calcutta the way that we came
Three weeks later on the midnight train
We said our goodbyes & paid all our tabs
& walked to the busstop avoiding the cabs
The night was dark & the bus was hot
As we left the city behind
Then crossing the Hooghly
Life chuck’d us a double googly
We gobbled a snack & boarded the train
But soon one of our party doubled in pain
& staggering off to teh dunny
& whilst he was gone
And to make matters worse
the other one’s lost all his money
Genius again. We arrived in Chennai last saturday. India won the cricket world cup later that day, but the celebrations in Chennai were about ten percent of those in Calcutta. Since then Ive just been killing time writing this essay on Homer of all people (I think I’ve solved the mysteries of the Illiad). Its all good. I finally feel I have completed my education in poetry. Its taken the good part of 15 years to do, but I finally feel there – I guess i’m like one of the sitar disciples learning his ancient instrument at the feet of his master – only my masters are all dead & Ive had to teach miself. Still, i’m there now & I’m ready to join the ‘adult world.’
So there’ll be no more e-mails – Ive gotta stop some time & ive been sending them out on & off for nine years now – some of you are recent readers & some have been there since day one (hi Baldy, hows the kid?). From now on I’m gonna use my blog, so this was just a wee swan song – I started them in India in 2002, so it was apt to finish them here. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed some of the descriptions of exotic places, thanks for your ears guys & see you around sometime.
PS – Ive been writing some proper songs over here, like, full of Indian melodies Ive been bombarded as I travelled aboot. 5 months is a long time to craft a piece of music that you’d normally crack out in a few minutes. Its like the tantric sex of song-writing. Anyhows, Ive got a gig in Hastings, Sussex, of all places, this Friday, supporting London Cliff’s band at THE TUBMAN. Apparently Im gonna get well off mi head so happy days.
Heres the music video that his band made
Then, on Saturday 23rd April I’ll be playing a gig at THE FOREST CAFEin Edinburgh, supported by Steve’s new band – Ginger & the Tramp. Then it’ll be time for the massive jam thats gonna be my first Rockera