The small room is smoky, the stage lit violet. Blue-edged shadows creep slowly up and down the walls and the place has the feel of a dilapidated dance hall, all gilded light-shades and sticky floors. I can sense the crowd behind me, hear the shuffle of restless feet, but I have a perfect, unobstructed view from my spot right in front of the stage; I couldn’t get closer if I tried. He’s barely six feet away from me, putting his hands together as if in prayer and bowing to acknowledge us, his audience, before introducing himself and his merry band of fellow Swedes.
“Hallo, my name is Albin Lee Meldau. First, I’d like to say thanks for coming tonight, it’s my first headline show in Am-no, not in America, in the UK…”
March 20 2018
Lately, I have been operating on autopilot, trying my hardest to present a face to the world that does not betray how I really feel. My mind has been a tangled mess, the weight of my thoughts threatening to crush me at any moment. Why does it feel like everything is happening at once, one piece of bad luck after another? Just when I think nothing else can go wrong, I am proved incorrect, again and again.
Since fracturing my wrist, it feels like life has spiralled out of my control and no matter how hard I try, I can’t get a grip on things (both literally and figuratively). It’s as though I have been reduced to nothing more than a helpless bystander in my own life. When will this end?
February 26th 2018
“See here?” He gestures at something on the x-ray with his ballpoint pen and I nod even though I have no idea what I’m supposed to be looking at.
“You’ve fractured your scaphoid. With a good cast like the one you’ve got though, it should be fine. Just make sure you get an appointment with the Fracture Clinic within the next ten days so they can assess you. The next ten days, okay? That’s very important.”
Although he’s speaking medical, what I hear him say is “No skateboarding for at least six weeks until your cast comes off.”
The mere thought of six long weeks off my board is enough to make me feel sick. I’ve just started taking lessons and skateboarding is the love of my life right now, even though I’m still a complete beginner. It’s my escape from the chaos of the day-to-day, my ticket to freedom, and I can’t bear the thought of being without it.
I think it’s freedom that I’m chasing
with my new-found love of skateboarding.
Teach me how to fly
on these four wheels
and let me escape
this grey reality.
There are people everywhere as we wander through the re-purposed railway arches from one tunnel to the next; screaming kids running around, parents chasing after them, disdainful teenagers and nonchalant twenty-something year olds in beanie hats, jeans, leather and plimsoll shoes and somewhere amongst this chaos, employees who are impossible to tell apart from the visitors, so similar do they look.
There’s noise too. Music, an insistent beat, provides a sonic wallpaper; voices raised above the din in shouting conversations, adults trying in vain to shepherd their children to where they should be; the ceaseless clatter of wheels on concrete and the sound of skateboards hitting the ground.
It’s a new world to me. I’ve never even considered entering skater territory before and though I’ve long been curious and eager to try my hand at it, I’ve always been too afraid and intimidated to know where to start. So it’s by some kind of strange miracle that I’ve been brave enough to find my way to this place, finally, to have my first-ever skateboarding lesson.