Monday 27 August 2012

Fringe Month - Brian Hill

Urban Spacemen

A door flung open. Wet spray rattled across the linoleum, echoing the sloping rain in the night outside. A chill moment hung in the too-warm air and its bitter beer-swill fug. Maxwell Dargie heaved into a barstool that had seen better days. The door slammed on its wire springs behind him.
Gie’s a pint, Cherlie! I’ve got a thirst like a badger’s airse!
Dargie’s pint of the usual materialised on the bar-top.
Tastes better in a straight gless, appreciated Dargie, lifting the pint skyward, eyeing it with more affection than he had mustered for his manic charge along Princes Street.
On whose pavements, Dargie had swept headlong past crowds, while the rain fell in puddles around his feet. He was oblivious to the passing passers-by, the shop-front windows. Princes Street rain, sharp and reflective, made its inhabitant faces sharp in turn, to the point of enmity.
Dargie ignored the crowds in the manner of a down-and-out. He pushed through them with drunken uncertainty, weaving a little, threatening to touch an arm or a shoulder. He made the danger of intrusion his mask. A path opened up before him. No-one wanted his grainy, skinny face breathing God-knows what stale guff in theirs. No-one wanted to be confronted with whatever anger drove him to stotter down the rain-soaked street to prop up some boozy dive with his mean and probably nefariously supplemented dole.
In the warm pub, Dargie relaxed through several pints. Conversations sparked to life, animated, a little too loud, and died away as if they had never been. Pub talk. And Dargie, as the night wore off and the drink wore on, washed himself up beside a scruff-suited individual. Both slumped on the bar, holding their half-optimistic glasses before them in a kind of alcoholic bewilderment.
His new companion was muttering to Dargie and the pint glass, ‘I’m no fae aroon here. Had a job interview… Nae chance, pal.’ He laughed.
Dargie eyed him, ‘Naebody’s fae roon here. Me, I’m no even fae this planet!’
‘Fit planet are you aff, then?’
‘I’m fae Axelmaxeltactaractarus.’
They collapsed in laughter till each held the other upright.
‘Time for another pint, and a wee nippie chaser,’ said the scruff-suited man, ‘Twa pints o eichty and twa nips. ‘At’s for me an for the man in the moon here!’
Later, in the cool of the night, with a light rain falling. Dargie and his boozing buddy wore away at the streets in a vague attempt to reach civilisation. They danced on through the drizzle arm in arm, a symbiosis of drunks, eclipsing binaries holding each other in stable orbit from which, alone, they might spin away into darkness.

*     *     *

Brian Hill is a writer, designer and filmmaker based on the edge of the Scottish Highlands. He has written poetry for as long as he can remember as well as short stories, planetarium shows and one play.
He was a contributor to ‘A Glimmer of Cold Brine’, a North-east Anthology, published in 1988 by AUP. In the 90s, the play Pinkybrae (co-written with Jim Rankin) was performed in the North-east and the Highlands by the Invisible Bouncers Theatre Company. He was also the Planetarium Poet and performed poems and storytelling in Aberdeen Planetarium. He was, with artist Gill Russell and cosmologist Francisco Diego, part of the CosmicSky team which produced all-sky shows for Glasgow Planetarium and he wrote and recorded poems and stories for CosmicSky’s Cosmic Dome which toured venues in the UK in 2003.
In 2008, a short film ‘Uamh an Oir / Cave of Gold ‘was shortlisted in the FilmG Gaelic short competition. This was based on one of his poems written after the death of musician Martyn Bennett and featuring music recorded by Martyn.
Brian’s collaboration with artist Gill Russell continues and he has contributed writing and voice pieces for several installations. Most recently, he wrote and recorded a poem, for her installation Long Wave at the Clan Donald Centre in Skye. He wrote poems for each of two installations in Cairngorms National Park in Gill Russell’s ‘Where Long Shadows Fall’ project. Recorded extracts of material also formed part of her Reach installation shown in An Talla Solais in Ullapool in 2012.
Several other poems and short fiction have appeared in the ‘Wee Fictions’ blog and two new works are shortly to be featured in the online edition of ‘Love Is The Law’ magazine. Brian also publishes occasional works in his blog (misleadingly) called ‘One Piece A Week, Writing for Different Reasons.’

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