A Post

Saw David Ahern up the street today, up ahead.

Well, I knew pretty quickly it wasn't him. He's been dead twenty years. There he was though, a young man striding confidently through the rain. He was in his pre-alcoholic phase, dark hair swept vigorously to the side, compositions brimming within him still.

Just very briefly, while I had him in those sights, I too was young, bereft of the experience I have since acquired. I had the world and life ahead, Ahern.

Maybe that was his mistake, to have a name that was simultaneously looking out ahead and back at the same time. David Astern. All roads lead to The Unity Hall.

David was the composer from my perspective, who was on the leading edge of music. It was what I perceived anyway and that enriched my own considerations about everything . He reflected what I expected of myself.

David's striding about Balmain coloured the landscape. The landscape was electric, inhabited by him and other dangerous people. We were nourished then by a toxic atmosphere. It was dangerous outside. We didn't need to tramp through Harlem and Soho to have a sense of being alive.

When I saw him there though, today, I was young again too. Half a second, maybe a second. We are not just living in the present. We are living in the duration of our lives. With everything we see and feel, it is through the prism of all of our experience.


I had a little jolt of excitement then, when I saw him. A sudden sense of a life not yet lived. Silly dreams not yet found wanting etc.

We had watched the colour of his skin change. Ultimately he made it the colour of death, but even the promise of it then seemed idle. Only when his brain failed did we become to feel convinced. From having rushed with purpose up to the ridge from the art school, he only wandered now. He began to limp and then he was no more.

We made judgements then, when he died, or I did anyway. People navigating foolhardily.

I regret that now.