step back
prose written after watching Barcelona by Blackhaine

Picture being stuck on a roof, the pressure of all that open space. The only company you have are the clouds gathering over the hills that ring the city, a few distant pedestrians in the streets below, and whoever's holding the camera while you dance.

Intermittently, you hang your limbs over a couple of disused washing lines, strung across the roof terrace like cheese wire. Every so often you contort yourself around the shaved embers of a cigarette, let smoke drift for dramatic effect, implying a reckless disregard for self. The whole routine points towards self-mutilation, being unsteady on your feet, a loosely controlled lack of control.

Even if you gave up on the roof with its implicit danger, put the camera away, found a way down that wasn't fatal, you might still get to street level and find there weren't many people about. Even with the reassuring light of restaurants and wine bars ready for the weekend, orange-soft cobbles in front of the medieval church, car-washed taxis waiting to take anybody anywhere, the city still has an end-of-all-things aura this evening. It has something to do with those threatening clouds we saw from the skyline, making the town feel like a shallow bowl soon to be filled.

Why bother descending at all with weather like that on the horizon? At one point, the camera pans away from the dancer and peers instead directly over the railing, straight down, swapping one form of vertigo for another. It seems to ask - 'What's really down there? Is it worth it? What language do they even speak?' So we stay up here.

Occasionally, the bird-like contortions subside. You look, briefly, like a man. Topless, tall and skinny, exceptionally pale. It's like you're remembering something that isn't here with us right now, remembering it while you catch your breath. Then you bend. Back we come to thinking about danger and distance and the ever present drop, the difficulty of having a body behave like a body, of standing still in the dance, in finite space.