I have ruddy cheeks this morning, the air nips as it passes. On the ground frosted leaves lie like a praline topping over a frozen parfait. Sunlight dapples through hedges or glows white from dulled walls. Shadows cut the ground extending limbs and torsos with macabre lines.
It is a winter morn that cleanses with the taste of snow - waking me fully and making me regret my stolen moments of sleep. The cold settles in around my nose and stabs up to my forehead, but my eyes drink in the twinkle of the crushed ice leaves, the gleam of low light from windows, the first flakes of whispering snow that begin to fall. Now I begin to think of hibernation, of snugness:- blankets wrapped, wine mulled with cloves and cinnamon - laced with brandy, candles of musk and citrus, great joints of meat with juices oozing out, with crisp potatoes, buttery carrots and parsnips, thick gravy, endless stews and curries that warm the soul, and puddings.
Yes this is a time of food for me, and food of solace and solidity. Visually I find a similar instinct in the exploration of slapstick - capturing the moment of disaster at its apex, the glance, the stretch, the conflicting dynamics of the movement - caught between desire and physics. To me this is the basis of my humour, a childlike belly laugh of someone falling over - on a banana skin if you must!
Yet it is also a comfort, an understanding that you can fall over, and it can be funny and humiliating, but that you can get up and brush yourself down and continue onwards. I especially like the complexity of disaster - farce if you will, the engineering of the pratt fall with elaborate confusion and a heightened sense of desperation. These are the ways I see my life; so to me the laughter comes through the increasing desperate survival of the clown, and the inevitable collapse. So it is the clown carries on, custard covered, bedraggled maybe, but he staggers to the next story, and hopefully a sandwich.
The other appeal is the moment of calm, of catharsis; that moment when your feet have given way on that pesky banana, when there is nothing you can do to fight against friction and gravity, when your body is predestined to collapse, when you can finally give yourself over completely to the experience of the fall.
At that moment the warmth of a curried parsnip soup, with thick soda bread loaded with butter, is much appreciated.