Songwriter Chapter 4 Part 2
A Novel by Paul McCann
Chapter 4 continue
I headed for St Pancras station and purchased a one way fare to Wellingborough . I took a seat and collected thoughts that raced like water up a sewer . My emotions were throwing my heart upside down and inside out . My nerves were floating on a steel vessel on a stormy sea . Every thought I had ever had of Linda had been capsized . Like a man on an deserted island I wandered wearing a disguise of security and strength . God give me strength I thought to myself . My cash flow was starting to dry up and I knew things had to get better , as they couldn’t get much worse . I got off at Wellingborough and looked up my Aunts in the phone directory . They lived in a place called Kilnway and so I caught a taxi that brought me to their door . When I got out of the taxi another taxi pulled up right in front of me . I could hardly believe it when my Aunt Mary and Rita got out of the car . They held two plastic bags of groceries their arms . “Hello Aunt Mary and Aunt Rita , its me Paul . Your nephew from Australia . ”
They ran over to me with their arms outstretched . “Oh my God , what are you doing here ?”
They where almost in a state of shock .“Well I just came to say hello” I said .
“Come on in son you must be exhausted ”
I followed them up three flights of stairs and then through the front door of their flat . It was warm inside and welcoming . Aunt Mary rang Aunt Katie while Aunt Rita put the kettle on . Inside half an hour I was watered and fed and the flat was buzzing with people . My Aunt Katie arrived with some of my cousins . Everyone was so surprised to see me . That evening a crowd of us went out to the local workers club . I was introduced to all my Aunts friends and was treated just like one of the locals . After a few drinks , I had a few dances a game of pool , and then I started to open up to my Aunts . I told them about Linda and my experience in London . All my relatives were very upset about what had happened and tried to cheer me up with some funny stories about how things had gone since leaving Belfast for England . I felt secure at last to have touched some common ground . I was welcome in the company of all my relations and their close friends . There was invitations every day to go out and
see the sights around Northants and beyond . From a game of Bingo with my Aunts in Wellingborough , I went to the night clubs and discos with my cousins . I enjoyed weekend bets on the football pools , and the horse racing . At some of the local pubs I placed pool balls in pockets as I caught up with the latest songs on the jukebox .
I started to feel as if I could settle down here for a while .
The only thing that made me reconsider hanging around was my creative songwriting lifestyle that I was used to . I had been so busy doing things that I never had time to write . I remembered the air hostess on the flight to London and hoped she found time in her life were she could write . The trauma deepened as I was restricted to normality .,
Somewhere in my mind I imagined I was being held prisoner by a thug who was never going to set me free . The thug threw me into the keep of the thief who took from me every thought I wanted to write . I knew I had to break free and I knew somehow it was up to me to make a break for it .
Locked within my subconscious there were so many things I wanted to say .
I had scribbled down some words on scraps of paper and filed them away inside my suitcase for a later date .
My biggest headache now was money , for I had very little left to play with . Maybe people around me had thought I was loaded with cash coming from Australia but if
they knew how badly off I was I’m sure they would have been
as concerned as I was . I never told anyone I was nearly broke .
I had hoped that I would strike some luck on the horses but as yet I found it hard to crack the English form .
It seemed all my relations had adapted a comfortable English lifestyle . They were accepted by most of the community around them and there was never any of the bitter resentments some Irish people have endured while living in England .
The troubles in Belfast where still making headlines in the newspapers and on the TV . Although you felt distant from the troubles you could never afford to be complacent .
We all remained aware of the place we call home .
There was very little work now in Northern Ireland because of the violence and thousands of people where forced to leave their home and cross the water to find work . My cousin Brian and his sons often went over to work on construction sites in the Isle Of Dogs in London . A long list of my cousins now all had steady jobs in England . Johnny was earning good money bricklaying , and Tommy operated a crane . Jim had a great engineering job . Everyone had told me there were jobs galore in London and so I decided it was time for me to look for work . I had just enough ready cash left to buy a bus ticket to London and with a task to make or break it off I went again with a suitcase and guitar in hand .
As I left the common ground I had come to know was something I was used to . Another wilderness awaited me . Another picture I had to set my focus on . With an unknown future and the hard facts of being lonely and hungry . I could not give up hope that my talent and my songs would make it . On this long hard road I thought for a while about songwriters like myself who may have had the same dreams as me . I kept saying to myself all this suffering must be for something .
It was time to leave and I got a bus ticket for London . The National Express picked up speed as we headed along the expressway . From the distance could see little street lights in villages that I would never visit . There where may signs and bright lights as we passed large towns and I felt as if I was locked inside a spaceship in the twilight zone . I had absolutely nothing in common with anything I saw . I was awoke by the screaming of the bus driver . “ Come on we’re in London , off you get ”
I picked up my suitcase and six string guitar and stumbled off into a busy Victoria Street Station . Completely lost I stood there and thought what was I to do , and where could I go .I made my way to a phone and rang the only person I knew in London .
“Hello Linda , its Paul . How are things ? ”
“ Fine , is everything all right Paul ?” She said .
I was quite taken back as it sounded like she was concerned .
“Things could be better ” I said .
“Why are you in some trouble ?
“ No , I’m just looking for work ”.
I couldn’t believe I was talking to the same person . She went on to tell me about how Steve had not been paying the rent and all the money he owed her . I listened as she told me about the bills she had and Steves car needed some repairs . In an unguarded moment with no place to stay and the night , I felt helpless as I laid myself before her like a lamb to the slaughter .
“ What would you say if I wanted to move in ?”
“ Well why don’t you come over and we’ll have a chat ”
“ Ok . How would I get to your place from Victoria Street ?”
“ Get a tube and get off at The Angel Islington . Then make
your way to Old Street . Theres a regular bus that passes Liverpool Street station that will bring you down the Kingsland Road . Once you see the Dalston Post Office get off and you’ll see the tower block flats from there ” .
“ Right , that was the Angel Station you said ?”
“ The Angel Islington . Its like a double word . If you get lost
ask somebody , or ring me . Once you get to Liverpool Street
station , you are almost here . ”
“Ok . I’ll see you later then ”
“ Bye . Take care , Yea “
With absolutely no idea where to go I walked along the streets of London . The rain fell , and soaked me to the skin .
Somehow I managed to find myself at the underground by
St Pauls where I bought a ticket to The Angel Islington .
End of Chapter 4 - Part 2
Link to Chapter 5