My post-gig downtime after gigs in the Wood of Arp are so different to Lozowick. Out here you don’t know what to expect. Last night a row of candy canes with legs marched past my cabin like the mops in Fantasia. God knows who thought them up.
More about this forest next week, but for now let me finish how we got to the woods in the first place.
For our departure The Kandinsky shifted into four huge spheres, ten little feet on either side. With the transformation complete, we inched across the rooftops, be they thatched or made of concrete.
I could spend the whole year in Lozowick, and not touch the surface. It makes you realise that other cities, no matter how amazing their culture and architecture, are limited by the economic practicalities of food and water, sanitation, and keeping the lights on. But in this metropolis there are none of these concerns.
There are streets covered in thick snow that lead to buildings hidden to their rafters in sand. These are not obstructions, but deliberate choices. Although what the choice is, I don’t know.
Next to us in a skyline is the giant fabric bowling ball shape of a hot air balloon. Tied underneath is a wicket basket the size of a football field, containing a swimming pool full of lightbulbs. The vehicle lacks a driver, let alone any patrons. I have no idea how the water stays in.
A skyscraper appeared in front of us in seconds, and a brutalist spaghetti junction unzips back into the ground. A giant hamster wheel, empty but still rolling, bombs down the street. My window was ajar, letting in smells ranging from chip shop vinegar to petuli. The glass fogged with condensation, then rattled from the rain. There was always new something to see, assaulting me until my head pounds.
Lozowick is amazing, but I don’t want to live there. What if you popped to the shops, and they weren’t there anymore?
We reached the edge of the city, and this part lives up to the name. The final street is ruler straight, and runs alongside a lawn hundreds of miles long. I bet every blade of grass is exactly the same length. The wood of Arp starts a thirty second walk across this lawn, with a tree line no less straight.
I spotted oaks, pines and redwood, and a weeping willow with branches that touch the ground. But most were unrecognisable. Some curve almost to right angles, or others are smooth like plasticine. There are trees so thin they could have been planted yesterday, and others with unknown fruit the size of watermelons. We hopped off an apartment block, and scuttled across the lawn. Within seconds of entering the wood, the world was silent, except for branches scraping against our hull.
We have been here for three days now, and you only hear something when a creature runs past. We are moving forward, but this is a shift as significant as from light to dark.
Are there really bears that are thirty foot long?
One last thing. The Butter Mouse shifted from her position on the shelf to look out the window. Or maybe she moved when the engine started.