Thirty Years On
So… Thirty years on. Mary and I were wed at Chelsea-Kensington Registry Office (since closed by the Thatcherite Gov’t a couple of years later) on this day in 1978 at about 11:45 in the morning. It seems so long ago, and then just yesterday. I can’t tell you all the details, but it was a smashing time. Our bridesmaids all wore motorcycle jackets, but then again they were all guys, Mary’s ex-roomates. You can see Fernley with the champagne bottle over our heads, His partner Tony is taking the photo as I remember. The girl next to Fernley is Fizzle, who at that time was Jake Rivera’s assistant over at Stiff Records. On the far left is Philip, who was a member of the Golden Dawn, his father a black GI during the war, his mum a young lady from Golders Green. On the far right is Jim Doherty, who went to school with Mary in Glasgow.
There are so many stories on those stairs. People who grew up with Mary, friends who lived in the flats all over London… and they adored her. I was a shock to their system, but I was accepted in time.
Shortly after this photo in a month and a half we would hop on a jet and fly to L.A. to seek our fortunes together in the new world. (Fleeing the bread strike, the sugar strike, and dossing on friends floors) We arrived in L.A. to start up a press and start publishing books together within a year, then moved on to form a band to record music and perform together, and still are at it in some way or another all these years on. Along the way we moved back and forth to Britain, up and down the west coast of the USA somehow taking time to bring in to the world and raise a fine son.
Little Details: Mary was wearing part of a womans’ tuxedo, and my ties’ pattern was the Jacobite Plaid of the 1845 uprising. (Small gestures, nods and winks) With Mary, I discovered our place in the his-her/storical context~continuum. Everything she did was and is to this day art. She made the dreams real.
She was, and is the most beautiful woman I have had the privilege of knowing & loving, I swear. Count me blessed many times over.
Mary and I sharing a joke with friends after the ceremony…
Just before the wedding party headed out to The Green Room, the winebar across from The Young Vic near Waterloo Station (Mary and I had both worked there together)
Okay… every couple seems to have a song when they are courting. This was ours:
Because The Night: Patti Smith Group
Our First Shared Poet: Hugh MacDiarmid
‘Facing The Chair’
Here under the rays of the sun
Where everything grows so vividly
In the human mind and in the heart,
Love, life, and all else so beautifully,
I think again of men as innocent as I am
Pent in a cold unjust walk between steel bars,
Their trousers slit for the electrodes
And their hair cut for the cap
Because of the unconcern of men and women,
Respectable and respected and professedly Christian,
Idle-busy among the flowers of their gardens here
Under the gay-tipped rays of the sun.
And I am suddenly completely bereft
Of la grande amitié des choses créés,
The unity of life which can only be forged by love
I am the outlawed conscience of Scotland,
The voice that must not be heard,
The bane of all time-servers and trimmers,
Helot-usurpers of the true aristocracy of awareness.
Full of the confidence that is the cure
For cowardice and its twin, conceit.
‘De gustibus…’ means that properly probed
There can be no two minds; pressed au fond, all men agree.
“The little white rose”
The rose of all the world is not for me.
I want for my part
Only the little white rose of Scotland
That smells sharp and sweet – and breaks the heart
“A Vision of Scotland”
I see my Scotland now, a puzzle
Passing the normal of her sex, going erect
Unscathed through fire, keeping her virtue
Where temptation works with violence, walking bravely,
Offering loyalty and demanding respect.
Every now and again in a girl like you,
Even in the streets of Glasgow or Dundee,
She throws her headsquare off and a mass
Of authentic flaxen hair is revealed,
Fine spun as newly-retted fibres
On a sunlit Irish bleaching field.
One wet, early evening in the sheep-shearing season
I saw that occasional, rare thing
A broken shaft of a rainbow with its trembling light
Beyond the downpour of the rain
And I thought of the last, wild look you gave
Before you died.
The skylarks nest was dark and desolate,
My heart was too
But I have thought of that foolish light
Ever since then
And I think that perhaps at last I know
What your look meant then.
Venice Beach, Lysergic Morning? 1978