I am not yet old but I’m heading that way and when I get there I will embrace it without cheating. As you know, I have in the last year embraced my natural hair colour and now I love it. Grey has greeted me like an old friend. The thing I like most about grey is that it accommodates red so well and red is the colour of passion, life, and ardour. I have taken to wearing bold lipsticks. I am at the moment in hot pursuit of Max Factor 827 Devastating Coral or some such name. I haven’t tracked it down yet, as I suspect that half the population of Britain has had the same idea. It is time at my age to become even more glamorous, more bold, more out there but not in a come and get me way. Rather more dignity is required, out on the streets anyway. Personally I want to avoid the mad-woman-in-the -attic look at all costs, while still holding on to the Diana Vreeland OTT vibe. It’s a fine line, obviously.
So here I sit blogging away, allowing time to embrace me without cheating (in the hair department anyway). I’ve been reading a biography of Nikola Tesla by Margaret Cheney, a gossipy take on the great man’s life. What a tragic hero Tesla was, being beaten to the Nobel prize through a lack of focus and an unfortunate drive towards the dramatic. There is a picture of him sitting reading a book in his laboratory in Colorado springs, while electrical ribbons of great power swirl around his head. It is a picture that has helped to maintain his place in history as a man of mystery with a finger on the lost part of the energy revolution. His fundamental research in wave propagation,radio and power transmission and ball lightning was important but there is another side to his research that fascinates the likes of me, because that information is kept, even today, out of the public domain, in a substantial classified Tesla file at ‘a well known defense agency’ because it contains ‘material important to national security.’
But I digress. The photograph in question is actually a fake. Tesla is not present when the streamers of energy flowed. After all they would certainly have killed him.It was a photographic trick that put them both in the same shot. So Tesla, who was undoubtably an inventor of genius, was also a man driven by ego and hampered by bad luck . He was not without style. He used to travel out to Long Island to his doomed Wardenclyffe Project, elegantly attired in grey spats and accompanied by a Serbian manservant bearing a large hamper of food. Although he was considered by some to be ‘ the greatest genius of all time’, others thought him to be a man in touch with the dark forces through the power of alchemy.
Talking about alchemy. Last night I watched a recording of Pulp at Glastonbury 1995, which reminded me what a magician of the collective mind is Jarvis Cocker. How he played that huge crowd with his mesmerising long index finger and his sculpted cheekbones. By the time he got to Common Peoplehe had thousands of heads bobbing in unison and everyone was singing along, right on the button. It helped me see how human beings are one and love being at one with a huge group. Yet as one they look towards the charismatic leader for timing and inspiration, for that’s where they see Spirit. And it is Spirit that sent shivers up and down my spine as I became part of that Glastonbury moment fifteen years ago. And there I was sitting in front of a box, time travelling from the comfort of my sofa(very much like Diana Vreeland’s I might add, only yellow not red) It was Tesla who foresaw the revolution that I was witnessing. It was he who envisioned the entire concept of the transmission of intelligence, for I was not just watching moving pictures but also being involved in a process of communication between thousands that had my neck hair standing on end. That is the transmission of intelligence. Yay!
I am still only half way through Tesla’s biography, so obviously have reached no conclusion. I am just aware that for me style is important and this man had style as well as the grand vision to be thought of as mad, like Blake. Maybe the mad woman in the attic look is something to aspire to after all.