On returning from our Yokohama mid week birthday sojourn on Thursday evening there was a brown paper package. Left on the doorstep – unusual for the Japanese postal service. Scented with Apres L’Ondee, on opening it ( Helen’s signature ) there was a book – and a painted portrait of Burning Bush.
I gasped when I saw it. I know that Helen’s partner Steve is an exceptional portrait painter – frequently featuring in the National Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery in London – but this is unnervingly on point. It IS Burning Bush ( theoretically also me ). A palpable malevolence. An Edvard Munch vampire. An exceptional birthday present.
D had been colluding with them behind the scenes. Apparently the original plan had been a picture of us both together, but D had demurred and gone for BB ( I can imagine both sets of parents tutting disapprovingly reading this ). But Burning Bush – who when encountered by most people is often described as being a spirit animal; an ungendered feral creature and my performing alter ego who has more power in the flesh than I do – is clearly more visually striking.
It was also D who insisted I try the stage ( as he knows me better than anybody, along with Helen and my mother ). He must have sensed that I needed the release. And I did : although I might be embarking on disturbing psychological revelations here, prior to the existence of Burning Bush I would sometimes feel trapped in my own skin, as though demons were pushing their way out of my skin. Like something had to get out. Some blood letting.