Like most tourists on holiday I spend most of my time idling in cafes, sitting on public transportation staring out the windows or hanging on the corner of bars just watching the world go by and taking in the local scenery. Once in a while I try to engage in conversation with one of the regulars perhaps with a passing comment about the weather or a question regarding the place itself but the rest of the time is just spent watching, imagining what it would be like to be part of it, wishing I was and sometimes glad that I wasn’t. You see, a tourist has no obligation to commit to anything – being part of it, not being part of it – is kind of a moot point. As a tourist you just are. What you see is just background to the bigger picture of which is your real life, which is somewhere else from where you are. It’s just scenery. When I go to events it’s either one scene or another. The crowds are often big and I usually know someone there (I’ve been a tourist long enough to have forged some kind of a friendship with a few of the locals) but I’m still the tourist, regardless of city or even country, I’m always the tourist just passing through.
One scene I seem to find myself in is the artsy one. I dunno. There something about the place and the people that fascinates me. It’s kind of lively, laid back and individual characters amuse me. Maybe because I want to be artsy, maybe I already see myself as being artsy, maybe I’m glad I’m not artsy and feel superior knowing I’m not one of them but at a vantage to be a voyeur.
And what exactly is the scene: artists, filmmakers, poets, performers, writers, activists, musicians and the anarchist, who is pissing on the stairs, an entire bohemian community. I can’t decide if these people are me or if they are just what I want to be. The political poet with dreadlocks on stage, is that me? Or is the piss-artist who is scribbling shit on the walls trying to pass it off as poetry, me? Or is the loud camp professor with too much to say, me? Or is the feminist activist with a nose stud and tongue piercing with her designer girlfriend, me? Or the socially conscious filmmaker wearing a ‘dare to document’ t-shirt, me? Or is the communist toting freedom cafe owner selling non-branded beer at ‘fair’ prices served along side home made local cuisine, me? Or is the actress cum photographer cum writer drinking the non-branded beer at the freedom cafe with the filmmaker, the camp professor who is slamming the slam poet he came to see, the feminist activist with the designer girlfriend smoking my Marlboro Lights, me? Actually, I’m none of these. I’ve kinda become scenery.