Mustard Maple Syrup at 3 a.m.

Friday 13/Saturday 14 March 2020

Step off the train, stride beneath crystal roofs.
Liverpool Street: 7.09 a.m.

Grab a moment in the ‘third place’: not there, nor there. Status neutral.
The over-choice – Flat White?  Cappuccino? Americano?
Mocha Cortado?  Gingerbread?  Caramel?  Cinnamon?
Your Club Card?  A wrap?

Broadgate: creeping corporatisation – public space
privatisation.  Who knows who owns what?
Seamless work/recreation proximity: health clubs,
champagne bars, clocks in global time zones.

Frank takes note of the primary landmarks,
the transient temperature, sounds, smells.  ‘I tap,
my index finger alongside my white cane, with a slight stomping
of my feet, snapping my fingers; with my mouth I make
a clicking noise.  An acoustic flashlight.’

And there’s art: The Fulcrum – five trapezoidal, steel plates,
fifty-five feet high. Engage through form, material and sight.
You can hide inside.
Broadgate Venus – five tons, patinated curves of bronze.
Counterpoint to skinny fit.
Cascade: a water feature, Zen inspired, natural oasis.
Circles of peacefulness; eternity.

Rollerblades, skateboards, taxis, buses, bikes, scooters, vans, trucks.
A Roman road: the A10.  Bishopsgate, Shoreditch High Street…to King’s Lynn.

‘The buildings comprise the inner shoreline. The outer shoreline
is the pavement’s edge.’ The supertalls, their iconic status?
‘Their dizzy heights?’  Frank shrugs.  ‘They pass me by.’

Cheesegrater, Gherkin, Tower 42, Scalpel, Walkie-Talkie,
110, twenty-four seven, fortieth floor: ‘The right overall look’
required for the top, in forty secs. at five m.p.s. via scenic lifts.
Skyline: one Biodynamic Sour; one Reformed Pornstar;
Crispy Leg Confit; Mustard Maple Syrup at 3 a.m.

‘Structure, position, dimension, a sense of density and
texture, the echoes.  I hear reflections of sounds from the walls.’

Paul Marshall