Frozen – 10 minutes around midnight (2011)

In the flashing light of the slot machines, pinballs and games the few late night customers stare at their screens, tense, each leaning and pushing against his mechanical companion in the night, lonely.
Just outside the door the wind sweeps papers, polystyrene cups, cardboard boxes with fast food remains.
A drunk staggers off the bus, waves in search of balance, finds his guiding stream and lets himself be carried away.
Across the road a tall young man sings loudly, out of tune, exaggerating the lines played in his ears by the large headphones, he bends back to sing at the moon while walking blindly ahead, screaming.
A police car zooms past with sirens on.
In the dim light of the closed supermarket the shapes of cleaners slide along the aisles, a strip light buzzes sending intermittent blue sparks to bounce off the shiny packaging on the shelves.
An ambulance flies by on a call.
Further along a Salvation Army centre, the large windows like television screens framing still images: a hall, too brightly lit with fluorescent lights, circled by chairs, one in four is occupied by the statue of a man, each staring straight ahead, one is leaning dangerously, another is slouched and precariously perched on the edge of his chair. No one seems to be talking, no one seems to be sleeping, they all just sit frozen in that suspended space filled with loneliness.
A police car and van race past.
Lets move on, ahead of me a young fat teenager walks with assured gait, he wears a long black coat, the distinctive mark of the Matrix followers. One simple garment that tells a whole story, a whole philosophy, he is bent forward, lone ranger, rescuer of worlds, the long coat tails heroically swinging in the wind.
A sharp smell of beer and urine, two women and a man stride past, stumbling, one of the women is frantically swearing while fragments of a disconnected story pour out of her mouth mixed with spittle.
A young man, barefoot, sits at the bus stop, a dog on the leash, the dog sniffs at every passer by, and the young man politely informs them the dog is friendly.
Five very young girls walk past on their way to the club, two have already reached the stage of needing help to stand up and walk. They all wear more make up than clothes and haven’t practiced too well their high heels walking skills.
A police car followed by an ambulance zigzag to find a way between the cars waiting for the green light and avoiding the packs of drunk kids overflowing from the footpath onto the road near the tube station.
A group of young men, shaven heads, tattoos on their arms and chests, rings on their noses, lips and ears, walk past the girls, the two groups ignore each other, the men are intent in shouldering each other, crashing into the shop windows and jumping on litter bins, road signs and anything that can be kicked, one throws an empty bear bottle at a shop window, the bottle bounces and hits a passing car.
A young couple hugs at the bus stop, they are talking about going to the circus the next day, the mayhem around doesn’t touch them, exonerated by love.
A young woman sits on the pavement against a shop window, her nice light dress will be badly soiled, but right now she doesn’t care, she is crying, talking on her mobile, sobbing, someone hurt her, she can’t understand why, she argues and begs and retorts, but it’s not working.
A scruffy old man shuffles along in his slippers, he carries two shopping bags from the near cheap mini market, open 24-7, where two boys are stacking crates, cigarettes dangling from their lips.
A middle aged lady walks past energetically pushing a pram with a little baby, she talks to herself while the baby stares at the bright lights flowing past.
Hundreds, thousands of lonelynesses sliding past each other, on a thick network of collision paths that never seem to even brush against each other, each along its unique lost trajectory.

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