✍ Rosie Pentreath, December 2020.
The roughly sanded wooden door wobbles closed behind me. I am in a warehouse-sized café. A spiral staircase, cream once but now chipped into a skewbald of rust and paint, is in front of me and a masked women nods.
I squeeze-wind up and Moon is as described – COVID-friendly face mask (Harry Potter insignia) and clear, plastic shield for the pandemic, with long, dark curly hair in a pony tail at the base of the neck; eyeballs tattooed indigo.
“Hello!” The accent is Baltic? Italian? Icelandic?
We laugh over salon confusion – this particular hair salon has spaces in Hackney and Homerton, neighbouring London boroughs that merge the way many do – and I’m soon seated in a classic red leather barber’s chair that wouldn’t be out of place on a 1950s period drama set.
Moon listens for the dye and style. They advise on colour and will mix a golden blonde with a brighter straw.
They have long, pointed nails, soft tattoos depicting the edge of the land as it meets the night sky, and a gentle voice. A small, uneven black circle is a penny-sized stigmata tattooed on Moon’s right palm.
“What brings you to London?” I talk about studying, the music; writing and the Internet.
Moon loves music and they introduce me to a video game soundtrack that is playing over loudpeaker; their choice to work to, over beat-hung throbs favoured at the other salon.
Moon loves Björk. We both do, and discuss Debut, Björk’s artist assistant James Merry, and Moon’s own art. It’s by now that I pick up that Moon is “we” — not I, he, she… they, even — and they have used the second coronavirus lockdown in England to produce more than ever. Digital is Moon’s platform.
“Where do you come from?”
Moon is from Utopia. Moon went to Hogwarts. Moon loves Alexander Desplat (“I interviewed him a while back”; Moon smiles widely behind their mask).
Moon loves Nicholas Hooper, who composed for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. It’s a shame that Ólafur Arnalds turned out to be rotten to work with. Moon drinks four litres of water a day.
I play Moon The Queen’s Gambit soundtrack. Moon plays me Jeremy Soule. We discuss crazy, and four suns ago when Donald Trump was elected president of the United States — thank goodness and kindness that’s over now.
Dark rectangles turn to gold gradient on my head. Moon are good with hair too. “So lovely to meet you. A musician!” Moon beams.
I squeeze down spiral stairs again, and leave, myself again for the first time in so many suns.
Read with: ‘The Queen’s Gambit Main Title’ by Carlos Rafael Rivera