I remember a bleak trip up to Lancaster with my Mum and her oversized boyfriend, constantly chugging roll-ups from his engrained perch in the front. We stopped over night in Blackpool and I remember hoping that the clapped out â€˜illuminationsâ€™, which were nothing more glorious than shoddy old Pepsi ads really, were not an omen for the next three years. I had never been to Lancaster, or visited any universities at all for that matter. A crazed mix of youthful arrogance and too many drug related experiences in my formative years had led me to defer Uni for a year, mainly in the hopes that I would have a better idea of what I wanted to do by the time it came around to go, or, better yet, that I would be â€˜discoveredâ€™ before I had to. Discovered doing what, I hear you ask. Surely there were other lanky, cynical pot heads with pretentious tendencies around to be head hunted by MI6 and senior government positions? Sadly, no. Perhaps I thought someone was going to drag me out of my weed chugging social calendar because of an inherent brilliance that would summon those who mattered. What a little tosser I was to have even half-seriously entertained such a notion. Still, a little pretension is character building I reckon, as long as you do eventually turn your back on it and don’t become a neckerchief wearing, open mic poetry reader with a leather waistcoat and a penchant for livers warmed in a cock sized glassâ€¦.But I digress, and I think I always will, so fuck it.
Anyway, anyway, anyway where was I? Oh yes, arriving at Uni and wondering who elseâ€™s pots and pans would be shoved into the meagre cupboards in the 25-man kitchen I was bound to share. I would learn later, at the end of term, that some people literally did fall at this first hurdle and simply could not hack the thought of such an enforced communal living. By the look of the cargo unloaded at the end of week 10, it seems they simply radioed back to base for heavy artillery. Then Mummy and Daddy turned up with a fridge, gas stove and microwave oven to save any blushes about shared pans, mess, stolen food, or, most understandably, every shy boyâ€™s worst nightmare, the cackling big-breasted gang of bints that came free with every living space. Fortunately I had neither the means nor the inclination to avoid these things, and I ended up welcoming it all with open arms, for a while. Of course, there were a couple of edgy days. I had no suit for the â€˜Fresherâ€™s Ballâ€™, and it sounded like a poor copy of an American thing anyway, so I decided to skip it. Spent the evening in toiling on the half ounce of hash Iâ€™d brought with me instead, wondering what the fuck I was doing with myself generally and earning a very short-lived, misguided reputation as a loner.
I soon found my groove though and I think it fair to say that I did feel streets ahead of most people purely because of having had a year out. I excelled in the drinking game and used my small town pub culture roots to good effect in the college pool team. The world was opening to the socially mobile masses and even those less so (it was a good crowd and â€˜jock mentalityâ€™ was very marginalised). Parties were being thrown left right and centre â€“ it was all laid out for us, like somebody understood that the social side of things needed to be kick-started before we all scuttled off to our private toasters and choked on a diet of pop tarts and throaty sobs. Soon, relations were expanded beyond the immediate kitchen nest and I met an interesting character with bright eyes and a mental grin. We started speaking to put each other at ease, it was one of those times when you know youâ€™ve got to make that step, before it becomes impossible or goes the other way â€“ claimed dislike through ignorance or fear. You know the times â€“ we were primitive social animals back then really. We hit it off and soon formed a strong alliance against the raucous fat birds and the unholy Junior Common Room collective. We fought to keep the Stone Roses on the juke box and to keep the fucking Abba off. We lost. We deconstructed days over spliffs that burnt down evenly and we shared honest thoughts, mutual likes and dislikes and professed love for various college beauties. We kept the arrogance out of one another with well placed verbal slaps and rye smiles â€“ we kept our feet on the ground. We expanded our social circles and got to know each otherâ€™s friends â€“ the world was constantly growing.
Even when it wrong for me, as of course it did, and I got involved with a girl I shouldnâ€™t have, long term, our chats and the healthy social scene kept me sane. Our expanded social circles created a constant flux of nights out, places to chill and canal-side escapes on hastily purchased mountain bikes. And we all just kept meeting people and the world was a mass of people to get to know. For the first time, it seemed like even the best looking girls were potentially just a smile and a â€˜helloâ€™ away. Of course, we were far too dysfunctional to ever really make that a reality, but the fantasy was there and thatâ€™s half the battle isnâ€™t it? You have to believe it possible to do it, and you donâ€™t have to do it to enjoy its possibility.
A wicked time, an eye-opening time, the most socially expanding time, the most freedom. The fact is we abused that freedom sometimes â€“ we got too far into things we shouldnâ€™t have, we dwelled on too many negatives that could have been shrugged off and, sometimes, we sank low. Hereâ€™s the deal though â€“ if we wanted to swim back up to the top, it was all there for the taking. With free will comes responsibility, but please donâ€™t criticise the whole game because you stayed down in the bottom of the barrel.
After 6 months being beaten up against the Teambrand anvil I was close to capitulating. 6 months of watching halfmeat flop of chainbelts bleeding and spitting fat had crippled me. The chemical dream was over. Crystal joy, I decided, was just one more installment in a terminal series of deferrals. Soon enough the balance would be sought. And by now I was sinking far enough into the red to sincerely fear the day it was. Yes credit misery had sunk its talons deep into my fleshy necessity and I now looked on my wardrobe as so much rubbish if only I could have cash. I spent that Christmas flat broke, wandering around the packed mall, watching couples glide by with big boutique bags and waxed and tousled hair. It was a crisis of some kind. Though I had some reason to suspect that the fault was not entirely mine. Admittedly I had some problems, but on the other hand, who didnâ€™t? In this lager-ed loveless corner of England it seemed everybody limped a little, or squinted somewhat, or just somehow failed to shine. Dull wet and cold. Delinquent kids running around grubby and unkempt. Teenage mothers slouching behind perambulators, dark-roots glowering bellow shocks of high-bunched peroxide straw. The whole scene seemed unshaven crumpled unironed off-kilter. Everything off-angle skewed and out of whack.
The bus-ride trip to work in the morning. The bleak gray plastic interior. And the strange power-point presentations and advertisements on the screens. Uninspired whiteboard slogans and â€˜teamtalkâ€™ and â€˜together-we-can-change-the-worldâ€™ corporate triteness. An atmosphere like your freebee â€˜community paperâ€™ given three-dimensional plastic form. Yes I rode to work every morning in a chariot developed by the same minds that brought you those letâ€™s-exercise-and-be-productive social campaigns. The waiting room to a provincial town hall set on wheels. All this registered by now as an inaudible internal scream. In fact the scream had become so constant that I no longer seemed to notice. True, I was dimly aware of a pain of some kind, but if I turned my minidisk up high enough it could be mistaken for nascent tinitaus. But one among many ill-advised copping mechanisms. The weed buzz also succeeded in taking the edge of things, rendering life bumbling and amusing. 5 puffs and there I was Charlie Chaplin on his way to work. Benign smile, glazed eyes, labored gait. A moustache would have completed the look, but then facial hair was not considered part of the teambrand â€˜look.â€™ Much less a little black trilby and baggy ill-fitting clown pants. No, at teambrand we aimed to â€˜excelâ€™, we prided ourselves on our â€˜customer service;â€™ and we feared the â€˜mystery shopperâ€™ on whose mysterious soldiers rested the wait of the global teambrand image. The â€˜mystery shopperâ€™, the punctual corporate informant under whose gaze our ranking in the provincial franchise league-tables monthly fluctuated. Though of course the contrived-cheer and evangelical conviction of management rarely made the jump to the staff. Most of us slopped around behind the counter disgruntled or appalled. A motley crew of bored pimply adolescents, dropouts, and slackers penned in to this unglamorous fate by terrible necessity or lack of commercial nous. And thus resplendent in branded polo shirt and baseball cap, cowed under the yoke of failure and fatigue, I stumbled into my 22nd year.
How had things come to this? A question with which I was now becoming well acquainted. It was something like my mental screen saver. An isolated phrase bouncing around a mind that was often dangerously unengaged. I spent most days surrounded by faces that seemed, like mine, both vacant and alarmed. Vacant and alarmed as trundling public-transportation carved its undulating course through the cityâ€™s blank bland rows of townhouses. Vacant and alarmed below the gray morning dome, heading out beyond the blocks of pastel hued Lego-land estates, to the out-of-town mall. Days concluded as they began: vacant and alarmed as the buss passed wet rows of terrace housing at the shiftâ€™s end. Vacant and alarmed through the endless detours and diversions, the lurching left then right, the intermittent labyrinthine movement home. Throughout these nighttime journeys I was becoming aware of the omnipresent glow of TV screens strobing the walls of countless roadside living rooms. Every time the buss hissed to its episodic cessation, there was the flicker and fanfare in the corner of my eye. The flicker off the TV world on the walls of the city and in the backdrops of our minds. For if the screens werenâ€™t a constant concrete presence then they surely conveyed their imperial influence in the desperate straining of our affected haircuts and pop culture postures. Everybody wanted to be a rockstar, and worse everyone considered themselves a freelance entertainment pundit. And so moment-by-moment we dulled our mental faculties on the anti-grindstone of celebrity gossip and anxious affectation. Regurgitating second hand opinions, we sat around take-away trays panhandling for profundity in this spasmâ€™s stream: geysers expelled, choked down, regurgitated. All feeding on food that fed none. It was monstrous what we made of ourselves, slow and unobtrusive, unseen and sure, we lived like men made dogs. Unable to assuage our great hungers, we died behind our bleached teeth and bellow our fins of waxed and yellowed hair. Sometimes after work we took our opinions to the pub and continued to bounce them around like disposable rubber balls: bouncing this way and that, random and heedless, a neon chaos of colliding novelty tat. This so-called â€˜conversation,â€™ this chaotic calculated angst emanated from and returned to the great fetishized orgy. This the source of our dreams and ideals, this our ambitionâ€™s end and our cultural methadone. Prescribed and joyless it sufficed to bar agony at the door yet it offered a vision without vistas. And so we made our limp stabs at liberation with the help of our weekend intoxicants. Whatâ€™s your poison? Sniffing, snorting, choking and swilling we groped slumped and stumbled bleary eyed out of one week into the next. Yes here came the great â€˜weekendâ€™ the romanticized bull-eyed bedlam of Saturday night in the English North.
Oblivion. For long nights we stalked her bellow the strobing lights, through the takeaway shops with their stench of meat and sweat, their air of ambition thwarted and their tang of desire turned bitter; shaven scalps, plastic shirts, tiny skirts and crowded menace. The weekends would start somewhat promisingly, the Friday evening buzz, 3 beers in, shaving at the mirror stereo jacked up to eleven, the smell of expensive cologne. And the promise of some young love to turn aside fortunes bitter tide, to wing us rapid to some more befitting, more glamorous, location. Yes it was only a matter of time before the world recognized our innate greatness. A greatness that transcended mere talent or charm: for what need had one for such accessories when the tortured heart of the artist stirred within? Yes, surely we slugged at that bourbon bottle with as much panache as the next man, and surely our cigarettes were caddishly well angled on their narrow slanting descents from our lipsâ€™ edges. Admittedly we were a little soft around the middle, but after all werenâ€™t then the worldâ€™s women tiring of all those skinny pouting surf-boys? Surely we would usher in a new wave of scruffy chubby unkempt heartthrobs. Sag would be the new taut. Pale pink the new tan and sleek. Yes it was clear our time was coming â€“ indeed it was immanent. And it surely lay at the bottom of that next glass, or behind that velvet rope, or beyond those towering balding bouncers.
Such was the fragile edifice which we weekly fashioned from our fast depleting store of hope and heart. The club scene. The meat market. The grim groping drudgery, the noxious neon-colored pink and blue of our shirts and slammers. The cityâ€™s pallet staining our gullets and stained, in turn, by the drip drip of our salivating retching mouths. Bug-eyed boss-eyed vomiting in corners groping senseless under tables. The same recurrent void. The same terrible music whirling round and round: a perpetual kitsch carousel of the obscene and sentimental. Stumbling from side to side in the arms of a dead-eyed stranger as some big-haired songstress mechanically intones her joyless ode. Bump and grind â€“ the death of the mind â€“ the hollow-eyes of our mirrored faces starring blankly back at us from behind the toiletâ€™s vomit splattered sinks. More. After a certain time and beyond a certain pitch of desperation: â€˜moreâ€™ is the only word that motivates. The strange slow suicide of a nation: a death-dance like a ring-a-ring-a-roses, weekly reenacted as we lurched in circles around handbagsâ€¦ Is this how a nation dies? Spread-eagle and sprawled amidst the ashtrays and cider spills.
I was tidying up some files on my computinator earlier this evening and happened to chance upon a couple of neatly typed paragraphs from Groover from the past. Reading them through I was struck by the fact that very little seemed to have change in either my disposition or my way of documenting the world. Oh well:
“It was the twenty eighth of February and 2004 and I was hovering somewhere near unconsciousness, slumped on a bench in a windswept northern station. There were no trees here that I could see and as the pain shot through my head, my last thought was that stations are no place for people.
I woke to the sound of the intercity 2036 moving through at high speed. Two hundred feet of poorly assembled metal and plastic shooting across the open plains of England like the righteous fury of a vengeful god. Damn these cheap stanzas and all that they foretell.”
Travelling round the country a bit this week, doing my best to explain the problems with national datasets and the value for money offered by government programmes. Definitely playing the young man in a sharp suit card, and clearly this is working well with some cynical practitioners and prompting downright disgust from others. It’s pretty dry stuff and I can’t wait to finish the final workshop on Leeds in Friday and get myself over to Steedo’s place for a bit of ironic banter and a couple of ales. Feeling pretty chipper today, but definitely time for stepping back a bit to survey the carnage left behind from a couple of months of highs and lows and to set some new plans for a destruction free future. Vive la bolo.
Mind wandering in the train carriage and thinking you get funny food on trains these days: Just a short hop down the carriage and you get to the drinks counter. We can offer you a BLT sandwich, a microwave burger or some coronation chicken. Why not have a cup of tea and a kit-kat? Why not get yourself a coke-can-sized can of beer or a mini-wine bottle that tastes like strychnine? Some people on the carriage resort to sandwiches, but surreptitiously. Itâ€™s important to grab em up furtively from your briefcase while no-one else is looking.
Well I apologize in advance for this wantant piece of rantery which may be all too familiar to many of you travelling boloists out there, but I just have to expel this linguistic filth before it gives me cancer of the innards, or even ze piles.
How many medicines do you think it would take to cure a kid of what appeared to be a common cold and an ear infection? Three, four max? Youâ€™d be wrong. Try fifteen of the fuckers! Yes, fifteen little boxes, vials of piss-coloured fluid and tubes of all-healing ointment were handed out to the young mum in front of me at the chemists, SLOWLY. I have come to accept the French attitude towards prescription drugs, which seems to be an unannounced race to the death to obtain as many creams, rubs, pills, powders, magic salts, charmed bolsa woods and prescription fromages as possible (â€œDocteur, I am not feeling too good, I bring my wheelbarrow, yes, for all ze shiny pills you give me yes, and donâ€™t forget the 150 gallon barrel of prediluted vickâ€™s Vapour rub, I think little Frank sniffed last weekâ€). Accepting the fact that the more people are waiting, the slower the person serving becomes at doing their job is what I cannot do.
Ever worked in the service industry? In a bar or a shop perhaps? If you have and you were not on a barbiturate drip, you will doubtlessly remember that feeling you get when you know that people are waiting, for you. Only you doing your job can allow all the people to get what they came for and move on with their day, back to the office, pub, mateâ€™s house or just plain old Home. Being aware of this fact makes you toil a bit faster, try and keep the queue down to a minimum. Granted, sometimes it doesnâ€™t work that way and you get panicked, and maybe it even takes longer than if there were fewer people. The point is though that everyone knows that itâ€™s your intention to work faster and get people served that has caused you to panic, and they appreciate that, allow for it. Even the laziest incompetent fuckwit knows to at least TRY and look a bit busier. Not on the Brie side of the channel though, oh no. The more people are waiting, the longer it takes. The more tuts of disapproval and reproachful glances, the slower the work gets done. The more aggressive posturing and throat clearing that goes on, the longer you fucking wait. It is truly maddening to the non-French psyche.
I went out to get some non-prescription pain killers earlier tonight, and when I saw that there were only two people waiting in the usually busy late night chemist, my heart leapt with cautious joy. A queue of four or five can take 30 minutes to get through, but with just two people before me, I felt sure to be out of there in 15 minutes tops. Unfortunately, the midget pigeon-molesting chemist had picked up on my optimism and unpacked all his special moves to put me right. â€œZIS WILL TEK FUCCKIN AGGGGGES, ROSBIFâ€, his eyes whispered to me, as I closed the door and began killing time watching the Tenna Lady Pants advert, dubbed over from what can only have been American judging from the size of the bastards.
Having taken a prescription, heâ€™d amble back into his store room with it and return with perhaps 3 or 4 items on the list and punch a lot of keys on his PC, then do a complex calculation on a smaller, probably pretend machine that looked like an old-fashioned calculator with built-in print roll. Next the customer, who would surely have been waiting for ages before I even arrived and hence be all too familiar with the dilemma of those behind him, would insist on asking very exact questions on how the drops/ointment/pills/horse spunk should be applied, just to make sure the doctor wasnâ€™t joking. Long answers would be provided, followed by a description of what percentage of the cost of each medication was going to be reimbursed by the state and what, if any, would need to be picked up by the private health cover most people have here. Even though if youâ€™ve got health cover, as he obviously did have, it wouldnâ€™t matter because effectively youâ€™re never actually out of pocket. Repeat the process a few times, and you think, right, excellent, it must be time for him to the pay the bill and just fuck OFF now, but no, heâ€™s been holding back. Another prescription comes out, this time for his son, little Jean-Phillipe. And yes, of course heâ€™s a good father and he loves his son, so he needs to know EXACTLY how many drops of monkey blood to rub on the wee blighterâ€™s forehead each evening. Who could blame him? By this point Iâ€™d have to say me. Get the fuck on with it you cheese addicted, work shy midget pigeon toucher, or Iâ€™ll start foaming at the mouth and cussing you all out in a multitude of languages and regional lilts.
Ahhhhhh, thatâ€™s better. The badness is out of me. Obviously re-reading this itâ€™s clear that Iâ€™m an uptight â€˜Britisherâ€™ who does not know the joys of the pseudo-Mediterranean attitude to life, and maybe thatâ€™s a valid criticism, but damn it if I know someoneâ€™s waiting for me to serve them something, I respect them, their need and myself enough to want to be able to provide it ASAP. What can be right about imprisoning people in your little corner of life with your own arrogant sluggishness? Zat, my frenz, is ze way of ze plumbait.
A wiry gaggle of limbs
On a hatstand,
Atop which a weathered gargoyle rests,
With lank golden strands adorning as if a crest.
As it approaches, manifest -
Rattling from within,
A creaky attempt at speech -
Yellow claws so frail shakily grab thin air.
Three on one paw retract
To leave just the primary pair.
Accepting the white-and-gold cancer stick
Such gratitude wells
Somewhere in open coal pits.
A sign of the high turret of cognizance
From which the freak has fallen?
Recognition then bites:
We used to call him
Beautiful girl at Pinner Station
Cheeks rosy in the cold.
Beautiful girl at North Harrow
Sucking on a lozenge.
Beautiful girl at Harrow on the Hill,
Pushing a pram.
Beautiful girl at Northwick Park
and at Preston Road.
Beautiful rude girl at Wembley Park.
Beautiful someoneâ€™s mum at Finchley Road.
Baker St is full of beautiful girls.
No-one gets on at Great Portland St,
But I see one at Euston Square.
Beautiful students at Kings Cross.
Dirty stop-out at Farringdon.
Beautiful artists at Barbican
and suits at Moorgate.
But you are the only beautiful girl
(I care about)
And you are not on the tube.
If you think about it, do we have a choice in religion, or is it just a core part of human nature which we will always be fooling ourselves into thinking we can be conditioned out of by scientific enlightenment? Relinquishing your religion is not something that the brain takes easily – you are substituting the rock of absolute truth, around which you can build a coherent system of interpreting the world, for the learning by rote of scientific theories, hypotheses and notions, which by their nature are always seeking to be disproved or superceded: thus every ‘truth’ becomes lemming like, and our psyche begins to exist in a state which can be analogised to riding one of the little buggers to the edge of a cliff before jumping onto one further back and starting the journey again . It may do for those like us who have finally seen past religion’s manipulative and hypocritical facade to embrace science as the saviour of sanity, in fact once we have had this experience there is can be no way back that doesn’t involve brain damage, but the headfuck of endless existential questions engendered by this can be too much for some – who turn pretty quickly to bullshit spiritualism, lining the pockets of another set of charlatans – the lucky charlatan being the one that the hapless ‘nouveau agnostic’ finally rests on as the dominant absolute truth substitute.
Going back to the first sentence, could it be that it is equally core to human nature that we should inevitably seek to reject religion? Is it all a result of Homo Sapiens being an evolutionary fuck up who learnt how to learn before he could make sense of what he had learnt? Other animals just know what they have to know and get on with fighting and breeding: we have had the whiff of wordly knowledge, which has given us the narcotic ambition of total control over every aspect of our lives, even the very nature of our existence, and hence an addiction to achieving this as strong as that of a hamster seeking to run to the other side of its wheel to sniff its own arse (and the likelihood of success just as low). Maybe the truly wise are content to know what they don’t know (thanks, Rumsfeld), rather than spending the precious time before they die trying to work it out. But maybe, they are truly boring people. All I know is that, despite the headfuck, I love being an atheist – hangover in church anyone?
This applies in the unlikely event that any of you ever find yourselves in a dingy Welsh pub chatting to a drunken and overtly English-hating Irishman, accompanied by his 15 year old pregnant girlfriend, and it comes out during casual conversation that he’s recently been released from prison for GBH.
When events reach that inevitable climax where he threatens to bite your finger off, whatever you do, DON’T stick your fucking finger in his fucking mouth. Trust me, even if though you feel proud and empowered at the time, you’ll regret it in the morning.
I have recently read the book written by Richard Dawkins entitled ‘The God Delusion’, and must admit that although it contained many arguments I have already encountered, I certainly found the explanations from this enlightened ‘brain on a stick’ much better conveyed than my measly pustule of a narcotics-damaged cabbage of a head could probably ever elicit.
Ever since the attempted indoctrination by my school at the age of 7 (and in fact, before then through prayers at infantsâ€™ school from the age of 5), I have always held a rather sceptical mindset and found the whole culture of Christianity (and other religions) very confusing, and easily treated as quaint and occasionally amusing. Indeed, the main reason my peers chose to celebrate Ash Wednesday was to evade a whole hour of teaching in chapel and drink a pitiful amount of red wine in the hope of getting pissed.
Now, however, my mindset has been changed. I think it changed a long time ago, but one point Dawkins makes that really resonates with me is the exceptionally privileged place a personâ€™s religious beliefs hold. Whereas all other points of view are open to debate, religion is the one aspect of culture that advocates unwavering, unquestioning and ignorant belief. It is apparently a virtue to believe in the teachings of your religion. And the more you believe it, and the less evidence there is to back it, the more virtuous you are. Unfortunately, in our society this also means that people respect a pious personâ€™s beliefs, even if they are absolutely ludicrous, detrimental to others, and can easily be blown out of the water.
An old example, a boy of Quaker parentage in the first world war could happily evade conscription citing religious belief, whereas an atheist pacifist could not, and would be tried and imprisoned for desertion of duty. A more up to date example is demonstrated by the current controversy surrounding the wearing of veils or burqas when teaching children, recently added to by the Dutch cabinet, which has backed a proposal by the country’s immigration minister to ban Muslim women from wearing the burqa in public places.
Another aspect I am worried about is the prescription of children to religious beliefs. I donâ€™t know what may have happened to my views if my parents were not the unconcerned heathen that they are, but bringing up a child as a Jew or a Christian seems comic considering the childâ€™s understanding of such matters. You donâ€™t tend to see Socialist or Conservative children.
Despite the barriers to integration and a world view of humanity that this culture introduces (from the moment of birth), even more scary is the total incompatibility of all these faiths and the ultimate conclusion that â€˜I am right and everyone else is wrongâ€™. As I have said before, how can you argue against a religion whose virtues are based on unquestioning, blind faith.
And so, I have decided to become an activist of sorts. I would never insult peopleâ€™s beliefs, of course, but I will question them, and often have done. And probably the biggest question, as always, is at home â€“ my nephewsâ€™ likely entry into an exclusively Jewish school.
Well, what else can I say to the ranks of bolo, but a massive thanks. Thanks for responding to my call to action so vociferously. Not only for doing that, but also to do so with promises of rare ales, house parties and old-man pubs. Truly impressive.
Anyway, to make things clear and to document the intended trip for future generations, I thought I would outline the key elements of the plan. They are as follows:
24th November – Visit Steedo up in Leeds. Do best to keep it casual in the presence of legal types and crazed northern scumbags. Return after the weekend to one week of grind. 29th November – Finish work, jump on table. Kick swivel chair over, put bin on head and run around bumping into colleagues screaming. 30th December – Pack up troubles in old kit bag, replace missing break-light in car, jump in said vehicle and pump accelerator hell for leather till reaching Wales. Chill with Knaggs and see if I can survive without a beating for being a poncy southerner in the welsh badlands. 3rd December – Point the car due East and zoom towards Bob, fresh back from some kind of rams-legged cycle convention. Spend couple of days touring the birthplace of Margaret Thatcher, with local newshound celebrity. 5th December – Go home. Get some sleep, answer some emails etc and chill. 7th December – Fly out from Heathrow to see Breakingstein in Madrid. Spend few days trying to avoid being pickpocketed and scoping raven haired beauties. May pick up some culture, you never know. 10th December – Fly home. Feel extremely jaded. 13th (appropriately) December – Go back to work or decide to piss life up against wall in the name of art, good times and three-striped trainers, and head off on new mission.
I wonder: is one reason that these semi-professional/talented attention/talent seekers were sold the idea of I’m a Nonentity…Get Me A New Agent that they would have a short time in which they are able to say “I’m a celebrity” and not feel ashamed? Of course if they use that phrase as a description of themselves, then they will be lying, and with that may come the shame. But the programme cunningly incorporates countless opportunities to say it out of context (for instance just mentioning the name of the show), and sadly for these lovelorn once-a-talking-head-on-the top-10-decades-of-the-20th-Century pillow biters, that may well be enough.
Not much doing on this quiet Sunday night. Just a feverish run for enjoyment before the perils of the week begin again. Planning is gearing up properly for the Bolo tour and all systems are go. More websites on the horizon and just enough energy to half tinker with some ideas before collapsing back to the house for a sizeable bowl of ice-cream and some biscuits. Ah, the perils of relapse and the eerie prospect of an abstinence mission soon to begin again. A brief respite is over and it is time to get out of the trenches and run like crazy for the next ridge, dodging plumbaits and crack monkeys and sparking out shirt-boys.
Hell yes, step up motherfuckers, step up. Step up to where, to what, you say? No idea. No one has a clue what to fight for it seems to me, other than their immediate circle of interest (family, friends, Scunthorpe FC). Now, Iâ€™m not counting the people who spend all their evenings watching ITV, worrying about Super Volcanoes, getting raped by hood wearing paedophiles and wanking off over the creases in Carol Vordremanâ€™s latest PVC cat suit whilst she convinces them they need to consolidate their debt. No, those people are too far gone. I would include myself in the focus free first category though, and just about all my friends.
Iâ€™ve been noticing it more and more lately and The Unholy Nagâ€™s wicked post touches on a key explanation of our lack of direction. Thereâ€™s a lot of energy around, a lot of people wanting to do something positive, to change things, to do whateverâ€™s â€˜rightâ€™, as they used to say. But what things are we to change? And what is â€˜rightâ€™ when detached from the non-productive 60â€™s sentiment of whatever â€˜feels goodâ€™? If we all carry on doing what feels good we are going to fuck the planet up once and for all quite soon, be it via global warming, a premature ice age, a nuclear war or some unforeseeable act of destruction from the other side of the red curtain. If you want to take into account what damage Daily Mail readers and celebrity culture are doing to the fabric of our society as well things definitely do look grim. Who gives a fuck that Jordan has three tits? Why doesnâ€™t she just tuck the other one away somewhere, or donate it to a chicken nugget factory?. Thatâ€™s my point though â€“ thereâ€™s just too much information out there. Too much to consider. Has this paranoia been deliberately engineered to ensure apathy and/or confusion, to pacify people? Perhaps. I know that my response to the latest horror show in the news is often â€˜oh well, fuck it, I canâ€™t do anything about it anyway, thereâ€™s just too much going onâ€™. Or is this flood of bad news simply a natural bi-product of having a genuinely free media? It would be a sad epitaph of men would it not, to have had the possibility of doing so much, but having drowned prematurely in the news of our own failures before we could get off the small rock we took our chances on.
Well that was a all a bit grim wasnâ€™t it? I wrote it last night, apparently on a very rough Heroin comedown. Things should be better tonight though â€“ Strictly Come Fisting is on the telly, and Scunthorpe play Cheltenham tomorrow. Viva las Bolo!
I don’t wish to scare you all, but, yesterday I saw a documentary about H5n1. We’re all going to die. If that doesn’t get us then global warming will cook us like ducks in an oven. Or it will melt the ice caps and we’ll drown. Or it will melt the ice caps and dump fresh water into the North Atlantic, diluting the salinity of the sea water, which will in turn switch off the North Atlantic ‘conveyor belt’ that brings warmth from the mid Atlantic to Britain and we’ll all freeze to death.
Alternatively, the terrorists will poison us on the underground. Or they’ll blow us up. Or the over-zealous Metropolitan Police and their shoot-to-kill policy will put a couple of bullets in our heads for reading the Independent. Or they’ll just arrest us for wearing hoodies and we’ll be extradited to the US in an abuse of anti-terrorist laws, where we’ll be tortured to death in a secret CIA prison, shouting: “Yes…oh god yes…my real name is Susan and I did think about throwing strawberries at the President.”
However, there is equal chance that we will be savagely murdered in the street by gangs of yobs wearing hoodies, or gangs of black yobs, or gangs of Asian yobs, or, worse yet, gangs of black and Asian yobs wearing hoodies.
What could also happen is that we may accidentally turn on ITV and then uncontrollably slit our wrists on the realisation that the human race is capable of producing such soulless, dour, unimaginitive and unchallenging bullshit, and that so many of us are prepared to watch it. Or we could listen to too much Judas Priest and embark on a gun toting rampage before killing ourselves. Or we could watch too many violent films and embark on a gun toting rampage before killing ourselves. Or we could be in the wrong place in the wrong time when the local loner flips his troubled lid and embarks on a gun toting rampage – before killing himself.
Hell, we may even piss God off so much that we die painful and merciless apocolyptic deaths amid torrents of fire & brimstone.
Our houses could burn down because we don’t have smoke alarms. We may poison ourselves with carbon monoxide because we don’t have carbon monoxide detectors. We may drown in Morecambe Bay after having been forced to collect cockles for 10p a day by armies of Polish immigrants.
We may drive too fast and crash. We may be killed by others driving too fast. We may be driving at a reasonable speed but just a little too close to the old man in front when he sees a speed camera, breaks in fear (shitting himself), and we slam into the back of him, again dying.
One day, God forbid, we may push it too far or too hard and drink ourselves to death. If we don’t give up the green we’ll smoke ourselves to death. We may take the wrong pill and die in a dirty hospital bed with tubes sticking out of a number of orifices, natural and otherwise, riddled with MRSA for good measure and totally oblivious to our picture appearing on page 4 of the Daily Mail as some 2 bit hack spouts off about how wonderful we were, and how the nasty pill cruelly took our innocent little lives, and how they were right all along that all drugs are bad. In the corner of page 5 will be an advert for Laithwaites.
The sun could go super nova, the universe could experience the big bang reverse and collapse in on itself. Statistically speaking, the Earth is long overdue getting smacked by an asteroid, and historically speaking, we are long overdue an ice age. There is also a Caldera (or super volcano) bubbling away beneath the surface of the entire area of Yellowstone park, which, if it goes off, will cover the entire Northern hemisphere in thick ash. The Earth’s weather system will be fucked, we’ll have no sun, we’ll all die and, yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s overdue to shoot its load.
If that’s not enough we may have to end it all ourselves because we’ve got no pension to look forward to, or because we have to wait 15 years for an emergency blood transfusion on the NHS, or because none of us can find jobs anymore because Eastern European immigrants are working them for Â£3 a month and a packet of Fisherman’s Friend.
An army of Microsoft robots could turn bad and wipe us out, or genetic engineering could create a horde of mutants that kill us. Scientists could accidentally create a new cross between a cauliflower and a banana, which actually turns out to be quite nice, but in fact contains a deadly toxin. Before you know it Tesco & Asda are giving them away free with every pack of incontinence pads.
Did I forget to mention BSE/CJD, SARS, the HIV mutation, or being sued by our next door neighbours for having a type of grass that doesn’t match with their tastes, being ordered to pay Â£3m in compo and then being clubbed to death by an angry middle class mob because we can’t afford to pay it?
And if you escape all that, one day you’ll die of old age. Happy trails Boloites!