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I remember, all those decades ago, when I was a credulous, trusting child, being told that it was impossible to really consider the awe-inspiring wonders of living things, and the boundless universe, and not believe in god. This seemed a dubious assertion to me from the outset. Only later did I learn that this fallacy had a name: argument from personal incredulity. And the more I learned about those unquestionably wondrous wonders, the more obvious it became to me that every single definition of god I had ever heard simply crumbled under the weight of its own embarrassing fatuity.
How often I wonder at the fact that I am, without a doubt, a thoroughgoing misanthrope, yet when I fall in love I fall so far and so hard it leaves me almost winded emotionally; gasping for air, and the only air that will do is the sweet air exhaled by the object of my love. How can human beings be so clearly, demonstrably awful, yet she is so intoxicatingly lovely that I crave her voice, her words and her touch, like a drowning man craves air? She is gold in the river, and I am dazzled, delighted... and deluded.
I don’t know why punctuality matters to me so much. Actually, that isn’t true. It matters to me because it seems obvious that punctuality is politeness. If you are not punctual you are wasting someone else’s time. You are delaying a flight. You are being disrespectful to others who are affected by your lateness. And you are infuriating not just because of your casual, selfish impertinence but because being punctual is such an easy thing to do. It’s trivial. It takes a minimum of personal organisation and common sense. And you don’t do that, and I despise you for it.
“Ghosteen”, is one of the loveliest, most moving, most perfectly conceived and realised albums I have heard since “Kid A”. Cave’s voice has never sounded more considered yet vulnerable. The music is a drifting, shifting synth soundscape, occasionally backed by a troubled pulse of bass and lush, shimmering backing vocals. Only on the final track do we hear some simple, understated drumming; gently pushing towards an end to sorrow. The lyrics are poetic, yearning, borne of grief and improbable hopes. I shed tears listening to this astonishing record. It takes very special music to do that to me, these days.
That moment when you've had mouth ulcers so there's a tube of Bonjela next to the toothpaste, and then you get drunk one night and mistakenly use the Bonjela instead of the toothpaste, and you're so drunk you think "this toothpaste tastes funny" but you carry on brushing away like the useless drunken tool you are, and then you rinse and walk out of the bathroom, and your mouth feels like cold numb dead corpse mouth, and then you realise what you did and start lurching around, arms outstretched, yelling "BRAINS! BRAAAAINS!" And then you think "I'm sixty years old".
Extinction Rebellion protestors: no, I am not going to join your bullshit bandwagon. You know what you need to do if you really want to make a difference? Start killing people. Which people? The rich. The marketers. The oligarchs. The media moguls. The 1%. The evil swine who are actually driving this. Not some poor sod trying to take his family on holiday for the first time in years. Not some struggling nonentity just trying to get to work so she can put food on the table. Go after the fucking cancer, not the symptoms, you posturing, intellectually void wankers.
Why don’t I do it, you say? Why don’t I practice what I preach? Because I am old and tired and, seriously, I really, really
Do. Not. Care. Anymore.
You are all worthless scum. So am I. Humanity is a fucking plague and I am so, so tired of us. I don’t. Fucking. Care. But if I did, by Christ I’d be pursuing violent and bloody revolution against the people who are actually the fucking problem, not making ordinary people’s lives even more miserable.
Goddamn, fuck you all. Fuck
all. You’re idiots, so am I; bring on the purification.
I squandered the few talents I had. I can’t really say “have”, because, well, I squandered them. They didn’t develop. One was music. I squandered my musical ability for two main reasons. Firstly, lack of confidence. I was too scared to perform, either on a small or large scale, until it was too late. Secondly, technofear. I didn’t understand music tech. PAs, mixing decks and sound checks, home recording rigs, effects boxes... it all left me stymied and ashamed of myself. The problem only got worse with the advent of music technology on computers. Music itself seemed simple in comparison.
I want to make up for lost time. I want to make up for lost love. Or rather, for mislaid love. It was never truly lost. I went wrong; we went wrong, and that wasn't clear to me at the time. It was so far from clear to me that the mistaken clarity I thought I felt now terrifies me. Because clarity can be clouds. I have to believe this is a return to real clarity. It feels that way. I thought I could deal with being without you; I thought I
dealing with it. I couldn’t, I wasn’t.
Drinking is boring. I am not talking about booze. This is not another tedious anti-alcohol piece. I love booze, and the primary reason I do is that alcohol in drinks makes them not boring. What’s boring is the very act of drinking. I find it a dull chore, and I have a tendency to do without until thirst compels me. I dislike most soft drinks. Water, fizzy drinks, fruit juices (too intense, too... fruity), teas and infusions... coffee is okay because it is bitter and at least a little intoxicating. But mostly: give me alcohol or give me death.
The apparent obsession with anal sex amongst allegedly straight guys mystifies me. I have no desire at all to put my old lad in someone’s cackpipe, no matter how gorgeous they are. I mean... do people forget what goes on in there? And when there's a perfectly lovely and well-adapted pussy right next door? But I'm probably just an old fuddy-duddy for preferring a nice welcoming quim and a proper fecund bush over butt-bothering, and the rather creepy modern male fondness for a heavily-depilated netherlands. I still think it's down to hormones in the water supply. Probably.
You are fiddling while Rome burns, and I am happy to sit and laugh while your unnecessary and burdensome children fry. You think inconveniencing countless struggling nobodies will make a difference? Really? The only difference it will make is to cause the kind of nitwits who support Brexit to hate you and your cause more and more. And not just those cretins, either. People like me, too. People who completely accept the reality of climate change and mankind’s hefty part in it. You’re making us hate you. You’re losing us. We despise you for your thoughtless, misdirected self-righteous acting out.
Not everyone has dreams. Not everyone is driven by goals beyond getting through life and avoiding crises. Not everyone has ambition, yearning, hope. Not everyone has a "gift". We are not all like that. Many of us are just average sort of people with no special skills and no great desire to acquire such skills. Some of us are boring and untalented by nature. Some of us will never dance because we're crippled, or we have flat feet, or we are graceless and have poor coordination, and - the crucial part - we honestly do not have any burning desire to dance.
This is the age of denial. We are trying to cope with our increasing ills and the sense of incipient panic they engender by retreating into infantilist denial of reality. We believe lies that should not fool a child. From religious and superstitious bullshit to Trump and Brexit, and even the denial of biology; of “fat positive”, of “you can do anything if you really want to”. Deluded fantasy, all of it. And those who point this out are derided with hyperbolic condemnation and abuse. Perhaps it is us who will be first against the wall, not the real villains.
A poll reveals that a significant majority of British people from right across the political spectrum believe violence against politicians is sometimes justified. This, in spite of the murder of Jo Cox a few years ago. Murdered by someone because he didn’t like her opinion on a political issue he felt strongly about. And so this is where we are: denial of truth, facts and reality, and a preference for just... beating people up or killing them. That sound you hear? That flickering glow in the darkness? Just around the corner? The mob: torches ablaze and pitchforks at the ready.
I am never late for anything apart from when made so by truly abnormal circumstances. Otherwise: literally never. I cannot abide unpunctuality and I don’t respect unpunctual people. My job requires me to be absolutely punctual, and in over eight years I always have been. If we meet, I will be there on time.
Aim to be early. Always. If you ever run for a train, or a bus, or a flight, you are a regrettable fuck-up, and I feel real contempt for you and your pitiful inability to organise yourself better. You have failed as a responsible adult.
“Britain literally fizzes with musical talent”
NO. IT. DOES NOT.
I really think this matters. I honestly regret the way the “language evolves” lazyheads excuse things like this, because what they are excusing is not merely linguistic laziness and ignorance, but actual damage to our discourse; the casual denaturing of meaning, of precision in communication, and therefore clarity of understanding. Misuse of “literally” may seem trivial to you, but it is symptomatic of the wider problem. It is another very specific, clear and precise idea sacrificed on the idiot’s altar of “evolution of language”. It literally gives me a headache.
"Silence is not an option. Anyone who does not forcefully and unequivocally condemn the bigotry of these people is complicit in their actions."
This is creepy, manipulative bullshit at a level one would not expect from those claiming to be rationalists. One does not become complicit in something merely by saying nothing about it. If that were the case we would all be complicit in many crimes and misdemeanours, wouldn't we? This sort of statement is the sort of hyperbolic nonsense I would expect from a religious zealot, and such statements only add fuel to an already dangerously overheated fire.
Domino Park is a fairly new stretch of public recreation land on the Williamsburg waterfront. It runs, unsurprisingly, in front of the old Domino sugar factory, which is in the process of being converted into something for the neighbourhood’s new monied classes. Apartments... I’m not sure. Some sort of “space”, you can be sure of that. The “park” is slightly odd. It has recliner seats, a kids’ play fountain, a taco hut and a bridge that intermittently clouds with steam. And it has a wonderful view of Manhattan, and the ugly-beautiful bridge that takes you there. I love it.
By all accounts getting hold of a pair of his underwear for DNA testing, to verify his identity, this is the world we live in now, and Jeremy Kyle looks on, grim, unsmiling, righteous in his personal sense of justification over the body of the suicide, that’s entertainment you pathetic proles, and Murdoch pumps it out; they all pump it out, and you disgraceful fucking proles lap it up, and you... yes you specifically, you stupid cunt, will vote Tory, won’t you, because hey, say what you like about Boris, at least he FUCK OFF AND DIE YOU FUCKING LOUSE.
Please stop shouting. Why are you shouting? Why do you feel it necessary to do that? You, on the phone: why are you shouting? Do you think the phone isn’t working? Why don’t you just speak normally? You, work mob on the tube home: why are you screaming? Why are you cackling and yelling so loudly? You are standing right next to each other. Why do you feel it necessary to be so loud? You, builders next door: why so loud? You aren’t running any power tools. It’s quiet here. Or it was, until you bastards started shouting. Please stop.
Sometimes I feel that since somewhere in my fifties, I have been trying to rediscover things. I reconnected with a friend I hadn’t seen since my twenties. I had a cat, for the first time since my relative youth. I returned to Greece after a similarly lengthy interval: once, then again. I got serious about fitness and knocked myself into the best shape I’d been in since my thirties. And something else happened... too painful.
The cat died, I ditched a plan to visit Greece again, the friendship is cooling off, I let myself go. Late mid-life crisis over?
I am going to write about dad. Whenever I have written about the old man in the past I have tended to be critical, dismissive of feelings because... to be perfectly honest, I didn’t have many, and those I did have were not deep. He was a decent man in the ways that matter. He was kind, patient, not given to anger or the accepted norms of male behaviour in his time. Mum loved that about him; his fundamental dullness, not so much. That gave her red rages, and he did not know what to do with them, or her.
I love your hair. Your long, beautiful hair. I know you might prefer it short, and I respect that decision. God and Harvey Weinstein know you have the right to decide how long or short you wear your hair, beautiful lady. But I am one of those tired old heterosexual men who loves long hair on women, like a mother loves her child. When your hair was long you were my Maid Marian, and I would have walked a mile over hot coals to kiss it. When you go for that middle-aged crop shit I'm like "Eh, fuck that."
It seems I will probably be spending this Christmas alone. And if so, so will you. Or maybe you won't. You have your lovely children and your rather less lovely mother. I see you having your kids over to the apartment, a chicken or a turkey done in some suitable way: Keller or Zuni, or just plain Ann. Just plain Ann is anything but plain.
I want you here. I want to roast meat together. Potatoes and giblets and gravy. Crackers, mince pies, good wine, brandy butter, the segue game, falling into bed and listening to the sound of us.
We’ve just left Wraysbury when I see her. Grey coat, matted hair, stumbling along barely six inches from the rail. Thankfully, I have time to slow to a crawl behind her. I call from the window; she ignores me. I call the signaller, get the juice turned off, don the hi-vis, step down, catch up, try to reason with her. She is unreachable. I walk almost a mile with her, call the police, tell them to be at the next station. Eventually she is arrested. Escapee from a mental hospital. I did what I could. My head is throbbing.
The places we have been, love, you and I. Paris, canals, restaurants, catacombs, hotels, bars, routes, the toilet smell of the streets, Rome, Hawaii, Prague, Barcelona and your lovely kids, the Yorkshire Dales, the hotel at Boot, wine country and planes, your head on my shoulder, and me grumbling away in dreams, and a road trip that seemed never-ending, and I never wanted it to end, and I still never want it to end, let it never end until we die, and let us die together, and if that cannot be, and it probably can't, then I love you.
So I will write about my father, as instructed, and what I will hold in my head as I write is the sense of how I am nothing to do with him, and he is nothing to do with me. One sperm from one of his excitable spunks penetrated one ovum from one of my mother's ovaries, and this happened. I happened. Big deal.
It's not a big deal. Salmon spread their stupid spawn all over the place and a stupid male leaps through some hoops in mindless desperation, to die in a spunkfest. We are really not much better.
Last entry, out of place. This month got out of hand.
I am so happy to be doing this again, because I am so not happy in my actual life. That's not true. I am neither happy nor sad. I am not depressed. I am not contented. I am not... anything. I just am. I just get on with shit and don't think about things like happiness. Happiness doesn't work, as a life goal. It's a drug, and if you chase it, you're chasing the dragon. So I go after peace. I need alcohol, and I need you. That's it.
My concerns about how the company would react to my recent incident with the mentally disturbed person were, thankfully, unfounded (and possibly a little paranoid, being based on stories from less fortunate drivers). I had a debriefing today which involved little more than sympathy and congratulations. I was also taken off my first journey, given a “Thank You” card which said that I had gone above and beyond my normal, expected duties of a driver, was a credit to my role and a true professional. It’s not much, but it’s more than I expected. I am relieved and somewhat touched.
I have never liked Halloween, not even when I was a kid. Back then, in my part of England, very few kids even bothered with it. We were all far too excited about Guy Fawkes night, just a week away. We spent our pocket money on fireworks, not silly costumes. Somewhere in my young adulthood America polluted us with this irksome nonsense, just as it polluted us with school proms, McDonalds, KFC, rubbish television, stupid superhero movies and so much other utter shite. So don’t come to my door tonight, kids, or a monster might give you a proper scare.
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